The Office of the President Emeritus Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca is bitterly disappointed at the attempt by the journalist Ivan Camilleri to discredit it and at the fact that its replies to the same journalist, and The Sunday Times of Malta have today been misrepresented in its front-page article. This is clearly an attempt to paint a distorted picture of the state of affairs surrounding the office and Her Excellency’s relationship with her successor, H.E. Dr George Vella, President of Malta. It is also, for reasons best known to this journalist, a clear attempt to shed doubt on the workings of the foundations which H.E the President Emeritus heads.
The article in question is also defamatory and the foundations and administrators reserve their full rights at law.
When The Sunday Times of Malta asked this Office about Her Excellency’s role in the Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, it was referred to a statement issued by the Prime Minister on 5 March 2019, before her term as President of Malta expired, which stated the following:
“Following consultation with the President (H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca), it has been decided that upon leaving office the President shall continue to serve as the Chair for the Foundation of Wellbeing for Society which she herself had set up during her term. The Foundation will retain its autonomy and, in order to continue to perform its functions, will retain the resources with which it already operates in order to perform its functions.”
The Sunday Times of Malta opted not to make reference to this statement in its story and stated instead that ‘the new State-funded Office of the President Emeritus permits Dr Coleiro Preca to carry on with her charity work’, inferring and giving the distorted impression that this was a decision taken by Her Excellency to exclude the President of Malta – when nothing could be further from the truth.
The Sunday Times of Malta was provided with further information, such as that H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca receives absolutely no remuneration for the work she has continued to do and – despite the newspaper stating that questions surrounding her staff were not answered – it was told that while previous Presidents Emeriti had been assigned one official, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca has been assigned two in the light of her involvement with the Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society as well as the privately-funded Emanuele Cancer Research Foundation and the Malta Trust Foundation.
These organisations are all fully regulated, bring together professionals of the highest calibre and operate the highest standards of governance, as well as carrying out valuable work that benefits a very large number of people’s lives. There is no competition when undertaking social work and good, which can benefit all those members of society that are vulnerable, as Ivan Camilleri tried to imply. It is shameful that the Sunday Times’ journalist tries to throw bad light on these laudable initiatives and foundations.
It has been the President Emeritus’ intention from the outset, to have the best possible relations with her successor, whom she holds in the highest regard. This is evident through the various hand-over meetings, organised between H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca (when she was still President of Malta), H.E. Dr George Vella and their respective officials. Moreover, H.E. Dr George Vella, President of Malta, has already been invited to be the Patron of the Malta Trust Foundation.