As Prime Minister two years ago I promised you that there will be justice in the case of the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
From the first moments we made sure the police would have all the resources possible, with the full involvement of Europol and other international services.
Today I say I kept my word.
Not only do we have three people accused of the murder. But today we also have a person accused of allegedly being the commissioner of this assassination.
This could have only happened because there was the will for justice to be served for this shocking crime.
In the process of all this I took full responsibility to recommend a Presidential Pardon to the person who led to the arrest of the person who is today accused of being behind the murder.
Even the person who is allegedly the commissioner of the murder requested a Presidential Pardon twice.
The advice of the Attorney General and the Police Commissioner were in both instances against this pardon.
That’s why the Cabinet – and myself as well – was against granting a pardon, as was the Caruana Galizia family.
I was against giving a pardon recommendation because I have always taken decisions based on what I believed to be right, even though I received a message that if I did not grant this pardon they would try to throw mud at me.
The decisions I took, I always took them because I believe in righteousness. And only in righteousness.
Justice has started to be served and I will see it is done in full and with everyone.
The investigations are still ongoing and nobody is above the law.
Every day, in the past two years, I shouldered the burdens of responsibility and decision-making.
I took the decisions which I felt were in the best national interest for this case to be closed. I am convinced there were good decisions and other decisions for which I could have done better.
For a long time I had to live with these decisions alone and in solitude because that is what the role of Prime Minister demands.
But the burden of my responsibilities does not exceed the burden carried by the family of the victim.
I reiterate my disappointment that a person, who with all her good and bad qualities was contributing to our democracy, had to be killed and was killed in this cruel way.
The events of the last days were extraordinary for our country. The sensation of sadness and genuine anger for this murder are in fact justified. And I will not accept anyone giving out any sign that in some way justifies this murder.
At the same time, violence and disorder under the excuse of protest are not justified in a democracy.
The country should be proud of the police of Malta. I thank all the authorities, including the Attorney General of the Republic, for the accurate and diligent way they worked and gave advice in favour of what is just.
Our institutions are strong and they work. Pity those who make a mockery of them because they will also be making a mockery of us as a nation and a country.
I look forward to closing, but not forgetting, this difficult chapter in the history of our country.
I know our country in the past days has come to a standstill and even because when I spoke, I was attacked for speaking. And when I didn’t speak, there were people who tried to manipulate the press.
From tomorrow we need to keep moving forward.
I understand that for this to happen there needs to be a clear sign sent that there is a new page ahead.
And this sign can only be given by me, where I need to shoulder the responsibility of everyone, even where I am not involved myself.
This is not a moment of partisanship or opportunism which maybe some people tried to portray in these difficult times.
I believe people can recognise those who acted correctly, who acted incorrectly, who divided those who are genuine and who tried to take advantage of genuineness.
This case should not define everything that is our country and all we have achieved together.
The last seven years have been nice years for Malta. Years where we saw our country improve economically to become the best economy in Europe with a rate of growth of more than 6% each year.
We found a country with 7,000 unemployed. And today, one of the biggest problems in our country is that there aren’t enough people to fill the job vacancies we are all creating together.
I am proud of the reforms we’re making in the social justice sector, for the civil rights of our people. We lifted thousands of people from poverty and we are creating a new middle-class together.
We increased our pensions year after year. We reduced taxes each year and we never introduced a new tax in the past three years.
We created a country where families could feel and in reality became better off because we reduced bills in unprecedented ways. And we changed the way we generate energy to reduce air particles in the south of Malta.
Gozo became a place which can boast of investment in education, health and technology to the point that it is growing even faster than Malta, if you can imagine.
We are giving free childcare to everyone for more people to go out to work. Then there’s free school transport which made a difference in the quality of life of thousands.
We started an enormous project to build more than 1,000 spaces for social housing. And we’ll soon introduce the rent reform.
These are some of the measures that lifted people from poverty who in the silence of their home they know this government helps them.
Above all, today we have parents raising babies thanks to new measures we introduced for IVF in the general hospital. And other measures that helped parents to adopt.
We sought to build a society that is more just, where love is equal for everyone, with marriage for people of the same sex and the right to raise their own children.
So when they say we didn’t do enough for those who fell behind, I can’t help but laugh. We didn’t do enough true, because in truth you can never do enough in this sector.
But we did a lot. For those who fell behind, we lifted them out of poverty thanks to these and many other measures we introduced in the past seven years.
Thousands of people who speak only with their families, on the dinner table or at their workplace, know that they moved forward because our country moved forward, and we moved forward together.
This is part of the big silent majority that defines the work we do and this government will continue to do.
But the country comes first.
One principle I never discarded, with each day that passed, since I became Opposition leader in 2008 and continued as Prime Minister from 2013, is that the country comes first.
The faith and the love this country showed me in all the mandates you gave me in these 12 years was a way for me to work even harder for what I believe are the needs of the country.
As I had said from before I became leader, I believe a Prime Minister should not do more than two legislatures.
And now that time has come for me to practice even this part of what I believe, and yes – in this exceptional time.
We will soon trigger a process for the country to have a new Prime Minister, a Prime Minister who continues the work and fulfilling the mandate of this government to keep enacting the plan that the country approved in June 2017.
The greatness of our country is not defined by individuals. The sum is greater than its parts.
That’s why I will be writing to the president of the Labour Party to begin a process to choose a new leader for the Labour Party by Sunday 12th January 2020.
The moment a new leader is chosen for the Labour Party, I will then resign as leader and hand over to the chosen person and then in the following days I will resign as Prime Minister for us to have a new Prime Minister.
So our country will be starting a short process – of just over a month – which will give the Labour Party a new leader and then a new Prime Minister.
I informed the President of the Republic about all this.
Until then I will keep honouring my duties as Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party. I do this for us to ensure stability in leadership for the country in this delicate moment. As a Prime Minister and a Maltese and Gozitan, I loved and will continue to love my country. I was not perfect and I am not perfect. I had shortcomings for which I apologise personally, even if they were shortcomings of others. But I am responsible.
I assure you I never held back from giving all I have to give back the big faith you gave me. I know the big majority of Maltese and Gozitans were and till today believe in me. For this, I thank you from my heart, honestly.
Because of this faith, some asked me: Why now? MY answer is because that is what is needed.
I believe the faith you showed in me is still there and I will leave with the comfort that the faith is still at its best. And this way we can preserve a legacy of unprecedented economic growth and social justice in our history.
There is a lot left to do. With your work, our country can tomorrow be even better than today, thanks to the strong foundations we built together.
So from tomorrow our work for Malta continues.