[WATCH] PN internal conflict no longer exists - Kristy Debono

Xtra on TVM News Plus | PN MP Kristy Debono acknowledges that the PN’s internal conflicts weakened the Opposition throughout the current legislature

PN MP Kristy Debono
PN MP Kristy Debono

Nationalist Party MP Kristy Debono believes the internal divisions that hounded her party throughout this legislature weakened the Opposition but they no longer exist today.

Debono said that rather than using all its resources to fight the rot and corruption in government, the PN fell victim to infighting.

“The PN’s internal conflict that was externalised weakened the Opposition and instead of uniting and using all our resources to fight the administration’s rot and corruption we fought among ourselves and lost a good opportunity,” she said.

Debono added that it was her belief that “the internal conflict no longer exists”.

Divisions within the PN became evident when Adrian Delia was elected leader in 2017. He faced stiff opposition from several MPs until they forced a new leadership election in the summer of 2020 in the face of worsening survey results.

The move to depose Delia and the subsequent election of Bernard Grech as leader created friction and led to several supporters of the former leader to cool off from the party.

But apart from the leadership woes, the PN has also faced backlash from its liberal wing in the face of certain decisions, the latest being its stand against the cannabis reform.

Debono was speaking on TVM News Plus’s Xtra, hosted by Saviour Balzan, on Monday.

“Beyond what gets out there and how the Labour Party media wants to portray the PN, I believe the internal conflict no longer exists,” Debono said.

She acknowledged the PN’s consistently poor performance in surveys, adding that she respected what people decided.

Kristy Debono with Labour MP Jonathan Attard (centre) and Xtra host Saviour Balzan
Kristy Debono with Labour MP Jonathan Attard (centre) and Xtra host Saviour Balzan

Labour MP Jonathan Attard said people were scared of political instability, which explained the survey results that consistently punished the PN and rewarded the Labour government.

Attard said the government was responsive to people’s needs and could be trusted with the country’s economic management.

On the FATF greylisting, Attard said action was being taken to address the matter but the predicted economic disaster did not happen.

“The economic growth which was forecast to be reached by the middle of next year was registered in 2021… this is real growth,” Attard said, expressing confidence that Malta will exit the greylist.

Debono rebutted that all economic growth predictions by international rating agencies were made conditional on a timely exit from the FATF greylist.

She warned that greylisting has made life more expensive and difficult for operators in the financial services sector and was having a direct impact on people.

Violence against women

Reports of domestic violence have increased but police and court resources need to be beefed up to deal with the case load, women’s rights activist Marcelline Naudi said.

The University of Malta academic, who was speaking in the second part of the show, said still more needed to be done to tackle the problem of violence against women.

Naudi said that increased support services, tougher laws and greater awareness have resulted in more women coming forward to report abuse.

“But now, because reports have increased, we need to see a police force that has more resources to handle these cases,” Naudi said.

However, resources had to also increase in court to expedite these cases. “It is totally unacceptable that court cases dealing with domestic violence are taking so long to be decided, sometimes even three years,” she said.

Naudi said violence against women took various forms from physical, to emotional, from sexual to economic. “There is normally a continuum in these abuse situations and a pattern of behaviour not just one off events.”

But Naudi said the underlying problem linked to violence, including harassment at work and in public, was society’s patriarchal set up.

“Power remains in the hands of men and this creates male privilege. The fact that a man is born a man grants him privileges, which is why we need to change the culture,” she said, adding that patriarchy also creates pressure on men to conform to certain stereotypes.