Updated: PN to take 'important' decisions on Thursday - Gonzi
Important decisions will be taken during the Nationalist Party’s executive committee meeting on Thursday, when the values of democracy will be exercised, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said this morning.
Speaking during an interview on Radio 101, recorded last Friday, Dr Gonzi said that everyone had to shoulder responsibility for his actions.
He said that the votes taken in Parliament in the past weeks were different to that on the introduction of divorce, when Nationalist MPs had been given a free vote.
No free vote had been given in the recent votes but there still were MPs who voted with the Labour Party.
(Franco Debono voted in favour of a PL motion of no confidence in Home Affairs Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici, Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando in favour of a PL motion calling for the resignation of Ambassador Richard Cachia Caruana. Jesmond Mugliette abstained in the latter.)
Dr Gonzi insisted that every politician should be accountable and there to serve the people and not his personal agenda.
Dr Gonzi blamed the Labour leader and his party for the racist comments which, he said, had started to re-emerge in the past weeks.
This was happening, he said, because Dr Muscat had created a climate which went against the hospitality value the Maltese boasted so much about, including that the Maltese government should do as Italy was doing leave boats full of people to sink in the middle of the Mediterranean.
Dr Gonzi spoke about the immigrants taken into Malta last Thursday and said assistance had been offered by the AFM but it was refused by the immigrants who wanted to continue on their way.
The AFM followed the dinghy to provide assistance, should this be required.
It so happened that the dinghy started taking in water some time later and it was only through the AFM’s intervention that the irregular migrants who were on it did not drown.
Those who did not act populist, did not have a problem taking such decisions, Dr Gonzi said.
He insisted that it was possible for one to stand by his values and at the same time safeguard the interests of the country. This was what his government always did, putting pressure on the European Union and on other countries for the illegal migration problem to be shared.
He noted that 1,000 refugees from Malta had been taken by the United States and Malta was to continue putting pressure on the EU for more countries to take refuges from Malta.
Another instance where Muscat chose to be populist, Dr Gonzi said, was when instead of admitting that the price of oil had increased all over the world, he blamed the increase on the government.
He had also been populist when he joined the General Workers’ Union in its protests against the privatisation of the shipyard even though this had been the best decision for Malta .
Dr Gonzi said that in spite of the impression Dr Muscat tried to give that the Labour Party had changed, it was again adopting tactics of the past.
One such instance was when it presented a number of applications in court in an attempt to strike a number of individuals off the electoral register.
On the other hand, the Nationalist Party always worked to encourage and ensure that those who had a right to vote exercised this right. It also made it easy for people in hospitals and in homes for the elderly to vote without having to travel and for people who were abroad on election-day to vote before voting day.
Dr Gonzi also spoke on job creation and noted that Eurostat statistics had once again confirmed that while unemployment in Europe was in the increase, employment was being created in Malta.
He said that in the past years, the government had created 20,000 new jobs and the gainfully occupied had increased by 3,000.
He thanked entrepreneurs and small businesses who had created these jobs through the assistance of government schemes and noted that more than 20,000 young people graduated from University and Mcast in the past four years.