Tista' taqra bil- Malti.
Criticisms have been pouring in from a number of entities following the Prime Minister’s announcement of amnesty being given to those fined for not following the COVID-19 social distancing measures. Prime Minister Robert Abela was being interviewed on One Radio this morning.
He explained that this amnesty would apply to those individuals who did not have ill intent when not following the social distancing regulations. He added that this amnesty would also apply to those who already paid their fines, following an appeal. Abela said that cases include people waiting outside supermarkets and unthinkingly not keeping their distance.
“This is an insult; police officers have risked their own health” – MPA
The Malta Police Association stated that such a directive is an insult to all the work conducted over the past months by police officers, who risked their own health to enforce the regulations.
The Association said this on its Facebook page, where it added that it doesn’t make sense to have police officers enforcing restrictions after having told the public that there is no way to enforce such restrictions. The post outlined that this encourages an eventual attitude of impunity, and that it is an insult to the majority of the population who abided with the measures.
The MPA also noted that a driver forgetting to put on their seat belt does not make the said driver a criminal. Therefore, such a directive discriminates against other contraventions, possibly also committed by individuals without ill intent. Furthermore, police officers have suffered threats and assault as they carried out their duties to enforce the regulations.
The Association concluded that the Malta Police Force deserves better, after all its efforts.
Fr. Eric Cachia sdb, The Rector at St. Patrick’s Salesian School & Residential Care Institute of Family Therapy, stated that the children who live in homes have not seen their relatives for 10 weeks.
Dr Anna Cassar, a psychologist, also stated on Twitter that spreading diseases is not only immoral, but a criminal act. She added that colluding with criminals has become the new norm.
Someone who works in the industry stressed that it’s evident that those involved in enforcing the law, particularly the laws related to coronavirus, have been humiliated with this directive. He added that this is why authorities are not accorded the respect they deserve anymore. He also said that politics has destroyed everyone’s reputation, and that it is also destroying the morality of those who must safeguard the law.
He added that many of them have been separated from their families for the past 10 weeks, whilst also working long hours to enforce the regulations. He appealed to the Prime Minister to let them do their job, and to focus on how to better their conditions.
Retire the idea of amnesty; there are better suggestions – Prof. Andrew Azzopardi
The Dean of the Faculty of Social Wellbeing, Professor Andrew Azzopardi, stated that amnesty should not be given to those who disrespectfully ignored the directives, but rather to those who actually need it.
He suggested that this idea of amnesty be retired in favour of these measures:
- Amnesty on utility bills for minimum wage workers
- A 3 month amnesty on home loans less than €200,000 given to young couples
- A one-time allowance of €1000 for each rotation for the workers who worked in care homes, at the prison, and with children and people with disabilities.
- A large allowance to health workers.
The ex-CEO of the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA), Ruben Abela, said that he does not agree with the amnesty. He stated that the majority complied with the regulations apart from a handful of persons. He added that this amnesty is a show of no confidence for the authorities and for all those who followed the regulations.
The editor of It-Torċa also criticised the Prime Minister, stating that it is because of such decisions that people don’t learn.
“An insult to pharmacists” – The Chamber of Pharmacists
The Chamber of Pharmacists spoke out, saying that the amnesty is also an insult to pharmacists.
The Chamber declared its support toward the Malta Police Association, saying that pharmacists have also been risking their own health and their families’ in order to do their jobs.
The PM risks undoing everything with the premature lifting of regulations – The MAPHM
The Malta Association of Public Health Medicine (MAPHM) has chastised the Prime Minister’s premature lifting of all regulations announced this morning, saying that ignoring the advice of health experts halfway through transition risks undoing everything.
It stated that contrary to all sound and evidence-based advice offered over the past weeks, and certainly contrary to the advice of the Superintendence of Public Health, the PM is choosing to lift all regulations. The Association explained that allowing three weeks to pass between each progressive step to observe the effects and adjust accordingly was, and remains, the only way to ensure the public’s safety.
The Association added that it’s shocked by the idea of amnesty for people who risked the lives of others and were fined for not following the law. “Waiving it all away would be populist, short-sighted, and irresponsible”, it said.
It urged the PM to publish the strategy and risk assessment that he is quoting as the reason behind the lifting of regulations, to show that he is following the advice of health experts.
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