'It is my duty to send message that country is open for business' - PM on Dubai conference

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat defended his trip to a citizenship conference in Dubai which took place just over a week after the brutal murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, by saying that that he must send the signal that the country is moving on, and that the country is open for business.

file.jpg

Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered by a car-bomb on 16 October, just down the road from her Bidnija home. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat left Malta for Dubai on 24 October, to address a conference called the 'Global Citizenship Seminar' by Henley & Partners.

As he was exiting the launch of the Global Council for Tolerance and Peace launch yesterday, this newsroom asked the Prime Minister whether going abroad to a citizenship conference in Dubai while the country is in a state of mourning, where citizens are angry and upset over the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was the wisest choice given the current state of the country.

Muscat’s response was as follows: “I believe that I need to give the sign to everyone that the country is moving on, that we are open for business. Yes there is a day of mourning which I had called for, and yes we will do everything we can to catch the perpetrators of this crime, but I believe that it is also my duty to ensure we send the message loud and clear, that this country is open for business.”

The Opposition was, at the time, hitting the Prime Minister with arguments that government was trying to continue with a business as usual attitude in the wake of the murder.

Since Caruana Galizia’s murder there have been a number of demonstrations and protests organised by civil society.

The Civil Society Network has thus far organised two national demonstrations for justice, the first being held on 22 October, just a couple of days before the Prime Minister’s trip to Dubai, and the second on 29 October. In both protests, demonstrators called for the removal of the police commissioner, the Attorney General and that they be replaced with two other nominees approved by two thirds of Parliament. The police commissioner and Attorney General still hold their posts.

The sale of Maltese citizenship has been a cause of controversy since its inception, with a number of EU MEPs to this day slamming the practice. The Prime Minister over the past years attended a number of Henley and Partners citizenship conferences around the world.