Picardo Lies & Smokescreens


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In his utter desperation to distract from the real issues Mr Picardo is now resorting to pure invention and misinformation. It is simply not true to say that the GSD has sought “direct rule” in any shape or form after the passage of the Inquiries Bill.

The remedy for this assault on good governance and the mounting examples of democratic deficits or examples of waste, abuse or corruption is for people to speak clearly through the ballot box and decisively unseat this GSLP/Lib administration.

The letter we hand-delivered to the Governor at our meeting with him has been published and sets out the position of the GSD. There is not a single paragraph in our letter that raises the issue of direct rule or seeks it. People will be able to see the nonsense that Mr Picardo is spouting. What we do in that letter is what the Leader of the Opposition said we would do – share our candid views on the new law with the Governor as a matter of formal record.

Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi said:

“This is just a desperate Chief Minister who doesn’t know what to do to distract from the festering conflicts of interest he is immersed in and his own inability to ringfence his personal conflicts or wade in to act in his self-interest. He doesn’t know how to get out of all this or how to distract people from the real issues.

These are that this new law was proposed by his defence team in the Inquiry. It has been introduced in an ugly power grab so he can use new powers in the very Inquiry investigating his conduct and so that he can side-step the judge in the Inquiry. He has been unable to ringfence those deep personal conflicts of interest just like he was unable to do so when he personally signed 14 Letters of Assurance for Police Officers who signed witness statements against Mr McGrail. He is deeply personally conflicted. So is the Government that is also a core participant. How the Government have behaved in rushing this Bill though Parliament is nothing short of a scandal. They will compound things if they take steps in the Inquiry using the new powers they have given themselves.

One wonders whether that will happen very soon and that’s why they need a distraction now. Is it an accident that the Act was commenced today?

I was very careful when engaging with the Governor that we kept within constitutional boundaries. As such there was nothing wrong with sharing candid views with the Governor on the Bill. Surely Mr Picardo is not saying that it is alright for him to consult the Governor on the Inquiries Bill but it is not acceptable for the Opposition to convey our own views on that Bill to him? Mr Picardo’s contradictions implode into themselves.

As someone who has fought for the notion of self-determination and self-government for 30 years I am very careful in navigating these boundaries and would not take a step that I would deem colonial. Mr Picardo knows all this and that’s why this is not just a smokescreen but a deliberate lie.

I do think this Act is a constitutional outrage and an assault on good governance. But this needs to be resolved democratically by the people kicking out this Government.

Mr Picardo’s assertions are not only false they can be demonstrated to be false. On Monday night ahead of the meeting originally scheduled for Tuesday 10am I had a series of communications with the Governor. In one of those I said:

“As my request made clear what we ask is to formally record our views to you on this important matter. I have not suggested in any communication that I am going to seek to persuade you on whether to assent to this Bill or not. I am very conscious of the boundaries here and I have no intention of crossing lines that I view should not be crossed. That judgment is a matter for you within the constitutional provisions and I intend to make no submissions or requests in that regard.”

We have, however, said that we think the Office of the Governor is conflicted because that is how we see the deep festering swamp of conflicts that affect this Bill. Our role is to call it how we see it and not worry whether the Governor is offended by that. That however is a mile removed from the pure invention by Mr Picardo that we are seeking direct rule which we have not sought and do not seek.”