'Army is being taken over by government' – PN

Army no longer serving country but government’s political expediencies, Opposition MPs say.

Opposition MPs Jason Azzoaprdi and Beppe Fenech Adami
Opposition MPs Jason Azzoaprdi and Beppe Fenech Adami

Opposition MPs Beppe Fenech Adami and Jason Azzopardi today accusd the Labour government of "taking over" the army for its own political gain.

"The Armed Forces of Malta no longer serves the country's interests but is being used by the government to serve its own political expediencies," Nationalist MP Jason Azzpardi said.

Addressing the press in Valletta, the PN deputy leader for party affairs Beppe Fenech Adami pointed out that in the past the country "paid a very high price" in order to regain its trust in the country's security forces, however the Labour government was "undermining" this trust, he said.

The two MPs underlined the shortcomings in the promotion process within the armed forces, where four majors were promoted to lieutenant colonel, the third highest rank in army last week.

This had nothing to do with political allegiances but these promotions were being criticised because they involved "militant and staunch Labourites," Azzopardi said.

Describing the promotion process as "shameful," Azzopardi said that members of the home affairs minister's secretariat,  including the deputy chief of staff Ramona Attard,  and a customer care officer, Chris Cutajar, sat on the selection board.

The Opposition's home affairs shadow minister pointed out that the two were put on a par with the AFM commander and asked what qualifications the ministry's deputy chief of staff and a customer care official had with regard to the army.  

Former majors Pierre Vassallo, Mark Mallia, Jeffrey Curmi and Mark Said were promoted to lieutenant colonel last week, despite having doubtful credentials, the MPs explained.

Azzopardi said that Vassallo did not have the necessary security clearance in 2006 because of a disciplinary case in 1986 when he was kicked out of the police force.

Asking whether the Labour government was in cahoots with the Security Service, Azzopardi asked whether the decision to issue the clearance was the result of political pressure.

Lt Col Mallia was promoted despite being a major for one year, Azzopardi noted, adding that earlier this year, the Labour government had amended the promotion process criteria and cut the required two year experience to one.

Describing Lt Col Jeffery Curmi's as being a very close friend of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat's family, Azzopardi said that the former major had been promoted ahead of 12 other candidates despite not undergoing the strenuous training as other army officers had.

Moreover, the Nationalist MP said that Lt Col Mark Said, who Azzopardi said taken leave without permission to attend the Prime Minister's swearing in ceremony in Valletta in march, had also been promoted ahead of another 12 candidates. 

Fenech Adami insisted that Labour' had shattered its promises of meritocracy and said that the promotions were the result of "political interference." 

Moreover, the Labour government had replaced the former police commissioner John Rizzo, who enjoyed respect across the political divide with Peter Paul Zammit, who Beppe Fenech Adami said was a "Labour activist."

Asked whether previous Nationalist administrations interfered in the army and police, Azzopardi said that this never happened under the previous government. "There certainly was no interference in the Security Services before 2013 and there were no political appointees on interview boards," Azzopardi said.  

