Opposition Leader Bernard Grech has launched a scratching criticism of Prime Minister Robert Abela’s Cabinet reshuffle, insisting that it was an exercise in appeasing politician’s egos and securing votes and support for the future.
Speaking at an address at Dar Centrali, Grech said Abela handed cabinet members who failed to perform ministerial positions which have little direction and vague remits. Instead of instituting change, he has simply created a bloated ministry designed to prevent any internal conflict.
With 20 ministers and six parliamentary secretaries, this is the largest Cabinet in Malta’s history, breaking the record set by Abela himself earlier this year. Not a single minister was demoted and only one parliamentary secretary, Silvio Parnis, lost his position in Cabinet.
He made special reference to figures like Julia Farrugia Portelli, who has been moved from Tourism Minister to Inclusion Minister after a poor performance in the sector. Grech said that Farrugia Portelli’s failed “mechanisms” contributed to the major spike in COVID-19 cases and the recent surge fatalities.
Grech insisted that Abela must apologise for putting someone who was unable to deal with the crucial sector to the role.
Grech also raised serious questions on the reappointment of Justyne Caruana to the cabinet as Education Minister. He said Caruana resigned only 10 months ago because of her estranged husband’s links to Yorgen Fenech. Silvio Valletta is believed to have leaked sensitive details on the Daphne Caruana Galizia investigation while serving as Deputy Police Commissioner.
“Hopefully she can do a better job as Owen Bonnici… which is not saying much,” Grech said.
The appeasement of cabinet members was clear with Edward Scicluna, who has been booted out of the Finance Ministry to be immediately appointed to the Central Bank. His replacement, Clyde Caruana, has no experience to take on the role, Grech said.
The only positive move, Grech said, was removing Silvio Parnis from the cabinet, who he said was more focused on roly-polies than dealing with issues.
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