‘Time for clampdown on poverty’ – Muscat

In Freedom Day speech, Joseph Muscat says Dom Mintoff's dream for Malta to become 'the envy of the world' is now a reality 

Joseph Muscat and his wife Michelle at a Labour rally to mark Freedom Day. Photo: James Bianchi
Joseph Muscat and his wife Michelle at a Labour rally to mark Freedom Day. Photo: James Bianchi

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat pledged his commitment to tackling Malta’s poverty problem, singling it out as the next challenge on his bucket list.

Muscat was speaking to a crowd of government officials and PL supporters in Birgu to celebrate the 38th anniversary of Freedom Day, when the last British forces left the Malta.

In a brief speech, Muscat toasted the announcement that Malta has achieved its first balanced budget in 35 years – with a €8.9 million surplus.

“The last time we were in this position was when Dom Mintoff was Prime Minister. This is the start of a new road, and I believe that we can achieve great things together and that the opportunities are limitless.”

He cited an article that a young Mintoff had written in 1938 which read: “Malta is in desperate need of people with new ideas, who will bring about progressive and liberal change amidst the universal degradation of fascism, and change Malta’s medieval social system into one that is the envy of the world”.

“He wrote those words at a time when no one imagined that Malta would be independent, let alone the envy of the world,” Muscat said. “I am proud that after 80 years, we have now turned this dream into a reality.”

Tomorrow marks the 38th anniversary of Freedom Day. Photo: James Bianchi
Tomorrow marks the 38th anniversary of Freedom Day. Photo: James Bianchi

However, he warned that several people are still living in poverty due to their measly wages, and once again pledged an increase in the minimum wage.

He also suggested that new civil liberties are in the pipeline, telling his supporters that “we must get out of our comfort zone and challenge the status quo once more.”

The Prime Minister refrained from even referring to the Opposition in his speech, instead opting to call for “national unity”. 

Earlier, PL deputy leader and economy minister Chris Cardona hailed Labour as a political force that has always strived for freedom and liberties.

“The party will go down in history as one that has always strived for these values, despite resistance from conservative currents, and we will therefore take no lessons from our adversaries when it comes to freedom and liberty.”

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