Nationalist MP Mario de Marco stressed that the same government MPs now speaking of past mistakes had stood silent and let them happened, as he questioned whether they could still honestly called themselves honourable.
Dr de Marco was speaking during the debate on the Budget Measures Implementation Bill, which was opened this evening by Finance Minister Edward Scicluna.
In his own address, Prof. Scicluna insisted that the change of government was marked by both change and continuity, with the government choosing to continue to build on what was working well while removing “past burdens,” thus showing that the government was not only capable of handling the economy but also address governance.
The minister also maintained that while criticism was legitimate – even emphasising that it was “self-evident” that the public was listening to what the Opposition was saying – this should not extend to trying to ridicule the country, and to side with foreigners and network with foreign newspapers to tarnish the country’s reputation.
But Dr de Marco seized on these comments, saying that it was easy to speak of the past and talk about events that never should have happened, before asking the minister where he had been when these events took place.
“Why didn’t you speak of the burden of the past when it was in the present? Why did you not speak of events that shouldn’t have happened when they were happening before your eyes,” he asked.
The MP then expanded his argument to all government MPs, asking them to question whether they still deserve the title of “honourable” afforded to all MPs.
He questioned whether they were honourable when people close to them collaborated with criminals, when one of their own was framed and had to seek the protection of the Speaker – because he did not trust the police – and when they knew of everything and still chose to give a vote of confidence.
Dr de Marco said that new Prime Minister Robert Abela had given mixed signals so far, and while some decisions were giving the impression of change, it was clear that others were maintaining continuity with the past.
He also dismissed claims that local criticism was in any way to blame for negative coverage, insisting that it was ridiculous to believe that when the New York Times described Malta as a mafia state, it did so at the behest of PN MPs. He also noted that when MEPs voted to condemn the way rule of law had deteriorated in Malta, many of the Labour Party’s socialist colleagues were among them.