Dr. Edward Said Sindku tan-Nadur HIDMA u HSIEB li gabu RIZULTATI!
Is-SUCCESS fl-opinjoni tieghi huwa meta tghaqqad il-parti ta’ dawn kollha flimkien:
🔹Maskarati u dawk bil-kostumi li zammew il-Karnival haj. 🔹Lil gruppi tal-Karrijiet Spontanji specjalment lil dawk kollha li kkollaboraw bis-shih. 🔹Lil eluf kbar ta’ nies li mlew it-toroq tan-Nadur. 🔹Lir-Residenti tas-sapport, kooperazzjoni u pacenzja assoluta. 🔹Security Staff u Pulizija li hadmu fuq li hadmu biex nzommu kontroll kif nistghu. 🔹Transport Malta li mexxew traffiku bl-aqwa mod specjalment is-Sibt u servizz ta’ trasport pubbliku. 🔹Sidien tal-Bars li verament ikkoperaw u fehmu dak kollu li tlabtom. 🔹Dawk involuti fis-sound, dawl, igene u indafa pubblika li ghamlu dan bl-aqwa mod. 🔹Fotografi kollha prezenti u TVM li taw coverage mill-aqwa. 🔹ERRC li taw servizz mill-aqwa fil-First Aid. 🔹Organizzaturi tar-rock stage fil-Pjazzetta u bands li daqqew, flimkien mad-DJs fit-toroq. 🔹Kunsilliera shabi u staff tal-Kunsill li hadmu mieghi id f’id. 🔹Dawk li kienu qrib tieghi u familti tas-sostenn kontinwu.
Coronavirus: Empty shelves, long queues as Maltese rush to supermarkets to stock up
Tuesday, 25 February 2020,
Many supermarkets today had to deal with a rush of customers stocking up food and drink as concern over the possible spread of Coronavirus – no cases have been reported in Malta as yet but reports that the disease has arrived in nearby Sicily prompted a haste to get prepared. The Maltese government has so far limited itself to saying that all is under control, although doctors and nurses fail to agree on this, with the two unions saying that Malta is not at all prepared to deal with a situation should cases of Coronavirus – or COVID-19 – arrive in Malta.
This morning, people went to supermarkets and bought all they could find, mostly preserved food and long-life products, perhaps thinking that a time will come when they will be confined to their own residences. Many shelves ended up literally ransacked by customers, leaving them empty as supermarkets struggled to keep up with the influx of people as well as to replenish the shelves.
Such a situation had occurred when fears of the bird flu, more than a decade ago, had been prevalent among the Maltese. Roads leading to popular supermarkets have also seen a heavy presence of cars with many reporting slow-moving traffic in these areas.
Killer of Gozo warden, Ganni ‘l-Muha’, found dead in prison cell John Attard, 72, was found dead in his prison cell at around 6:30 am on Monday
24 February 2020, 8:38am by Karl Azzopardi
A 72-year-old inmate was found dead in his cell on Monday morning. The man, whose nationality is Maltese, was found at around 6:30 am, and has been identified as John Attard ‘Il-Muha’. Attard was an accomplice in the stabbing of Gozitan traffic warden Fortunata Spiteri, 19 years ago. Spiteri was stabbed five times, with forensic experts stating that two of the blows had almost severed her aorta and principal vein. John Attard was one of three involved in the murder, with one of the accomplices, Benny Attard jailed for 30 years, and the third, Giuseppe Farrugia, dying while proceedings were ongoing.
During investigations, Benny Attard had told investigators how John Attard had approached him, and both had agreed to kill Fortunata Spiteri. On the night of the murder, all three were picked up by John Attard who allegedly commissioned the murder after being booked on a number of occasions by the victim. Jurors had convicted Attard by seven votes to two, but had acquitted him of masterminding the murder despite storing evidence against him. When handing down the sentence, Mr Justice Michael Mallia had said that Attard’s involvement in the murder was the “last straw”, due to the fact that back in 1975 he had caused injuries to his father resulting in his death. District police have been informed, and have started investigating the case. An internal inquiry has been launched. A magisterial inquiry is underway, with an internal inquiry also being launched.
Coronavirus: activity in Malta seaports severely affected as 6th death confirmed in Italy
By Rebekah Cilia Monday, 24 February 2020,
Activity at the local seaports, including the docking terminal of the Sicily catamaran, as well as work on cargo ships, was severely affected all throughout the day, as fears of the novel Coronavirus spreading to Malta intensifies.
Port authorities told The Malta Independent this morning that each passenger had to be tested individually using a hand-held thermal camera, by medical officers, and only on being given the all-clear could anyone coming from cruise ships, cargo ships and even the catamaran was released. The system, however, appears to be face teething problems, as not enough medical officers were available on site. Speaking to this newsroom, one traveller was told to go back home since it was unknown when the ship, scheduled for this morning, was to leave. It has since been reported that cargo handlers have stopped operating at the seaports, due to concerns for their health. They noted that there were no medical doctors, and contact was being made with foreigners. This newsroom can confirm that passengers were allowed to disembark, whilst waiting to be screened. Sixth death confirmed in Italy This comes in the wake of the sixth confirmed death from the virus in Italy. The number of people contracting the disease continues to rise, as officials call for calm. While international reports mentioned a seventh victim, the amount was then later revides back down to six. Speaking on Rai Uno, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte urged people "not to give in to panic and follow the advice of health authorities”. “We should not be afraid because of the rising numbers because we are carrying out thousands of checks,” he said.
Several Facebook groups have been set up in relation to the Coronavirus in Malta. The situation seems to be divided between those understandably concerned about the outbreak in Italy spreading to Malta, and those who seem less worried about the matter. Many have noted that no checks are yet being carried out at the local airport, whilst others are questioning if the virus has made an appearance in Malta. Some even commented that the Pope’s visit should be cancelled. Thermal screening facilities were being set up at the airport this morning. In a statement on Sunday, the Maltese health authorities said they were implementing all the necessary preparedness and response actions required for the outbreak of COVID-19, the office of the Deputy Prime Minister said. "In view of the expected spread to affect other countries apart from China, including European countries, the authorities had initiated the screening of all passengers coming from affected countries. In view of the situation in Italy, screening is being enhanced by introducing thermal screening at points of entry. During this coming week, thermal screening cameras will be installed at the Malta International Airport, whereby all inbound passengers will be screened. This will also be implemented in the cruise liner and catamaran terminals. Thermal screening is a mode of screening for a large number of people passing through points of entry. Any persons who will be identified as having a fever will be assessed further.”
International impact: top economies could slide into recession International news outlets have reported that stock markets were falling all around the world, due to the increase in the number of cases. It was also reported that there are signs that some of the world's top economies could slide into recession as the outbreak compounds pre-existing weaknesses. The local health authorities appeal for cooperation from the general public for screening of people for early identification of cases and reminds the public to contact the helpline on 21324086 or their doctor if they have travelled to affected areas and have any respiratory symptoms within 14 days from their return and not to go directly to health centres or hospital. The health authorities also appeal for cooperation in public health measures being taken in the investigation of suspected cases, isolation, contact tracing and quarantine.
Coronavirus: Malta church says Holy Communion on the tongue temporarily halted
Monday, 24 February 2020,
The Maltese church said today that Holy Communion in the mouth is being temporarily suspended to limit the spreading of Coronavirus (COVID-19). In a statement, the Curia said that the host will be given to worshippers in their hands only until further notice. Priests have been told to wash their hands and disinfect them before saying Mass and, where necessary, even before Holy Communion. Lay people who help out during Holy Communion are also being requested to disinfect their hands.
CONFRATERNITY OF THE KNIGHTS OF ST. PETER & ST. PAUL Grand Chapter of Melbourne. Today, the Confraternity of the Knights of St. Peter & St. Paul organized its Annual BBQ to raise money for charity. As always, it was a very successful event and all the patrons were very happy. Thank you to all the volunteers who came to help yesterday and today. God bless you all. Chevalier Peter Paul Portelli - Grand Master and the Supreme Council.
CONFRATERNITY OF THE KNIGHTS OF ST. PETER & ST. PAUL Our mission is to helping the poor in Peru. Medic by day, priest by night: a Gozitan missionary in the Amazon By John Paul Cordina.
Photo from left: Chevalier Joe Louis Meilak, Fr. Raymond Portelli and Chevalier Carmel Saliba presenting a donation to the mission in Peru.
What’s it like to be a doctor and a priest in one of the most remote cities on earth? Fr Raymond Portelli, a Gozitan priest who has called Peru his home for the past 26 years, recounted his experiences on 103 Malta’s Heart, on the programme Newsbook Hour presented by Fr Joe Borg. Fr Portelli is based in Iquitos, a city of around 400,000 people located in the Amazon basin. The city is the world’s largest city that cannot be reached by road: it is only accessible by river or air. Fr. Portelli is the parish priest of the St Martín de Porres parish, with a population of 18,000 people. Around a fifth of his parishioners are comfortably middle-class, but the vast majority are poor, with around a tenth living in extreme poverty. Households do have running water and electricity, but many live in simple wooden shacks on dirt roads. Due to the city’s isolation, job creation efforts are limited and unemployment is a significant problem. Many people try to eke out a living through fishing, agriculture or by selling trinkets on the streets of the city. Caring for the body and soul As the only priest in the parish – though a number of laypeople do help out – Fr Portelli seeks to look after his community’s pastoral needs. But he also identified another need: for healthcare. “I have always been interested in medicine, even before I joined the seminary,” he explains. Consequently, he obtained a dispensation from Gozo Bishop Nikol Cauchi to study medicine at Iquitos’ university part-time, and graduated as a medical doctor after nine years. He often sees patients at the parish, but notes that his parishioners clearly distinguish between his two roles. “They call me doctor by day, and father by night,” he notes. Helping out in the jungle Though he is based in the city, Fr Portelli regularly ventures outside the parish to provide religious and medical services to isolated communities along the Momón River, a small tributary of the Amazon. Travelling by speedboat to reach a series of tiny villages, with the most distant one 12 hours away, the priest encounters a completely different reality. These communities are virtually inaccessible most of the year, as a drop in water levels reduces the river to a muddy path, and are thus mostly self-reliant. People live in small huts with no doors – theft not being a concern in such an isolated place – in communities with no shops or facilities. Stocking up on medicines for the journey, Fr Portelli takes care of common ailments such as diabetes and malaria. If more serious health issues are identified, he offers to take patients to the city, but they often refuse, as they are unwilling to leave their families behind. Once all patients are treated, Fr Portelli holds a catechism session and celebrates mass, often illuminated by candlelight or kerosene lamps – electricity is unheard of so deep in the jungle. Though most are baptised Catholics, even non-Catholics attend mass out of respect. Living conditions may be harsh, but Fr Portelli also notes that there is a strong sense of community in these villages, with people helping each other out. Everyone knows everyone else, and everyone helps out whenever a new house is built. But every so often, village inhabitants try their luck in the city, effectively severing their ties with the community they grew up in. And as a result, they often feel lost among the city’s 400,000 inhabitants, struggling to fit in.
Nadur carnival: ‘Invictus’ and ‘Castille’ make appearances on Saturday eve
Sunday, 23 February 2020,
Photos by Anaca Photography
Thousands of Maltese revellers celebrated carnival in Nadur, the local council said. "Following the excellent start for the spontaneous Carnival in Nadur on Friday, this Carnival undoubtedly reaches its crux on Saturday night, where the Nadur centre is literally full up. People of all ages, from each corner of the Maltese islands, foreigners, families, youths and kids, wear their own costumes, some of them very original and others very particular."
"In a few words, Nadur turns into a huge feast of celebration, fun and colours. An event that once again was successful without major issues when considering the thousands of participants. The Nadur Carnival is full of spontaneous floats that related to satirical themes and contemporary issues, including flyovers, road constructions, issues at Castille, the interconnector and many others." "All this was complemented with hundreds of groups gathering up and wearing complementing costumes. Without any doubt the Nadur Carnival sees and welcomes the largest mass of people that one can imagine for Carnival, making it the most anticipated on the islands.
Updated: Two cars overturn in Gozo in separate collisions
Saturday, 22 February 2020,
A car ended up on its roof following a collision with a pickup truck near Rabat, in Gozo, on Saturday evening. A 22-year-old youngster lost control of the vehicle and crashed into another car, but no one was hurt. The accident took place on Triq Papa Granni Pawlu II, near the aqueduct.
The spot is a notorious accident blackspot, since the two-lane road narrows down at the arch, with traffic coming from the direction of Rabat having to give way to vehicles coming from the direction of Gharb.
The accident took place in the direction of Ghasri, at around 10pm. The police were called on location to assist. The 22-year-old, from Qormi, had a passenger in the car, who had already managed to exit the vehicle when the police arrived at the scene. Neither the driver nor the passenger sustained any grievous injuries. The other driver, a German national residing in Rabat, was not hurt either. The vehicle was towed away, whilst the Civil Protection Department cleared the road. This was the second accident in Gozo on Saturday night, with another car overturning in Xaghra, at around 7pm. In this accident, the vehicle was involved in a crash with another two cars.
Carnival weekend sees an influx of Maltese people travelling to Gozo in anticipation of the events taking place, especially the infamous Nadur spontaneous carnival.
Kurt Farrugia ordered to pay €5,000 to Giovanna Debono in libel damages By Monique Agius - February 21, 2020
Former OPM Communications Chief Kurt Farrugia was ordered to pay €5,000 in libel damages to former Minister for Gozo Giovanna Debono.
The case was instituted by Debono on 16 April 2008 after Farrugia who at that time was an editor of an online news portal maltastar.com had published an article titled Bitterly bitten Nadur families fight back, claim “abuse of power by Giovanna Debono. The article appeared on the website on 7 April 2008.
The former OPM communications chief was then a journalist and editor at maltastar.com. He had published an article alleging that Debono during the few days she was Acting Prime Minister she had wielded her influence in a case concerning the expropriation of a piece of land.
An Acting Prime Minister cannot decide on the expropriation of land, which involves a lengthy process and falls under the remit of the Minister who is in charge of the Lands Authority. Farrugia argued that his article was value judgement and constituted fair comment. In court, Debono had presented a copy of the two notices published in the Government Gazette, one which showed that she was appointed as Acting Prime Minister and the other which showed the expropriation of land in question. She explained that the two notices were linked together, adding that in her role as Acting Prme Minister she had nothing to do with the acquisition of land. She added that this was signed off by the President.
Debono had explained that expropriation fell squarely under the Minister who responsible for Lands and is signed off by the President, and therefore in the few days she spent as acting Prime Minister there was no link to the power she had in such a role and that of an expropriation notice. Farrugia explained that the couple owned a parcel of land in Nadur which they sought to develop. In the area, Debono’s driver used to live. During Farrugia’s cross-examination it emerged that Farrugia had reported the couple’s claims. He was asked whether he had verified if the Minister for Gozo and the Prime Minister had power to expropriate land, to which he replied ‘no’. Farrugia said that he had leafed through the Government Gazette and found two notices – that of the expropriation of land and that of the Acting Prime Minister. Asked whether it was possible for a notice of Acting Prime Minister to be published and for the expropriation which happened over a period of time to happen on the same as the notice was published, Farrugia had replied in court that that was what the family had said. He told the court that he would not know what the expropriation process would involve.
The court found that the article was libelous. The court took note of the words used in the article as well as of a court case decided on 23 April 2010, when Andrew Vella sued the Lands Commissioner. The decision was confirmed upon appeal before the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court found that despite the claims made by the plaintiffs who complained that there was an element of discrimination based on political views, it found that the project had started in 1984 when Partit Laburista was in government and subsequently continued under a Nationalist-led administration. The first expropriation was made in 1991 when a 1984 scheme came into force. The Constitutional Court had found that the expropriation were motivated by environmental considerations. Further, the decision to expropriate the parcel of land was taken by the Lands Commissioner at the time, Albert Mamo after he had discussed the issue with the Attorney General. The decision was taken on 14 March 2008.
