Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Times: Engerer 'surprised' at PN councillor's signature on no-confidence motion

Tuesday, 14th September 2010 - 14:39CET

Sliema councillor Cyrus Engerer admitted today that he was surprised to see the signature of Nationalist councillor Edward Cuschieri in a motion of no confidence submitted yesterday by six members of the council.

Mr Engerer said Mr Cuschieri and himself had always worked very well together and that Mr Cuschieri never displayed any homophobic attitudes in the past.
Mr Cuschieri has refused to comment.

The six councillors in the 11-member council yesterday tabled a motion against Mr Engerer becoming Deputy Mayor, despite being nominated for the post. The signatories included the three Labour members of the council, former Nationalist Mayor Nikki Dimech, councillor Sandra Camilleri, who recently resigned from the PN, and Mr Cuschieri.

They claimed Mr Engerer lacked maturity and experience.

Mr Engerer accused the Labour Party of being “opportunistic” and only paying lip service to issues of involvement of youth in society and tolerance towards diversity.

“I think I am not being targeted for the reasons given in the motion,” Mr Engerer said.

Referring to a Facebook group which is mocking him for his sexual orientation, because he is gay, Mr Engerer said this simply showed the level of intolerance that still existed and strengthened his view that much more needed to be done with regards to gay rights in Malta.

“Seeing all of this, I am proud to form part of a party that accepts diversity and does not discriminate when it comes to its membership and candidacy in elections on the basis of sexual orientation.”

Meanwhile, the Labour Party in a reaction to a statement issued yesterday by the PN, said that Lawrence Gonzi, instead of asking questions, should see what was happening in his own party, and how it had lost a comfortable majority in Sliema. The reason, it said, was arrogance and threats.

The PN in its statement said the PL and Joseph Muscat should declare the true reasons why they were opposing Mr Engerer's nomination.

Dr Gonzi's problem, the PL said, was the leadership style he and those around him had adopted.

Furthermore, the PL said, Dr Gonzi was in no position to lecture anyone on the rights of minorities, especially in view of the PN's poor record in European Parliament votes in matters involving gay rights.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website. More comments available here.]

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