[WATCH] JPO warns new divorce amendments are too liberal, turning Malta into the 'Las Vegas of divorce'

Xtra Sajf on TVM | Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando himself had presented a private member's bill legalising divorce in 2010, paving the way to a referendum on the topic

Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, who had presented a private member's bill to legalise divorce in 2010, said that new amendments to Malta's divorce laws could turn Malta into the 'Las Vegas of divorce'.

"I don't agree with this government's efforts to make divorce more liberal," he said. "Firstly out of principle, but secondly because divorce as it is now, with the four-year waiting period, was approved with the majority of the people through a referendum," he said during an interview on TVM's Xtra Sajf.

He noted that the introduction of divorce opened the floodgate for further laws of a socially liberal nature, and remarked how the Church has since lost some of its clout in this area, having hardly budged against the thought of amending these laws.

The interview tackled Pullicino Orlando's campaigning during the divorce referendum, while also lifting the lid on Richard Cachia Caruana's influence in the Nationalist Party when it was still in government.

On the divorce referendum, Pullicino Orlando described the campaign as "the most positive experience" in his political career.

"It was a unique movement," he said. "We managed to bring together prominent figures from all imaginable parts of the political spectrum, including people who weren't politically active, in a single movement with minimal resources and strong adversaries."

He commented that had the bill been discussed in parliament, it wouldn't have passed to become law. 

"There were MPs even on the Labour Party side who were conservative, as they have every right to be, and who would have voted against so as not to irritate the Church."

Moving on to Richard Cachia Caruana, Pullicino Orlando recalled a personal conversation with Daphne Caruana Galizia where she revealed to him that it was in fact Cachia Caruana who orchestrated a press onslaught against him after 2008.

"Richard Cachia Caruana was almost running the country, de facto, in an autocratic way, and Gonzi was the face that he would use - the affable politician to go where he wants to go."

Pullicino Orlando also lashed out at Manuel Delia for criticising the former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

"All that's associated with him [Delia] are bendy buses, Boris Johnson laughing at us, the catastrophe associated with the Austin Gatt's ministry - a ministry he was a part of."

Pullicino Orlando was open about his admiration towards Joseph Muscat, admitting that he got to know him well after he stepped down as Prime Minister following the 2019 political crisis.

He stated that, having gotten to know him more, he has "no doubt that he had nothing to do with Daphne Caruana Galizia's assassination".

"If you killed Daphne Caruana Galizia, or commissioned her murder, would you bring all the experts imaginable from Interpol, the Netherlands, and America, to investigate the assassination, how it happened, who was behind it, and to arrive at the truth? You'd have to be crazy, and he definitely isn't crazy."

On the assassination, Pullicino Orlando expressed regret over previous comments he made in the past regarding Daphne Caruana Galizia's laptop and the family's motivations in hiding it. 

"They had a point, and I'm ashamed that I took things against them [...] When you’re faced with a situation where they killed your mother, and you know that if you give them your mother’s laptop, although you would have reached certain conclusions, you give it to the Police Commissioner and instead of using it to arrive at the necessary conclusions he uses it to see with who she used to communicate then he did well to not give the laptop to police."