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Doesn't this ex GonziPN pair realise that what goes round comes..... Now it is the PL turn to rectify injustices and improve efficiency. I would castigate the PL if there is no marked improvement, and those promoted are not removed! It is then, that this pair should speak up.
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Retro people=retro politics! Sfiducjati u hadd ma ghadu jemminhom! Se ikomplu idahqu in-nies?
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Retro people=retro politics! Sfiducjati u hadd ma ghadu jemminhom! Se ikomplu idahqu in-nies?
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Using Jason Azzopardi and Beppe Fenech Adami's own yard stick,with all the Fenech Adami's. Mifsud Bonnici, and Demarco's and other known PN families down generations of the PN history, does that mean that the PN has been taken over by selected families rather than meritocracy?
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A very dangerous move.
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Fl armata in nazzjonalisti ta gewwa biss jistghu jiehdu il promotions, u dawk li irid Richard Cachia Caruana biss!! Kemm ghad iridu johorgu stejjer ta hmieg li saru taht gvernijiet nazzjonalisti fl armata sur azzoppardi!!!
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Lt Col said has also been promoted ahead of another 12 candidates ..... tickle the other one please ....
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Lt Col said has also been promoted ahead of another 12 candidates ..... tickle the other one please ....
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Lt Col said has also been promoted ahead of another 12 candidates ..... tickle the other one please ....
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Jason Azzopardi has become very forgetful as of late. During the time he was Minister of the PN Government of Malta, the then PN government took over the Army and the Police, and of course the Secret Service and appointed those it wanted AT ALL COSTS. They practiced perfect charity by declaring PL supporters as not being given security clearance by the Secret Service, for which reasons they were never promoted. The same thing happened in the Police with top positions being total political appointees. But of course I forgot that Jason Azzopardi is now getting older and starts to be forgetful especially about the corruption in appointments, corruption in our finances and corruption at all levels of society that His Government became so notorious of. Keep it up Dr Azzopardi. Maybe one day you will start remembering the facts, facts the people of these Islands will never forgive or forget.
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Now that Lt Col Mark Mallia has been given this prestigious promotion will he be leaving his position as senior ADC or does he expect to continue to serve the President until April next year?
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Lt Col Mallia promoted after only one year in the grade of Major. He is the senior ADC to the President. There goes your answer Dr Azzopardi. What are you going to do about it?
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Insew dawn l-ingustizzji fil-promozzjonijiet fl-armata taht gvern Nazzjonalista? Possibbli insew kemm nghataw promozzjonijiet lin-Nazzjonalisti bil-pedigree fil-korp tal-pulizija? Eh konvenjenti hux hekk ikollok memorja qasira. Halluna nghixu u tkomplux b'din il-kantaliena ta' hmerijiet li qbadtu ghax aktar qed jodghos l'isfel il-PN. Kunu opposizzjoni serja jekk tafu!!!
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Imsieken dawn ta GonziPN kemm kienu fair fl-armata! Tghidtx kemm taw promozzjonijiet lil Laburisti!
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Forsi Jason u Beppe kienu zaghar jew il-memorja bdiet tonqsilhom minn issa. Jiena niftakar lill Gwido Demarco jigi milquh bil-musketterija mill-pulizija kif lahaq vici Prim Ministru. Niftakar ukoll l-oxxenitajiet fix-xatt tal-Birgu meta l-pulizija tat xebha lin-nies minghajr ebda provokazzzjoni. It-tnejn li inthom qabel ma jitkellmu ahjar jaqraw jew jistaqsu x'gara dawk iz-zminijiet.
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Aktar ma nisma dawn ic-cucati li qeghdin jghidu specjalment dawn it-tlett stooges Simon, Beppe u Jason aktar naccerta ruhi kemm huma fjakki. L-ewwel nett il Gvern qieghed jghati hafna sahha lil gudikatura u trasparenza trid tkun f'kull qasam bhal ma hu qieghed jghamel jinvolvi l-awditur generali li mhux talli jiehu l-pariri tieghu talli jsegwihom u jwettaqom li fi zmien il PN qatt ma kienu biss jikkonsidrawom anzi kienu hemm ghalxejn ghax qatt ma wetqu l-pariri anzi pjuttost kienu jghamlu bil kontra ghax kien hemm nepotizmu sfrenat. John Rizzo ma kienx jiehu passi meta Gonzi kien ikun mdarras, specjalment missu ghamel investigazzjoni dwar il BWSC, u kif ukol l fejn kien hemm nuqqasijiet bhal EneMalta. L-Armata f'idejn il Gvern LOL iddahquniex izjed ghax ma nkunx nista nidhaq izjed, meta Il-Gvern anki union tal Armata jried biex jekk ikun hemm xi ngustizzji fl-armata ikun hemm l-aqwa htiega ta investigazzjoni mil union stess. Dik prova ta kemm dawn it-tlett stooges huma tad dahq.
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After all, we got used to alternate dictatorship ! Its the PL time now !
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Anything new ? Did you not do the same ?