New PN chief performance officer Liana Cremona has said she had organised a famous protest outside the police headquarters a few days after the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
In a recent interview with Lovin Malta, Cremona said she started getting personally involved in political issues after Labour’s triumphant victory at the 2017 general election, a result she said “stunned” her for a few days.
After Caruana Galizia’s assassination, she “hugely” increased her activism and helped organise some protests, including one on 22nd October 2017 outside the police headquarters.
During the protest, people blocked the road, hung a banner of then police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar on the gates of the depot, and pelted it with coins, tomatoes and pastizzi as they called for his resignation.
It was the first reflection of major raw public anger at Caruana Galizia’s murder but was also heavily criticised for disrespecting the police force.
“It was supposed to be a peaceful protest and I watched what was happening from home as tomatoes were thrown,” Cremona said. “I mobilise people – I think that’s something I’m best at.”
Looking back on the protest four years on, she said that she respects the fact that no one got injured but that people were angry.
“I think they really wanted to be heard and like any democratic country, it’s OK to hold a peaceful protest.”
Cutajar was removed as police commissioner shortly after Robert Abela was elected Prime Minister, and a magisterial inquiry has since been launched into court testimony showing he had tipped off murder middleman Melvin Theuma on police investigations.
Cremona, a former Chief Operations Officer of the electric vehicle sharing platform GoTo Malta, described her new party role as one focused on “optimising certain policies and procedures” in the run-up to the next general election.
She said her role is “broad and holistic” and even includes improving the aesthetics of the PN’s Dar Ċentrali headquarters.
“We really want to be an example and what better way to start than from your own home?” she said. “We talk about the environment and I think a better environment should start from within.”
She played down a recent claim by blogger Simon Mercieca that the PN has introduced a points system that ranks MPs according to how often they re-share Opposition Leader Bernard Grech’s social media posts.
“Some reports have been largely misconceived,” she said when questioned about it. “Every organisation has… maybe KPIs is the wrong word, but something tangible you want to achieve.”
“We’ve understood what was at play at the time and we’re looking at where we want to be but I don’t think any disciplinary measures have been taken.”
“As part of an organisation, you’d always expect to align in some way and be proud of the organisation. So if we’re largely using social media, then why not encourage it?”
“I don’t think it’s about logging, monitoring and discipline, but like every organisation we’re seeing what work is being carried out and we’re actually really proud of our candidates and what they’ve achieved in such a short span of time.”