The Constitutional Court had found that the decision to expropriate land was done in the general interest and not to benefit a group of people. Citing case law, the court said that for the defence to plead value judgement, that when making claims of value judgement one needs to base the claims on facts and truth and not inventions. The Court said that the defendant did not manage to substantiate his pleas of value judgement and fair comment. It noted that according to the evidence presented in court by the defendant himself, it resulted that “the article in question was based exclusively on allegations and assumptions made by the Vella couple without any attempts or efforts by Farrugia to verify the allegations made against Debono”. Farrugia was found to have reported what the couple had told him without verifying the expropriation process and whether the expropriation process was completed before the notice was published in the government gazette.
The court therefore found that the article titled “Bitterly bitten Nadur families fight back, claim “abuse of power” by Giovanna” which was written by Farrugia and published on maltastart.com of which he was editor, was libelous and tarnished her reputation. The Court said that while Debono was at that time a public figure, the criticism leveled against at public figures should be “verified” and “well-researched” and “should not be used to damage a public and political figure at all costs”. In a court presided over by Magistrate Gabriella Vella, the court ordered Farrugia to pay €5,000 in damages.
KARNIVAL SPONTANJU TAN-NADUR 2020
Ritratti minn Mario Muscat.
L-AĦĦAR DISKORS FIL-PARLAMENT MINN SIMON BUSUTTIL
Messaġġ wieħed: Id-demokrazija tagħna tinsab f'koma. Anzi, fuq life-support. Ejja nżommu ħajja l-fjamma ta' tama li xegħlna li għad nerġgħu ngħixu f'DEMOKRAZIJA TA' VERU, kif jixirqilna.
Degiorgios reached out to Chris Cardona with a bail request, Melvin Theuma tells court The middleman mentions "four others" involved in the plot to murder Daphne Caruana Galizia but is unable to identify the individuals in court and plays down his own assertion
20 February 2020, 3:31pm by David Hudson
Middleman Melvin Theuma (pictured) told the court that Mario Degiorgio and his brothers, accused of executing Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder, had reached out to Chris Cardona (inset) for a bail request, which the former minister ignored
George and Alfred Degiorgio had reached out to former economy minister Chris Cardona with a bail request but Cardona had ignored the message, middleman Melvin Theuma said in court on Thursday. Testifying during the compilation of evidence against murder suspect Yorgen Fenech, Theuma said that Mario Degiorgio, brother to the two accused of executing Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder, had told him that Cardona had ignored his brothers’ request for bail.
“If anyone could help them, Cardona knew all of the judges. Mario had told me that Cardona had ignored them over the bail though. They had sent him a message to him over the bail but he ignored them,” Theuma said during his testimony. The court continued to hear Theuma’s secret recordings of conversations he had had with Fenech—whilst most of the audio was muffled and incomprehensible, the names of former chief of staff Keith Schembri and former tourism minister Chris Cardona could be clearly heard amongst blasphemy.
“Cardona is more familiar [with the courts] than ix-Xih (former prime minister Joseph Muscat). The other one wasn’t in court,” Theuma said, replying to chief investigator Keith Arnaud’s questions about why Cardona might have been the Degiorgios’ preferred contact. When Theuma was pressed on this issue by parte civile lawyer Jason Azzopardi, Theuma was evasive.
“Can you explain to me how people in prison accused of murder decided to speak to a minister to help them with bail?” Azzopardi asked. Theuma said that Cardona had been mentioned in news reports and was familiar with the law courts. “I never asked,” Theuma finally said. The middleman also made reference to “four others” that might have been involved in the murder besides himself and Fenech. When asked about who these four might be, Theuma said he couldn’t reply and that it was an arbitrary number that he had come up with. “I just assumed that there were others,” he said.
The court suspended Theuma’s testimony and made a note that the next recordings to be heard in the next sitting would mention other names that are subject to an investigation. The court has ordered the testimony of Schembri alongside Johann Cremona and Kenneth Camilleri, who formed part of Muscat’s former security detail.
Neville Gafa says he handed back diplomatic passport to new PM; Daphne's writing 'hurt me' By Albert Galea Wednesday, 19 February 2020,
Former OPM employee Neville Gafa said today that he had given back the diplomatic passport that had been given to him to new Robert Abela when the latter had been elected Prime Minister. Testifying in the public inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, Gafa said that in Joseph Muscat's time as PM it was felt that he (Gafa) should be given a diplomatic passport given the situation in Libya and his contacts there.
Gafa said that Caruana Galizia's writings used to hurt him and he had reacted by doing the same things she did to other people, like posting photos of her. "She used to do it to other people, to friends of mine," he told the board of inquiry. He said that he had never taken any pictures of the slain journalist but had received many from other people.. Gafa said he never spoken to Keith Schembri, former OPM chief of staff, about the Panama Papers, but notes that Schembri had denied things both publicly and personally many times. He said that he is still in contact with Schembri every day.
Gafa was set to testify last Monday but a lengthy earlier testimony led the board to postpone Gafa’s intervention. OPM employee Nigel Vella testified first. Judge Michael Mallia is leading the inquiry, with the other two members of the board being chief Justice Joseph Said Pullicino and Madam Justice Abigail Lofaro. The inquiry was set up to determine whether any wrongful action or omission by, or within, any State entity facilitated the assassination or failed to prevent it and to establishing whether the State had and has in place effective criminal law provisions and other practical means to avoid the development of a de facto state of impunity through the frequent occurrence of unresolved criminal acts. Jason Azzopardi and Therese Comodini Cachia are representing the Caruana Galizia family. State Advocate Victoria Buttigieg was also present. Follow the minute-by-minute session below. Please refresh for latest updates 4.45pm: The public inquiry will continue on Friday 21 February at 9am with the testimony of Glenn Bedingfield. Other sittings will follow on Wednesday 26 February at 2pm when Petra Caruana Dingli and Gloria Beacon are expected to testify. Andre Camilleri, formerly of the MFSA, has also been mentioned as potentially testifying on that same day. The inquiry then continues on Friday 28 February at 11am with Ray Barbara and Kenneth Camilleri expected to testify. 4.42pm: That brings Gafa's testimony to a close. 4.36pm: Azzopardi's questions now shift to Keith Schembri. He asks whether Schembri had spoken to him about any involvement by Chris Cardona in the murder - Cardona claims an attempt was made to pin the murder on him. Gafa replies in the negative. He says that he had spoken to Schembri about the allegations against him, and he had "immediately denied them" with him. Gafa at one point states that Schembri was "disappointed that Yorgen [Fenech, accused with complicity in the murder] is lying about him". 4.34pm: Gafa is asked whether Kenneth Camilleri had ever told him about the meeting he (Camilleri) had had with Melvin Theuma. Gafa says no, pointing out that he had never asked about these allegations - something which Azzopardi finds it hard to believe given that the duo were friends. 4.27pm: Gafa confirms that he still meets Keith Schembri every day. He is asked about Schembri's lost mobile, to which Gafa states that Schembri had simply told him that he had lost his phone. Gafa confirmed that Schembri was panicked when he lost his phone, but did not say much more to him. He also confirmed that Schembri was indeed in a late-night meeting at Joseph Muscat's house. 4.24pm: Azzopardi is asked by the board about the relevance of his inquiries about Libya - although Gafa tells the board that he has no problem answering questions. Azzopardi explains that there is a pattern where employees in the OPM are acting beyond their roles, which could relate to the case. 4.22pm: Azzopardi asks why Kenneth Camilleri went to Libya with him. Gafa states he used to take Camilleri with him because this was a war-zone and he needed someone whom he could trust to protect him. 4.20pm: The questions turn to Gafa's work in Libya. He states that he had met a militia leader of his own accord and not on anybody's brief. "I shoulder responsibility myself," he says. "With my intervention, thousands of migrants were stopped from coming to Malta. I coordinated between the AFM and Libyan coastguard. When we would know where the boats were, we informed the Libyan coastguard about their location so that they could go and save them. Otherwise thousands would have died," he says. 4.17pm: Gafa states that it had been Chris Fearne who had terminated his contract, noting that he had not been given a reason for it. Azzopardi asks whether this was due to his unannounced trips to Libya, but Gafa rejects this, noting that Fearne was aware of the trips. Azzopardi asks whether he had been told to censor himself by the Prime Minister (Joseph Muscat) as it was not proper to attack a journalist. Gafa notes that this had happened and that he had removed posts in this sense. 4.13pm: Jason Azzopardi now asks about Gafa's job history. He points out that he was employed at the Foundation for Medical Services under Konrad Mizzi. Soon after Chris Fearne's appointment, he had started working in Gozo. Azzopardi asks who had approved the transfer. Gafa states that he had asked for the transfer himself. "Yes. I already used to go to Gozo twice a week. I was stationed at Guardamangia but it wasn't suitable for my work and so I asked to relocate to Gozo." 4.06pm: Gafa says he never spoken to Keith Schembri about the Panama Papers, but notes that Schembri had denied things both publicly and personally many times. He states that he had spoken to Schembri about his resignation. In answer to a separate question, he states that he had never heard the story about fuel smuggling in connection with Caruana Galizia's murder. He states there was never any direction to try and deviate the media in such a manner 4.05pm: He is asked about the Truth Project, and he says he had no idea it existed. He says he had only learned about the term Truth Project some weeks ago. 4.03pm: He is now shown an image where it reads that "a certain Gafa compared Daphne's funeral to a carnival". Gafa denies writing this or making this comparison, noting that he was not in Malta at the time. He states that he does not agree with the description. 4.02pm: Gafa continues to insist that he never took pictures of Caruana Galizia. He is confronted with an image of Caruana Galizia taken in Valletta. He states that he remembers seeing her in Valletta in he same clothes as the ones in the image, but again says that he did not take pictures of her. 4pm: The questions turn to security at Castille. He says that the army is responsible, and that the Prime Minister has his own security service. Gafa states that Ray Barbara would look after these details. 3.59pm: The board questions Gafa's reasons behind posting such images even though he is not a journalist. "It sounds bad, but it's the same as she used to do to other people", he replies. "So that makes it okay?" "My father got a stroke because of her articles, three years ago right after she started writing about me", he replies. 3.57pm: Therese Comodini Cachia now starts her own set of questions. Gafa is asked about captions he wrote on social media which detailed Caruana Galizia's movements. Gafa says that he knew the movements because people told him where they had seen her. "Did you ever see her in Valletta?", Comodini Cachia asks. "Yes, I knew her and had a good rapport with her", he replies. "Where did you know her?", the board asks "From when I used to work at a shop specialising in glasses - I sometimes even served her myself", he replies. 3.54pm: Gafa confirms that Fenech and Schembri are good friends, but he repeats that he never saw Fenech at Castille. 3.53pm: The atmosphere is much calmer than last Monday's sitting. Gafa is soft-spoken, while the lawyers look on, listening intently. 3.52pm: "Do you know anyone who was pleased about her death?" the board asks. "Never in the Office of the Prime Minister. It's a homicide," he says. He is asked about 17 Black, and he says that he knows nothing more than what the media has said about it. He is asked whether he had spoken to Keith Schembri about the subject, even after it was revealed to be Yorgen Fenech's. "No, never", he replies. 3.50pm: Judge Mallia asks about the picture of Caruana Galizia and her husband that he had published the day before she was assassinated. He confirms that he did post the pictures but notes that he did not take them. "A lot of people sent me the photos," he says. "Why did you do it?", the board asks. Gafa momentarily pauses, before saying that "She used to do it to other people, to friends of mine". 3.47pm: Gafa faces questions about how Schembri felt about Caruana Galizia's writing. Gafa explains that Schembri had never retaliated, but certain stories - such as when Caruana Galizia had said that Schembri has cancer and has three years to live - had an effect on him and his family. 3.45pm: Gafa states that he had also worked at the Gozo Ministry at a point, and had opened an office. He states that he was granted a diplomatic passport which he had handed back to Robert Abela when the latter became Prime Minister. He said that OPM had felt that due to the situation in Libya he should have a diplomatic passport, and also confirms that he had once gone to Libya with Kenneth Camilleri. However, he says that he has never been abroad with Keith Schembri or met him abroad. 3.41pm: He said that he had once been contacted by Caruana Galizia on a Sunday morning about a story which she was working on, but he had not answered her. "Because I had not replied, she took it as if I was confirming her theory", he said. He noted that he is not under any criminal investigation. 3.37pm: Gafa is handed a pack of papers - ostensibly one of the dossiers that Corinne Vella - and asked to identify some of his posts. He obliges. Judge Mallia asks why he felt the need to post such images. "Because her writing used to hurt me a lot", he said. 3.34pm: He is shown pictures which he had posted. He says that there was no particular reason why he had repeatedly posted the same pictures of Caruana Galizia. He says that these pictures are publicly available and can be found on Google. "I never personally took any pictures of Caruana Galizia," Gafa points out. 3.33pm: The board points out that he had uploaded numerous posts attacking Daphne Caruana Galizia. "I did, but she did on me as well [...] the worst was that she used to upload pictures of my family," Gafa replies as he hands the board a folder of her posts which made reference to him. "Were your posts a retaliation?" the board asks. "Yes, I would think so," Gafa says. 3.32pm: Gafa also confirms that he is also a patient of Adrian Vella, the doctor who allegedly acted as secret messenger between Keith Schembri and Yorgen Fenech. He confirms that Vella knows Schembri as well. 3.31pm: Gafa is asked whether he remained friends with Keith Schembri even after his resignation. "Yes of course", he replies. The board points out that he lives very close to Schembri - Gafa confirms this, noting they only live 5 minutes away. 3.29pm: He says that he never saw Yorgen Fenech at Castille. He is asked about Kenneth Camilleri. "He was a colleague of mine, and we are friends", Gafa replies before confirming that Camilleri still works there. 3.28pm: Gafa is asked about his relationship with Keith Schembri. "Were you friends?" - "Yes", he replies. Gafa explains that he got to know Schembri in 2008 having helped in the election of Joseph Muscat as Labour Party leader. 3.27pm: He reveals that he was always a person of trust within the Prime Minister's office, even when he worked with the health ministry. He says that he used to represent the health ministry at Castille, noting that every ministry had a representative there. 3.25pm: Gafa is asked about his current employment. He states that at the moment he is not employed, but notes that "I was coordinator of the Prime Minister before resigning in January this year". Before that, he states, he worked with the health ministry as of 2013. He explains that he had become the Prime Minister's coordinator in November 2019. He explains that this role was to coordinate between the Prime Minister and other ministries. "I was in the second floor, the same as the Prime Minister", he explains. 3.22pm: Neville Gafa now takes the stand. Gafa takes the oath with a difference - he takes the oath on the Koran. 3.18pm: Corinne Vella, Daphne's sister, now takes the stand to submit another batch of information concerning Neville Gafa - who will testify in the coming minutes - to complement what she had submitted to the board last Monday. The dossier is 45 pages long and includes more posts from Gafa's social media accounts about Caruana Galizia. 3.17pm: The argument dies down and brings Vella's testimony to an end. 3.16pm: Jason Azzopardi asks whether Vella had ever written blogs for the Labour Party while he served as a public servant. Vella says he did, but does not see the problem in expressing his opinions noting that members of the previous administration had done the same thing. The article in question was from January 2019 and the subject was Godfrey Leone Ganado. Further arguments ensue between the lawyers and the witness, but the inquiry shouts them down, saying the lawyers will be thrown out of the sitting if they don't behave. 3.11pm: Comodini Cachia points out that since Vella was working with the Labour Party, perhaps he can answer things about the goings-on in the Labour Party Headquarters. "I was on the third floor", Vella explains but states that he cannot remember who he had seen there. He does point out that he had never seen Sandro Chetcuti there. 3.06pm: Comodini Cachia asks whether he had discussed statements with Keith Schembri and what his relationship with him was. Vella states that Schembri was his chief of staff, and that for statements he simply used to follow direction or points given from his superiors in order to draft the statements. 3.02pm: The questions change topic. Comodini Cachia asks whether there were any government statements which referenced and identified Caruana Galizia by name, to which Vella replies that he does not recall exactly, but does not know what went on before July 2017. 3.01pm: Vella is asked where a particular person works, but states he doesnt know. "Doesn't some common sense come to you to protect all the people inside? Haven't you raised alarm as to who these people were? This is a serious security breach," the board tells Vella. Vella remains silent, before finally saying that it is not his duty to do so. "So if someone is killing someone in front of you, you wouldn't do anything because it's not your job," Madam Justice Lofaro replies. The board is increasingly annoyed at Vella - Madam Justice Lofaro is in an especially bullish mood. 2.57pm: Vella names Joseph Scerri, Nikhail Spiteri, Jason Bonnici, Nigel Vella (an electrician), and Ronnie Vella from the pictures - his superior Matthew Carbone had identified them last Monday as well. He also identified Lionel Gerada - the Malta Tourism Authority's Events Director, whom Carbone had said was some sort of supplier. Reuben Sciberras, Joseph Catania, and Mark Gauci are three others who Vella identifies. 2.52pm: Vella is now identifying people from the photos, but not before noting that the majority of them had already been identified. Therese Comodini Cachia points out that if he did not know the names of the persons, he could at least mention where he recognises them from. Another argument ensues between the witness and Madam Justice Lofaro, as she questions how he could not know who the people in the room were. "What if one of them was armed?", she questions. "It's not my problem - I don't let them in," he replies although he also notes that there were people who had acted in a threatening manner towards them. "Including those in the room?", Lofaro asks. "No," he replies. "But to the journalists, they were (threatening)," Lofaro states - "That's what you're saying," Vella fires back. It's a remark which Lofaro doesn't take kindly to: "You're being arrogant. Watch how you answer. We aren't at the monti," she says. 2.46pm: The board notes that Vella was waiting right behind the door on that night, and ask what he was doing there. "Waiting for the Prime Minister", he replies. 2.42pm: Madam Justice Lofaro is especially losing her patience with Vella, and insists that he answers the "yes or no" question. Vella again replies that it was standard practice. "So you are saying that yes the journalists could not exit", Lofaro tells him. "That's not what I said", Vella replies. "So you are not going to answer the question", Lofaro fires back. Vella says that he has answered it. "You should have brought a tape recorder and pressed the button to say the exact same thing over and over," Lofaro sarcastically replies to him. 2.40pm: Questions turn to the events on 28 and 29 November, when journalists were kept inside the Ambassador's Hall in Castille for a few minutes after the press conference given by then PM Joseph Muscat on the decision not to give immunity to Yorgen Fenech, the man accused with complicity in the murder.. Vella states that no journalists were locked into the room and that the handling of the matter was "normal practice". The board is not convinced at all and points out that the journalists had tried to leave but weren't allowed. "Where they blocked from exiting? Yes or No?", they ask. Vella replies: "Let me explain the process" The board intervenes again "Yes or no?" Vella repeats the same thing, which irritates the board further. 2.37pm: "We are here to find the truth. If nobody is telling us the truth, then we aren't going to find it", Judge Said Pullicino explains. "I can only tell you what I know", Vella states. "You seem to know nothing then", Lofaro fires back before reminding him that he is under oath.
