“We cannot let migrants drown” – Abela

Updated 09:15 AM

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Prime Minister Robert Abela insisted that he cannot let people drown in Maltese seas, and be held responsible for their deaths. The PM was being interviewed on ‘Pjazza’, a television programme broadcast on the Labour Party channel.

The first topic discussed was that of migration, where Abela added that such actions will most likely bring about more magisterial inquiries, which “we do not afford to have every day”.

On the other hand, Abela remarked that if one looks at the statistics, fewer migrants disembarked in Malta this year compared to the past. “We cannot break international laws”, continued Abela, where he stated that Malta needs to conform with laws and treaties.

Regarding the issue of holding migrants on private vessels in Maltese waters, the PM responded that this action brought a lot of objections. According to Abela, he cannot take the extra steps he wants to, as he is bound by the EU. 

“COVID-19 EU package unrelated to migrants”

The Prime Minister stated that Malta did in no way gain a healthier COVID-19 financial package from the EU by agreeing to allow migrants to disembark in Malta. However, he later insisted that “life should prevail”.

“We will continue to be separating the numbers of COVID-19 infected Maltese nationals with that of migrants”, said Abela when discussing the public’s reaction to this decision. He stated that since Malta’s active COVID-19 numbers increased mainly due to infected migrants, issuing one global total of the country’s active cases will damage Malta’s economy via the tourism sector. He noted that the EU continues to emphasize the importance of solidarity, while its policies do not encourage countries to do so.

The PM stated that his duty is to safeguard the “lives and livelihood” of citizens of Malta and Gozo.  

“Situation is under control – don’t spread fear”

Malta’s PM described that the people infected have few or no symptoms. He added that since the vaccine might not be available in the near future, the public needs to learn to live with its presence. Abela emphasised that we cannot go on lockdown, or Malta will risk an economic collapse. 

Abela asserted that the public and media should not alarm people or create fear. 

The Prime Minister spoke about how institutions are striving to continuously decrease unemployment, and for Malta to be the first country in the EU to recover from the pandemic’s economic implications. 

“Opposition Leader should enjoy Malta’s wealth”

Abela concluded his speech by encouraging the newly elected/current Opposition Leader to be joyful of Malta’s wealth, as lately, “it expressed nothing but negativity.” According to Abela, some people thrive on breaking Malta’s economy.

He emphasised that the public should be content, and that problems will be dealt with by the government and other officials.