Dr Gavin Gulia’s interpretation of the history relating to the proposed changes in the current drug law is indeed amusing. (MaltaToday 14 November)
Way back in 1999 I had proposed that anyone caught at the airport with small amounts of narcotics, clearly intended for one’s own personal use, should not face mandatory imprisonment. This slight change – considered minimal compared to the current proposal of removing ‘sharing’ from the definition of trafficking – was met with vociferous and aggressive criticism from the Labour ranks. I was pilloried in the House for proposing such blasphemy! Heading such opposition in Parliament was none other than Dr Gulia himself. At each and every stage of the Bill, the Opposition requested a division even in committee stage.
Two years ago I publicly proposed that ‘sharing’ should not be legally considered as tantamount to “trafficking”. Dr Gulia conveniently remained mute. Then when all the non-governmental organisations participating in the Drug Forum, presided over by the President of Malta, expressed the wish of removing mandatory imprisonment for ‘sharing’, Dr Gulia, in a dramatic Damascus-style conversion, requested a meeting of the House’s Social Affairs Committee to consider the distinction between sharing and trafficking. I quickly expressed my consent with such approval, as soon as the Drug Forum presented its final report – which is exactly what happened.
I have been in politics long enough to detect a smoke screen for political U-turns when I see one. Of course I knew that holding a Social Affairs Committee meeting would help Dr Gulia to camouflage his dramatic change of position. But so long as such ploy is consonant with Government’s intention to amend the drug law, why bother?
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice and Home Affairs