PN leader says Muscat's open doors only apply to people with cash

The Maltese consulate in Algeria was selling visas to buyers while many asylum-seekers were dying in the Mediterranean, he said

Opposition Leader Adrian Delia harshly criticised Joseph Muscat for his pro-business mindset while people were dying in the Mediterranean
Opposition Leader Adrian Delia harshly criticised Joseph Muscat for his pro-business mindset while people were dying in the Mediterranean

Opposition Leader Adrian Delia belittled Joseph Muscat's self-proclaimed 'open-doors policy' and said that this only applied to people who were willing to pay good money.

Delia was speaking at a political event in Valletta.

"The Maltese consulate in Algeria, whose consul is Muscat's cousin was issuing visas to Algerians. A National Audit Office (NAO) report said that the Attorney General could not confirm whether illicit payments were made for these Algerians to be able to pass through Malta without a trace, but one in four of these people did not return to Algeria," he said.

Delia said that this was happening while several migrants were crossing the Mediterranean in search for an asylum and finding that Malta's doors were shut. According to the United Nations, 2,275 migrants are estimated to have died crossing the sea.

"A total of 500 visas were refused by the police over reasons of security but these were still granted to Algerian buyers by the Maltese consulate," Delia said, adding that Muscat was creating structures that allowed for these scandals to exist.

The most corrupt Malta in its history

The Nationalist Party leader referred to Transparency International's Corruption Index which saw Malta go down by six points, the sharpest decline in Transparency International's rating.

This saw countries like Rwanda, Botswana and Butan doing better than Malta, countries which Delia said were not even based on democratic systems but were militaristic administrations.

"Joseph Muscat himself is basically saying that the current administration is the most corrupt government in Malta because it's this government that chose to qualify its corruption via this method," Delia said.

The index sent Malta to 54th place based on the Panama Papers scandal, the Pilatus bank scandal, the Golden Passports scheme and the assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

"Financial institutions are being punished for what Muscat did. Instead of installing strong and secure systems, Joseph Muscat decided to attack Maltese banks," Delia said. "He's asking them not to be so stern and unyielding and to loosen up. This is typical of a labour administration. While it's up to the government to create robust structures, the administration is pointing fingers after the mess it made."

The PN approves of six-star developments but...

Commenting on the controversial Corinthia deal, Delia said that the Nationalist Party was always in favour of six-star developments but not giving away Maltese land for free.

"While small businesses have to file for bankruptcy due to being unable to pay ground rent, this labour government is giving away a land that costs €780 million for free," he said.

The St George peninsula's price was downgraded to €150 million and the deposit that International Hotels Investment agreed to pay amounts to €1 million.

"For once, Joseph Muscat did not hide behind Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and he himself justified this deal by saying that the PN had already approved of this contract. This is not true. We never approved of giving away our land for free to someone without a tendering process," Delia said.

Valletta 2018 was a disappointment

Since he was speaking in Valletta, the Opposition Leader passed a comment on the now ceded title of Valletta 2018, European capital of culture.

"It's a shame that the Labour administration did not competently reap what the PN had sown in terms of this event," Delia said to the approving nods of PN MP Jason Azzopardi.

The PN leader said that he had met with several artists who voiced their disappointment with him, that an occasion that was supposed to leave some cultural heritage behind ended up being a succession of populist parties that did not give something away to the Maltese capital.