Update 2: Politicians have no right to decide who is a family - Muscat
(Adds Justice, Health Ministries' replies)
The Prime Minister and the Health Minister will have to respond to the 'shocking' claim made by the former head of the Oncology Department that he used to be told what patients not to discharge and who to admit.
Speaking at Xewkija this morning, Dr Muscat also said that those who were responsibile for the delays in the building of the new Oncology Hospital near Mater Dei had to shoulder responsibility.
In a statement, the health ministry denied the allegations. It said that when there were empty beds at Sir Paul Boffa Hospital, the department had instructed for terminal patients at Mater Dei or within the community would be offered at bed at Sir Paul Boffa.
The ministry also said that during his tenure, Dr Brincat did not inform the department what he was now telling journalists but the department was still investigating the claims.
Dr Brincat claimed that cancer patients treated at the Gozo hospital have died from chemotherapy toxicity because treatment was carried out “without necessary expertise”.
Dr Muscat also spoke on gay relationships and criticised the Justice Minister’s statement that two people of the same sex in a relationship were not a family.
Politicians, he said, had no right to decide who was a family and who was not.
Dr Muscat said that back in the 1960s being a homosexual could send one to jail but people had had enough courage to stand up to this.
“Our duty to day is to ensure that there are no first and second class families - all families are first class.”
He said he was confident that in the next 10 to 15 years, the country would acknowledge that the movement was right.
In a reply, the Justice Ministry said that Dr Muscat was using a declaration out of context in a bid to gain votes. In doing so, he was also contradicting himself and declarations he made in the past.
Not only was Dr Muscat badly quoting and misinterpreting a statement made by the Justice Minister, he was also opting not to seriously take part in the debate on the cohabitation bill.
The Justice Minister, the minisry said, had declared that the personal relationships, even those between people of the same sex, were precious for those who lived them and that he also believed that such relationships were the family nucleus of those who were in such situations.
In contract, Dr Muscat and the PL tried to give the impression they were liberal and that they were in favour of homosexual couples.
Earlier, he said people were realising what a cowardly act the government was playing but Labour was confident the people would no longer allow it to hinder their will.
The government had lost its automatic majority with one of its MPs accusing it of trying to buy its vote but the Prime Minister insisted the government did not have any problems.
If the PM was willing to buy the vote of one of its MPs, one could just imagine what it was willing to do with permits and tax bills as the election became closer.
A PL government, he promised, would give the people five years of stability and confidence.
Dr Muscat also spoke on Labour’s plan for Gozo was to create employment in Gozo for Gozitans.
“Our economic plan for Gozo will be aimed at ensuring a sustainable economy on Gozo which would be based on internal and external tourism – the most direct way to revive the economy. It will also focus on manufacture, helping companies which have the will and courage to invest in Gozo, and agriculture and fisheries.”
Dr Muscat said that the government had completely lost direction. The Prime Minister told the people that problems were being invented by the Opposition but the Maltese and Gozitans knew that, for the past months and years, the country has had a prime minister who was more intent on staying in power rather than concentrate on the essential matters, in spite of a clear governability crisis.
The government, Dr Muscat charged, was incompetent in the economic and financial administration.
The Prime Minister was insisting that deficit targets will be met but this had till now only increased. Dr Muscat said that to meet targets, the Prime Minister would probably repeat what he did last year which was to reduce capital expenditure, which was necessary for the country to progress.
The government had reduced the education, health and social budgets last year and it had again done so this year, he said without specifying which were the budgets that had recently been reduced.. A Labour government would work differently - it would control waste, encourage investment and be a government of the many for the many and not of the few for the few.