[WATCH] Daphne Caruana Galizia murder ‘hurt me on a human level’, Prime Minister says

Prime Minister’s New Year’s message emphasises economic success, quality of life improvement

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder had angered him, as he made emphasis on Malta's economic success and the government's determination to continue on the same route in his New Year's message
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder had angered him, as he made emphasis on Malta's economic success and the government's determination to continue on the same route in his New Year's message

Watch the Prime Minister giving his message for the new year:

Prime Minister's New Year 2018 message

Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder had saddened all those who loved Malta’s people, and had hurt him ‘on a human level’, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said in a message for the New Year.

The Prime Minister said that the ‘brutal murder’ had angered him in a way which made him feel the country must react, adding that the murder did not reflect who the Maltese were.

“The angered reaction and sadness, and the need to react as a mature state that will not bow its head to criminals, confirms what I know of our people. People who can distinguish between what is right and wrong and are prepared to stop the few, the very few, bad elements in our society,” he said.

Muscat maintained that the country was moving forward rapidly, and that the economy's generation of wealth was causing changes in society but also creating new tensions. He highlighted that such wealth was reaching those who needed it most.

“That is why I believe our country is getting stronger, because we measure results by how much the quality of life of each one of you has improved,” he said, adding that “The beauty of these islands remains the way that we unite as one country. Maybe because we place great value on the sense of family and love for those close to us. The value that trumps all rivalry is the love we show to our children, our friends, and those we live and work close to.”

He thanked the men and women of Malta’s disciplined forces, noted that those working in this area were ‘degraded’, ‘suffer lack of respect’ and often did not get the recognition they deserved, and saluted on behalf of the country the police, the armed forces and civil protection.

Making reference to Malta’s presidency of the European Union for the first six months of 2017, Muscat said that although the country was small, it had the will to lead when required to do so.

“It was a great moment to hear leaders of our European friends praising our country using adjectives that are not often heard of other countries going through the same experience. That is what we want to hear about our country, praise and not insults from those who may envy us,” he remarked.

Turning to Valletta’s status as 2018 European Capital of Culture, he said that Malta would this year be in the spotlight again, on a European and global level.

“The remarkable work to prepare for this event is one that makes us proud again. Proud to be able to show off the jewels of this city such as the place we are in now, our National Library, our Co-Cathedral, the Auberges and Palaces that form part of our inheritance left by our ancestors. But not only that. We are also proud to show off our culture as a way of life. The pleasant way we live here in our country. The diverse ways of life and how we go about our day-to-day life, at work, in our homes and places of leisure,” the Prime Minister said.

Malta is a beautiful country which knows how to love and live in peace - a country where love does not discriminate - and this was the country which we had to show to everyone, once we removed the sometimes puerile divisiveness which caused ‘unnecessary tension’, he emphasised.

Looking back at 2017, Muscat said that it had been “a year of decisions, decisions that go beyond the electoral ones and those capable of dividing us. Decisions based on an image created about this country, a country that today has an unprecedented economic growth rate, that has an employment growth rate that outpaces that of our European partners, the lowest unemployment rate in our history, a reduction on those who depend on social services, a country that is once again focused on the future of its people. Except, the most important measure on our scales was that of social progress, which we will continue to do in the coming period.”

Regarding the poor in society, he said that the number of people at risk of poverty had been cut by half in the past four years, and that such results showed the difference that could be made in people’s lives.

He referred to the government’s legalisation of same-sex marriage, and said that he couldn’t remove from his mind the image of happiness in the eyes of couples who would do anything for their loved one but previously couldn’t seal their love because of ‘conservative forces’ in Malta.

Social progress would not stop there, Muscat said, adding that there ‘will be one push after the other’ during the upcoming year, as him and his colleagues were 'here to create change'.

“We will give all possible means to those two people who love each other to have a chance to raise their own child and not just imagine holding in their arms a child they could call son or daughter, all of this because of barriers that we politicians can fix, and we want to fix them,” he stressed.

Making reference to the government’s creation of the opportunity to prescribe medical marijuana as an alternative treatment, he said the government was there to offer hope to people suffering serious and heart-breaking illnesses, and to mitigate the suffering of the ill and those close to them.

The government would continue to ‘be a shelter to those families who are going through social problems’, he said, maintaining that it would go on with its efforts to help pensioners, minimum-wage earners, and those who needed help accessing the work force.

In regards to the contentious issue of rent prices on the island, Muscat said that the government would ‘continue to seriously tackle the rent problem while offering affordable housing to those who are really in need.’

He asserted that investment in infrastructure would also continue, as that was the next step for a modern Malta where yearly tourist arrivals were four times greater than its population.

The educational sector would be strengthened, as would the health service, he contended, adding that voting rights would be extended to 16-year-olds.

“I am confident that in 2018 we will overcome all the challenges that will come our way. Because our country is endowed with a hard working nation that never succumbs to challenges. We need to thank you because the results that we achieved are thanks to each one of you that together make a strong nation,” he said in his concluding comments.

More in National