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Ghost of Christmas to come

True, it is Christmas Eve and maybe I should be writing about something cheerful but there may still be government employees who are worried about the anonymous fake transfer notices they have received from the Nationalist Party. Just like the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the PN continues to harrow these workers with the words “You will be transferred”.

If this is a taste of things to come, then it’s certainly bad news for well-meaning citizens
- Helena Dalli

This is what came to mind when I heard Simon Busuttil talk about transfers on national television and declare that he has no regrets about the notices sent by his party.

I thus feel in duty bound to continue putting these workers’ and their family’s minds at rest: the July 14, 2013 work transfer that they have been advised about is a fabrication of a desperate, sinking PN that is clutching at a straw.

I am suing the PN for libel on these anonymous notices.

I have also shown that audits and redeployment are this Government’s policy but PN speakers continue repeating the false statement and keep asking what ‘audit’ and ‘redeployment’ mean.

I could not believe my ears when I heard freshly-minted Busuttil defend his party’s anonymous notices to government employees on TVM. He also parroted the questions all PN candidates have been instructed to ask: what do the words audit and redeployment mean? So much for the new look and strength Busuttil is supposed to have brought to the ailing PN.

I was less surprised to hear party secretary Paul Borg Olivier asking these questions. He may have been one of the ‘masterminds’ behind the scam. Just like he was the one who asked ministers to pass on confidential data – about complainants who went for assistance to their ministries and departments – to the party. During a 20-minute drive last Monday I was entertained by the PN secretary general repeating over and over again on radio asking about audit and redeployment while justifying the anonymous transfer notices.

So for those newly confused following this last spate of scaremongering, let me spell it out again.

The Government has a Resourcing Directorate whereby “The responsibilities of this directorate also extend to recruitment and redeployment within the wider public sector in terms of OPM circular No. 14/2005, which provides for the setting up of the redeployment and recruitment advisory group (RRAG)”.

Busuttil and Borg Olivier surely also know that audits in the public sector are ongoing, which is how it should be.

These audits show us problems, some of which emanate from bad management of human resources, whereby, for instance, overqualified people are given jobs that are way below their capabilities and the other way round. These reports are made by technical people.

Even the Public Service Commission speaks about meritocracy and how, for instance, there is an abuse of positions of trust. Like the Auditor General, the PSC speaks of the need for more accountability, more transparency and more efficiency in the public service.

Thus, when speaking about these issues, I said that existing audit and redeployment structures ought to be strengthened.

The Nationalists know that what I am saying is right. This is one of the reasons why they did not have the guts to show that the fake transfer note was coming from the PN. We had to get it out of them after PN president, Marthese Portelli, publicly denied four times that they were the authors of these notes.

Why are they ashamed to show the notes are coming from the PN if they believe they are saying the truth? Not even a PN logo on the note. The intention is to fool the people and scare them with the Labour bogeywoman, while hiding their identity.

I appreciate that The Times named and shamed the PN on this matter in its editorial of December 18. It has helped in reaching out to some more victims of this scam and, thus, putting their minds at rest.

The leader, titled When Dirty Political Tricks Backfire, points out that “The PN’s strategic mistake came after a fictitious unsigned ‘notice of transfer’ was sent to the homes of government employees warning they would be transferred if Labour was elected. The PN twisted comments made by Opposition MP Helena Dalli …

“….Many of the thousands who received the letter, dated July 14, 2013, must have been concerned about the possibility of a new Labour Government transferring workers for political expedience. But a number of letter recipients realised the depths to which the PN stooped in a bid to get their votes.

“The Nationalist media fanned the claim over and over, hoping the mud will stick, irrespective of Labour’s claim to the contrary. It failed.”

I wouldn’t say it failed completely because I still come across people who do not imagine such filth possible from a Christian democratic party, which is publicly very sensitive about morality.

If this is a taste of things to come, then it’s certainly bad news for well-meaning citizens.

It is a shame that the Nationalists are ready to go to any lengths, even to the extent of carelessly causing undue worry to workers by lying to them about their jobs.

I wish the editor, staff and The Times readers a serene Christmas and a healthy and happy 2013.

Helena Dalli is shadow minister for the public sector, government investments and gender equality.

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