Persons of trust in Malta’s many ministries were considered frontliners for the COVID-19 vaccine, jumping up the priority list for the crucial jabs.
Following a series of parliamentary questions from David Thake, six ministries confirmed that persons in their ministries were considered frontliners according to regulations.
These were Ministry for the Elderly and Active Ageing; the Ministry for Solidarity and Family; the Ministry for Energy, Enterprise, and Sustainable Development; the Ministry for Education; the Ministry for Home Affairs; and the Ministry for Transport and Infrastructure.
The Health Ministry, which is leading the fight against COVID-19, completely ignored the question, instead referencing the total number of people in Malta who have received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Others were also reluctant to even respond, with no less than seven ministries (the Social Accommodation Ministry; the Environment Ministry; the Finance Ministry; the Gozo Ministry; the COVID-19 Strategy and Research Ministry; the Foreign Affairs Ministry; the Economy Ministry; the Ministry Within Office of the Prime Minister; and the Justice Ministry) simply saying that it was not their recommendation to get their persons of trust vaccinated.
Malta’s persons of trust system has been flagged as being rife with abuse by a number of local and international bodies; with the Ombudsman, Standards Commissioner, and the Venice Commission issuing damning reports into the practice.
Most have insisted that appointments to positions of trust should be strictly limited. However, it appears that few changes have been implemented.
The exact number of persons of trust engaged by the government is not known although, in a report two years ago, the Venice Commission had said it was informed there were about 700 at the time.
It should be noted that a number of posts are expected to be filled by persons of trust, such as Chiefs of Staff and crucial aides, but others raise serious questions with the system being used to employ everyone from customer care officers to a security guard at the Addolorata Cemetery, dog handlers, cleaners, and maintenance officers.
Malta has undergone a successful vaccine program, with roughly one in five people receiving two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, while around 325,000 people have received one dose. Still, questions remain as to why certain crucial sectors, like Customs Officials who deal with massive cargo entering the country and others, were not considered a priority.
Do you think persons of trust should be considered frontliners?