Watch: Saving lives, upholding international obligations are paramount, Delia says

    Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

    Partit Nazzjonalista believes that lives should be protected whether it is an embryo or an asylum seeker stranded at sea, party leader Adrian Delia stated on Saturday during an interview with Lovin Malta founder and CEO Chris Peregin.

    Asked about what would have he done were he Prime Minister and had a group of asylum seekers out at sea during a pandemic, Delia said that saving lives is a fundamental principle for the party. He explained that Malta is responsible for its search and rescue missions and has international obligations to uphold. “For us to be credible before fellow member states, we have to fulfill our duties as a state”, Delia stated.

    A group of 57 asylum seekers remain housed 13 nautical miles off the coast of Malta on Captain Morgan’s Europa II. On Thursday, Newsbook.com.mt revealed that a Captain Morgan vessel was chartered to house a group of 57 asylum seekers which were adrift the Maltese search and rescue region. The rescue operation was not carried out by the Armed Forces of Malta, instead the Maltese government asked a Libyan-flagged fishing trawler, Dar al Salam, to carry out the rescue. The fishing trawler was recently involved in the push back of a group of asylum seekers to Libya after it rescued them in the Maltese search and rescue area. Refoulement remains illegal under international law.

    Delia remarked that the government was not divulging any information on search and rescue cases with the Opposition. He noted that unlike the previous administration, the current administration was not giving out any information on any SAR cases of which Malta is responsible for. He accused the government of playing into the hands of populism and of changing narrative according to the situation.

    The Opposition Leader reiterated that people should be rescued first and then given the opportunity to apply for asylum. In cases where one does not qualify for asylum, they should be returned to their home country immediately, he said.

    Party debts and members

    The Nationalist leader said that the coronavirus outbreak in Malta had adversely affected its media company. Due to the current situation, advertisement had practically stopped killing off an important revenue stream for the media. Praising the previous Nationalist administration for stopping the hemorrhage, Delia said that since he took the helm, his aim had been a situation of break even by the fifth year. He remarked that the party was on its way to decrease its debts for a third year in a row, however, this will no longer be the case due to the economic repercussions brought about by the coronavirus outbreak.

    Asked whether someone of stature had joined the party since he became leader, Delia said that every person was equally important. “Star candidates” lead to populism, he maintained, citing disgraced former minister Konrad Mizzi as an example of a “star candidate” who “tarnished” the country’s reputation.

    Public land for hunters?

    Delia said that he would never agree to the giving of public land for the exclusive use by one group or another, when asked whether he agreed to giving woodlands over to hunters.