2.36pm: The board has remained on this issue, with Vella repeating that he was simply doing his job and what he was told. The board is not at all impressed. "Why did they hire you if you can't even pass feedback or contribute?", the board tell Vella (above). "It seems that you aren't understanding my job", Vella replies - to which the board fires back that they know far more about his job than he does. 2.31pm: Judge Said Pullicino asks whether there was a change of atmosphere at Castille after Caruana Galizia's assassination. Vella says that personally he was shocked at what happened, but the board intervenes and asks for a more general explanation. Vella says that there were of course discussions, but in connection with his work in the communications team. 2.29pm: The questions turn to 17 Black, with the board asking whether the case had been discussed with his superiors. Vella states that he had once made a reference to it on the street with Keith Schembri, but nothing more than that. 2.28pm: "We never made any conditions when journalists wanted to speak to us," Vella says when asked whether they had made any stipulations with journalists about subjects which were off-limits in interviews with Joseph Muscat. 2.27pm: Judge Mallia asks Vella what he would say if it resulted that he had in fact shared material from the Truth Project. Vella replies that he doesn't think that he has shared such items. Madam Justice Lofaro intervenes and states that it resulted that he had. "Watch out because you are under oath," Lofaro warns. Vella repeats that he doesn't think he has shared any such content. 2.25pm: He states that he does not know about the 'Truth Project', or about a blog called 'Taste Your Own Medicine', although he states that he did know about Glen Bedingfield's blog. 2.24pm: Vella explains that his job is only focused on communicating the government's message and is never involved in any government discussions on policy. He is asked about the claims the Caruana Galizia murder was connected to fuel smuggling - a story which apparently emanated from Castille. "No one ever told me anything about that story," he replies. 2.21pm: Vella is asked whether he ever saw Yorgen Fenech at Castille, to which he replies categorically that he never did. He does note however that he did not have access to the floor where Keith Schembri's office was. Schembri was the OPM chief of staff until last November when he resigned after his name cropped up during police investigations into the murder. 2.20pm: Vella is asked about statements and press events he organised related to the Daphne Caruana Galizia case. "I did what I was told and I facilitated that the press conference go ahead", Vella says. Madam Justice Lofaro tries to push Vella - "You're experienced in your role, surely you gave your own input?". "I only did as my superiors told me to," Vella replies. 2.16pm: He explains his job, which involves issuing press releases and coordinating other statements and events. 2.12pm: Nigel Vella to testify first. He is the deputy head of government communications. He has held this role since August 2019, but has been working at Castille since 2017. Prior to that he was communications director of the Labour Party. 2.11pm: Judges enter the courtroom. Sitting to start. 2.05pm: Nigel Vella, who is also to testify, is also present. Daphne's parenst are in the countroom too. 1.50pm: Neville Gafa is at the law courts. Sitting should start at 2pm
‘People will be shocked when they learn why Muscat called early election’, Jason Azzopardi claims PN MP Jason Azzopardi says people will be shocked when they get to know why Joseph Muscat had called a snap election in 2017
18 February 2020, 7:23pm by Massimo Costa
PN MP Jason Azzopardi said people will be shocked when they know the true reason former prime minister Joseph Muscat called an early election in 2017
Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi has alleged that there is a sinister reason why Joseph Muscat had called an early election in 2017, a year before his term had been due to end.
Azzopardi said that the revelations which emerged in the past months from the investigation into Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder had been shocking, but that the reason behind Muscat calling an early election would be even more of a shock.
Former prime minister Muscat had announced on 1 May 2017 that a snap election would be held the following month, on 3 June. The reason given for this was that it was meant to settle political uncertainty which emerged from Caruana Galizia’s claims that Egrant was owned by Muscat’s wife, Michelle Muscat. Azzopardi, who was speaking in Parliament on Tuesday during a debate on the new method for appointing the police commissioner, said that the reason for the early election “is much more serious than people think”. The PN MP, who is a lawyer to the Caruana Galizia family in the ongoing murder case and public inquiry, said that “Ix-Xiħ (Joseph Muscat) was very worried. He had a lot about which to be worried.” Azzopardi also made reference to Muscat’s use of his private josephmuscat.com email address - a matter also brought up in court yesterday during the public inquiry into the Caruana Galizia murder. “When the moment comes, we will know why Muscat, right up until the last days he was prime minister, kept using his private email address for government work,” he said. “There is a reason for using a private email for government work - not to leave a trace. And you will get to know why Muscat used his private email.” Azzopardi added that he was challenging Prime Minister Robert Abela to enact a law which would make it a criminal offence for a public official to use his or her private email for their government job.
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg 'interested' in using Malta as testing groundMEP Roberta Metsola invites Facebook CEO to Malta By Claudia Calleja FacebookTwitterEmailFacebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is “interested” in visiting Malta to use the country’s unique social media landscape as a testing ground for new products to strengthen digital regulation, Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola said. Dr Metsola told Times of Malta that she invited Mr Zuckerberg to visit Malta and Gozo to see the islands’ potential for himself. “For his part, Facebook's CEO was very interested and said discussions will continue,” she said. During their discussion she raised the prospect of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp using Malta and Gozo and the specific realities of the country – with more than 80 per cent of the population on social media, most people getting their news from the platform and an independent media landscape with strong societal roots and clear lines of ownership - as a testing ground for new products and services that could be rolled out in the future.
We need to see how to ensure... ethical standards are adhered to and the information people find online is reliable and transparent.
Dr Metsola, who is the EPP spokesperson on these issues and the head of the PN delegation to the European Parliament, spoke to Mr Zuckerberg over a two-hour dinner in Brussels on Monday evening. Some 10 people representing European politicians leading the debate on digital regulation, privacy, hate speech and fighting disinformation and 'fake news' attended the dinner. Speaking on The Morning Vibe, a radio morning show on Vibe FM, on Wednesday morning Dr Metsola said she was sitting right across the table from Mr Zuckerberg during the dinner. They spoke about the need for legislators and tech companies to play their part in keeping people and businesses safe online, stopping hate and extremism while protecting privacy, safeguarding freedom of speech while fighting disinformation, and ensuring the media is able to bring people the truth. "We need to make sure that our legal frameworks are adaptable in this digital age to make sure we champion innovation and keep people and their data safe at the same time. Social media has changed the way our world works, and how we respond to real-time challenges, but the debate cannot be limited to social media, we need to see how to ensure the potential of things like artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, e-sports and more are grasped while ensuring ethical standards are adhered to and the information people find online is reliable and transparent," she said.
Parliament to debate police chief selection method today First time that the police commissioner will be chosen after a public call By Ivan Martin
Former police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar.Previous administrations had not changed the way police commissioners are appointed for fear of “losing their grip” over the country’s institutions, Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri said. He was commenting ahead of a debate set to be held in Parliament today over proposed changes to the method of appointing police chiefs.
Currently, it is the prime minister’s sole prerogative to appoint the person who leads the police force. Under the proposed new process, applicants will be screened by a public sector body and people from outside the police force will be eligible for the top post. The Public Service Commission will select two candidates and the prime minister will then choose which one will face a grilling in Parliament.
The House will then vote to approve or reject that candidate. The system falls short of the one proposed by the Opposition which would have seen the sensitive role approved by a two-thirds parliamentary majority.
This will be the first time in Malta’s history
The new mechanism to appoint the police commissioner after a public call does appears to tally with the specific recommendations found in a report by constitutional experts on what is known as the Venice Commission. The proposed new system was announced by Prime Minister Robert Abela last month in the wake of the resignation of former commissioner Lawrence Cutajar. He had been the fifth police commissioner since Labour swept to power in 2013. Dr Camilleri said it was “an important first step to bring about much-needed change in the police force”. “This will be the first time in Malta’s history that the police commissioner will be chosen after a public call. By changing the way the police commissioner is appointed, we are increasing the level of scrutiny in the selection process for this pivotal role in the Police Force,” he said. The government, the minister added, was implementing the change that past administrations had been reluctant to make.
FLAG OF THE KNIGHTS OF ST. PETER & ST. PAUL
The flag of the Confraternity of the Knights of St. Peter & St. Paul created by the Grand Master Chevalier Peter Paul Portelli and put in details by Ross Sabatini.
The flag is now registered as a Trade Mark in the Australian Federal Government IP Australia. Our aim is that one day the flag will fly in St. Peter Paul Square in Nadur during the feast of Mnarja.
Good governance will remain one of our priorities, PM Abela says By Shona Berger Sunday, 16 February 2020,
Prime Minister Robert Abela strongly stated on Sunday that good governance will always be this government’s priority in order to ensura that what occurred in the past will never happen again. He added that during these crucial times, good governance is what is needed in order to return to normality, stability and tranquillity. This will ultimately lead to economic growth as well.
Abela delivered a two-hour speech during the closing session of the Labour Party’s extraordinary general conference, which is celebrating 100 years of the PL. He also spoke on the need for the country to have a strong Opposition. “We do not enjoy seeing the PN in crisis. We want to have an Opposition with which to debate.” Abela showed his gratitude to all those who show constant loyalty to the party, both in bad and good times. He said that, “while we are celebrating a 100 years of hard work and strength of the Labour party, we will surely not stop there.” He added that the Labour Party will further be strengthened by helping the public, especially those who are most in need. As a party in government it will continue to deliver positive news to the public, as a PL government is the only one that can offer stability to the country, Abela said.
Throughout these 100 years, the Labour Party carried out a number of reforms because it wanted the country to grow successfully. Abela said, however, that there is still much to do because, although the country has moved forward, there are still a number of pockets within society that do not feel that they have benefited. “We are eager to do it for the sake and love of our country,” Abela said, adding that the government aims to eliminate all forms of discrimination in all sectors within society because it believes in balance, justice and equality. The Labour Party is built on integrity, discipline and loyalty, he said, values that help better the country future generations, helping them to grow, be successful and feel proud that they form part of this nation. This political force never looked back and is remains determined to implement change for the good of the country, he said.
Abela said the PL has faced very difficult times and it has also made mistakes, however it is a party which has and is still learning from its mistakes. He added that the PL has one factor which clearly distinguishes it from other parties, which is the love for the country and for its people. Abela said that the party is open to everyone, and is pulling in people more than ever before. He is proud of the fact that the PL accepts a diversity of people, regardless of who they are. Ultimately, “the labour party worked and will keep on working,” in order to improve our country, he said. This will also be done by exploring other sectors and developing them. Abela said that the government is focusing on new sectors, which will undoubtedly come with its challenges. However it is aware of them and is determined to look at them with an open vision. People know that the PL in government only can offer them stability. Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne also said that the PL in government is able to govern successfully and as “the results speak for themselves.” He discussed three particular challenges that the PL aims to overcome. As a party in government it aims to seize the opportunity and learn from past mistakes and do its utmost to correct wrongdoings. Projects that are doing well should continue, but projects that are inadequate should be stopped, he said. “We need to grab the bulls by its horns and recognize what is bad and what is good, not only as a government but also as a political party,” he added.
‘We told you so,’ PN says as it reacts to IMF’s concerns on foreign labour influx Nationalist Party spokespeople Mario de Marco and Kristy Debono say IMF’s warnings reflect Opposition’s long-held concerns on the economy and country’s reputation
16 February 2020, by Kurt Sansone
Opposition MPs Kristy Debono and Mario de Marco (File photo)
The International Monetary Fund’s assessment on Malta is a reflection of concerns that have long been flagged by the Opposition, Mario de Marco and Kristy Debono said. The Nationalist Party spokespeople noted how the IMF raised concern on the economy’s dependence on foreign labour and the country’s failure to adequately address money laundering concerns. De Marco and Debono were reacting to the IMF’s annual mission report on Malta, which was released on Friday.
The IMF report provided the PN with a ‘we told you so’ moment, having been critical of the social impact of foreign labour and the government’s failure to take anti-money laundering concerns seriously. The report recognised the country’s above average economic growth, which however, would moderate to 4% this year as investment is affected by global uncertainty and as private consumption moderates. The IMF commended Malta’s prudent fiscal policy and structural reforms over the past few years that helped boost employment, build fiscal buffers and promote social cohesion.
However, it also cautioned that sustaining strong performance would require that Malta address key challenges, including addressing money laundering concerns and the social pressures caused by dependence on foreign labour. “As the Nationalist Party has frequently remarked, although such approach [influx of foreign workers] inflates economic statistics positively, the IMF comments how this created significant pressures on housing, infrastructure and natural resources, to the detriment of the Maltese population,” the PN said. For the past two years, the Opposition has been critical of what it describes as government’s dependence on foreign labour to boost the GDP, while putting downward pressure on wages as a result of cheap labour, higher housing rents and increased demand on public services. De Marco and Debono noted that despite government's continuous promises that it has taken Moneyval's anti-money laundering recommendations seriously, the IMF issued another critical assessment of Malta's approach. They urged the government to take heed of the IMF warning that “if not tackled in a timely manner, deficiencies in Malta's AML framework could result in further pressures on correspondent banking, damage the country's attractiveness for investment and threaten financial stability”. The PN spokespeople also noted the IMF’s positive remarks on initiatives to attract more women and elderly people to the workplace taken over the past few years and agreed with recommendations for further reforms to close the skill-gaps through innovation.
Adrian Delia has majority support among PN members but a third want him out 16 February 2020,
By Kurt Sansone
Adrian Delia continues to draw on the support of Nationalist Party members with 56.8% saying he should not resign, a MaltaToday survey among PN tesserati shows
MaltaToday's survey among PN members gives Delia majority support among tesserati but leaves him with a third who want him out
Adrian Delia continues to draw on the support of Nationalist Party members with 56.8% saying he should not resign, a MaltaToday survey among PN tesserati shows.
