Labour tells Simon Busuttil to walk the talk on political honesty

Nationalist Party takes umbrage at prime minister's silence on fuel prices, monti relocation; renews challenge for government to publish hawker agreements.

The Labour Party has called on Simon Busuttil to take discplinary proceedings against former home affairs minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici.
The Labour Party has called on Simon Busuttil to take discplinary proceedings against former home affairs minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici.

The Labour Party has accused Simon Busuttil of shunning the PN’s battle cry of political honesty, calling on the Opposition leader to take action against Nationalist MPs Carm Mifsud Bonnici and Toni Bezzina.

In a statement, the PL argued that it should be Busuttil, “who preaches on honest politics”, that should face up to his own leadership test and take disciplinary procedures against the PN MPs.

“Busuttil preaches on honest politics, yet he does not talk on the political responsibility that he should shoulder. The Opposition leader should instead say what action he will take against former minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici and Toni Bezzina,” he said.

In December, a government inquiry into the death of Malian asylum seeker Mamadou Kamara in 2012 revealed that former home affairs minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici prevented disciplinary proceedings against Detention Services officers involved in the death of another asylum seeker, a year before the Kamara murder.

The report made mention of the death of Infeanyi Nwokoye, a 29-year-old Nigerian detainee who died shortly after a failed attempt to escape from the Safi detention centre. Even though an inquiry board called for disciplinary measures to be taken against a number of officials, the cause of death remains a mystery.

Muscat had argued that the subsequent “Kamara inquiry discovered that former head of the Detention Services, Lt Col. Brian Gatt had said he wanted to sack the officers involved; but it adds that Carm Mifsud Bonnici gave him a different directive not do anything” – a claim which the former PN minister has vehemently denied.

Similarly, the Labour Party said, political responsibility should also be shouldered by Nationalist MP Toni Bezzina who is alleged to have asked government workers to do work in a PN club, and later forced them to sign a force declaration. Likewise, the Nationalist MP has denied the claims and has already sued the Labour media for defamation.

But in what has emerged in a tit-for-tat battle, the Nationalist Party accused the Labour Party and the government of being more interested in the past than what is occurring in the present.

 “The difference between Joseph Muscat and Simon Busuttil is that the prime minister is only interested in what happened two years ago, whereas Simon Busuttil talks on the present and the future,” he said.

The PN also took issue at the government’s silence on the fuel prices and its proposed relocation of the monti hawkers to Ordnance Street – a proposal which has been described as an “insult to the new parliament building and Malta’s culture.”

“It is clear that the prime minister is uncomfortable to talk on present issues, namely the government’s decision to retain one of the highest fuel prices in the EU,” it said.

Earlier, PN leader Simon Busuttil said the 4c reduction in fuel prices is not enough and called on the government to “stop robbing and deceiving the people.”

“Even though he completely ignored the issue on the monti this morning, the PN renews its appeal for the prime minister to publish the agreement that the Labour Party signed with the hawkers’ representatives on the week prior to the general election,” it added.