President ‘immediately acknowledged’ Repubblika’s documents; possible confusion in OPR office – Repubblika

Luke Zerafa

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The President has responded to a follow-up message from Repubblika reiterating that he ‘immediately acknowledged’ the documents sent to him before becoming President.

His retort comes following a day of exchanges between the two bodies over the submission of suggestions for the Constitutional Reform process.

President George Vella also explains that the June 10th letter sent to his office following his swearing in, ‘was never brought to his attention.’

He concludes that he is willing, ‘to meet any civil society representatives, and will be meeting representatives of Repubblika once a mutually agreeable time and date are set.’

Repubblika has also sent a response acknowledging the President’s receipt of the June 10th letter, stating that they gather this might have been, ‘due to some confusion within his office.’

‘We welcome the President’s renewed commitment to meet Repubblika and we assure him we are at his disposal to meet as quick as he can make time for us.’

Earlier today

The President earlier today said that Repubblika had been distorting the truth surrounding the submission of its suggestions for the Constitutional Reform.

He explained that he had acknowledged their submission to him in March 15th, prior to him becoming President, although he was unable to act on it until he was in the role.

Dr Vella is understood to have said that, ‘he could only promise that once he was in office, he would be more than willing to meet and discuss the matter.’

Three days later (18th March), Repubblika’s representative Ms Marion Pace Asciak is understood to have replied saying that the group was looking forward to meet with Dr Vella. Repubblika wrote that, ‘he would take our submissions into account and would discuss them with us after he took office.’

Today OPR said that, ‘The President is willing to meet, as he usually does with any civil society representatives, once a formal request is made,’ the President had said.

Check the log book

Repubblika states that they received no responses from the Steering Committee on Constitutional Reform prompting them to hand deliver a letter to the President, to remind him of the submission and the request to meet to discuss them.

This was on June 10th in the morning, they state.

Marion Pace Asciak once again delivered the letter and signed the written log book.

‘The President should check the written log at the reception desk of his office where Marion Pace Asciak, who personally delivered our letter, was made to sign for having visited the President’s office,’ they state.

No acknowledgement since becoming President

Repubblika says that since the President took office, their request for a formal meeting has not been forthcoming.

This is interesting given that the President told the media today that ‘The President is willing to meet, as he usually does with any civil society representatives, once a formal request is made.’

The NGO said yesterday that, ‘We are deeply concerned that our detailed submission on the process of  Constitutional review and reform, handed in to President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca last March on her own request and of the Steering Committee of the two political parties has not even been acknowledged. Nor have we been given any sort of acknowledgment by President George Vella since his swearing in.’

Saying nothing about opinions

The NGO says that the President had not indicated what would happen to the opinions which they had submitted, suggesting to them that the President doesn’t wish to ensure that the Constitution is, ‘transparent, inclusive and truly committed to ensure any changes to the Constitution,’ for the sake of Malta’s citizens.

‘President George Vella has, in his ill-informed, misleading, petulant statement of today, done much damage to the credibility of his office that, our Constitution demands, should be above partisan politics and a trusted figure by everyone in all matters of controversy,’ they state.

‘Instead the President has put up barriers against civil society which are only in his power and responsibility to remove,’ they add.