Divided MCESD cancels publication of common position

Updated 02:39 PM
DOI / Omar Camilleri

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Informed sources have reliably informed Newsbook.com.mt that the planned and promised press conference with a document to address the present political crisis has been scuppered. The MCESD failed to achieve the desired consensus and division among its members led to the promised press conference to be cancelled. Contacted, the MCESD chairman John Bencini confirmed that there was a meeting in Wednesday morning with the aim of formulating a document with tangible proposals ‘ti give back to the country the dignity it deserves’. According to our sources, however, the draft document described as ‘a pithy press release’, did not achieve the desired consensus.

The press release spoke of the need to learn the lesson that political parties and government need to take a step back from the public arena and let the social partners do their job. “Malta has its problems like any other country,” said that draft press release, relegating the current situation which has been described by various experts, including the President and the Prime Minister as a crisis, to the level of ‘a problem’.

Various members of the MCESD have, individually come out strongly about the current political, constitutional and legal crisis. The GRTU called for the resignation of the Prime Minister, saying that business was down on its knees.

The Malta Employers’ Association stated that calls for justice and political responsibility need to be addressed, warning that failure to do so will do nothing but harm to the country.

The Confederation of Malta Trade Unions (CMTU) stated that politicians are elected to serve the people and not vice versa. In a statement the Confederation said that it took note of recent events, describing them as a ‘turning point in Maltese history’.

Members of MCESD who spoke to Newsbook.com.mt spoke on condition of anonymity. They expressed the opinion that the draft press release was hard-hitting and that even the GWU was in agreement. Other members indicated that there may have been pressures to prevent the MCESD from issuing a collective statement which would show that the collective body was of the same opinion on the current situation. “Elements in political circles are pressing some members so that they prevent a press conference with a family photo showing the MCESD members united in wanting an immediate solution to the current situation,” said one member wryly.

UHM reacts

Be that as it may, all the sources pointed fingers at the UHM-Voice of the Workers as being the cat among the pigeons. Contacted by Newsbook.com.mt for a reaction, UHM declared stoutly its dissent from the draft MCESD position, saying that the current situation requires that the interests of the country are placed first. UHM said that the MCESD needs to come up with a plan of action to stymie ‘the haemorrhage and stop the damage being done to the reputation of the country’.  UHM said that the longer this takes to put in place, the worse it gets for the country, particularly in sectors like igaming and finance.

In its reaction, UHM called for the following points:

  • The Prime Minister should resign immediately and an acting PM is appointed by the President as permitted by the constitution.  
  • The new PM should direct MCESD to draw up a long term plan to show how Malta may regain its credibility.
  • The New PM should see that the relevant institutions investigate and bring to justice all concerned, quickly.  
  • The new PM should immediately affect changes in the leadership of the Police Force, the Attorney General and these should be replaced by persons who are trusted across the board and perceived to work with the utmost integrity.

Another meeting next week – John Bencini, MCESD

MCESD Chairman John Bencini said that the promised press conference had had to be cancelled because the draft text did not achieve consensus and one organisation did not agree to all the content. “It is not right that because of the actions of a few, the whole MCESD is placed under a shadow. In this respect, I feel that as MCESD, we should go ahead with the original plan and announce our vision in another urgent meeting next week”

(Christoph Schwaigar contributed to this article)