Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil said that the corruption cases that have hit the country in the last four years are having serious negative consequences on the country’s future. The government did not tackle the situation head-on, and now we are paying the price for this, as could be seen on Saturday when the Malta Files were uploaded in various European newspapers.
He said that the Prime Minister was now calling for a united front in the wake of this new crisis. But he has not realised that it is because of his inaction that we have arrived in this situation. And we already have a united front against him, the Forza Nazzjonali, he said in Zabbar.
“I have faith that the Maltese and Gozitan population to write a new chapter in the history of Malta. This is something that we started. It is not me, or the PN.”
He thanked Dr Michael Briguglio (see speech below) for making the Forza Nazzjonali a force of rationality and reason.
“When the country needs us, we are capable to forget our differences and achieve something great together.”
“We are meeting for a number of reasons, because the PM has put us in a dangerous situation, and we cannot continue going on like this. The PM acts like nothing happened, he pretends that people do not have eyes to see, ears to hear, that they have no brain to think. The people are intelligent and will not let anyone fool them!”
“It is an incredible situation, I have to go before a magistrate to fight corruption?! I have to do it because we have an incapable police commissioner, we have an attorney general who is scared to do his work, and we have a PM who lost all sense of conscience and decency in the face of corruption.”
“I have evidence of corruption. Not a page or two, but eight full boxes of proof of the corrupt clique at Castille.”
“We do not have a Prime Minister who is capable to take action and political responsibility.”
This was not one mistake, he said, but the result of countless cases of corruption.
“When they were apologising for Cafe Premier and Gaffarena, they still had accounts in Panama”.
The PN Leader went on to say that the country is hurt by seeing Malta’s name in international media for the wrong reasons.
“But we do not have a Prime Minister who can defend us, who can actually fight claims of corruption. The EU need someone determined, clean, who is ready to clean the political system once and for all!”
The country is paying for the consequences of the “politics of the axe”, Dr Busuttil told the crowd, referring to the time when PL deputy leader Chris Cardona had said that “if you attack us with a sword, we will attack you with an axe”.
“This form of politics is having consequences on crucial economic sectors, such as the financial services sector, which employs thousands and thousands of young people.
“Now that we have degenerated to this situation, Joseph Muscat is now appealing for unity to defend our country. I tell him that there is already a movement fighting for this, the Forza Nazzjonali!”
He pointed to Nationalist Party’s economic proposals as an indicator that the PN government would create new opportunities.
“If we clean up corruption, we can open a new door of opportunity, which will see thousands of young Gozitans and Maltese come through”.
He also pledged to providing free chemotherapy for all cancer patients.
The PN Leader told the crowd to not let the Labour Party scare them referring to PL claims that the PN are against civil rights, and would take away student’s stipends among others.
Pointing to VGH and the PM’s claims that without the PPP the Gozo General Hospital would not be viable, the PN Leader told the cheering crowd that public hospitals should not be run for profit.
“Viability? Does he eventually want to privatise Mater Dei too?”
“Let us callenge fear with the truth!”
He went on to say that he met with voters who had left the Nationalist Party in the last general election, and the party understood the mistakes they made.
Dr Busuttil also appealed to Labour voters and in particular locals of Zabbar, which is a PL stronghold, who were hurt by the Labour government and loved their country.
“We are not against the Labour party, but against the three people who dirtied its name! I appeal to you to choose Malta!”
He called on his ardent supporters to pass on the message of peace that the country can be put on the right track,
“Together as the Forza Nazzjonali on 3 June we will be proud again to be Maltese. Also channeling former PN Leader Eddie Fenech Adami, Dr Busuttil said that on 3 June righteousness always wins”.
He closed with the country’s national anthem and fireworks in the background, telling the enthusiastic crowd that on 3 June, the population “will choose Malta.”
PN Deputy Leader Beppe Fenech Adami began by telling the crowd that four years ago the Prime minister had promised transparency, meritocracy, and open dialogue.
“He promised a battle of corruption, but he now leads the most corrupt government in history. This is why we are going for an election a year before the end of his legislature. It is because from day one him and his friends stole from you, the maltese population, and all those people who put faith in him.”
“I want to remind you that the first thing that came to his mind when he came to be Prime Minister was to rent his car out to the government for 7000e in tax payers money. Imagine this happened abroad!”
“He did not build any schools but he had 4 million to cover the debt of cafe premier, and 3 million to buy half a house in Valletta.”
“My friends, Joseph Muscat went around the country selling Maltese passports. We asked why he needed to be the salesman of a private company; and we discovered that he did it so Keith Schembri and Brian could make a commission.”
He went on to say that the country is in a situation where the country is controlled by two people who were caught with companies in Pananma.
“People asked why, the reply is simple, he cannot get rid of them, because if he said they were corrupt, they would tell him he is just as corrupt as them!”
“Instead of saving the reputation of our country and our children’s future, he has chosen to protect Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi.”
Turning to employees within the financial services sector, Dr Fenech Adami appealed to them to convince their family members in order to protect their livelihood.
“After 3 June, we will send Simon Busuttil to the EU, and show Europe that we are committed to working hard to re establish our reputation and respect.”
He then appealed to any tradition PN voters who voted for Joseph Muscat in 2013.
“We will welcome you back with open arms.”
“We know we made mistakes, and we have worked hard, to convince you that we have learned.”
He closed by echoing his father’s famous slogan “is-sewwa jirbah zgur” – it was used pre-1987 when the PN was led by Eddie Fenech Adami – and telling the thousands that on 3 June the country has the opportunity to change the path Malta is on.
Former AD Chairperson Michael Briguglio, who had also addressed the first Forza Nazzjonali rally in Valletta, told the cheering crowd that he was proud to be part of the movement.
“I found myself in a situation where I had to speak, I could not remain silent in the face of the situation of the country which is under the control of Joseph Muscat’s fingers.”
“I will vote for the Forza Nazzjonali, and I am not the only one. There are blues,reds, greens, oranges, people without a colour, because this is the only way we can get rid of the Panama gang.”
Turning to Dr Busuttil, Dr Briguglio said, that he knew the PN Leader for many years and he assured the crowd that he is man who listens to the “aspirations of Maltese and Gozitans”.
“He is a leader of social conscience who is presenting proposals for the future of our country,” Dr Briguglio said.
“Simon is an honest person. He is the only person who can bring normality back to this country. He is the saviour of our country, who can bring back the respect Malta once had.”
“On the other side there is Joseph Muscat,” he said to a resounding boos,“who keeps treating the people like it is a comedy show. I feel he is scared, so scared that he had to call an early election, even with a 36,000 majority.”
“He is scared to speak in the European Parliament, he is scared of Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri. It has been a year since the Panama Papers scandal and he was too scared to remove them.”
“Keith is the Prime Minister”.
“They say Schembri has obtained a lot of money for the country, but where is all the money going? They are trying to buy us. Malta is not for sale!”
He went on to say that the country is having to defend the reputation it has earned. We spent years trying to build our reputation and our respect in Europe, and now we are on the front pages for the all wrong reasons.
He closed by telling the audience that “In life there are moments where we have to make important decisions, This is a moment when the people are united. The force for good is always growing. It is important that we convince people through persuasive arguments to have faith in Simon, and not through bullying. We have to convince floaters and new voters. The only way we can remove Joseph, Konrad and Keith is with a vote for the Forza Nazzjonali”