“Prostitution cannot remain a criminal offence” – Abela

Robert Abela

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Prostitution cannot remain a criminal offence, Partit Laburista leader Robert Abela told party activists during a political activity held in Naxxar on Sunday.

Describing the party and party in government as a reformist, Abela said that what distinguished the party was its ability to take decisions and to not fear change. The Prime Minister said that he welcomed the news that the Opposition was on board with the Government’s proposal to increase the participation of women in Parliament.

Abela said that while disgraced former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had promised a quota system which would see more women elected to Parliament, he intends on making sure that such a mechanism is in place by the next general election. According to Abela, the government had the courage to bring change.

The Labour leader also addressed the subject of prostitution, saying that it should not remain a criminal offence. Abela explained that many people who work as prostitutes would have grown up in that environment and do not know better, with some starting out as prostitutes at the age of 12. He added that he will not accept a situation were these people are sent to prison instead of receiving all the help they need.

Abela also spoke about the planned seizure of agricultural and natural land in Magħtab to make way for the expansion of the waste facility. He acknowledged that the situation was difficult given the limitations of the island. He explained that the government will be meeting with the farmers in order to reach a reasonable solution for all.

On Friday, two separate judicial protests were filed against the planned expansion of the waste facility at Magħtab. On Saturday, farmers staged a protest during which they blocked the Coast Road against the uptake of land.

Speaking about Steward Health Care, Abela said that after the committee was formed to analyze the contract, they found that there were some aspects to it which were “unsatisfactory”. He explained that the first decision was taken last week when it was decided that Steward Health Care should honor its contract obligations and conditions. The next phase consists of discussion between the government and the American-giant. Abela said that the decisions will be taken in the best interest of the patients.

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