Dr George Hyzler appointed Commissioner for Standards, hopes to help in increasing MPs’ credibility
Dr George Hyzler has stated that a change in culture is needed for MPs, Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and persons of trust in Ministries to fall under the scrutiny of his office. Dr Hyzler was administered the oath of office by President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, as the first Commissioner for Standards in Public Life. The President thanked both sides of the House after they had unanimously agreed to the choice of Dr Hyzler, who had been proposed by the Opposition.
Dr Hyzler will be able to investigate, among other issues, contraventions of the code of ethics and the behaviour of MPs, Ministers and persons of trust appointed by them in Ministries.
George Hyzler stated that “so far, in regard to our Members of Parliament and persons appointed by them in Ministries in positions of trust, no culture exists that they do not feel they are subject to scrutiny. There is the media which always has this function, but not in an investigative manner and with the powers of this office. I hope this culture will gradually be tackled.”
Dr Hyler explained that the law is not retro-active, and he cannot look into cases going back to before the law came into effect on 30 October.
Dr Hyzler thanked both sides of the House for their unanimous trust in him for this post. He expressed the hope that his contribution would help for Parliament to continue to strengthen its structures in order to improve the credibility and reputation of MPs.
Opposition leader Adrian Delia stated that this was democracy in action, adding that standards for persons in public life are higher than the norm. Dr Delia stated that Dr Hyzler is now the authority which scrutinises the behaviour of the people’s representatives. Dr Delia expressed the hope that this is one of the steps to strengthen the country’s institutions.
Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne stated that this showed Government believed in transparency, governance and democracy. Dr Fearne added that the Commissioner for Standards will, among other issues, be scrutinising the financial declarations of every MP, and acting accordingly. Dr Fearne remarked that Government’s choice of the first Commissioner for Standards from the opposite camp was not a coincidence, but rather, to show that there would not be any influence by Government.
President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca stated that this was a historic day for the country, adding that this post would provide peace of mind to citizens as well as more accountability. The President declared that the law is a very strong one, as it gives power to the Commissioner for Standards to decide on the tools and resources he needs.
This is Dr George Hyzler’s comment: