The Opposition walked out of parliament on Thursday evening following a ruling by Speaker Anġlu Farrugia allowing the government additional speaking time on a motion presented by the PN on the “corrupt” hospitals deal, with PN Leader Bernard Grech calling it a “parody of democracy”.
Despite case law presented by the Opposition contradicting Farrugia’s ruling, the Speaker nevertheless allotted additional time to the government to make amendments to the motion presented by the Opposition.
The PN walked out of parliament, with Grech addressing the crowd of protestors outside parliament instead. Grech said the Speaker was complicit with the government in allowing them to weaken the presented motion.
In a parliamentary session characterised by vitriolic insults, constant delaying tactics by the government and back and forth arguments on case law between Opposition members and the Speaker, the proposed motion on the reimbursement of public funds spent on the fraudulent Vitals-Steward hospitals deal was not voted on, as the Opposition objected to proceedings.
During the parliamentary session, Prime Minister Robert Abela initially sought to absolve the government of any wrongdoing, claiming that the court sentence did not find the government responsible for the “fraudulent and corrupt” hospitals deal, despite the court ruling that the deal was premeditated by the parties involved.
In an about turn, Abela’s speech turned into a complete defence of Steward Health Care’s “contribution” to healthcare in the country.
In his listing of the so-called contributions of Steward Health Care, the prime minister focused on essential medical services and listed the number of medical procedures performed and other basic services offered, ignoring the fact that the wages were paid for by taxpayers and ignoring Steward’s failure to meet its contractual obligations on investment in the country’s medical services.
Emerging from parliament, Opposition Leader Bernard Grech addressed the substantial crowd gathered in front of parliament, saying Speaker Anġlu Farrugia had chosen to “abandon his obligation to the Maltese public”.
Describing the prime minister’s speech in parliament, Grech said, “Abela spent more than an hour defending and eulogising Vitals Global Healthcare and Steward Health Care”.
“Instead of choosing the public interest, Abela chose instead his own interests, those of the Labour Party and those of the fraudsters that continue enrich themselves from public coffers,” Grech added.
Abela went as far as saying that PN MP Adrian Delia’s victory in court, which resulted in a decision to return three hospitals to the public, held back the government’s ability to negotiate further with Steward Health Care.
The protest in front of parliament coincided with the monthly vigil held for assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia who was killed on 16 October 2017, five years and five months ago.
Grech paid tribute to Caruana Galzia, who had brought the fraudulent Vitals-Steward deal to the fore.
He said the prime minister was “not worthy of even mentioning her name”, citing the public inquiry into her assassination, which said that the government had created a “culture of impunity” that led to her murder.
This follows a statement by eight international press freedom organisations today demanding the full implementation of the inquiry’s recommendations “as a minimum”.
Grech also drew attention to the fact that the government has yet to implement “a single paragraph” of the public inquiry’s recommendations.
During the parliamentary session, Shadow Minister Stephen Spiteri drew attention to Steward Health Care’s appeal of the court decision, which was filed a day earlier, meaning that the country would have to wait for court proceedings before decisions on the deal are concluded.
On its part, Steward Health Care published a statement hours before the parliamentary debate announcing the termination of the agreement and expressing ‘disappointment’ in the government.
Steward said that “the government’s failure to appeal the Civil Court verdict that labelled its own behaviour corrupt is an admission of guilt in relation to its own governance failings”.
Steward of they have an once of credibility must specify the government’s failings and corruption.
The very fact that they opted to terminate their contract immediately after they appealed the Court Judgement, indicates that something very fishy has been agreed between yesterday and today.
Look at Fearne’s face , pressing his eyes between thumb and first finger.
This is a message” What the Hell is Abela Babbling about”
Abela , after not appealing the court judgment , goes into a mad Steward Praising Mode.
Steward have gone to the European Court , then simply left Malta.
Steward will claim that the PM was all praise while the courts found the contract fraudulent , but the government was happy. So they will use Abela’s mad speech as the reason to win damages and get their €100 million signed by Konrad.
Abela is loosing his head and his reasoning logic.
