State funeral: Malta showed political maturity - Gonzi
Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said today that yesterday's state funeral for Dom Mintoff showed how the country had matured and how it was able to lift itself above partisan politics.
In comments to Radio 101, Dr Gonzi, who is currently in the UK on a private visit, Dr Gonzi said that Mr Mintoff remained a controversial figure, but in such a time of mourning at the loss of such a powerful personality who meant so many different things for the people, the country had shown respect and dignity.
Dr Gonzi said he was grateful for the appreciation expressed by the Mintoff family and the leader of the opposition, among others, to the government for the organisation of the funeral. He wished to thank all those involved.
The proof of one's maturity was when one needed to make a choice between being controversial and showing dignity in times such as this and the government had rightly chosen the latter.
EDUCATION: ONE OF GOVERNMENT'S PILLARS
Replying to other questions, Dr Gonzi placed emphasis on education and the fact that the PN government was every year spending €6,000 for each child in Malta and Gozo. This was in contrast to the Labour Party, which had wanted to change stipends to loans, which had abandoned investment in schools, closed Mcast, scaled back the University, wanted to introduce the repeater class and introduced the 20 points system, Dr Gonzi said.
The PN in government was the best chance for children to succeed.
Labour used education as a political tool to create a socialist generation, Dr Gonzi said. The PN viewed education as opening the doors for children to live their dreams.
Dr Gonzi thanked teachers and all involved in education.
He said the government gave great importance to all schools, including Church and independent schools. That was why the government managed to channel funds also to help parents who sent their children to private schools. Parents were being given tax advantages and funds had been provided for private schools to purchase computers, white boards and other equipment.
Massive investment was also underway at the University and Mcast. Mcast was a dark blot in Labour's history. People who are still in Labour's ranks today had closed Mcast and did not reverse their mistake during the Sant government.
Under this government 20,000 had graduated from the University and Mcast. Nearly all were working, further reinforcing the fact that 20,000 jobs had been created.
Had Malta followed Joseph Muscat's advice, the country would not have the funds to continue to invest in education, along with health and job-creation, which were the PN government's priorities, Dr Gonzi said.