The media has reported the fact that Robert Abela has declined to remove Justyne Caruana from her post as Minister of Education after the Commissioner for Public Standards, George Hyzler found that she has breached the code of ethics in granting a contract of work to her partner. The Prime Minister retorted that he will only take action after Caruana’s case is finalized by the parliamentary committee.
This site has learned that Robert Abela has asked Justyne Caruana to resign but she refused. What is disturbing, in this case, is the fact that a minister refuses to resign. What is even more incomprehensible is the fact that the Prime Minister is using two weights and two measures with his ministers found in breach of ethics.
In the first case of Justyne Caruana, the Prime Minister is showing that he is incredibly weak. One has to ask why? Is he being blackmailed?
Then, we have the case of Rosianne Cutajar. In her case, the Prime Minister acted differently and insisted that Cutajar had to resign as Parliamentary Secretary, which she did. Abela did not wait for the parliamentary committee to finalize its investigations to take action.
What is even more disturbing is the fact that when the Prime Minister was asked by a journalist about Justyne Caruana’s, he replied that in the case of Rosianne Cutajar, she was removed from her post because she did business with Yorgen Fenech. The exact words used by the Prime Minister as quoted by Malta Today are the following:
First of all, the Prime Minister needs to be reminded that George Hyzler was not so sure whether Rosianne Cutajar did breach the code of ethics. But even if she did business with Yorgen Fenech, where is the breach of ethics in her case? She was a deputy of parliament at the time and could do business with whomsoever she wished. Half of Malta did or does business with the Fenechs.
In Justyne Caruana’s case, the situation is different. She flagrantly committed a breach of ethics as minister. She gave her partner a contract paid from the taxes of the people.
Thus, while a breach remains a breach irrespective of the persons involved, the Prime Minister should also remember that Yorgen Fenech is still innocent before the law unless proven guilty. Such a statement by the Prime Minister, who is also a lawyer, reminds me of a similar statement made by his predecessor Eddie Fenech Adami, when the latter went on state television to tell the nation that three judges had been arrested on the assumption of bribery.
A strong argument ensued back then whether the Prime Minister of the time had breached the judges’ right of presumption of innocence and prejudiced their case. Such a similar statement by the present Prime Minister continues to show that the whole proceedings against Yorgen Fenech are vexatious.