Malta’s Prime Minister has called for a sense of discipline ahead of the imminent Carnival weekend.
The traditional festival, which is usually celebrated in both Malta and Gozo with colourful public displays, has been called off this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at a Labour Party address, Robert Abela said that his government had protected the most vulnerable in Malta during the beginning of the pandemic, had continued to do so with the rollout of the vaccination programme and now was calling on the country to band together to continue to care for these people by not gathering for Carnival celebrations.
“I understand there’s a sense of COVID-19 fatigue in Malta right now, but we need to keep up a sense of responsibility,” Abela said. “Carnival is here, and yes we can enjoy our families, but let’s not have what happened last December and January, where for a few hours of enjoyment we ruin everything.”
He was referring to a spike in COVID-19 cases in January, believed to be connected to people meeting up over the festive holidays and many people going to Gozo over New Year’s Eve.
“This is a crucial moment, we had some good news this week,” he continued, referring to a dip in new COVID-19 cases, “but we need to continue to be strong, and it’s up to each and everyone of us to be disciplined.”
Speaking on a sense of unity on the island, he referred to the Maltese population as “Team Malta”, a “team” that chooses coming together over fighting and hatred. He continued to say that this wasn’t the moment to bring partisan needs up, but the time to “pull the rope altogether”, noting that politics should always come from the people and not some self-professed authority.
“That’s my mission – I want this country to be stronger than it was last March, and we will arrive. But to get there, I need you all to remain by my side.”
Abela also confirmed that the government will be going ahead with plans to appoint eight new members to Malta’s judiciary.
“We’ve invested in court infrastructure and resources. This week we will be moving forward in the process of appointing four new judges and four new magistrates,” Abela said, going on to say that this was “money well spent”.
Abela noted this was the first time the new appointment method for members of the judiciary will be undertaken, with the Prime Minister being removed from the procedure and the President taking the final decision.