Busuttil in scathing attack on ‘puppet’ police commissioner

Opposition leader criticises selection of Lawrence Cutajar as police commissioner, claiming the government had gone through four other commissioners before finding 'the perfect puppet to control'

Lawrence Cutajar was appointed Police Commissioner on 1 August 2016
Lawrence Cutajar was appointed Police Commissioner on 1 August 2016

The Labour government had changed the police commissioner five times in less than four years until it found the puppet that was currently serving as commissioner, who only did the government’s bidding, opposition leader Simon Busuttil said on Tuesday.

“The police commissioner’s failure to act in blatant cases of abuse and corruption is proof that he is the government’s puppet,” he said. “But in the face of all the scandals, the police was more interested in the fuel gauge needle on the car of the leader of the opposition.”

No wonder you went through five police commissioners, you kept looking until you found the right puppet you could control,” he accused the government.

Busuttil was speaking in Parliament in the second reading of a bill proposing amendments to the Police Act.

He said this bill could have come at the perfect time to make some much-needed changes, but instead the bill would make matters worse, effectively establishing the police commissioner as a lackey of the Prime Minister.

“We, on the other hand, do things differently because we have the courage to make changes,” Busuttil said.

The opposition leader said the current commissioner’s only claim to fame was to have publicly stated on Facebook how much he loved the Prime Minister.

“How can we trust the judiciary power of the police – to open and lead investigations – is not corrupt?” he asked. “But wait, things are now about to get worse.”

Busuttil  said that under the current system, the Prime Minister appointed the police commissioner indefinitely, whereas the bill was proposing that the commissioner be appointed for a period of five years.

“This will surely make the police commissioner a lackey of the Prime Minister, with a sword hanging constantly over his neck,” he said.

He also criticised the fact that the opposition had not been consulted before the bill was drawn up. He accused the government of wanting to turn the Police Force into another Labour Party club, at the very moment that the country was facing a crisis with the increasing number of car bombs, which the police was so far failing to solve.

“There is a spate of theft going on in many localities, numerous cases of serious corruption under this government, but the police spend months investigating how much petrol my driver put in the car,” Busuttil said.

The police, he said, would not investigate the owners of the company Egrant, registered in Panama, not did it investigate Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, who were discovered to have opened secret accounts in Panama.

In a similar case in France, the police had investigated Minister Jerome Cahuzac, who was revealed to have secret offshore accounts, and had just recently secured a three-year jail term for him in the French courts.

“But the police commissioner in France is independent and not an admirer of the prime minister,” Busuttil noted.

“Who is the police defending? Are they defending the man on the street and the citizens, or are they defending Joseph Muscat, his ministers and his friends?,” he asked.

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