Watch: ‘I’m no longer responsible’ – Bonnici

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Education Minister Owen Bonnici said that he was no longer responsible of the Great Siege monument in Valletta which has been used by anti-corruption activists as a protest site demanding justice for slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Asked whether the recent decision by newly appointed Prime Minister Robert Abela to allow the monument to be used as a protest site went against his previous decisions, Bonnici told that he was no longer the minister responsible since he was given the Education and Employment portfolio. The Minister added that he will leave the decision in the hands of the ministry responsible.

In court it had transpired that the removal of the protest memorial was on orders by the then Culture Minister Owen Bonnici himself.

The monument had undergone unannounced restoration works when Valletta held the title as Capital of Culture in 2018. Attempts to obtain a copy of the restoration method statement by this newsroom proved futile, despite requesting it multiple times.

On 8 January, in a post on Facebook, Bonnici claimed that damage was being done to the monument. In his post he asked whether ‘it was necessary to ruin national monuments in order to express oneself’.

Bongu hbieb,Dan hu ritratt li ttiehed ftit sieghat ilu tal-monument tal-Assedju l-Kbir, xoghol Antonio Sciortino. …

Posted by Owen Bonnici on Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The monument has been a battleground for the government and anti-corruption activists for a number of months until Prime Minister Abela announced that he had instructed the workers not to remove items related to the protest on 16 January.

Bonnici was also asked about his priorities for the new ministry he was assigned to. Speaking to this newsroom, Bonnici said that he has four goals. To strengthen the quality of education, to fill in the gaps, to have everyone participating in the education system and to strengthen education for individuals after completing compulsory education.

Asked whether he was expecting the change in portfolio, Bonnici said that the new assignment was welcomed after seven years heading the previous portfolio. He added that he believes he has greater responsibility since he was now in charge of the education of the future generations. He admitted though, that he was missing the Culture portfolio.

Video: Miguela Xuereb