‘Be ethical or risk reputational damage to the country,’ President tells public personas

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President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca said that she believed that all individuals in public life should be ethical individuals and a good example to others during her speech on the occassion of Republic Day on Thursday. This was Coleiro Preca’s last speech as her term comes to an end in 2019. According to Coleiro Preca when this was not the case, Malta suffered from ‘great reputational damage’. Without delving much, the President reminded that entering public life meant being of service to the country and people of the country. The president stressed that Malta deserved principled individuals in public life to ensure gennuine services and the highest esteem.

In her speech, Coleiro Preca said that she was pleased that the Office of the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life was established. She further explained that with its establishment, it was understood that not only standards in public life were a necessity but that with the new commissioner, persons in public life must embrace such standards.

“A manipulated democracy is false and dangerous”

When speaking about modern technology, the President said that it was essential to ensure that democracy was not manipulated from behind the scenes, by corporations that would transform intimate details into a commercial product.

She said that while on the one hand she was glad to see the country at the forefront in applying innovative technology, on the other, she believed that it was also time to assess the knowledge and potential of the people in the area. She warned against the “digital knowledge divide” which Coleiro Preca described as a new social exclusion.

She also warned against manipulated democracies through technology, saying that it would create a superior class and a sub-class which are differentiated by the amount of knowledge at their disposal.

‘Constitutional reform: from words to action’

According to Coleiro Preca the much-anticipated constitutional reform seems to be progressing from words to action, saying that the recent developments gave hope that there was political will to implement the reform. She remarked that she welcomed with enthusiasm the nomination of representatives from both parties who would be part of the steering committee on the reform. The president reminded that both main political parties pledged to begin the constitutional reform through many assurances.

Coleiro Preca explained that the steering committee will propose a way forward on how the process will be conducted. She assured that all those would like to be included in the process, will be part of it. She stressed that no one should be excluded from constitutional reform saying that it should be an educational exercise and that it should be a participatory one.

Read full speech here.