The Times of Malta reveals that staff working at the hospitals run by Steward Health Care are “relieved” at the news that the company will be pulling out of Malta as this brings hope that the government will finally invest money where it is needed to the benefit of patients.
Maltatoday reports that Justice Minister Jonathan Attard has insisted Prime Minister Robert Abela was forced to list Steward’s services after the Nationalist Party “maliciously twisted the facts” on the court’s conclusions.
TVM shares details of the court case against the former police constable accused of raping a female colleague at the Msida police station and sexually harassing another.
Newsbook says that Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg and Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà are working against the interest of justice and protecting the criminals behind Pilatus Bank, according to civil society group Repubblika’s president, Robert Aquilina.
Inflation tops 7% – NSO
Malta’s annual inflation in January has reached 7%, up from 6.8% the previous month, NSO data has shown. The highest annual inflation rates in Malta in February were recorded in food and non-alcoholic beverages (13.2%) and housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (9.1%). On the other hand, the lowest annual inflation rates were registered in communication (0.9%) and alcoholic beverages and tobacco (3.4%). The 7% figure puts Malta’s cost-of-living increase as the sixth lowest in the eurozone.
Chaos in Parliament, large crowd protests Vitals deal
Protesters gathered in Valletta on Thursday evening, answering the PN’s call, while Parliament debated the millions paid in a “fraudulent” hospitals deal annulled by court. The crowd chanted “thieves” and “arrest them”, and held cutouts of fake cheques addressed to “Vitals/Steward” for €400 million, a clear reference to the deal. The situation was heated also inside the House, with Opposition walking out of the Chamber after the Speaker allowed the government to put forward an amendment outside its allotted time.
Earlier during the session, Speaker Anglu Farrugia was forced to suspend the sitting after Prime Minister Robert Abela accused PN MP Adrian Delia of lying to the courts. Delia challenged the PM to repeat the claim outside of parliament, where he is not covered by parliamentary privilege. Later, Abela clarified that Delia was misquoting the judgement. PN leader Bernard Grech described the events in parliament as “a parody of democracy” as his MPs stormed out. The Speaker, he said, instead of choosing to protect the people, instead of acting according to the regulations of the House, “chose to defend those who made agreements with fraudsters.”
(Times of Malta, The Malta Independent)
Govt ready to operate hospitals immediately
The health authorities can “immediately” operate the three hospitals that formed part of the Steward deal after the American company pulled out on Thursday, government said. The Maltese government was reacting to Steward’s announcement earlier on Thursday that it is pulling out of the contract that saw it operate Gozo General, St Luke’s and Karin Grech hospitals on a long-term concession. Government is rejecting “in the most absolute way” the reasons given by Steward for abandoning the deal and the requests made by the company. The former hospitals concessionaire blamed government failures for triggering the exit clause in the contract. (Maltatoday)
Cassola demands investigation in Muscat’s diplomatic passport
Independent candidate Arnold Cassola has accused PM Robert Abela of an “unheard misuse of power,” and has requested the Standards Commissioner to investigate the decision to grant former PM Joseph Muscat a diplomatic passport. The ADPD, the Green Party of which Cassola was previously Chairman, also asked that Muscat’s diplomatic passport is rescinded immediately. “A diplomatic passport is retained and used by officers of the Maltese state or persons working on diplomatic missions for the Maltese authorities. Joseph Muscat is neither of the two,” Cassola said. (TVM)