PN calls on Aaron Farrugia to ‘shoulder political responsibility’ over Parliament no-show
The Nationalist Party has called on Transport Minister Aaron Farrugia to “shoulder political responsibility” after he failed to show up in Parliament and answer Parliamentary Questions on Tuesday evening.
Parliament, as the highest institution in the country, deserves a lot better, the PN said.
“It cannot be that we have a Minister and Parliamentary Secretary who do not come into the House of Representatives on purpose in order to avoid answering questions which Members of Parliament make in the name of the Maltese and Gozitan people,” the party added.
The press conference was addressed by PN Whip Robert Cutajar and the party’s Transport and Mobility spokesperson and former leader Adrian Delia.
They explained that on Tuesday, MPs saw Transport Minister Aaron Farrugia leaving one of the lifts in Parliament at 4:20pm, despite the fact that he knew that he had to answer Parliamentary Questions for 20 minutes prior to that.
Up until then, Culture Minister Owen Bonnici answered questions on behalf of Farrugia, who, the MPs said, “chose to escape the House of Representatives and, instead, hide in the Parliament building.”
In the circumstances and because the government did not give an explanation – although Bonnici had said that Farrugia was on government business – a ruling from the Speaker was requested, and he chastised Farrugia for his shortcomings and called on Ministers to be present in the House when questions are asked.
Delia and Cutajar noted that the Speaker did not just refer to the collective responsibility, but also to the individual responsibility of Aaron Farrugia and the fact that Ministers should act according to the Code of Ethics.
They both observed how Farrugia has not been asked to explain himself before the Commission for Standards in Public Life.
They added that Farrugia had exhibited shortcomings as Transport Minister by refusing to answer questions raised by MPs which ultimately reflect the sentiment of the people.
They said that the people are worried about scandals which are happening within Farrugia’s ministry, including those concerning the Marsa Junction project, the granting of driving licenses as favours, and more recently – incidentally on the same day as this sitting – the assault by two Transport Malta officials on a motorist.
“Aaron Farrugia has not said a word about all this, and that is why the Nationalist Party appeals for him to shoulder political responsibility for these serious shortcomings towards the highest institution in the country,” the PN said.
The party said it was once again repeating the need to not only control the traffic situation in the country, but to also reduce the tragedies on Malta’s roads.
The PN said that it was emphasising the need for more teleworking, an effective traffic management system, and that public transport is not just free, but also more frequent in order to encourage more people to make use of it.