The person behind the name – Justyne Caruana (PL)
As Election Day looms closer we’ll bring you short interviews with those at the centre of the ballots – the candidates themselves.
The three political parties were sent the same questions to pass on to their respective candidates. To date the Nationalist party has sent no replies.
Married and a mother of two children, Justyne Caruana, 38, is a practicing lawyer specializing in civil and family law. She will be contesting the General Elections on District 13 (Gozo).
What attracted you to choose a political career? / What are the highlights of your political career?
My family has been politically active for three generations, and so it was both with a firm conviction and a sense of duty that I first chose to seek the trust of the Gozitan people. And I now continue confidently to represent the broad Gozitan interests, especially since I have never had any connections with large businesses or property speculators, and thus no one can have doubts where I stand on various issues.
Apart from being the first elected female Labour candidate from Gozo, on the very first election I contested, then in this last legislature, from the opposition, I presented a Private Member’s motion to elevate the status and advance the judicial process and court system in Gozo to an equal level as that in Malta, which motion was so clearly in our constituents’ interests that it was seconded by the government’s minister for Gozo.
I was also appointed by Parliament as the first regional representative on the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and on the CWP Steering Committee.
What makes you believe in your party?
Our party has always been at the forefront of promoting the broadest possible economic and social advancement, as opposed to policies just benefiting the connected elite, and for such a stand we have over the years come under attack from those enjoying privileges or special status. Without a doubt, in 2013 the PL has presented a serious electoral program which addresses the key needs of our country.
Which party values and policies do you cherish most?
Genuine inclusion of those least powerful and efforts towards a fair society overall.
What can you offer to the electorate and if elected are there any particular issues you will campaign for?
I offer a sincere and serious effort towards improving the state of affairs in Gozo on many levels. In particular there is a commitment from the PL to address the serious problem of lack of youth employment in Gozo and in-effect the forced travel or relocation away from the island. I can also offer two legislatures of experience and hard work
PL is breaking away from its traditional image, while PN is slowly moving towards a more inclusive attitude. What are your views on both?
It all depends on your timeframe, since as mentioned earlier the Labour party has always strove towards the broadest positive impact. As in everything, one tries to learn from mistakes, and the first step is admitting such, something which has been clearly absent from the PN despite the multitude of blunders, broken promises, corruption etc during the 25 past years of their government.
I disagree that the PN’s attitude is in reality, even the slightest sense, “more inclusive” and the plain facts bear this out in spades, not just at the level of grassroots voters, but even at the parliamentary level. Let’s not forget that not only was GonziPN defeated in a budget confidence vote, but it also limped along since at least December 2011, with not one, but several of its MP in open rebellion against the leadership precisely because they were shunned and excluded, despite being duly elected by the people. GozniPN excels at manipulation, outright lies and broken promises, and so to the extent that spin works they are trying to appear inclusive, because it has worked for them in the past.
Given your background (career) what policies and bill/s will you lobby for?
All issues which directly or indirectly impact Gozo and Gozitan families’ lives will be my priority. Furthermore, from my professional experience, plus my work in Parliament’s Social Affairs Committee, and being currently the opposition’s spokesperson on the subject matter, I am active on matters of family, children and disability.
What should the public expect from a new government?
While it applies to the country overall, particularly in Gozo, people deserve an administration which truly represents their interests. In contrast to the present situation, they should not have to beg favours for services which are theirs by right at citizens.
How do you rate the current electoral campaign and the proposals launched so far?
Because of GonziPN’s exigencies - to the detriment of the country -, the campaign has been too long. A lot of proposals have been put forth, and to give just one example, on electricity rates for the longest time the PL was accused of not providing details, such have now been well discussed and so parts even copied. On the whole however we are presenting a road map and a series of proposals which the country and people need.
‘Fil-Parlament ma jikbrux fjuri’ – How do you plan to be effective in Parliament?
Speaking truth to power, from a position of integrity, has never been a problem for me. As long as there is an honest intention, I am willing to work with anybody, even if they hold differing political views.
PL has been in the Opposition for years. Is the party ready to govern? Why?
Unfortunately, but it was to be expected, part of the GonziPN scaremongering is that only they and their self-anointed clique are able to govern just because they are the incumbents. This is obviously a baseless and illogical argument since by definition everybody at one time starts somewhere. The PL is ready to govern, and if chosen by the people, Gozo and Malta will prosper after seeing the back of GonziPN.
If you are elected in parliament again and your PL is entrusted to govern, do you expect a Ministerial role and given a choice, which ministry would you opt for?
Ministerial and other assignments throughout the legislature are entirely the prerogative of the Prime Minister. I am in politics to serve.