However, a third of members (33.6%) believe the party leader should resign, with the biggest resistance coming from the 10th electoral district, a traditional PN stronghold. The survey also shows that Delia enjoys a high trust rating among members, as opposed to his parliamentary group that receives a medium score. MaltaToday obtained an anonymised list of party members that included their age, geographic distribution by electoral district and gender. The survey suggests a split allegiance between PN members in the southern electoral districts and those in the northern areas. Delia enjoys stronger support in the south.
Read the full results now in MaltaToday in print • Get your PDF copy here Adrian Delia has faced two weeks of internal strife with renewed calls for his resignation from members of his parliamentary group. The Nationalist Party leader has dug his heels in, refusing to step down and warning rebellious MPs to toe the line or move out. The ruckus that erupted led to the resignations of former secretary-general Clyde Puli, former party president Kristy Debono and deputy leader Robert Arrigo, who will step down next month. Delia has insisted he was elected by party members to serve until the next general election, a mandate that was reconfirmed by party councillors last summer. He has warned that the PN has to change its mentality and start implementing a reform process. In the midst of this internal strife MaltaToday carried out a survey among PN members, asking them whether Delia should resign. We also asked the tesserati to rate their trust in Delia and the parliamentary group. The results give a snapshot of what the PN’s membership base thinks and how this is reflected on a district level.
Carnival in Nadur start today Photo by Mario Muscat
MaltaToday survey among PN members out on Sunday We asked Nationalist Party members whether Adrian Delia should resign. The results of MaltaToday’s survey among the party tesserati will be out in Sunday’s print edition
15 February 2020, 3:19pm by Kurt Sansone
MaltaToday's survey among PN members will be out tomorrow
Adrian Delia has faced two weeks of internal strife with renewed calls for his resignation from members of his parliamentary group. The Nationalist Party leader has dug his heels in, refusing to step down and warning rebellious MPs to toe the line or move out. The ruckus that erupted led to the resignations of former secretary-general Clyde Puli, former party president Kristy Debono and deputy leader Robert Arrigo, who will step down next month. Delia has insisted he was elected by party members to serve until the next general election, a mandate that was reconfirmed by party councillors last summer. He has warned that the PN has to change its mentality and start implementing a reform process. In the midst of this internal strife MaltaToday carried out a survey among PN members, asking them whether Delia should resign. We also asked the tesserati to rate their trust in Delia and the parliamentary group.
The results give a snapshot of what the PN’s membership base thinks and how this is reflected on a district level. Get the results in tomorrow’s print edition of MaltaToday.
'Phone in Mellieħa, motorbike in Sliema': how police caught overtime cheatsSergeant was racket's suspected coordinator, with a fixer named 'Deo' also named By Ivan Martin, Matthew Xuereb
Overtime abuse was rampant within the police traffic section, investigators believe.
Officers claim traffic sergeant led racket
Fixer named 'Deo' would book under-the-table work
Overtime cheats caught using mobile phone location data
A decorated police sergeant has been named by his colleagues as the alleged coordinator of a traffic unit overtime racket, sources close to the investigation say. The sergeant, a veteran of the unit, was among seven people who resigned this week as part of a probe into officers claiming pay for jobs they never carried out. His role as the alleged main coordinator of the widespread abuse emerged along with other fresh details about the investigation first revealed by Times of Malta on Tuesday. The sergeant’s official duties involved handling bookings and logistics for motorcycle officers, but investigators have been told that he was the main coordinator of the widespread abuse. Police said that 41 members of the approximately 50-strong traffic unit have been arrested this week over the allegations made by a whistle blower. As well as the seven resignations - which included Walter Spiteri, the superintendent who led the section - some 35 officers have been suspended. No-one has yet been charged and some 31 people have been released on police bail. The probe is being coordinated the Economic Crimes Unit, Criminal Investigations Department, and the Internal Affairs Unit. How investigators caught overtime cheatsFurther detail has also emerged over how investigators were able to probe officers weren’t doing the extra work that they were claiming compensation for. This included comparing information from tracking devices on the motorcycles with triangulation data, which is information on the exact location and time a mobile phone is used.
“We found that in some cases the motorcycle was in Sliema, say, but the officer’s mobile phone was in Mellieħa – how do you explain that?” a source said. The investigation has also uncovered a practice of officers taking bookings, via an intermediary known as “Deo”. This person has been identified and is being investigated, but Times of Malta has been told that he would take bookings for traffic officers to conduct extra off-the-books work that should have only been done if assigned to them by their commanding officer. They would then split the cash payment with “Deo”. A source familiar with the practice said he had paid two traffic officers around €200 in cash for four hours work, after he was put in touch with “Deo” through a friend. A police source said senior officers were aware of the issue and that it was being dealt with internally. They also downplayed the issue, saying it boiled down to “a matter of supply and demand”. “If you need an officer and one isn’t available no matter how many times you call the depot, then I suppose getting through to one directly is a good alternative for some. Unfortunately, while some officers saw this as a way to make some extra cash, it is not acceptable and action must now be taken,” a senior source said. Allegations of rampant overtime abuse were first made in December when now Energy Minster Michael Farrugia, was the home affairs minister at the time. He said police overtime was reviewed annually during his tenure and that no major irregularities were ever flagged. Internal investigations into the abuse started as soon as the claims were flagged, he said. Asked who he felt should take responsibility for the alleged racket, Dr Farrugia said whichever officers were involved should face repercussions. On his part, he said he had done his duty by forwarding the whistle blower’s complaint to the police for an investigation.
Daphne murder suspect Yorgen Fenech considered buying Malta Independent
Fenech sent out feelers about joint €2m bid for newspaper with Silvio Debono By Jacob Borg
Yorgen Fenech last December. Photo: Mark Zammit CordinaMurder suspect Yorgen Fenech had sent out feelers in 2016 about a €2 million proposal to buy The Malta Independent with hotelier Silvio Debono.
Slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who wrote about both men’s business interests, derived her main source of income from the newspapers and its publications, family members have confirmed.
Contacted by Times of Malta, a spokesman for the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation said the proposed buyout would have left Ms Caruana Galizia more vulnerable to “their attacks”. At the time of the approach, The Malta Independent had access to the Panama Papers, which laid bare plans by former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri and former energy and tourism minister Konrad Mizzi to receive up to $2 million from 17 Black, owned by Yorgen Fenech. The 17 Black e-mail had not yet been unearthed when the proposed buyout was being discussed. It was only revealed in 2018 by the Daphne Project.
We exercised caution from the outset
Mr Debono had slapped Ms Caruana Galizia with 19 libel suits in 2017 following a series of articles by the journalist about a transfer of prime public land at the St George’s Bay shoreline. Mr Fenech was last November charged with complicity in the journalist’s murder, who was killed in a car bombing in October 2017. A spokesman for Mr Debono confirmed to Times of Malta that db Group had been approached by Mr Fenech in 2016 to gauge interest in a “joint investment” in The Malta Independent. Mr Debono never played an active role in the proposed buyout, the spokesman said, adding that it was understood that Mr Fenech was representing Tumas Group. A source familiar with the proposal on the Tumas Group end said the idea was effectively vetoed by Ray Fenech, Yorgen Fenech’s uncle, as the group had no knowledge or interest in the media industry. A second source said former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri was “aware” of the proposal at the time it was being made. Questioned if Mr Schembri had played a role in orchestrating the proposed buyout, Mr Debono’s spokesman said db Group understood they were dealing exclusively with Tumas Group on a financial level. The spokesman said Mr Schembri did not have any involvement with them and neither was he involved in any way in subsequent meetings with Tumas Group. After two “exploratory meetings”, db Group abandoned the plan as the proposal was not financially viable, the spokesman said. “In addition, the media sector was never part of our group’s strategic growth targets. Consequently, we exercised caution from the outset,” the spokesman said. Replying to questions by Times of Malta, a spokesman for company management at The Malta Independent said it was common knowledge in media circles that there had been an approach by Mr Fenech “around 2015” to buy the publication. “At no stage had there been any mention whatsoever of Keith Schembri nor of Ms Caruana Galizia,” the spokesman said, when questioned if either individuals were ever mentioned vis-à-vis the deal. The spokesman said the approach, which was one of various others, fell through as the shareholders of The Independent chose not to proceed with discussions.
Matthew Caruana Galizia, one of Ms Caruana Galizia's sons, said Mr Fenech's attempt to buy the newspaper was intended "for the sole reason of cutting off her main source of income". "When that didn't work, he moved on to hire hitmen," he wrote on Facebook.
More police officers resign as overtime probe continues
41 arrested as police accept seven letters of resignation from traffic cops
Police are investigating overtime fraud by their own members.Three more police officers have resigned following a probe into rampant overtime abuse, as investigations into the racket continue to broaden. In a statement on Friday afternoon, the police said that seven officers from the force's traffic section had tendered their resignations. Earlier in the day, Times of Malta reported that four members of the section had resigned. Among those who resigned is Walter Spiteri, a superintendent who led the section at the heart of the suspected fraud.
Dozens of members of the force’s 50-strong traffic section are suspected of having been involved in the scam. Acting commissioner Carmelo Magri has now issued an internal call for applications for motorcycle-driving police officers to join the now-decimated traffic section. Forty-one officers have been arrested as suspects in the probe so far, the police said on Friday, up from 40 on Thursday. Of those, 31 have been released on police bail. The remaining 10 remain under arrest. Twenty-five officers have been suspended.
The suspected racket, which investigators say has been ongoing for years, involved officers claiming overtime for work they never did. The scheme was exposed by a whistleblower who sent an anonymous letter to then-police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar last December. Allegations centred on overtime abuse within the police force’s traffic section, but the probe is now understood to have broadened to other police departments.
Businessman Ivan Bartolo touted for top PN post
Thursday, 13 February 2020,
Former PN candidate and businessman Ivan Bartolo (not the MP) is being touted as a possible candidate for a top post after the Louis Galea reforms conclude, internal party sources told The Malta Independent.
Bartolo is no friend of Delia and had been at the forefront of a group of people calling for Adrian Delia’s resignation last July, when the party was facing a similar crisis.
He had even urged General Council members to vote against Delia in a confidence vote. Delia has faced a resurgence of calls to resign after a survey found that he had an abysmal trust rating, despite the political turmoil that hit the country last December. In the early hours of Wednesday morning, a meeting of the PN’s Executive committee came to a close. Francis Zammit Dimech was appointed as an interim Secretary General for the party, after Clyde Puli resigned from the post.
Among the proposed reforms being piloted by Louis Galea, is one to potentially change the post of Secretary General, and even consider changing it into the role of a CEO, this newsroom is informed. Indeed, PN Leader Adrian Delia, had said that in the reform, anything can happen from the abolition of the post of Secretary General to one that is different, to ideas whether it should be an MP to occupy it or not. Sources said that Bartolo is being pushed to contest the possible CEO or equivalent post that could be established. Given that key members of Delia’s team have stepped aside – Robert Arrigo from the post of Deputy Leader (although he will be staying on until the end of March), Clyde Puli as Secretary General and Kristy Debono as the President of the PN’s General Council - it could very well be that the embattled Delia will see himself surrounded by his adversaries. Francis Zammit Dimech, in taking over the post of Secretary General in the interim, will need to keep the party together until the reform concludes. Internal party sources said that the banks are uneasy with the recent spate of resignations and the PN’s outlook, and given the party’s financial situation, this could be worrisome. The sources explained that Delia told members of the executive during the meeting to keep the financial situation in mind before rushing to change officials. Delia told the members that Robert Arrigo should stay in his post of Treasurer for as long as possible, and the executive members kept Arrigo as acting Treasurer, the sources added.
A whistleblower who has come forward and exposed corruption in the Police Traffic Branch has claimed that officers would collect ‘protection money’ from a number of major construction firms and transport companies. In return, the officers would turn a blind eye and not dish out fines to these companies for traffic contraventions and other violations.
Up to 30 members of the Traffic Branch have been arrested as part of an investigation into what the police has described as overtime abuse. The Malta Independent is informed, however, that this is only the tip of the iceberg, and that the arrested officers are facing much more serious allegations. This newsroom is informed that the whistleblower revealed in December that several members of the Traffic Branch were due to start collecting cash and gifts from a number of companies. It is understood that the officers investigating the case were given details about how these payments would be collected.
Sources said the practice had been ongoing for a number of years, with the money collected going into a bank account administered by a particular police officer and later paid out to the members who were in on the racket. The Internal Affairs Unit was also told about other payments collected from contractors and company for a “Traffic Branch Christmas party that did not exist,” the sources said. Other allegations involve the “indefinite suspension” of traffic fines in exchange for money. This, the sources said, was done by logging into the LESA IT system, which the police have access to, and initiating a procedure to suspend pending fines.
Getting paid for doing nothing The Malta Independent can also reveal that the “overtime abuse” claims have nothing to do with overtime, but are rather related to extra duties that officers were logging in which were not being carried out. It is understood that Transport Malta had issued a contract to the Traffic Branch for the latter to provide officers to monitor traffic flow at the Marsa Junction. Initially, officers who were on normal duty were performing these extra duties instead of the people actually assigned to them (extra duties cannot be carried out during normal working hours). This means that officers who were supposed to be monitoring traffic in Marsa were actually staying at home, while their colleagues who were on normal shifts were doing the work in their stead. Eventually, no officers were performing these extra duties, but Transport Malta was still being invoiced for the work and was paying for it, sending cheques directly to the Traffic Branch. These cheques were then being cashed into the same bank account mentioned earlier, with the money later being paid out to the officers. Sources said the officers who were taking part in this racket were disconnecting the GPS tracking devices on their motorcycles. The racket was, however, uncovered during the investigation using other means. Some officers were claiming payments for extra duties when they do not even know how to drive a motorcycle or have a motorcycle license, the sources said. The Malta Independent is informed that a similar racket was employed during the construction of the Kappara Junction.
Fuel theft from police garage The sources explained that several members of the unit were also misappropriating fuel from the police garage. The officers would fill up their vehicles with 10 litres of fuel every day but would siphon out half the amount and either use it in their private vehicles or sell it. The officers would exaggerate on their fuel consumption figures, claiming to have used all the fuel drawn in the morning. Officers started becoming suspicious when newer, more fuel-efficient motorcycles were purchased.
Arrests and resignations The Malta Independent reported yesterday that the Superintendent in charge of the Traffic Branch, Walter Spiteri, has resigned with immediate effect He is expected to be among the officers charged in court. Spiteri was reinstated into the Malta Police Force in January 2017. Spiteri, who was in charge of the day-to-day running of the branch, allegedly claimed motorcycle-related allowances he was not entitled to. The Duty Officer, a Women Police Sergeant, has also resigned, and at least two Inspectors have also been arrested in connection with the investigation. The police said yesterday that 37 people have been arrested so far, with 5 released on police bail. Arraignments are expected in the coming days. The offices of the Traffic Branch remain sealed and the motorcycles used by the arrested officers remain impounded at the CID yard at the Police HQ in Floriana. In a statement, the police said that a contingency plan has been set in place to make up for the absence of the officers from the roads while they are being investigated. Sources, however, said the force was experiencing a logistical nightmare since more than half of the traffic branch is currently under arrest and under investigation. The police said LESA and Transport Malta officials are helping the police as part of the contingency plan.
Traffic branch investigation: Number of arrested police officers rises to 37
Wednesday, 12 February 2020,
The total number of Traffic Branch officers arrested in connection to a corruption investigation has risen to 37, the police force said. Five officers have been released on police bail. The Traffic Branch is comprised of around 50 officers. The arrests were made after a whistleblower revealed that several officers were claiming overtime hours they were not actually working. The offices of the Traffic Branch have been sealed and the arrested officers are expected to be arraigned over the coming days.
In a statement, the police force said LESA and Transport Malta officials were helping out as part of a contingency plans to make up for the shortstaffing caused by the arrests. It also confirmed that the Superintendent in charge of the branch has resigned. The case is also subject to a magisterial inquiry.
Superintendent in charge of police traffic section resigns amid overtime abuse probeBy Neil Camilleri
Wednesday, 12 February 2020,
The Superintendent in charge of the Police Traffic Section has resigned amid an investigation into alleged overtime abuse involving more than half of the unit’s personnel. Sources said Superintendent Walter Spiteri has resigned with immediate effect. He is expected to be among the officers charged in court. Spiteri was reinstated into the Malta Police Force in January 2017.
