Current Affairs
Opening of schools will depend on advice from the health authorities – PM

In reference to the re-opening of schools, Prime Minister Robert Abela stated that the final decision will be taken according to scientific advice from the health authorities.

“The final decision as to whether or not schools will open in a viable manner will remain one which will depend very much on what the health authorities say, in the same way that the Health Authority had closed our schools on 12 March. In the same way, our schools will be able to re-open if the Health Authority sees there is a protocol which can lead to the schools opening in a viable manner. One has naturally to understand the impact on the social and educational development of our children, the negative impact which is irreversible if the schools don’t open. The priority will remain education, the health of our children and how we can combine these together,” the Prime Minister stated.

The same applied to mass activities, with the Prime Minister saying that whether or not these activities are held depends on the advice of the Health Authority and on how the medical situation develops.

During a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce, the Prime Minister announced that the wage supplement scheme and the voucher scheme will be extended to the end of October. Dr Abela explained that the Government will then be announcing the budget for next year. The Prime Minister added that among other issues, the budget will be aimed at improving the living conditions of pensioners and low-income families.

Replying to journalists’ questions, Dr Abela explained that “the vouchers have been extended to the end of October, and the wage supplement has also been extended to the end of October in its present format. After October revisions can be made to the wage supplement, but nowhere have I stated that this is only until the end of October; however, it is crucial to keep so many from losing their jobs.”

Replying to a number of other questions, Dr Abela was asked about the case of Miriam Pace who had died in the debris of her own home. Dr Abela replied that there are arrangements between him and the Pace family for them to make contact with him. He added that he will remain available for them and understands their difficult situation. Regarding the report which had to be drawn up, Dr Abela said this had been concluded and has been processed in order to become laws. Dr Abela added that up to yesterday the draft laws had been passed to the Chamber of Architects, and a meeting is scheduled tomorrow between the Minister concerned and the stakeholders. The Prime Minister stated that the aim is for the draft laws to be approved this month and presented to Parliament after the summer recess.

Questioned about former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s position in the wake of what came out in court in connection with the murder case of Daphne Caruana Galizia, Dr Abela said Dr Muscat does not hold any role within Government and is an elected Member of Parliament. The Prime Minister said Dr Muscat never held consultancies either with him or with the Government. Dr Abela further stated that Dr Muscat is not being investigated about any crime, and added that he is following the case and will take decisions if there are developments. Dr Abela reiterated that whenever the need had arisen to take decisions, even when these were difficult ones, he had taken them in the country interests.

In reference to the public inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, the Prime Minister stated that after the term had expired, he had been asked for an extension by the board of inquiry. He added that he had extended, for just once, up to 15 December, and there was enough time for all relevant witnesses to be heard and for the board to hand in the report.