Minister Justyne Caruana has stepped down from her post as Minister of Gozo. In his first speech in his first Parliamentary sitting as Prime Minister, Dr Robert Abela confirmed that he had received a letter of resignation from Gozo Minister, Justyne Caruana, and that he had accepted it. Dr Caruana’s resignation came about after reports emerged yesterday that her husband, former Deputy Commissioner. Silvio Valletta, had travelled with Yorgen Fenech, who has been charged with allegedly masterminding Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder.
Today it was reported that Yorgen Fenech is in possession of video footage that shows Valletta driving one of Fenech’s luxurious cars.
“I have accepted this resignation. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Hon Justyne Caruana for her commitment and the work she has carried out for Gozo and Gozitans at a time when she was occupying the post of Gozo Minister. I would also like to particularly thank her for the work she has done for the elderly and people with a disability while occupying the post of Parliamentary Secretary for People with a Disability and Active Ageing. I would also like to thank her for her work as an MP for the whole of Malta and Gozo.”
The Leader of the Opposition Adrian Delia said that, regretfully, it was symptomatic that the first news which the new PM Robert Abela announced in Parliament had to be the resignation of Justyne Caruana.
“I understand that he will be informing me immediately whether what happened this morning was something he knew about, whether the Gozo Minister knew about it, and how long they have known about it. I understand that we will be hearing about who will be taking responsibility for the Gozo portfolio and I also feel that if what the PM had to tell his morning was limited to just that, then there is not much visibility of the direction which this Parliament under a new Government will be taking.”
The resignation of Dr Caruana took place after The Sunday Times published a story that when her husband, Silvio Valletta, was still Deputy Police Commissioner, had had gone aboard with Yorgen Fenech when the later was already being considered a person of interest in the investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. In another development, The Times said that the Police had found a video on Yorgen Fenech’s mobile of Mr Valletta sitting in Fenech’s Rolls Royce.
In her letter, Dr Caruana said that although she has no connection with these facts, she was stepping down from the post of Minister. She said that she has always been loyal and absolutely dedicated to the role with which she has been entrusted, and had always acted ethically and correctly. She said that she was therefore asking to be able to defend her name because of her children.
“These are the new standards we will be adhering to” – PM on resignation of Dr Caruana
UPDATED: Mixed reactions after it emerges that Silvio Valletta travelled abroad with Yorgen Fenech