Rosianne Cutajar, the youngest MP in Parliament, has been appointed parliamentary secretary of equality, reforms and good governance.
New Prime Minister Robert Abela has split the Equality Ministry from the European Affairs portfolio and merged it with the parliamentary secretariat for reforms, a portfolio that former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat set up after the 2017 election to focus on reforms pertaining to prostitution, parliamentary gender quotas and the legalisation of cannabis for personal use, as well as Identity Malta.
The portfolio was originally granted to Julia Farrugia Portelli and while she launched position papers on prostitution and equal gender representation in Parliament, the cannabis reform moved at a sluggish pace. This is typified through her much-awaited cannabis educational campaign aimed at 9,000 students, which turned out to be a social and personal development booklet which only mentioned cannabis once.
Farrugia Portelli is now expected to be moved to the Tourism Ministry.
Last November, Rosianne Cutajar stuck her neck out for a Maltese woman after a court sentenced her to six months in jail for cultivating 6.5g of cannabis.
“I also don’t agree that a person should be sent to prison for six months and ruin her conduct because of 6.5g of cannabis,” she said. “If we really still believe that cannabis can be harmful (even though studies dispute this) than sentencing needs to focus on help and rehabilitation, not prison.”
Then Justice Minister Owen Bonnici eventually proposed an update to the law for debate in Parliament.
Abela has also entrusted Cutajar with good governance, a major sign of trust in the former Qormi mayor, who will now become the youngest woman in Cabinet since former President Agatha Barbara.