The President of Malta, George Vella, said that the Malta Community Chest Fund needs new, fairer systems of means testing to ensure that help is given to those who really deserve it. He said that these measures will reduce waste and the frittering away of funds.
Three months since he was appointed to his post, President Vella was interviewed on the programme Rasimbras, which will be broadcast today. He said that the first initiatives in the process towards Constitutional reform are imminent.
President Vella described the situation of the Malta Community Chest Fund as a precarious one, which needs to be addressed. While giving his assurance that people can still turn to the MCCCF for help with essential needs such as medicine, he pointed out that this can only be guaranteed through more controls to avoid wastage and the squandering of funds.
He described the first three months of his Presidency as being very busy and from which he has learnt a lot. “I am now in a position where I can say I have a true picture of the country. I have realised, for example, that there are a large number of young people involved in voluntary work, because we have this idea that young people are carefree. You realise how many people there are who are in need…you know that they exist but you would not have a true dimension of how many they are.”
Speaking about Constitutional reform, President Vella has clear ideas about the way forward. This is not about where he thinks it should lead, because he does not feel it is fair to impose his ideas on others. However, he wants a wide-ranging participation which starts with everyone having the chance to put forward their proposals, which will culminate in a Constitutional convention.
He estimates that this process may take up to three years. However, the first step is imminent. “We are going to launch a website which will remain open for three months, as well as a promotional campaign to invite all those who wish to send their proposals about what the Constitutional changes should be, to do so.”
Asked about his statement in which he expressed his reservations about the legislation of recreational cannabis, President Vella did not mince his words. “Cannabis has already been proven to cause structural damage to the brain. So what do you do? You start allowing it and then ten years later you have to do another campaign to compensate for it because, look at how much damage we have caused? I feel obliged to speak up as from now.”
The President expressed his concerns about the situation in the Opposition, and spoke about his relationship with President Emeritus Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, as well as about developments in the international scene.
Rasimbras is transmitted every Wednesday evening at 7.15pm on TVM.