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Bernard Grech calls for urgent addressing of high cost of living

Bernard Grech calls for urgent addressing of high cost of living
May 4 2022 Share

Opposition leader Bernard Grech has called for an urgent addressing of the high cost of living that is affecting so many families. 

Grech was addressing a meeting with the Chamber of Commerce, going on to say that the country needs to strengthen its economic sectors and create new ones. This would ensure a resilient economy and create better equality jobs. 

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The meeting was attended by 12 PN spokespersons. Chamber president Marisa Xuereb said at the start of the meeting that the chamber expects political maturity from the Opposition. This includes a clear vision for the country, communication, credibility and sustainability. 

Xuereb called on for the Opposition to be constructive in governmental criticism, as well as to establish agreement between the two on persons to perform functions such as that of the Ombudsman. An appointment of a new standards commissioner needs to take place during the legislature, she said, as well as a new President of the Republic. 

She also acknowledged how the party has welcomed new faces, and went on to say that there needs to be alignment within the Opposition instead of a division. 

Grech responded by saying that the PN has an obligation to continue to grow and that the members of the party are prepared for the coming legislature. The opposition leader said that it will serve as a monitor to the government’s operations, and criticise constructively without interrupting progress. 

“The country has a number of problems, of which its solutions will not be found by simply saying that every other country is being affected. The high cost of living is affecting many individuals and businesses and this needs to be addressed” Grech was quoted in saying. 

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Prison inmates’ wedding denied ten days before big day, awarded moral damages

Prison inmates’ wedding denied ten days before big day, awarded moral damages
May 4 2022 Share

Moral damages have been awarded to an inmate at the Corradino Correctional Facility after his and his girlfriend’s plans to get married were denied just 10 days before the big day by the former prison director. 

The story, which concerns Yousef Essesi and Meliza Muscat, had hit headlines back in 2019 after the couple decided to go public about the troubles they were facing with prison authorities. 

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Former prison director Alex Dalli had decided to allow marriage preparations to go ahead, but then changed his mind 10 days before. The court concluded that the applicants’ rights to marry and private family life had been breached. 

Essesi’s detention ‘stark naked inside a bare cell without even a mattress’ also amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment. The couple had been in a relationship for some months and expressed wishes to marry in 2018.

Leave from the prison’s board was also acquired, with the couple meeting outside the prison to apply for publication of the marriage bans. Following the denial 10 days before, Essesi took it very badly. 

He was also locked and transferred to the punishment division, which was used to detain inmates on suicide watch. Correctional services agency reports had concluded that Essesi had psychopathic traits and an antisocial personality disorder. 

Essesi ended up naked in a cell without a toilet, sink, bed, mattress or sheets. Dalli claimed that the measure was taken on advice of the psychiatrist, with his girlfriend denied access for six months and her letters blocked. 

With Muscat even appearing on Xarabank, the treatment was deemed as ‘pay back’ for Essesi trying to get leave and marry. Muscat took the matter to court. The latter noted the contradictions in Dalli’s testimony, deeming the prison leave conditions an excuse. 

After detailing what the couple had gone through to get married, with the application for leave having repercussions as per Essesi’s prison treatment, the court ruled that both their rights were breached. Essesi was awarded €1,000 in moral damages, with Muscat awarded €500. 

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‘Five years of hedging’ – Joseph Muscat talks about energy in Malta

‘Five years of hedging’ - Joseph Muscat talks about energy in Malta
May 4 2022 Share

Taking to Facebook, former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat went on to give his 5c about hedging and the role of power-stations in Malta. 

Muscat said that in the time period when Malta was making the transition from heavy fuel oil to gas, the Nationalist Party came out against the building of power station despite the environmental, economic and health benefits. 

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‘They used to say that we did not need it and that we could do well with just the inter-connector’ said Muscat. ‘The economy grew so much in the past few years that not only did we not need a new power station, but we have already practically reached its full capacity.’ 

Muscat pointed out that some claimed that we would save up to €20 million per year. This was an incorrect figure, said the former Labour Party leader, as whoever calculated it did not take into consideration capital cost. 

Referring to the PN, Muscat said that they then went on to say that through the hedging deal, through which the price of gas from Azerbaijan was fixated for 5 years, we were losing money. 

In these last few months, he said, those who were critiquing have seemingly lost their tongues and no longer criticise the policy of energy mix. ‘I wonder why’ he rhetorically asked. 

Muscat said that the response is simple should one do the calculation which everyone seemingly forgot to do. ‘If one simply compares all that the country paid in the past 5 years due to the hedging deal with that which the Maltese were being asked to pay through the inter-connecter alone, we would see that we managed to save €125 million. These are taxes and burdens lifted off families and businesses.’ 

Muscat said that the decision to commit to hedging to ensure stability, against the advise of those who ‘wrecked the country with high costs’, left a result. This is because bills decreased and were the lowest in Europe. 

‘This is why it is easy to understand why some lost their tongues over the topic of energy.’ 

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Four kilos of cannabis seized by police off dinghy

Four kilos of cannabis seized by police off dinghy
May 4 2022 Share

Police seized upwards of four kilos of cannabis, registering a street value of more than €100,000. The authorities seized the pile of drugs off a dinghy which had just arrived in Malta. 

A 32-year-old man from Marsaxlokk was arrested, and was accused of trafficking and importation of drugs from Sicily to Malta. 

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The arrest, which occurred Monday evening at around 7pm, after police surrounded a dinghy whilst it was docking in Delimara. Magistrate Victor Axiak is leading an inquiry. 

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