Malta News Briefing – Sunday 24 September 2023

multi colored balconies in valletta on malta
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Morning Briefing

275 professionals recruited for new scholastic year

Education Minister Clifton Grima has announced the recruitment of 275 new professionals, including teachers, Resource Centre staff, and Learning Support Educators (LSEs), for the upcoming 2023/2024 school year. Additionally, contracts for 566 other professionals have been extended. On September 25th, 7,712 educators will resume work at state schools, and on September 27th, 28,757 students ranging from first-year primary school to twelfth-year secondary school will commence the new academic year. Furthermore, 5,942 kindergarten students will start their school year on October 2nd, bringing the total number of students attending state schools to 34,699. (The Malta Independent)

Social Affairs Minister downplays impact of benefit racket

Social Policy Minister Michael Falzon has attempted to minimise the significance of a disability fraud scandal that occurred during his tenure and has firmly asserted that he bears no responsibility for it. He stated, “If there was any political accountability, it was shouldered by Silvio Grixti.” Falzon drew a parallel, saying, “We both follow the Christian faith. If one of us commits a crime, should the Pope resign?” He argued that the decision to grant benefits was made based on medical criteria. During a radio interview on Saturday, the minister also seemed to challenge the timeline of events provided by his own ministry, following revelations of a multi-million euro disability benefits fraud investigation by the police. As the Social Policy Minister, Falzon holds political responsibility for all government-disbursed non-contributory benefits, including the severe disability benefit that was targeted by fraudulent activities. Falzon also insisted that this racket had nothing to do with vote buying, arguing that a few cases are a speck of Labour’s majority. (Maltatoday)

Greens accuse government of seeking to ‘divert’ argument on Comino
ADPD – the Green Party, led by chairperson and MEP candidate Sandra Gauci, argued that Minister Clayton Bartolo’s efforts to reduce the number of deckchairs on Comino constitute a diversion tactic, alleging that the tourism minister has a personal stake in the island due to family members operating businesses there. Gauci accused Bartolo of prioritizing his personal interests over those of the public. She also criticized Environment Minister Miriam Dalli for what she described as insufficient efforts to safeguard Comino from speculation and called for stringent measures, including a complete halt to development on the island and the implementation of a visitor cap. Gauci emphasized that Comino is a protected area and should be managed appropriately, preventing any potential property speculation and ensuring it does not become a source of profit for well-connected individuals. (Times of Malta)

Once you're here...