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.”