Labour leader defies Ombudsman directive two days after it was issued

Prime Minister Robert Abela breached a new directive prohibiting political campaigning in schools just two days after it was published by the Education Ministry on the Ombudsman’s recommendation.

In his role as the leader of the Labour Party, campaigning for next month’s European Parliament and Local Council elections, Robert Abela toured the Giovanni Curmi Higher Secondary School in Naxxar last Friday, together with his MEP candidates Thomas Bajada and Maria Sarah Vella Gafa.

Abela described the visit as “an opportunity to mix with students to wish them good luck for their exams”.

Two days earlier, the Education Ministry issued a directive to all its schools to prohibit visits that did not relate to the curriculum.

According to the directive, “in all cases, at any time, visits by politically elected individuals or prospective candidates in any election are to take place exclusively if the activity is related to the national curriculum and are only considered after necessary approval is attained by the Head College Network and the Director General of the Department of Educational Services at the Ministry for Education.”

The memo also specifies that “no such approval will be necessary where the visit is by a Prime Minister or the Minister for Education in the execution of their official duties.”

Part of the directive issued by the Education Ministry.

Abela’s visit appears to have been purely partisan and forms part of Labour’s campaign in the lead-up to the European Parliament and local council elections.

The visit had little to do with his official duties as Prime Minister, particularly as he was accompanied by MEP candidates Maria Sarah Vella Gafa and Thomas Bajada.

Bajada is the Gozitan MEP candidate whose visit to a primary school in Xewkija instigated the Ombudsman-recommended directive against using schools for political mileage.

Following an official complaint by independent MEP candidate Arnold Cassola, the Ombudsman raised concerns over the unclear ministerial directives that may give rise to possible abuse by political candidates by visiting schools and recommended that the Ministry issue guidelines.

The Ministry’s directive was issued on May 15 – two days before Abela’s visit – after the Office of the Ombudsman found that Bajada infringed ethical rules by visiting a school in Gozo to gain political mileage.

Several politicians, including Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament, visited schools before the directives were issued.


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Carmelo borg
1 month ago


1 month ago

Bonehead Bobbie’s arrogance shines through.

S. Camilleri
S. Camilleri
1 month ago

This man is an irresponsible anarchist who makes up for his lack of ideas and intelligence by serving up mindless theatrics.

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