The newly-announced Cabinet is one of substance, Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Sunday.  

Addressing a political gathering at Labour Party headquarters, Abela said the Cabinet announced on Saturday was the most youthful, feminine, and Gozitan group of ministers ever appointed to lead an administration.  

On Saturday Abela reshuffled his ministers and parliamentary secretaries, with new ministers drafted in and a number of others moved sideways.  

Although the prospect of a looming reshuffle has hung over the administration for the past few weeks, Abela’s speech on Sunday morning barely touched upon the new appointments.  

Scicluna says farewell  

Speaking before him, outgoing finance minister Edward Scicluna gave a farewell speech that recalled the dream of economic growth prior to 2013 which he had helped to make into a reality.  

“I am just as emotional as that day 12 years ago when I came here and said I would be here with you all,” he said to a standing ovation form his Cabinet colleagues and Labour officials.  

Scicluna, who will be moving on to the post of governor of the Central Bank, pledged to work to ensure that all of the island’s MEPs worked to promote Malta rather than tarnish it abroad.  

It was time to put Malta first, especially when it came to the financial services industry, and he wanted to commit himself to that goal, Scicluna said.  

The outgoing minister also said he has a “soft spot” for his replacement, current OPM chief of staff Clyde Caruana

I can retire from this position with my mind at ease that the finance ministry is in good hands

“I told the prime minister that he has made a good choice. I know Clyde, not only as one of my past students, but we worked closely together behind the scenes. He always came forward with his own ideas, and I can retire from this position with my mind at ease that the finance ministry is in good hands,” he said.  

Meanwhile,  Abela said that on Monday his first order of business would be to visit the State hospital with his deputy Chris Fearne.  

The COVID-19 pandemic had taken a heavy toll on the Maltese people and their livelihoods, and Abela said his administration looked forward to closing this chapter and turning a new page.  

“God forbid we ever see a year like this,” Abela said.  

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