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Vote PN not for PiNocchio

After bouts of feigned ignorance and stonewalling, it was only when the Nationalist Party revealed that, in 2009, the former Safi Labour Party club barman had informed Joseph Muscat about blokkagate that the Labour leader, albeit grudgingly, admitted to his knowledge of the incident and that Toni Abela had failed to alert the authorities.

Everything shows Joseph Muscat intends to follow in his mentor, Alfred Sant’s footsteps

Abela swept everything under the carpet. Why? Simple, filing a report would attract adverse publicity.

Muscat lays great store on projecting the right image. Now that the country knows someone was caught red-handed in a PL club handling drugs and that the Labour leader turned a blind eye on his deputy’s errant behaviour, the incident has assumed more serious proportions, dented Muscat’s image and leadership credentials.

The more so when the club is within walking distance of a school!

Rather than shielding Safi’s youth from the dangers of addiction, Labour’s top brass took a conscious decision to protect their party and, hence, the wrongdoer

The most revealing aspect of the affair is Muscat’s failure to express regret for this omission. His humming and hawing and feigned ignorance that the incriminating block was ice and not an illicit substance is selfcontradictory. Should the barman have been dismissed for allowing a patron to chip at a block of ice?

Muscat’s omission clashes with the credentials of anyone aspiring for the office of Prime Minister. Before and during the campaign, Muscat’s lack of experience and foresight were clearly evident when he opposed Malta’s bid to join the EU, sucked up to Muammar Gaddafi, sat on the fence while the Libyan people fought for freedom as well as his campaign against privatisation, not least of the drydocks, and preferring to throw good money after bad to keep Labour’s sacred cow in clover.

Muscat admitted his error over the blokkagate affair, which he puts down to inexperience. Lack of foresight, principle and integrity are not qualities one looks for in an aspiring Prime Minister. Can anyone in his right mind, the most blinkered of anti- Nationalists and those who at this late stage still toy with switching allegiance sleep soundly in the knowledge that Muscat could soon be Malta’s Prime Minister?

Nor is Muscat’s credibility above suspicion. Shortly after making a policy announcement that members on government boards would be elected by popular suffrage, in his next breath he asked Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando whether he would accept if Labour would extend his term as chairman of the Malta Council for Science and Technology!

His promise to deliver on national unity was contradicted by his grin and delight when he saw his minions stuff hostile elements into the University and Mcast to barrack Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi. Tell that to the marines!

On the other hand, George Abela, Gonzi’s choice for President of Malta, a former MLP deputy leader, was elected with the unanimous support of Nationalist MPs. Moreover, it was a PN Government that confirmed Louis Grech, a prominent socialist since Dom Mintoff’s times and Labour’s current deputy leader, in the post of chairman of the national airline.

On the other side of the political spectrum, while several EU States were crashing and foundering, Gonzi was steering Malta through the recession and guiding the country to a safe haven. Our country’s finances are on a secure footing.

Gonzi’s role in Libya’s quest for freedom earned him and Malta the respect of the EU, the US and other world leaders.

On the home front, the people of Malta are the least taxed in the EU. Gainful employment stands at an all time high. Malta’s budget deficit is within the Maastricht criteria and, by 2016, expected to move into the black. Every record in tourism has been broken. In the last five years, the PN Government saved 5,000 jobs and private enterprise backed by government investment and incentives created 20,000 new jobs.

Malta’s economic growth is forecast to be second highest in the eurozone. Despite a reduced EU budget, Gonzi’s lobbying and negotiation skills garnered a record €1,028,000,000 for Malta.

The PN has invested wisely in hundreds of capital projects, ranging from schools, campus extensions, an oncology hospital, roads, sports, environmental initiatives and leisure facilities to the largest family park ever built. The list is endless.

When one adds to the mix a better quality of life, higher student stipends, enhanced children allowances, lower taxes, assistance to NGOs etc… the mind boggles that, diehard socialists apart, some have forgotten Alfred Sant’s disastrous 1996-1998 Administration and are blithely willing to risk their children’s future to give the selfconfessed inexperienced Muscat and Labour another chance.

Mark my words, should Labour win, Muscat may not discard his blue tie, faux Nationalist attire and posturing, however, everything shows he intends to follow in his mentor, Sant’s footsteps and return to his Socialist roots.

That is why I will vote PN and not for Geppetto’s puppet.

Michael Refalo is a former Nationalist Cabinet minister.

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