Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia on Sunday called for an independent inquiry into whether the Armed Forces of Malta could have done anything to prevent the murder of Ivorian national Lassana Cisse, allegedly by two of its members.
“We should not condemn anyone prematurely, but we cannot exonerate either,” Dr Delia said at a campaign event in Siġġiewi. “We cannot accept the government shaking off all responsibility before the facts are established.”
Two soldiers were on Sunday charged over the April 6 drive-by shooting in Ħal-Far, in which two other migrants were injured, and which is believed to be the first racially-motivated murder in Malta. They deny the charges.
They were also charged with a hit-and-run incident along the same road a few months ago that had left a teenaged migrant with heavy scarring.
Dr Delia said on Sunday an autonomous inquiry should establish how the two suspects were recruited into the army, and whether the murder could have been prevented.
Racist discourse is slowly taking root in the country
Racist discourse 'slowly taking root'
But he also took aim at racist discourse which he said was “slowly taking root” and called for a united response from the country.
“We cannot accept a country that has saved so many people in its history becoming associated with racism,” he said.
“This is not acceptable. This is not the Malta I know and it is not the Maltese known for their heart and compassion.
“This country needs to take a clear position. If we lose our values and morals, all our achievements will be worth nothing.”
While expressing his support for the police and army - who he described as “everyday unsung heroes” - he also criticised the Prime Minister’s assertion that Malta was as safe as it had always been.
“Ask yourselves, is this country as safe as it was 10 years ago? Do people still feel safe in their homes? We need to ask these questions and address the issues,” Dr Delia said.
‘Undecided voters will decide this election’
Dr Delia referred to European Parliament and local council election polls showing a narrowing gap between the Labour Party, which still enjoys a vast lead, and the PN.
He said the election would be decided by those who had not yet decided whom to vote for, and those who were planning to abstain on election day.
“The decision to remain home is a decision in itself: it is saying yes to an uncaring and corrupt government,” he said.
Dr Delia stressed that the election was also a choice between the parties’ European groupings, the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Party of European Socialists (PES).
He said the Socialist group, with which the PL is aligned, had made clear its position in favour of tax harmonisation, a move he said would have devastating consequences on the Maltese economy.
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