PN urges Tourism Minister to not re-appoint Gulia as MTA Chairman

Updated 12:38 PM
Miguela Xuereb

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Opposition expects the Minister for Tourism to not re-appoint Gavin Gulia as Chairman for the Malta Tourism Authority, MTA behind Parlament’s back and by breaching the law, said Karol Aquilina, Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici and Clyde Puli, in a statement published on Thursday on behalf of the Nationalist Party.

Former parliamentary secretary Gavin Gulia was sworn in Parliament on Wednesday only to immediately announce his intention to resign his seat. The immediate resignation would suggest that Gulia turned the casual election into a farce, but his decision to contest – successfully – was in the Labour Party’s interest as it would have hoped to avoid the election of another candidate – former Rabat mayor Charles Azzopardi, who was banned from contesting under the party banner in last year’s local council election.

Since Gulia was elected in a casual election, his replacement will be chosen by co-option, leaving Prime Minister Robert Abela free to put a person of his choice in Parliament.

The PN stated that according to Article 3 (4) of the Travel and Tourism Services to Malta Act (Chapter 409 of the Maltese Law) says that no one can to be nominated or remains a member of MTA, including the Chairman if the person is member of Parliament.

The Nationalist Party explained that this means that since he was sworn-in as an MP he was automatically removed from his role as Chairman for MTA. His resignation from this role was also announced through a government press release, on Wednesday.

For this reason, the Ministry for Tourism has to present a fresh nomination, for the role of MTA Chairman, and then it is up to the Public Appointments Committee to scrutinize that nomination, said the PN MPs.

“Democracy is not Abela’s property”

The NGO Repubblika condemned the “arrogant tactics and manoeuvres” by Prime Minister Robert Abela to appoint whoever he wants in Parliament.

In a statement, the NGO mentioned how in a year Abela managed to appoint three people of his choice to become members of Parliament when they did not even contest the 2017 general election.

STQARRIJA PR 08/2021Wasal iż-żmien li Robert Abela jinħatar imperatur u jagħżel il-Parlament hu minflok…

Posted by Repubblika on Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Repubblika said that to make things worse in this situation, Abela used this tactic, to avoid any possibility of having Charles Azzopardi elected democratically as an MP.

“The Prime Minister has to stop playing around with democracy and we remind him that democracy is not his property but a treasure to all people,” said the NGO which also stated how this episode is a clear example of why the Maltese Parliament is in need of reform.