At least two inspectors are also expected to be charged for claiming payments for overtime they never worked. The Police Internal Affairs Office within the Police Corps has arrested around 30 traffic section personnel in what has been described as a “major racket.” The racket has been under investigation for a number of weeks and was exposed by a whistleblower. A magisterial inquiry is also underway. In a statement, the police said that a contingency plan has been set in place to make up for the absence of the officers from the roads while they are being investigated. Sources, however, said the force was experiencing a logistical nightmare since more than half of the traffic branch is currently under arrest and under investigation. The Malta Independent reported yesterday that the offices of the traffic branch have been sealed and the arrested officers have had their service motorcycles taken away. The vehicles are being kept at the CID branch at the police headquarters in Floriana.
‘Blue heroes’: names of PN’s 17 rebels who want Delia out released The names of the 17 members of the Nationalist Party’s parliamentary group who want Adrian Delia to step down have been released by Jason Azzopardi
11 February 2020, by Kurt Sansone
The Facebook post by Jason Azzopardi indicating who the 17 PN rebels are
Nationalist Party MP Jason Azzopardi has published the names of the 17 members of the PN parliamentary group who want Adrian Delia to step down.
Under the tagline, 17 Blue Heroes, Azzopardi published mugshots of the MPs, including himself, who last week called on Delia to consider stepping down from leader. This is the first time that the names have been confirmed officially by the people involved in the rebellion. This confirms that Delia has lost the support of 15 MPs in parliament (the two MEPs cannot be counted), which makes his position as Opposition leader untenable.
The PN parliamentary group has 28 MPs. Another two MPs sit as independents – Marlene Farrugia and Godfrey Farrugia, who are very likely to support any move to remove Delia from Opposition leader. The development comes on the back of doubts sown by former PN secretary-general Clyde Puli last Sunday when in an interview on TVM’s Insights, said he believed there weren’t 17 MPs who wanted Delia out. Prior to the names being released, the MPs had circulated an unsigned statement calling for Delia to step down. The MPs are: Claudette Buttigieg, Kevin Cutajar, Karl Gouder, Therese Comodini Cachia, Mario de Marco, Toni Bezzina, Marthese Portelli, Karol Aquilina, Roberta Metsola, Claudio Grech, Ryan Callus, Beppe Fenech Adami, Simon Busuttil, Chris Said, Stephen Spiteri, Jason Azzopardi and David Casa. Meanwhile, in comments to The Malta Independent, Claudio Grech has described as “absolute fiction”, rumours that he was willing to take over the party leadership. Delia faces the prospect of being removed from Opposition leader, which is the power that MPs have. However, to do so they would have to pass a vote of no confidence in Delia, showing that a majority of them do not support him. Any such move would prompt the President to act and appoint another Opposition leader, who enjoys the support of the majority of Opposition MPs. Delia has resisted calls to step down, insisting that he was elected leader of the PN in a legitimate election and reconfirmed last summer. He has accused the rebel MPs of wanting to dictate matters in the party and has challenged them to toe the line or be kicked out.
Francis Zammit Dimech appointed as interim Secretary GeneralBy Monique Agius
February 12, 2020
Former PN MEP Francis Zammit Dimech has been appointed as interim Secretary General of Partit Nazzjonalista after Clyde Puli resigned from the post last week. The vote was taken around 00.30am on Wednesday morning during a long Executive Committee meeting.
Newsbook.com.mt is informed that Zammit Dimech was elected with 56 votes to 6. Among the 11 committee members who chose to abstain during the vote, one finds Partit Nazzjonalista leader Adrian Delia and former Secretary General Clyde Puli. In its statement, however, Partit Nazzjonalista did not publish the vote. On Tuesday, Newsbook.com.mt revealed that Zammit Dimech had started campaigning for the post, and has held a number of meetings with party sectional committees. The former MEP will hold the interim post until the reform process which is being spearheaded by former MP and party veteran Louis Galea is completed. Zammit Dimech had served as an MP between 1987 and 2017, occupying various cabinet positions for a total of 16 years between 1990 and 2013. He served briefly as a member of the European Parliament between 2017 and 2019. Zammit Dimech eyeing PN secretary general post Newsbook.com.mtis informed that Delia opposed a proposal to immediately install a new leadership team. The proposal was put forward by Galea who is tasked with the party reform process. The conflicting views on the way forward led the committee to take a vote only on one of the vacant posts, and thereby electing Zammit Dimech. In its late night statement, Partit Nazzjonalista said that “the statute reform process will move on to the next and final stage”.
Il-President u l-Arċisqof iħabbru ż-żjara tal-Papa Franġisku Minn Charmaine Attard
L-Arċisqof Charles Scicluna fl-aħħar tal-Quddiesa stieden lill-President ta’ Malta George Vella biex jaqra d-dikjarazzjoni maħruġa mill-Vatikan u mill-Arċidjoċesi ta’ Malta, li tħabbar iż-żjara tal-Papa Franġisku f’Malta.
Bit-titlu Vjaġġ Appostoliku mill-Papa Franġisku f’Malta l-istqarrija tgħid hekk: “Il-Qdusija Tiegħu l-Papa Franġisku jilqa’ l-istedina tal-President tar-Repubblika ta’ Malta, tal-Awtoritajiet u tal-Knisja Kattolika tal-Pajjiż, u se jagħmel Vjaġġ Appostoliku f’Malta u Għawdex fil-31 ta’ Mejju 2020. Il-programm tal-vjaġġ se jitħabbar iktar ‘il quddiem”. L-Arċisqof Scicluna mbagħad ippreżenta l-logo taż-żjara tal-Papa f’Malta lill-Ministru Josè Herrera f’isem il-Gvern Malti.
Updated - Gozo: Queue to board ferry goes as far back as Xewkija
Monday, 10 February 2020,
The long weekend encouraged many Maltese to travel to Gozo for a short stay. But many of them are now regretting their decision, as they are taking hours to return to Malta. People stuck in Gozo say that the queue of cars goes as far back as Xewkija, as Gozo Channel is not able to handle the load as fast as it should. The beautiful spring day made matters worse as many Maltese opted for a longer stay on the sister island, but now they are paying the price for it.
For the duration of summer, Gozo Channel was operating with four vessels, but the number was brought down to three as the vessel Ta' Pinu needed maintenance work. Ta' Pinu is set to rejoin the fleet this evening to improve the service. Until 6pm, some 3,000 cars had crossed from Gozo to Malta, and another 1,200 are waiting, The Malta Independent is informed.
Delia, either you leave or we’ll bring you down with a bang’ – former AZAD president
Sunday, 9 February 2020,
Adrian Delia should leave or “we’ll bring you down with a bang”, former AZAD president David Griscti wrote on Facebook this afternoon. AZAD is an educational branch of the Nationalist Party. In a direct address to the beleaguered leader of the PN, Griscti says what happened in the past is now irrelevant. “You should leave because you failed as a leader, wasted two and a half years, slept for two and a half years and continue to use innocent members to hide your incompetence.”
“Either you leave or we’ll bring you down with a bang. Either you face your failure, incompetence and inadequacy in your leadership, or you’ll go and find empty rooms.” Griscti writes that Delia has lost all opportunities to reform the party and bring about new strategies and policies. But “you have not been convincing and lost and continue to lose thousands (of votes)”. “Every time you were criticised… you use the hatred and division card to provoke innocent members to attack our representatives and accused them of being the “establishment, arrogant and who want to control the party,” Griscti wrote. Delia has faced a difficult week after a survey on MaltaToday showed he lost support heavily in the past weeks. Three top officials of the party resigned in the past days, but calls for Delia to quit have been rejected.
Delia opponents mull vote of confidence amid defiancePN leader continues to reject calls to step aside
By Ivan Martin
Adrian Delia was yesterday urged by the PN’s Mellieħa regional committee not to hold a political gathering at its club this morning. Photo: Jonathan BorgNationalist MPs backed out of calling on the President to strip Adrian Delia of the leadership of the Opposition, and are now banking on a possible vote of confidence expected to be discussed by the party executive on Tuesday. Dr Delia continued to strike a defiant tone on Sunday as pressure mounted from several within his own party to step down. At a political activity in Mellieħa, he said there was no place in the PN for those who did not want to work with him. A letter sent to Dr Delia by the PN’s Mellieħa regional committee had called on him not to hold a political gathering at its club. But shortly after Times of Malta reported the development, an SMS started circulating urging supporters to attend the activity. On Thursday, 17 members of the party’s 30-strong parliamentary group endorsed an unsigned statement calling for a leadership change. According to the Constitution, the Opposition leader’s post must be revoked by the President when he “has ceased to command the support of the largest single group of members in opposition to the government”.
We only wanted to go ahead with it if we were totally certain it would get done
Sources within the PN told Times of Malta that while 17 members of the parliamentary group had signed the anonymous declaration, there was uncertainty that all could unite to call on President George Vella to strip Dr Delia of the Leader of the Opposition title. “Two or three MPs are a bit shaky on this, and we only wanted to go ahead with it if we were totally certain it would get done,” a source said. Dr Delia came out swinging with fighting words yesterday, saying he would not let the party be taken over by “those who think it belongs to them”. The PN, he said, has to “strip itself of the pretensions of arrogance, and the misguided assumption that it has a right to be in government”.
He had also struck a defiant tone during a Friday evening interview aired on national broadcaster TVM, saying “nobody tells me when to resign”. A series of high-level resignations in the party in recent days saw deputy leader Robert Arrigo, general secretary Clyde Puli, and general council president Kristy Debono – all backers of the PN leader – submit their resignations. Thanking them for their service, Dr Delia invited listeners to properly assess the reasons for their resignation, but insisted he is yet to take a decision. “I might ask them to reconsider their decision,” he said. On Thursday chief party reformist Louis Galea wrote to Dr Delia and called on the party’s executive committee president to choose a new leadership team within the shortest time possible. In a statement last night, Dr Galea made it clear that the executive committee should elect five party officials as dictated by the party statute. He made it clear that the executive committee had nothing to do with the election of a new leader. Although the executive committee had not received any requests for a vote of confidence by the time of going to print, party sources this would certainly be raised on Tuesday. “It is the elephant in the room. It must be discussed because the situation is untenable. Hopefully, Dr Delia will see reason and step down himself, but if not, then other action will be needed,” a senior party insider said.
[WATCH] Delia greeted with support in Mellieħa as he heralds 'revolution' within PN Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia heralds 'revolution' in the party as supporters greet him at Mellieħa PN club, despite regional committee's request for him not to attend
9 February 2020, 1:03pm by Massimo Costa
Adrian Delia was greeted with support at the PN's Mellieħa club on Sunday
Watch the film here: https://www.facebook.com/partitnazzjonalista/videos/805067586635779/ Adrian Delia was greeted with support from party faithful on Sunday at the Mellieħa PN club he was urged to stay away from, with the embattled PN leader using his sermon to herald a "revolution" inside the Nationalist Party. After a week of turmoil in which a majority of his MPs said they no longer supported him, an ever-defiant Delia's message was clear today: MPs could either work with him, or else leave the party.
Yesterday, members for the PN's regional committee were reported to have written to the party's leader to urge him not to attend the club. Later in the day, the Mellieħa sectional committee issued a statement saying it had never been decided not to allow Delia to go to the club for his speech. The regional and sectional committees are two separate entities. But there was no evidence of hostility towards the Nationalist leader from the people gathered at the club to listen to his speech. The event turned out to be a show of support, with those present - mostly middle-aged or older party followers - making it clear that they still backed him. A group of people, discussing the events of the past week, were heard commenting on how those opposing Delia "should be ashamed of themselves". "They are destroying their own party," one woman said.
The hall at the venue was packed as Delia walked in, to loud cheers and applause. MPs Robert Arrigo, who resigned as deputy leader this week, Clyde Puli, who also stepped down as general secretary in the past days, Edwin Vassallo, Robert Cutajar, Maria Deguara and deputy leader for parliamentary affairs David Agius were in attendance. Former St Paul's Bay mayor Graziella Galea and Vassallo addressed the event before Delia took the podium. Delia started by thanking Agius for his loyalty, and telling Arrigo that he still had a lot to offer to the party. "You did the right thing. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Those who hurt you should be ashamed," he said of Arrigo. "I am still here," a determined Delia said, "And no tsunami, no storm, is going to make me give up, because I am certain that I am doing what I am doing not for myself, but for the party I love and for the country."
In an apparent dismissal of claims that he was in dire financial straits, he said that there were "some people" who alleged he could not leave his post as he would "die of hunger" without his PN leader's salary. "Before I became leader they said I was earning millions, and now they say I would die of hunger," he quipped. Delia said that there were people who didn't want to see the party reformed or new people to join it. "I tell these people that it is not only reform and renewal which will take place. There will be a whole revolution within the party. And I will be making decisions - not in my interest, but in that of the party and our country." "Those who have nothing to fear do not make comments behind the scene - they say what they have to say in public," he said. Delia underscored that the PN's real fight was against corruption and for the strengthening of democracy. "But we first have to look at ourselves and our party and determine who is really working for the PN and who is solely striving for their personal interest," he emphasised. He said that the party's doors would remain wide open, but warned that "no group of persons will be permitted to make the party theirs just because they feel they have a divine right."
"In this moment when everyone thinks the PN is finished, we have to look at ourselves. I have to be the first to do this, but you all have to do the same and see if you've given all you could to the party." "The time for empty words is over - the real work start today - every one of you has to now either help or else leave. I have no problem working with anyone, but those who have a problem working with me have a problem with the PN." Turning his guns to the government, Delia said that despite the Robert Abela administration attempting to portray that everything was all right in Malta, there was in fact a lot which was wrong. Labour too, he said, were divided - even more than the PN - but such divisions were kept secret. Meanwhile, Delia said, the elderly still couldn't make ends meet, there were still young people who saw no future in Malta, and the environment was still being ruined. Infrastructural problems persisted, with the government having only invested in "roads which lead to nowhere", while the traffic issue remained unsolved and the air continued to be polluted, he said. The way forward, he underlined, was to be determined and to have a PN which remained a single party with everyone backing one leader who wanted the best for the country. "I appeal to all to declare whether or not they want to be loyal to the PN," he said in his closing comments. "Do they want to be one of the 17 MPs? Yes or no? Do they want to be loyal to the party? Yes or No. Do they want to work for the party? Yes or no?" he said, in reference to the group of 17 PN parliamentary group members who were reported to be pushing for him to step down. For those who were with him, the work would start now, for those who weren't, their time with the party had come to an end, he added.
Happy Sunday to all our readers
Nadurama Poezija ta' Peter Paul Vella
Delia persona non grata at PN's Mellieha club for Sunday sermon Nationalist Party members from Mellieha club write to Adrian Delia asking him not to attend club on Sunday to deliver weekly political speech
8 February 2020, 3:04pm by Karl Azzopardi
Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia has been urged to skip a Mellieha speech he had planned on Sunday.
The request comes from the party’s regional commitee, who feel that given the PN’s current turmoil, it would be wrong for the leader to act as if it was ‘business as usual”. The Opposition leader is scheduled to speak at the party’s Mellieha club as part of the routine Sunday speeches held by political leaders.
In comments to the media, a source on the committee said that considering the situation the party find itself in, the committee feels that this is not the time “to be standing up at a podium and criticizing the Labour government.” The decision to inform Delia on how the committee feels about him addressing members on Sunday was taken unanimously. The committee also fear that given the recent revelations surrounding the party, tensions might rise.
Updated: PN Secretary General Clyde Puli resigns, says time being wasted on 'firefighting'
Friday, 7 February 2020,
PN Secretary General Clyde Puli has resigned from his post. The Party Leadership has been under immense pressure since surveys showed that the party did not gain any ground from the political turmoil last December. Puli's is the third major resignation from the party leadership, following those of PN Deputy Leader Robert Arrigo and PN General Council President Kristy Debono. In a letter to PN Leader Adrian Delia, Puli said he was terminating the extension of this term, which he had accepted out of a sense of duty when it expired in November 2019. The extension was due to expire in March, but he said he feels that the time has come for him to focus more on his electoral district.
