20 Jul Before the re-shuffle, not after ( times online friday, january 6, 2012 09:08am)
Debono questions if Dr Gonzi ‘is being held hostage’ by clique
times online, friday, january 6 2012, 09:08 am
Informed sources said that while Dr Gonzi had publicly declared his readiness to consider splitting the responsibilities, there has not been agreement on which of the legislative reforms proposed by Dr Debono will be carried out in the last year which remains of this legislature.
Dr Debono last year had presented a three-page private member’s motion outlining far-reaching and fundamental reforms he would like to see being carried out, particularly in the justice sector. He has insisted that the split in ministerial responsibilities should not only to resolve the inherent conflict of interest between the two sectors but also herald the important reforms.
The Nationalist MP when contacted by timesofmalta.com said he was continuing to do his duty as an MP. “I am speaking about reforms which everyone is in agreement with and which the country urgently needs. So why all this personal sacrifice for reason to prevail?
“If someone is holding the prime minister hostage, that is surely not me. I really hope the prime minister is not being held hostage by a clique close to him, by individuals who think they can bully others, or by people who are offering protection by operating some network of terror, nurtured by inadequate press laws. If this ever proves to be the case, it would be the real problem, and not an MP doing his duty according to the Constitution. I really hope this is not the case.”
“I have always been on the prime minister’s side, since all the issues I proposed proved to be for the benefit of the people. And I will continue to be on the prime minister’s side.
“I am only doing my duty as an elected representative of the people speaking about reforms all in line with the Nationalist Party creed,” he insisted.
Dr Debono confirmed that he had spoken to the prime minister in the past few days, but preferred not to give details.
He however reiterated his warning about withdrawing support to the government in parliament unless the ministry is split, a decision which, he stressed, should logically be accompanied by legislative reform, and fundamental reforms.
“In general, and I am not speaking about Dr Gonzi, a prime minister should neither be held hostage by his Cabinet, nor by his backbench. In general, a prime minister should neither favour his ministers, nor fear his backbench. Let us not forget that the Criminal Justice Bill was recently presented in parliament behind the back of the parliamentary group, which was not informed about it. Where is the team spirit? Whoever demands team spirit should first show it himself,” he said.
Asked whether he would accept a Cabinet post if it was offered to him, Dr Debono said that such matters were the ‘absolute and exclusive’ prerogative of the prime minister.
“I would take the decision when and if a request is made. But I will surely and definitely, in any case, not accept and will renounce to the raise in Cabinet remuneration since I do not agree with the way it was introduced behind Parliament’s back. This, he said, had not respected the dignity of Parliament.