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Stunning Admissions by Picardo

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Stunning Admissions by Picardo
The admission by the Chief Minister that he may use the new powers in the Inquiries Bill to restrict information being received by the public or to ensure that hearings are held in private is a stunning development. It will affect public confidence in this process and is the mark of a person who is running scared at the prospect of allowing the public to
hear the evidence. What other powers would he use? And when?
Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi said:
“This all demonstrates that this is not about modernisation but rather about a power-grab so he can use these new powers for politically self-serving purposes in an Inquiry which is hearing allegations about his own conduct. This is nothing short of a scandal. For Mr Picardo to ask people to believe he would be using those powers in the public interest is a step too far for most people.
What is Mr Picardo afraid of? People will be left with thinking that there is evidence that must be politically cataclysmic for him if he is prepared to pull off stunts like this and pass laws in his own interest days before the McGrail Inquiry will start.
He is clearly trying to sidestep the Chairman who has already decided a number of those things or whose judgment he does not wish to defer to. With every new revelation and every day that passes Mr Picardo is simply digging a bigger hole for himself in public eyes.

Abandon Inquiries Bill Now

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Abandon Inquiries Bill Now

The Government should abandon any attempt to pass the Inquiries Bill through Parliament before the McGrail Inquiry concludes its work.

Even though the Government had been expected to take the Inquiries Bill last Friday it did not do so and adjourned Parliament to this coming Friday 22 March 2024.

Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi said:

“We are still in time. Seeking to force this Bill through Parliament now and apply it to the McGrail inquiry should be abandoned. The Chief Minister, Government and Office of the Governor are all deeply conflicted here. There should be no step taken that looks as if any of those deeply conflicted parties are seeking to affect the Inquiry process.

We call on the Chief Minister to confirm that he will not take this Bill before the conclusion of the McGrail Inquiry. The Government should accept that the attempt to extend this Bill to the McGrail Inquiry was a massive mistake and error of judgment which it has time to walk away from now.”

Inquiries Bill Timing Really Strange

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Inquiries Bill Timing Really Strange
The timing of the publication of the Inquiries Bill and the stated intention of the Government to rush it through Parliament this week raises serious issues. Is it an attempt to weaponise Mr Picardo ahead of the Inquiry that will investigate his actions?
The Government has made clear it will apply these new provisions to the McGrail Inquiry and stunningly the Bill contains powers to suspend the Inquiry or restrict the disclosure of material which can be exercised by Mr Picardo.
The obvious question everyone is asking is why is this Bill being rushed through now? How will it be deployed by Mr Picardo in defending himself in the Inquiry?
Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi said
“There are fundamental issues at stake here. Nothing should be done or be seen to be done that would in any way affect the McGrail Inquiry. This was started under existing legislation and it is clear that this new proposed legislation is not at the request of its Chairman as he has not been consulted on it. The Chief Minister is fundamentally conflicted in all this and so is the Office of the Governor that was, through the former Acting Governor Nick Pyle, involved in the
original discussions with Mr Picardo that led to Mr McGrail’s departure. Steps should not be taken to pass or commence this law now.
Justice and democracy require that institutionally the Government do nothing that actually, potentially or by perception looks as if it is an interference with the work of the McGrail Inquiry or that could give it a tactical or strategic advantage in the forthcoming hearing.
Unfortunately, this simply looks like a brazen attempt to give the Chief Minister further powers that he can use to his own self-interest in the very Inquiry that will investigate his conduct.”