“As I have discussed with you over the past months, I have expressed my doubts as to how I can function well in my role, given the situation that the party I love finds itself in,” he told Delia. He said that, despite being encouraged by Delia to stay, he was resigning out of a “great sense of loyalty and duty to the party, its members and its leadership.” “My resignation gives you, and the party, the freedom to choose the ideal person to lead the party alongside you. I have never been stuck to the seat of power because I am in politics to serve.” Puli said it was an honour for him to work with the party leadership to get the party out of the situation it found itself in 2017. Back then, few had come forward to serve, but many party supporters, disillusioned by political events, found in Delia new hope and something new that could bring the party close to the people again, Puli wrote. “I did not expect help, but neither did I expect to be hindered at every step, being kicked in the heel so that I would be accused of not running fast enough. The sense of entitlement held by some, and the philosophy of not being a team player were never part of my vocabulary.” Puli said the party faces several problems and it is a shame that the 2013 electoral defeat report has been left to gather dust, while no such report was drawn up after the 2017 election. The party’s debts, running into the millions, and the accumulating interests, are dragging the party down, he said. Puli said the result of the democratic election that had elected Delia as party leader was never accepted by certain MPs and others, “despite the battles this party has fought, under your leadership, for good governance, the rule of law and against the injustices suffered by people.” The “select leakages” from Parliamentary Group meetings, he said, had hindered the “serenity” required for a for a genuine discussion in the best interests of the party. The time wasted on "firefighting," he said, eats away time that should be used to strategise on how to build a new political foundation. "These actions, together with the distortion of facts and malicious lies, have only resulted in the breakup of this great party." Puli said he has always served with loyalty, without looking at his personal interests. "I have behaved as such under different leaderships, without distinction, not because I have always agreed with the decisions taken, but because I have always acted out of the loyalty needed for a group to function." "I have always preached and practiced unity and I still believe that the party cannot move forward without unity. While it is true that unity alone does not win elections, without it you can only lose. The challenges we face will not go away with a change in statute or party name, they can only be solved through a great deal of goodwill." Puli said he still believes that the party has a "glorious future" and is the only real alternative to the Labour government. "The solutions for the PN are found within." Concluding, Puli pledged his continued loyalty towards the party and its members and said he will continue working in the sixth electoral district.
Independent MPs want Delia to go ‘now’Godfrey Farrugia and Marlene Farrugia join calls for PN leader to resign
By Claire Caruana
Independent Opposition MPs Godfrey Farrugia and Marlene Farrugia have joined a group of Nationalist Party parliamentarians piling pressure on Adrian Delia to step down. In comments to Times of Malta on Friday afternoon, Dr Farrugia [Godfrey] said that the pair “will not hesitate to set the ball rolling” themselves if the PN’s executive committee failed to convince Dr Delia to go “now”.
Asked whether that meant they were prepared to take the issue to the President, Dr Farrugia confirmed they were ready to do so if Dr Delia, or the PN, did not act. “We are still hoping that Dr Delia makes a structured exit or that the Nationalist Party sorts out this issue in a responsible, sensible manner.
“However, the national interest demands that this issue is resolved without delay, so yes we will go to the President ourselves if the PN parliamentary group procrastinates further,” Dr Farrugia said. The two independent MPs were elected to Parliament in 2017 as part of Forza Nazzjonali, a short-lived coalition between the Partit Demokratiku and the PN. Both former Labour MPs, the pair resigned from the PD in September but retained their parliamentary seats as independent MPs. “As you are aware, Marlene and myself never succumbed to accepting his leadership as Opposition Leader, due to declarations he had made about the investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia while he was campaigning for leadership. “From day one we were very reluctant to put our trust in someone who abused and incited hatred against a journalist who questioned his suitability and credibility and challenged him to clear his name,” Dr Farrugia said. Over the past two years, he went on, the two MPs had “continuously insisted” that a change in the PN’s leadership was needed “to galvanise the Opposition into the effective parliamentary force the country so desperately needed it to be”. “Now that voters have spoken so vehemently about his dismal performance, in the last national survey we would be ready to back his forcible removal if he still resists an elegant and structured exit,” he said. The majority of the Nationalist Parliamentary group members on Thursday called on Dr Delia to consider his position after a recent poll showed the PN continue losing ground against the ruling Labour Party. A defiant Dr Delia has insisted he will not step down saying he believed this would be a betrayal to those "who believe the party should once again be theirs”.
Louis Galea calls for PN leadership change Louis Galea is asking the party executive to take all necessary steps to choose a new leadership team, accuses Adrian Delia and Clyde Puli of ignoring all warnings
6 February 2020,
by Kurt Sansone
Louis Galea and Adrian Delia: No more diplomacy as party grandee calls for new leadership team
Louis Galea has taken the unprecedented step of asking the Nationalist Party’s executive committee to take all necessary steps to choose a new leadership team. The former PN minister, who was entrusted with drafting a reform of the party, did not hold back in a letter he wrote to leader Adrian Delia today. The letter was distributed to the media by Galea. Galea said in the circumstances that developed – exacerbated by the latest MaltaToday survey results – it is only a new team that can push the required for reform.
Galea lifted the lid on a six-hour-long meeting he had with the party leadership on 1 February during which the proposed reform was analysed and a discussion ensued on “the urgent need for a new leadership team”. “I felt that towards the end of the meeting we reached an understanding that you take the necessary steps to approach a number of people and invite them to consider joining you to ensure the leadership team is refreshed and strengthened,” Galea wrote. Galea said that over the past months he had been warning Delia and Clyde Puli on the “absolute urgency” to start taking those steps for the party to start exiting from the crisis. “When I look at the past two months I can see various instances of resistance, ambivalence, and dragging of feet on proposals to enable the parliamentary group and the party find their feet,” Galea said. Galea said no progress was registered since 1 February and as expected the MaltaToday survey results made it more urgent for “decisive action” to be taken. “In the circumstances it is only a new team that can ensure the party can adopt the necessary measures and proposals required for reform,” Galea ended his pointed letter (read below). Downloadable Files
Robert Arrigo resigns as PN deputy leader; he will leave in March
Thursday, 6 February 2020,
Robert Arrigo has resigned as the Nationalist Party’s deputy leader for party affairs, the Sliema MP confirmed to the Malta Independent.
Arrigo was elected deputy leader two years ago. His resignation follows a parliamentary group meeting on Wednesday, during which leader Adrian Delia was asked to consider his position following a survey which saw him losing further support.
Arrigo was one of the MPs who did not speak during the meeting yesterday.
Contacted by The Malta Independent, Arrigo said that he has resigned but he will leave in March. "I did give a date for my leaving," he said when asked. "It will be sometime in March." He confirmed that he will stay on as an MP but would not give a reason for his resignation.
PN's Parliamentary Group meeting this evening in wake of damning trust rating survey Giulia Magri
In a survey conducted in December 2019, Delia had registered a trust rating of 21.3%, against then Prime Minister Joseph Muscat's 50.5% Delia's critics have said that the party leader's popularity has plummeted despite the corruption scandals that came out over the past few months, in what they say is a clear sign that the current party leadership is failing miserably at gaining support. The meeting was set to start at 7pm. Most MPs chose not to comment when asked whether Delia should step down. PN MP Herman Schiavone said a call for a resignation was not on the meeting's agenda. "I don't doubt the survey," he said. "It is the result of a number of factors and everyone has to examine the reasons why the party obtained such a result." Pressed to say whether Delia should step down, Schiavone said the party leader had already been confirmed twice. "This is not on the agenda. This is a parliamentary group meeting like we have every week and we will be discussing the parliamentary agenda and other party matters." PN MP Marthese Portelli only said that they will discuss party issues.
Joseph Muscat’s name crops up in recordings between Yorgen Fenech and Melvin Theuma In secret recordings of conversations between Yorgen Fenech and Melvin Theuma, the former says Keith Schembri was 'broken' by Daphne Caruana Galizia's story that alleged he would die in three months
5 February 2020, 9:47am by Matthew Agius
Yorgen Fenech stands charged with Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder
Updated at 3:05pm with Silvio Valletta statement Joseph Muscat’s name cropped in recorded conversations between Yorgen Fenech and Melvin Theuma but the context is unclear. In a recording played in court today, Fenech is heard saying: “They told me that they have got to it. They told me a hundred times they would capture her. All of them were pissed off including Joseph and everyone else.”
Theuma confirmed in court that ‘Joseph’ was a reference to former prime minister Joseph Muscat but the context of the conversation is unclear. Reporters do not have access to the full transcripts of the voice recordings, which makes it hard to contextualise certain questions and answers. In today’s sitting, it emerged that Fenech had told his fixer, Melvin Theuma, that Daphne Caruana Galizia’s story that Keith Schembri was going to die had broken the man. The conversation took place at Level 21 in the Portomaso business tower.
“She broke him... it emerged in public that in three months’ time he'd die... I'd throw her from here to the ground and I don't care about the children,” Fenech’s voice is heard saying. The reference was to several stories that Caruana Galizia carried on her blog in November and December 2016 in which she alleged that Keith Schembri had a tumour in his eye and would die over a matter of months. She had also claimed that Schembri sought treatment in the US. Schembri had missed out on official duties during the period because of illness. MaltaToday revealed last December that Yorgen Fenech had paid for Schembri’s medical treatment at the Mayo Cinic in the US. The recording forms part of the continuation of the compilation of evidence against Yorgen Fenech, who stands charged of masterminding the murder of Caruana Galizia.
Theuma, who acted as the middleman in the murder, was given a presidential pardon to tell all. In today’s sitting, Theuma said that panic ensued when one of the three men who were arrested in connection with Caruana Galizia murder started speaking sometime around March 2018. Vince Muscat, known as il-Koħħu, was seeking, through his lawyer, Arthur Azzopardi, a presidential pardon to tell all he knew about the murder.
Theuma feared betrayal Theuma said he feared betrayal because the murder suspects only knew him and were not aware of Yorgen Fenech’s involvement. Theuma told the court that Keith Schembri knew everything from Fenech and the former chief of staff panicked when Theuma became jittery. “Keith panicked and he sent Kenneth to calm me down,” Theuma said. Kenneth, was a Kenneth Camilleri, who worked at Castille and who visited Theuma, telling him to inform the Degiorgio brothers that they would be granted bail and a €1 million each. Theuma reached the conclusion that given Camilleri’s closeness to Keith Schembri, the former was sent to him by Schembri. In another recording, Fenech claimed that Schembri, at the prime minister’s behest, had approached former judge Antonio Mizzi to arrange for bail to be given to the three accused.
Bomb built by tal-Maksar Theuma also told the court that Yorgen Fenech told him that the bomb that killed Caruana Galizia was constructed by “tal-Maksar”. The reference is to the Żebbuġ brothers Adrian and Robert Agius, known by the family nickname Tal-Maksar. In the recordings, former deputy police commissioner Silvio Valletta is referred to as “Valletta l-oħxon” and Theuma claims that Valletta used to inform Fenech of progress on the Caruana Galizia murder case.The compilation of evidence against the man suspected of being behind Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder is continuing in court this morning. Yorgen Fenech stands charged of masterminding the car bomb assassination of Caruana Galizia in October 2016. Fenech, who was arrested by police in November 2019, is the owner of the secret Dubai company 17 Black and a shareholder of the Electrogas power station. Statement by Silvio Valletta The former deputy police chief has denied claims that he passed on information on the Caruana Galizia murder case to third parties during his time in the police force. “I categorically deny that I ever passed on information on the Daphne Caruana Galizia case to third parties. The only information that I passed on was in line with my duty and I could have only done this before 13 June 2018, because after this date I was no longer involved in the investigation,” Valletta said in a statement.
