Minister’s husband wouldn’t have been part of Caruana Galizia investigation in a normal country – Delia

The PN leader noted that the government had said nothing in the four days since the court decided that Assistant Commissioner Silvio Valletta should not be part of the investigation  

Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia
Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia

Nationalist Party Adrian Delia on Sunday accused the Maltese government and the top echelons of the police force of incompetence in their handling of the investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Delia was speaking during a political activity in Paola where he referred that the constitutional court on Friday upheld a judgment ruling that the involvement of Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta in the investigation breached the Caruana Galizia family’s fundamental human rights. Valletta is married to Gozo minister Justyne Caruana.  

“They confirmed what we knew and have been saying all along,” the PN leader said, adding that while the the government was quick to issue statements, it had said nothing about the case. “They normally spend thousands to hold press conferences to tell us how good they are and how everything is going fine, but not in this case.”

Turning to the Attorney General, Delia questioned his office’s decision to appeal the first judgment, insisted the AG was well aware that it would not be overturned. He accused the AG of trying to buy time, while insisting that every decision he had taken was intended to accommodate the government.  

He questioned whether the AG and the Justice ministry had understood the court’s decision, and whether it would be taking any action on the basis of it.

“In a normal country this never happens,” he said. “In a normal country on the first day the assistant commissioner himself would have realised he can’t be involved, and if he wouldn’t have realized, the commissioner would have, and if not the commissioner, the justice minister.”

Delia said the court had also said that the country’s reputation was suffering because of what had happened. In fact, the court noted that Valletta’s presence in the investigation could lead to doubts in citizens’ minds, which would worsen if investigations failed to establish who the mastermind was. This, it said, would cause reputational damage to Malta as well as undue suffering to the victim’s family.

The PN leader said he could understand why Finance minister Edward Scicluna was so surprised to learn that people associate Malta with corruption, saying that it appeared as though everyone knew this but the minister.  

A case in point, he said, was a letter to a group of MEPs by the European Banking Authority in which it expressed concerns at the way the Malta Financial Services Authority handled Pilatus Bank, and accusations of money laundering made in its regard.

The EBA, Delia said, spoke of systemic problems and that Scicluna’s inaction now meant the European Commission was preparing to take action against Malta.

“The government is not suffering because it has no shame, it doesn’t matter to them…we are will suffer, the financial services industry and the people that depend on it will suffer,” Delia said. “A reputation can take a lifetime to build but can be lost in an instant.”

Delia also hit out at the Planning Authority for its decision to fly in a PA board member on a private jet, especially in light of the fact that cheaper flight options were available on the day. On this too, he asked who would be shouldering responsibility.

Delia also spoke about this week’s conflict between teachers and the government, which he accused of wanting to be able to take away teachers warrants if they decided to strike.  

“Why is the government doing all of this, why doesn’t it care about teachers?” Delia asked, insisting that the government was showing a lack of respect, as he said it had done with other sections of Malta’s workforce. “Is the government going to start bringing teachers from Pakistan or Bangladesh like he has done with bus drivers?”

Everyone prepared for the scholastic year except the government – Puli

Speaking ahead of Delia, the PN’s education spokesperson Clyde Puli said the start of the year was a time of preparation for many including parents, students and teachers. It wasn’t the case for the government, he said.  

In addition to not having built the many schools and sports centres it had promised to build, said Puli, the government had also failed to ensure that it had enough teachers ahead of the start of the scholastic year.

Furthermore, he said that after promising free school transport for all students, it had left over 800 students without an option. Similarly, he said the promise for supervision on school buses also went unfulfilled.  

He said government had solved this by increasing number of teaching hours of teachers and reducing learning hours of students.

“This lack of serious planning, left and continues to leave, hundreds of students without transport or supervision,” he said, adding that there was no indication as to when these students would be able to benefit from the government’s school transport scheme.

Delia's comments untrue and racist - Labour

In a short reaction to Delia's speech the Labour Party said that Delia's suggestion that teachers from Pakistan and Bangladesh would be brought it to teach children was lie resulting from desparation. "It is also racist language by someone who has clearly abandoned Christian Democrat values and who feels more comfortable with the far-right."