Days after the Opposition presented the amendment to convert the censure motion against Carm Mifsud Bonnici over his performance as Justice and Home Affairs Minister, into one calling for his resignation, the Speaker has not given a ruling on whether this is to happen or not. The debate started on Wednesday morning and a number of morning and evening sittings have since been held. The motion has been tabled five months ago and Opposition home affairs spokesman Michael Falzon – who proposed the motion along with justice spokesman José Herrera – presented the necessary amendment at the end of what he described as the longest speech he ever made. This was delivered on Wednesday and lasted well over two hours. While the Opposition is seeking to convert its motion censuring Carm Mifsud Bonnici over his performance, the government has strongly argued against the move. A ruling was expected to be delivered by the Speaker, when the House reconvened following the opening session, on Thursday, and again yesterday, but the discussion continued without any interruption. As things stand, the motion first lists perceived failings in justice and home affairs before calling on the House to “censure this behaviour and demand that political responsibility is assumed for these failings”. Discussing the amendment, last week, Foreign Affairs Minister Tonio Borg said that the amendment substantially changed the motion’s purpose. According to parliamentary procedure, such amendments could only be made with the consent of the entire House. The Opposition disagreed with this and, so did government MP Franco Debono, who has long been critical of Dr Mifsud Bonnici, and often remarked loudly during the debate. At the beginning of the debate, he repeatedly shouted that the minister should be ashamed of himself.(independent.com.mt) A censure motion that puts as much time to show these conscéquence not bode well.
IVF and cohabitation bills - JPO lashes out
PN backbencher Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando lashed out at the government for procrastinating to legislate for the introduction of IVF and a cohabitation bill including some form of legal recognition to same-sex unions. Addressing the media, on the occasion marking the first anniversary of the divorce referendum in which the majority voted in favour of the introduction for this right, Dr Pullicino Orlando used harsh words for several members of Cabinet accusing them of buckling under the pressure of the ecclesiastical authorities. The Nationalist MP, who in July 2010 had tabled the private members’ bill for the introduction of divorce, claimed that the Prime Minister had not kept his word as he had promised to introduce a law regarding IVF exactly a year ago. Regarding the cohabitation bill, he quoted Justice Minister Chris Said who had publicly said that the bill would be enacted by the beginning of next month. Asked by The Malta Independent on his position regarding adoption by same-sex couples once he was in favour of gay marriages, Dr Pullicino Orlando replied in the affirmative adding that there is nothing at present barring such adoptions. He added that he is aware of gay couples who have already adopted children, describing them as happy couples living a normal life. The PN backbencher urged the government to legislate to protect the rights of such children in case one of their parents passes away, as at present they may end up in an orphanage. Labour candidate Cyrus Engerer interjected and said that as far as gay couples are concerned, the well being of the children is first and foremost. His remark sparked controversy with some of the journalists pointing out that such requests are much more likely to arise by gay couples wishing to become parents at all costs rather than from the children themselves.(independent.com.mt) Cohabitation is not undemocratic.
Man accused of €140,000 'black money' scam
A man allegedly lost €140,500 when he was duped into a black money scam, a court was told today. Bare details of the case were given during the arraignment of Michael Camilleri, 29 of Armier, who is pleading not guilty to defrauding Paul Mangion of €140,500 and stealing the money. He is also accused of teaming up with another man to commit a crime, relapsing and breaching the conditions of a previous release. Magistrate Anthony Vella denied bail and ordered the assets of the accused to be frozen and investigated. This was the second such case in seven months. Last October, a court heart how a French man visited Malta and attempted to embark on a similar scam, which involves persuading victims to buy piles of bank-note-sized paper in a container is cash. The paper is dyed black to avoid detection by the authorities. The victim is then persuaded to pay for chemicals to wash the “money”.(timesofmalta.com) This is a big deal, it deserves the full attention of the courts.