13:20 The court is adjourned and the next sitting is on 13 February at 10:00am.Kurt Sansone 13:17 Theuma's testimony is suspended. The sitting is drawing to a close. The court says it is unhappy with the fact that there are 130 recordings. Arnaud says that there are many blank recordings and duplicates.Kurt Sansone 13:16 Theuma says he does not know who ‘they’ refers to.Kurt Sansone 13:12 “Yorgen had warned of the risk that ‘they’ would throw acid on the face of the wife and daughter of Vince Muscat. It is not clear who ‘they’ refers to,” Jason Azzopardi asks.Kurt Sansone 13:11 Jason Azzopardi reads from the transcript.Kurt Sansone 13:09 Theuma continues answering about how Yorgen Fenech told him that Keith Schembri had gone checking about the bail with Judge Antonio Mizzi “because of ix-xiħ”. The words ‘ix-xiħ’ refer to Joseph Muscat.Kurt Sansone 13:07 Theuma says the words were said at Level 21, the Portomaso business tower, which is very high up.Kurt Sansone 13:07 Azzopardi asks about the recording in which reference was made to a story about Keith Schembri on Daphne Caruana Galizia’s blog that implied Schembri would die in three months. The lawyer asks about the words ‘I'd throw her from here to the ground’.Kurt Sansone 13:02 Azzopardi suggests that Theuma had told Fenech that “you, like, me are a middleman” but Theuma denies having said these words.Kurt Sansone 13:01 Azzopardi asks whether someone had told Fenech to be careful of him [Theuma] because he talks. Theuma says he is not aware of this. “Maybe Yorgen didn't tell me about it.”Kurt Sansone 13:00 Theuma: “He told me about it because I took him to the airport afterwards.”Kurt Sansone 13:00 The reference is to Joseph Muscat’s birthday party, during which the former prime minister was gifted three bottles of Petrus wined by Fenech, who was invited to the party.Kurt Sansone 12:59 Azzopardi: “In February last year, you and Fenech were good friends. It emerged in public that a party was held at Girgenti Palace…”Kurt Sansone 12:53 “To Joseph Muscat,” Theuma replies. The recording was of Yorgen Fenech.Kurt Sansone 12:52 Jason Azzopardi refers to the part in the recoding where the words ‘They were angry, Joseph and everyone,’ were used. “Who was he referring to?”Kurt Sansone 12:51 Theuma says that Keith Schembri had informed Yorgen Fenech that the police had arrived at a suspect in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder. “Yorgen told me that Keith Schembri had informed him of this.”Kurt Sansone 12:49 Theuma tells the court he does not know who the bigwigs are.Kurt Sansone 12:48 Theuma says that Vince Muscat was giving the police the impression that he had information on seven murders with the caveat that he says nothing on the HSBC robbery because there were "bigwigs involved" in that.Kurt Sansone 12:47 Theuma says that Yorgen sent him an SMS message telling him and someone else to "go," but he didn't know who else he was referring to. The Maksar clan had constructed the bomb, Yorgen had told him.Kurt Sansone 12:46 Lawyer Jason Azzopardi cross-examines. He asks about Maksar, the Agius family from Żebbuġ.Kurt Sansone 12:41 Theuma tells the court that Yorgen Fenech had told him that lawyer Arthur Azzopardi went with murder suspect Vince Muscat to the depot to reveal facts about “seven other bombings” and he was unhappy about this.Kurt Sansone 12:40 Defence lawyer Gianluca Caruana Curran suggests that the witness was “coached”. He is rebuked by the magistrate.Kurt Sansone 12:39 The court is unhappy with the witness jumping from one subject to another.Kurt Sansone 12:38 “We didn't use names when talking. Keith knew everything from Yorgen, Keith panicked and he sent Kenneth to calm me down,” Theuma says.Kurt Sansone 12:38 Theuma tells the court that Keith Schembri was panicked over the Kenneth bail issue. The court cannot understand how he made this connection.Kurt Sansone 12:30 Theuma tells the court that he didn't know Maksar, but had concluded that he should go speak to them. Maksar is the family nickname of brothers Adrian and Robert Agius from Żebbuġ. They had been briefly detained in December 2017 when police made 10 arrests in relation to the Caruana Galizia murder. They were later released and have not been charged.Kurt Sansone 12:27 The narrative is fragmented because the recordings are being heard piecemeal. Reporters do not have copies of the recording transcripts to be able to follow properly. The prosecution will begin its cross-examination on the last recording.Kurt Sansone 12:22 The recording plays on. "She broke him... it emerged in public that in three months’ time he'd die... I'd throw her from here to the ground and I don't care about the children," a voice on the recording is heard saying.Kurt Sansone 12:16 On agreement by the parties, the court orders that a new transcript be made for reference purposes. Meanwhile, the recording plays on.Kurt Sansone 12:14 Azzopardi points out that the recording mentions "Maksar" and the transcript doesn't. The court hears the recording again. The observation is confirmed by the court.Kurt Sansone 12:08 The parties are fixing something on the recording transcript.Kurt Sansone 12:07 “I don't know. But later on he refers to Keith Schembri and going through fire,” Theuma replies.Kurt Sansone 12:06 Inspector Keith Arnaud asks Theuma what Fenech was referring to.Kurt Sansone 12:05 Yorgen Fenech is heard saying on the recording: “God forbid I tell you who told me.”Kurt Sansone 12:01 The court orders another recording to be played.Kurt Sansone 12:00 The defence reserves its cross-examination on this part of the tape.Kurt Sansone 12:00 Theuma says that Johann had passed on his mobile to him and he heard Kenneth say that nobody knew about him [Theuma]. Theuma adds that he hadn't asked Kenneth where the paper with the phone numbers on it came from.Kurt Sansone 11:59 Camilleri: “Why didn't you record Kenneth? He told you that you were the mandant?”Kurt Sansone 11:56 Theuma: “Johann called me and told me that he would be meeting me the next day. I thought it was because of an argument I had with Yorgen [over the betrayal].”Kurt Sansone 11:55 Lawyer Marion Camilleri: “You are telling us that this meeting with Johann and Kenneth took place. How did it get arranged?”Kurt Sansone 11:54 The witness is evasive when asked whether Johann Cremona and Keith Schembri knew each other.Kurt Sansone 11:53 “After the Kenneth Camilleri meeting, I started to meet Johann Cremona every day. He would be patient and listen to my problems. Johann was like a postman. He would pass on messages to Yorgen,” says Theuma.Kurt Sansone 11:53 Theuma says he hadn't asked Kenneth about where he got the numbers, but felt comfortable enough to indicate Fenech as the mastermind.Kurt Sansone 11:52 Theuma says that Yorgen had never given him any information about Kenneth. “Yorgen had sworn to me that he didn't know Kenneth Camilleri… later Yorgen confirmed that Keith Schembri had sent Kenneth.”Kurt Sansone 11:50 Theuma says that Johann Cremona had brought Kenneth to his house. “This Kenneth knew everything,” he says, agreeing to a suggestion by the court. “I knew him as a traffic police man. I knew his face.”Kurt Sansone 11:45 She asks him about Kenneth, saying that he assumed he worked at Castille. "I assumed he worked at Castille because he and Keith are very close."Kurt Sansone 11:44 Yorgen Fenech’s lawyer, Marion Camilleri, is now cross-examining the Theuma.Kurt Sansone 11:43 The court suggests that questions only be made on the recordings heard so far. The parties do not object.Kurt Sansone 11:42 The sitting has resumed.Kurt Sansone 11:28 The magistrate retires to her chambers while technical issues are being fixed.Kurt Sansone 11:26 The court is about to hear another recording.Kurt Sansone 11:26 “There were many meals,” replies Theuma. He cannot recall the bag in question.Kurt Sansone 11:26 Azzopardi confronts the witness about a particular bag. The lawyer says there was a meal at Fenech's villa in Żebbuġ. “Eight people were present. Do you remember this?”Kurt Sansone 11:24 Azzopardi had been abroad and directed him to call Nationalist MP and lawyer Karol Aquilina. “Then my battery died and I went to sleep and decided not to do it. That was the date,” Theuma tells the court.Kurt Sansone 11:23 With reference to the date of betrayal, the witness is now telling the court that he had called lawyer Jason Azzopardi and told him he wanted to speak to him about the big case.Kurt Sansone 11:22 Theuma says he was unaware of how many court cases Schembri had.Kurt Sansone 11:22 Theuma is asked about a part of a recording where he says "tiegħu ma jistax jeħlisha". Theuma says he was referring to a court case by Keith Schembri. "I don't think it was a parking ticket," quips the lawyer.Kurt Sansone 11:10 Theuma tells the court that Yorgen Fenech kept his word and would continue to help the three men accused of the murder until they got bail. “On the Monday I went to collect €22,000 from Portomaso,” he says.Kurt Sansone 11:09 Theuma says he never recorded any conversations with the Degiorgio brothers.Kurt Sansone 11:08 The lawyer is going through Theuma’s testimony with a fine-toothed comb.Kurt Sansone 11:08 Theuma could not say whether there was a WhatsApp chat between Schembri, Joseph Muscat and Yorgen Fenech, when asked about the matter.Kurt Sansone 11:07 “They were great friends,” Theuma replies.Kurt Sansone 11:07 Azzopardi quotes from the recording: “Kenneth ma waqax mis-sema. How did you reach the conclusion that it was Keith Schembri?”Kurt Sansone 11:05 “I assure you that if I had the contact of Keith Schembri I would not have gone through Yorgen Fenech but gone directly,” Theuma says.Kurt Sansone 11:01 Azzopardi asks him whether he was incredulous or whether it was par for the course, but the question is disallowed by the court.Kurt Sansone 11:00 Ex-deputy police chief Silvio Valletta is referred to as “Valletta l-oħxon” in the recordings.Kurt Sansone 11:00 Azzopardi asks Theuma where the information that Yorgen Fenech was communicating to him had come from. “From Keith Schembri and Mr Valletta [the ex-deputy police commissioner],” Theuma replies.Kurt Sansone 10:58 Theuma says that the information reached him from Yorgen Fenech.Kurt Sansone 10:58 Azzopardi asks who told him about the betrayal. “You interpreted something as a betrayal. How did this information reach you?”Kurt Sansone 10:57 Azzopardi asks when the conversation took place. Theuma replies: "The conversation took place in 2018 because Koħħu wanted to reveal all in 2018."Kurt Sansone 10:57 Lawyer Jason Azzopardi will now question the witness.Kurt Sansone 10:55 Theuma is asked about his words in the recording: ‘The family is larger out there than inside.’ He tells the court that this meant he was at risk.Kurt Sansone 10:51 Theuma tells the court he feared betrayal. "I thought that the betrayal had started... either they would kill me or send me to prison. It was incredible how Koħħu started to talk about me when I never spoke to him."Kurt Sansone 10:49 Theuma testifies: “I continued to tell Yorgen that Keith gave me this information. Later he asked where Kenneth came from, ‘from heaven?’.”Kurt Sansone 10:48 Cremona later asked him to go to the Ramla taż-Żejtun [St Thomas Bay] that moment, but Theuma did not go because he was afraid.Kurt Sansone 10:47 “I went to Mario Degiorgio and told him to inform his brothers about bail. The next day I went to Johann Cremona's garage and then Kenneth came again,” Theuma says. He adds that Camilleri had a paper with three numbers and told him that one of them was his [Theuma’s] and that he was therefore the mandant.Kurt Sansone 10:43 “Kenneth sent me to Mario Degiorgio that moment, so I went and told him [about the bail for the accused and the money they would receive].”Kurt Sansone 10:41 Theuma recounts the visit he received from Kenneth Camilleri. “I was telling Kenneth the story about Koħħu [Vince Muscat] and bail and then he moved away and made a phone call. Because I thought he was the PM's driver I thought he was calling Keith Schembri.”Kurt Sansone 10:40 Theuma tells the court: “I had told him that I didn't deserve this. I was always a good friend. To me, Kenneth Camilleri was [then prime minister] Joseph Muscat's driver. I later found out that he wasn't.”Kurt Sansone 10:39 “I spent a night drinking and went to sleep. When I woke up I found a message from Yorgen. ‘Morru fittxu lil tal-Maksar li l-bomba nħadmet għandhom.’”Kurt Sansone 10:36 Theuma says that when Kenneth Camilleri came to offer him the €1 million and bail for the three men accused of murdering Daphne Caruana Galizia, he understood that Keith Schembri was involved.Kurt Sansone 10:35 Theuma recounts: "I had been at home one night and Yorgen called me and said he needed to speak to me. Fenech told me: ‘We have a problem because Vince Muscat is exposing you...’ I said what has he got to say about me, I always spoke to Alfred Degiorgio [when dealing about the murder]. That is what made me feel I was being betrayed."Kurt Sansone 10:33 “Myself, Yorgen Fenech and his children. I picked them up from the airport. It was after the murder,” Theuma tells the court.Kurt Sansone 10:32 The recording ends. Arnaud begins questioning Theuma. “Who was present?”Kurt Sansone 10:28 Football features heavily in the recording of the two men's conversation.Kurt Sansone 10:27 In the recordings, Theuma is heard discussing days off school and the Coppa Italia with the children.Kurt Sansone 10:26 "He told me, you're sure, right? If not we'll bump into something and I'll take him to Mellieħa, to Keith." This part of the recording is probably a reference to Keith Schembri. In previous testimony, middleman Melvin Theuma said that he told Kenneth Camilleri that he will take Mario Degiorgio – the brother of accused George and Alfred Degiorgio – to Keith Schembri’s house in Mellieħa.Kurt Sansone 10:22 At some points in the recording the roar of traffic drowns out the sound of the men's conversation.Kurt Sansone 10:20 There are clearly children in the car with the men. They can be heard chattering in the background.Kurt Sansone 10:20 Melvin Theuma is heard saying in the recording that he is not going to take responsibility.Kurt Sansone 10:17 "Get it in your head that he was there. Whether it was a game or not, I don't know, but he was there." The context of these words is unclear. Later the men are discussing bail and court cases. "Let me tell you, their family out there is much bigger than inside."Kurt Sansone 10:15 The audio is indistinct, but some words are recognisable: Fulu [ostensibly, the nickname of Alfred Degiorgio, who stands accused with two others of carrying out the bombing], and Kenneth [ostensibly, Kenneth Camilleri from Castille, who formed part of ex-prime minister Joseph Muscat’s security detail and a close collaborator of former chief of staff Keith Schembri]. In the recording, the following words can also be made out: "Kenneth ġie mis - sema?"Kurt Sansone 10:13 The recording plays a child's voice, traffic, then finally, men's voices. They are discussing football.Kurt Sansone 10:12 Inspector Keith Arnaud, who is leading the prosecution, explains that the court will now hear a recording of a phone call, after which Theuma will answer questions.Kurt Sansone 10:11 Pardoned middleman Melvin Theuma returns to the courtroom and takes the stand once again.Kurt Sansone 10:11 The magistrate returns. Caruana Galizia family lawyer Jason Azzopardi asks for additional softcopies of the transcripts, to accompany the printed versions in order for them to be searchable.Kurt Sansone 09:58 Magistrate Rachel Montebello leaves the courtroom, followed by her deputy registrar. Sitting is temporarily suspended.Kurt Sansone 09:56 Melvin Theuma briefly takes the witness stand but is then sent out of the courtroom.Kurt Sansone 09:55 As the courtroom players are shuffling papers and identifying document numbers, Yorgen Fenech calls lawyer Gianluca Caruana Curran over and briefly speaks with him.Kurt Sansone 09:54 In one file there were 130 recordings, says the court expert in his testimony.Kurt Sansone 09:54 A court expert is presenting a copy of documents which he exhibited on 30 January. The copies are for the parties. Transcripts of a number of recordings are also presented.Kurt Sansone 09:53 We are in court to follow the compilation of evidence against Yorgen Fenech. In the last sitting, the court started hearing recordings of conversations made by pardoned middleman Melvin Theuma.Kurt Sansone 09:51 Good morning.Kurt Sansone
In-Nadur fil-Letteratura Nazzjonali Maltija
Minn Daniel Meilak
Kelinu Vella Haber (1913-2014) Imwieled fin-Nadur fl-1 ta’ Ottubru tal-1913, Kelinu, kif ħafna kienu jsibuh, kien wieħed mill-aktar Nadurin li taw sehem attiv fit-tiswir u t-tisħiħ tal-ilsien Malti matul is-seklu għoxrin. Kien edukat fisSeminarju t’Għawdex u wara filKulleġġ tal-Ġiżwiti f’Birkirkara. Għamel xi żmien novizz mas-Soċjetà Missjunarja ta’ San Pawl u kien hemm li ltaqa’ mal-poeta Karmenu Vassallo. Fost il-ħafna inizzjattivi siewja tiegħu favur il-Malti, huwa waqqaf ‘ix-Xirka għat-Tixrid tal-Ilsien Malti’, u miegħu kien hemm Anton Buttigieg, Ġużè Bonnici, Ġużè Chetcuti u Ġorġ Pisani, li nislu wkoll huwa min-Nadur. L-ewwel laqgħa saret fil-15 ta’ Jannar 1939. Fl-1940 Vella Haber waqqaf din ix-Xirka wkoll ġewwa n-Nadur u din ħadmet bis-sħiħ favur aktar edukazzjoni u tixrid tal-lingwa Maltija kif ukoll biex jinxtered il-litteriżmu. Dan għen lil ħafna żgħażagħ kif ukoll lill-isforzi favur l-emanċipazzjoni tal-mara. Ħeġġeġ ħafna żgħażagħ jibdew jiktbu u mbagħad il-kitba tagħhom kienet tinqara fuq irrediffusion. Fost iż-żgħażagħ li kienu msieħba u ffurmata fl-għaqda li waqqaf Kelinu nsibu persunaġġi bħal Guido De Marco, Charles Camilleri u Frans Ebejer. Kien ukoll membru għal xi żmien fl-Assemblea Nazzjonali tal-Gvern. Miet nhar it-28 ta’ Jannar 2014, fl-età ta’ 100 sena.1 Bħala rikonoxximent tal-ħimda tiegħu kien ingħata Ġieħ irRepubblika fl-1997 mill-President tar-Repubblika l-Eċċ. T. Dr Ugo Mifsud Bonnici.
Fost il-ħafna kitbiet tiegħu, in-Nadur kellu post prominenti. Forsi l-aktar li jispikkaw huma l-folkdrama ‘Nadurjana’ u l-poemett bl-istess isem: ‘Nadurjana’. Il-folkdrama ‘Nadurjana’ li huwa kiteb bħala rakkont f’650 vers joħroġ fil-beraħ il-karattru tan-Nadur u n-Nadurin, dejjem marbuta mal-baħar u mal-agrikultura. Dan kollu fl-isfond tal-istorja li tibda miż-żmien tal-qedem u li twaħħad fiha l-kult lejn San Pietru u San Pawl ma’ dak pagan. Dan irrakkont jimxi mbagħad maż-żmien tal-ħbit tal-furbani, tattwelid tal-parroċċa, taż-żmien li fih saru l-qniepen fl-1815, iċ-ċelebrazzjoni tal-Imnarja fil-Buskett, li inċidentalment qed tagħlaq tliet mitt sena (kien fl-1720, skont ma jikteb Giovanni Agius de Soldanis li l-Imnarja bdiet tiġi ċċelebrata b’dan il-mod fil-Buskett), għall-bini tal-knisja, it-tkabbir tagħha u l-leġġendi marbuta mar-raħal. Hawn se nagħti silta ċkejkna ħafna li anke toħroġ fil-beraħ il-kuntest li fiha nkitbet. Billi din il-folkdrama nkitbet għall-okkażjoni tal-festi triċentinarji mit-twaqqif tal-parroċċa fl-1688, u billi dak iż-żmien qamet il-kwistjoni pjuttost taħraq bejn in-Nadur u l-Qala dwar min minnhom kellu leġittimament jiċċelebra t-300 sena tiegħu, Vella Haber kiteb hekk:
‘In-Nadur kien sar parroċċa maqdes bnew in-Nadurin għax kien ġie Cocco Palmeri amar fis lil Bernardin knisja ibni mar amarlu f’dik il-wesgħa ta’ Nadur qim ġie’ fiha ’l Pietru u Pawlu sadattant aħraq il-bħur ġewwa l-Qala l-Kunċizzjoni fost il-poplu żomm l-unjoni.2
Fih ukoll dawn il-versi patrijottiċi: Jiddomina n-Nadur tagħna minn kull fejn tħares lejh kif mill-port ta’ Malta toħroġ dlonk jisraqlek dwal għajnejk!
Iktar ma qribu tersaq iktar ’il fuq jogħla u kien minħabba f’hekk li nħatar biex għall-Għawdxin ikun gardjola!
