It has been my honour and privilege to have had this opportunity to be able to share with you, as one of you, these past five years as President of the Republic of Malta.
Throughout that time, I have worked hard to uphold my constitutional duties, because I believe that democracy is the best means that we have, in today’s world, to celebrate human dignity and to safeguard the observance of human rights and peace, in our communities and in Maltese society.
Serving as your President has been a privilege, and I am grateful to the representatives of the people through Parliament, where for the first time the nomination of President of Malta was reached through unanimous agreement, both by government and opposition, not-with-standing my coming from the government benches.
I hope this consensus will continue for my successors, because the President of our nation should have no party but should serve the people, with loyalty and with a conscience that goes beyond any desire for popularity.
Therefore, as I conclude my term, I wish to express my gratitude to the government and opposition who received my criticisms with respect and accepted a number of my proposals and suggestions.
Above all, I wish to thank the entire people of Malta and Gozo for the respect and support they have given me. My gratitude also goes to those among us who have criticised me, perhaps at times in haste and with lack of forethought, because I have learnt from the experience.
I learnt from everyone, especially when I spent time among you. I learnt from our children and young people. I learned most keenly about how we are capable and competent in our capacity as individuals, but far more capable when we are united, and mindful of one another.
Today, more than ever before, I believe that we, as a nation, have the ability to be unique. We have the ability to ensure that nobody feels isolated. We have the ability to strengthen unity, and moreover, to nurture peace among the nations.
Our children want us to be united, and they want Malta to be a country in which nobody is made to suffer or to feel excluded.
Our children want us to respect one another. Our children do not want conflict, rather, they want our country to welcome them and give them peace of mind.
Dear young people of Malta and Gozo, I urge you to be our islands’ activists, because our island has always been valued for its genuine efforts, in favour of inclusion and resilience among our people. God willing, you will be worthy to become the future leaders of our country.
Dear brothers and sisters, I assure you that all the experiences we have lived through together will remain engraved upon my heart with love. Let me also take this opportunity to wish Dr George Vella every success in his forthcoming new role as the President of Malta.
I augur that, in a new capacity, I will continue to do my part to promote further strategies for sustainable peace, inclusive prosperity, and holistic wellbeing to the people of the Maltese islands, our Euro-Mediterranean region, and beyond.
I thank you, wholeheartedly.