Why is Robert Abela stooping so low to save the skin of criminals that have been identified in this Vital/Steward fraud?
To make it worse, Steward Care threw a bucket full of shit on Robert Abela and instead of defending himself, he defended praised Steward Care. This country has lost not only the € 400 million defrauded by Vital/Steward but also Malta’s reputation went down the drain. Who is going to recoup Malta’s reputation now? Certainly not Robert Abela.
Isn’t this case just another example for how corruption, alleged or proven, is always paralysing a government to act as it should and bring those to accountability who created this mess in the first place? Looks to me that PM Abela is left with no other choice than to act the way he does, or face the consequences which means that he had to ‘deliver’ those responsible so that justice will be done upon them. He’s in a fix and maybe he didn’t know fully what was going on behind closed doors. Maybe he has a fair share of responsibility in all that, I can’t tell, Fact is, he’s getting more nervous by the day. Looks to me that ‘fear is spreading’ among them ‘tier-one PLers’. They have brought it all onto themselves in the first place.
Many things if not to say everything of this mess Malta is in, are always traced back to one person at the helm of the government during the times concerned. The man who was PM from 2013 to 2020 with his ‘PL tier-one network’. One can merely watch this governing party going down on her own misdeeds, misclaculations, ignorance and arrogance and they stumble over all that themselves.
Malta’s reputation will recover, once this farce is over.
It seems Robert is entirely comfortable with leading Malta backwards into the darker recesses of its history.
Yesterday I’ve followed the heated debate in parliament and was disgusted with the way Robert Abela did his best to deceive our nation, by trying to convince us, that in fact, Vitals/Stewards completed multi-million investments (not just a toilet) and that they gave us a very good service after all. He added that the Courts never mentioned this deal as being fraudulent or that the Government has been complicit in fraud. I couldn’t believe my ears!
More disgusting was the behaviour of the speaker, not only for allowing infinite time to the PM without intervening, but also for allowing an amendment to the motion without advise. He supported this provocation to try to put the Opposition in bad light. I repeat, that the Maltese can sense danger, and nothing goes unnoticed.
I couldn’t believe my readings on various occasions when tier-one PLers uttered their ‘slogans’. When JM said that the foreign workers in Malta (addressing the immigrants) were ‘good enough to collect rubbish’, when EZL called PL voters ‘Gahan’ and of course when PM Abela said that ‘waves are only in the sea’.
The PL ’empire for the rich and cronies’ was built on and out of sand, now the waves (which are only in the sea) come ashore, washing it all away. Only the concrete buildings endure. Maybe the gambling industry is next for pulling out of Malta. Maybe the building industry will soon face a recession. There’s more to come and we certainly haven’t seen the end of it yet. As disgusting as it all is, the farce continues, inside and outside of Parliament. But the tide has turned and the sea is making more waves.
A government out of its wits and facing an angry population. The past has come to bite the government just in time after nearly a year since the third landslide GE win in a row.
I wonder how long this can go on because there is apparently no intention by the present government to resign and make way for new elections. PM Äbela is leading a government that still has to deal with the past from his predecessor and his ‘two close friends’ who created the mess.
If now isn’t the time for PM Abela to break up with Joseph Muscat, I don’t know how he might politically survive the rest of his four years in term as PM. Too many scandals, too much of brushing it under the carpet and the peak underneth it always mounting up. Maybe, PM Abela has already passed the point for a clean cut and a start over with setting the trend to come clean with the past. The PL is losing trust but the opposition doesn’t appear to benefit from it. Same old story like in recent times all along. It’s utter chaos and it is getting worse.
Mela ma tiftakrux l’Ispeaker tal-kamra kien fis servizz tal-Gustizzja meta inqatel Lino Cauchi, dak li sabu imqatta go bir fi zmien Lorry Sant. U kollox baqa fuq l’ixkaffa sajemm persuna kixfet min kienu wara din il-kriminalita kannibalment saret min nies li laburisti tal-qalba Maltin. X’tipretendi min Speaker li fi zmienu, fil-passat imsemmi qtil lolitiku fahxi