Il-widien u l-miġriet tiegħek il-għerien u l-bajjiet ismijiet ta’ nisel juru minn tal-eqdem żminijiet kif il-ġonna u l-kampanja it-triqat l-inħawi sbieħ ismijiet tal-qedem għandhom jixhdu nisel xiħ bis-sħiħ!
Għaċ-ċelebrazzjonijiet tas-sena tal-Fidi u tal-1900 sena mill-martirju ta’ San Pietru u San Pawl kienu saru festi kbar fin-Nadur, li l-Knisja Kolleġġjata tiegħu kienet għadha 2 Duminku Camilleri, 125 Sena Kkonsagrata. 125 Sena Bażilika, Vigilat 4, (Nadur 1992), 86-98.
hemm ġiet mgħollija għad-dinjità ta’ Bażilika Minuri. Waqt Akkademja mużiko-letterarja nhar il-Ħamis 27 ta’ Ġunju 1968 kienet inqrat il-peożija ta’ Vella Haber li ġġib l-istess isem ‘Nadurjana’. Dan huwa wkoll xogħol patrijottiku fuq l-istess temi ta’ dak imsemmi aktar ’il fuq:
Wiret in-Nadur fuqani l-isbaħ u l-ogħla fost kull panorama li jiflaħ joffri l-arċipelagu tagħna ... ... In-Nadur kiseb foħrija kiseb ġmiel u dija kiseb ruħ Nadurija mill-erwieħ tal-Għawdxin l-oħra.
3 Fost diversi poeżiji oħrajn li huwa kiteb dwar in-Nadur insibu għadd fil-ktieb ta’ Karm Caruana In-Nadur u t-Tempju Tiegħu Monumentali. ‘Il-Bajja ta’ San Blas’ li hija ddedikata lil Girgor Buttigieg ‘Naduri li għex u miet ta’ qaddis,’ u fiha jiddeskrivi l-bajja bħala ‘s-sebħ u l-kobor tan-Nadur,’ blistess stil romantiku ta’ poeti oħrajn ta’ qablu: ‘San Blas nitgħaxxaq bik: / Seħer il-ħajja nsibu kollu fik!’4
Imbagħad insibu wkoll diversi poeżiji oħrajn b’laqta patrijottika. Vella Haber kiteb ‘Il-Kanuni tan-Nadur’ bħala ‘tifkira tal-Professur Lazzru Pisani li Pitter ilMaqdes tan-Nadur.’ Fiha l-kanuni li xi darba kienu jisparaw fuq ‘il-misħut Nofs Qamar’ sabiex jiddefendu lir-reliġjon Nisranija, issa jinsabu sektin. Kanuni oħrajn ‘qniepen saru,’ b’referenza għall-manuvra li kien għamel il-kappillan Dun Anton Scasciato (1772-1834) fl-18151816 meta rnexxielu jakkwista kanuni bil-permess tal Gvernatur Sir Thomas Maitland (1760-1824) sabiex jagħmilhom qniepen ġodda.5 F’ ‘Żernieq il-Maqdes tanNadur’ iddedikata bħala ‘Bukkett qronfol lill-Professur F.S. Sciortino’, il-poeta jibda mill-leġġenda tal-bini talKnisja meta Girgor għabba l-ħmara bil-ġebel u fejn din waqfet, allura nbniet din il-binja u jinfexx f’ħafna tifħir:
Maqdes gwapp ħafna n-Nadur inbena Nixxiegħa sar tal-ogħla sebħ u faħar; Ġieħ dan il-maqdes jiktor, le jinfena.
6 Fuq laqta reliġjuża, fil-poeżija ‘Luminaria Magna’, ‘B’tifkira u żżih il-ħajr lill-Artista Piju Cellini’, Vella Haber jeżalta lil San Pietru u San Pawl fil-ġrajjiet ta’ Attila s-Salvaġġ. Kienu huma li ‘ħarġu għalih bil-qilla, / ħanqu lill-għadu bir-rabtiet tal-lġiem.’ Hekk ukoll ‘aħna nirbħu żgur ... il-Kruċjata Mqaddsa ...’ Dan kollu bit-tarka tal-Imnarja, voldieri tażżewġt idwal li huma San Pietru u San Pawl.7
Anke fix-xogħol tiegħu ‘Quddiem San Koronatu Martri. Fit-Tempju Monumentali tan-Nadur,’ Kelinu jinseġ għanja ta’ tifħir lil dan il-bniedem li sa minn żmien ilu n-Nadurin qisuh bħala Kon-Patrun tagħhom flimkien ma’ San Pietru u San Pawl:
L-osservazzjoni li jagħmel meta jikteb li ‘mhux ta’ b’xejn b’ismek imgħammda / ħafna wlied minn tan-Nadur!’ kienet tapplika b’mod tajjeb għall-1953 meta dehret din il-poeżija ppubblikata, iżda llum iż-żminijiet inbidlu u huma ftit jekk xejn, dawk it-tfal Nadurin li jiġu msemmija għal San Koronatu. Jolqtok ukoll kif Vella Haber jitratta mal-fatt li ma nafu xejn dwar dan il-korp, iżda hu joħroġ b’dan: ‘Aktar m’Int mostur u moħbi, / aktar fostna sirt magħruf ...’ U tassew għaliex f’dawn iż-żminijiet li fih kien qed jikteb San Koronatu kien għad għandu ħafna popolarità fin-Nadur, xi ħaġa li bħal dik tal-ismijiet, illum ixxejnet ukoll.
3 Duminku Camilleri, 200 Sena mit-Twelid ta’ l-E.T. Mons. M. Buttigieg. 100 Sena Arċipretali, Vigilat 5, (Nadur 1993), 94-95. 4 Karm Caruana, In-Nadur u t-Tempju Tiegħu Monumentali, (Nadur 1953), 23.
5 Ibid., 120 6 Ibid., 125 7 Ibid., 133. Kelinu Vella Haber jingħata ġieħ mill-Akkademja tal-Malti f'għeluq il-mitt sena tiegħu - 2013 Storja, Kultura u Attwalità36
Man charged with murdering his former partner Justin Borg pleads not guilty as he stands charged with the murder of Chantelle Chetcuti, the mother of his two children • The victim sustained multiple stab wounds
4 February 2020, 1:07pm by Matthew Agius
Justin Borg sitting on the back seat between two police officers as he was escorted away from court on Tuesday (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Justin Borg from Safi has been charged with murdering mother of two Chantelle Chetcuti in an altercation at a football club bar.
Self-employed Borg, 33, was charged with wilful homicide following the stabbing which occurred on Sunday night. Chetcuti, who had recently broken up with Borg, was stabbed in the head in the vicious attack. A police statement stated that she later succumbed to the injuries she suffered, in hospital.
Chetcuti, 34, was stabbed several times following an argument outside a football club in Żabbar on Sunday at around 8:15pm. Media reports said the couple, who lived together in Safi, had been going through relationship trouble. The reports claimed that Borg had reacted badly to their break-up and had been pestering his ex-partner over the previous few weeks.
Borg sat, hands clasped, in the dock as the brief sitting began.
He was charged with murder, possession of a knife during the commission of a crime against the person, carrying a knife in public without a police permit, possession of cocaine and breaching the peace.
In a statement, the police said that the victim and the man had an altercation inside the St Patricks football club bar, which spilled out onto the street. The stabbing happened outside on the corner with Triq is-Santwarju. Sources said Chetcuti was stabbed several times in the upper torso and once, fatally, in the temple. She was operated upon immediately upon arrival at Mater Dei Hospital but her condition deteriorated and she lost her battle for life on Monday night, the police said.
Borg had escaped from the scene of the crime but later gave himself up at police headquarters in Floriana. Police said the man was treated for minor injuries in hospital and taken under arrest at the depot. Cocaine was found in his possession.
In court this afternoon, Borg’s lawyer Franco Debono entered a plea of not guilty. Bail was not requested, but the defence requested that a court-appointed psychiatrist examine the accused. The request was upheld. The court ordered that the case be assigned according to law.
Lawyer Marion Camilleri was also defence counsel. Inspector Kurt Zahra prosecuted.
Żabbar stabbing victim dies
By Christoph Schwaiger
February 3, 2020
The 34-year-old woman who was stabbed in f’Ħaż-Żabbar on Sunday evening has succumbed to her injuries.
The woman died 24 hours after being stabbed in the head. After the attack she was left unconscious for some time on a pavement. She was stabbed in Triq il-Kbira at 8.15pm. The victim was attacked during an argument involving a 33-year-old male. Both of them were from Ħal Safi.
Actor George Micallef passes away Monday, 3 February 2020,
Actor George Micallef has passed away this morning, his family said. He was aged 76. Micallef started his career with the drama group Gioventu Cattolica. In 1975 he founded the Valletta Dramatic Company with Paul Mifsud, producing various plays and comedies. In 1977 the company produced its first operetta, Ic-Cincilla, in Maltese.
Micallef has taken part in countless plays and dramas, including on television, where his teaming up with Hector Bruno picked up a considerable following. He also presented several TV programmes, including il-Hadd it-Tajjeb.
'In-Nadur' Poezija ta' Patri Mattew Sultana
Jekk f’sidri nħoss nifs qawwi, Jekk bqajt sal-lum bil-ferħ qalbi trid tfur, Ngħid li mill-arja, mid-dehriet ta’ seħer U l-ħlewwa tan-Nadur.
Fejn il-ħolqien jitbissem Kont nilmaħ qalb dawk l-oqsma, żara’ u ħdura; Widien, għoljiet, siġar tal-frott fejn tħares; Kemm xtaqtni ma ġejtx lura!
X’jiem hienja! X’jiem ta’ seħer, F’raħal sabiħ, f’ġenna tal-art qattajt! Sirt naf in-nies, tħabbibt, ħabbejt, ħabbewni; Nies bħalhom, ftit, jekk rajt! Sal-lum bqajt nistħajjilni
Inħoss il-fewġa tonfoħ f’dawk l-ibruħ, Tmelles fuq wiċċi u fuq uċuh ir-raba’ U nħossha ‘ttini r-ruħ. U għalkemm minkejja fija
Tlaqt f’qasir żmien u ’l min sirt naf ħallejt, Ġmiel in-natura mżiegħed f’dawk l-inħawi U r-raħal qatt ma nsejt. Għax dawn in-nies dħulija ...
Maqdes San Pietru Pawl, ġmiel kull fejn tmur, Ħallewni noħlom b’dawk il-jiem mgħoddija F’dil-‘Ġenna ta’ Nadur’.
For the sake of the country Delia must go – PN MPs By Sylvana Debono
February 2, 2020
While a defiant Adrian Delia, leader of the Partit Nazzjonalista, Sunday morning brushed aside the results of the survey of the Malta Today promising that he will soldier on, a number of MPs of the PN told Newsbook.com.mt that Delia’s position as leader is not tenable. While several MPs said that he has the duty to resign out of a sense of duty to the country, Delia, on the contrary, thinks that he has the duty to keep on fighting out of a sense of duty to the country.
Joseph Muscat is an “international criminal” – Delia The feeling among the MPs that spoke to Newsbook.com.mt on condition of confidentiality was one of frustration and anger. They said that they were inundated by messages urging them to urgently do something. Most insisted that they do not want Delia to be humiliated and that the decision to leave should be his own and not the result of some vote of no confidence. But go, he must, they said pointing to the possible decimation of the PN if he stays on. “This is no longer about Adrian Delia or the PN. This is about the country said one MP We will lose by over 80,000 votes, said two different MPs basing their analysis on the result of the survey. The Partit Laburista will have a majority of at least 15 MPs, they added, if the election results follow the same trend as the survey. Newsbook.com.mt sent emails to Adrian Delia, Clyde Puli, David Agius and Robert Arrigo. We asked for their comments but none were received by the time of publishing this article. Their answers will be printed once received.
What the survey shows The results of the survey of Malta Today are close to apocalyptic for Delia and the PN. The survey shows that Prime Minister Robert Abela is trusted by 62.5% of respondents while Adrian Delia is trusted by just 13.5%; a massive difference of 49%. Among the age group 18-35 the trust ratings of Delia are just over 9%. 49-point trust gap between Abela and Delia This is just one in a series of surveys giving very bad trust ratings to Adrian Delia. A December 2019 survey showed that sixty per cent of respondents said that they trust Minister Chris Fearne while only 18% said that they trust Adrian Delia. Moreover a significant number of respondents who said that they vote PN said that they trust Fearne more than they trust Delia. Another December 2019 survey showed that both Bernard Grech and Roberto Metsola were trusted more that Delia. The comments of the Nationalist MPs follow.
“Two thirds majority for Labour” One MP highlighted the vast difference in votes between the two parties. “As things stand, the party state of affairs under Delia’s leadership is that the gap between the parties lies at around 80,000 voters. Extrapolating that to the last election results and parliamentary composition, the gap is even wider. This is a disastrous state of affairs as this means that the Labour Party is enjoying a 2/3 majority over the PN. Realistically, with this result, the Labour Party would have a 16 seat majority up from its current majority of 7.”
“Delia’s position untenable” Another MP stressed that Delia should voluntarily decide to resign. “It is evident that Delia’s position is no longer tenable. Delia must recognize his duty towards the country. He must voluntarily decide to go so that the country can once more have an Opposition. The PN can only gain ground if it is led by a person trusted by the electorate. If this does not happen then the PN will face a massive electoral defeat that will mark it as the party who conceded large majorities to the opposing party thus creating a democratic deficit in the process.”
“The PN can’t procrastinate” Another MP blamed the upper echelons of the party. “This is a disaster and this is Delia’s disaster. Besides, the uppermost echelons of the party are an uncoordinated, warring faction at a time when unity and clarity is needed. The right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. Delia is a hostage of the incompetent people around him. The party cannot afford to procrastinate till the next election. The proposals being made for the restructuring of the PN have to be implemented as soon as possible so that the Party can start with a clean slate.”
“A fatalistic attitude is creeping in” “I and other colleagues are finding it difficult to find canvassers. I feel that a fatalistic attitude is creeping in among the grass roots. Many are saying that nothing can be done now. They prefer to wait for the election and then get rid of Delia after the drubbing. On the other hand I prefer a different option. An opt-out that does not humiliate Delia should be found, and then we elect Claudio Grech and Metsola.”
“Bad finances complicate the situation” .Another MP said that the bad situation in the polls is compounded by the bad financial situation of the party which has deteriorated since Delia became leader. “Delia should be responsible enough to resign. A way out should be found so that there is no more bloodletting and he is not humiliated. The decision lies in his own hands and he will have to shoulder the responsibility for the electoral disaster that looms. The situation is compounded by the bad financial situation of the party that has worsened a lot since Delia took over. The PN today looks like a patient with a weak heart, defective lungs and two broken legs. Can things get worse?” “Delia did his best” Another MP gave us a longish answer which Newsbook.com.mt will print as an opinion piece in the coming days. In his comment he stresses that the present situation is not about Delia or the PN but about the country and the democratic deficit that the country is experiencing because of the weakness of the Opposition. “Delia has to realize that the saying that no one is greater than the Party is applicable to him. He did his best, of this I have no doubt. But his best was nowhere good enough. In front of God he has a moral duty to do the honorable thing and leave now.”
Geagea holds rosary beads as she visits the scene of the crash. Credit: Joel Carett/AAPIMAGE
Delia accuses Muscat of ‘premeditated theft’ in Vitals hospital contract PN leader Adrian Delia says procurement evaluation report shows hospitals PPP was clearly intended to favour pre-selected company
The Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia has accused former prime minister Joseph Muscat of ‘premeditated theft’ over millions spent by the Maltese government to finance its management obligations for the three state hospitals being run by Steward Healthcare International. In a press conference, Delia revealed a procurement evaluation report which he claims was drawn up simply to pass on three state hospitals to a private operator – at the time Vitals Global Healthcare – simply for the purpose of profit. Delia said the procurement evaluation report was kept hidden by the Maltese government and only submitted in court by the evaluation board’s chairman James Camenzuli as part of a court case in the Vitals PPP filed by Delia.
“The government has kept this document hidden so as to hide its own premeditated theft… I have already said this: this was a plan to earn millions from a premeditated failure,” Delia said. The board of evaluation included one of the Nexia BT partners, Manuel Castagna, who have assisted as auditors to former chief of staff Keith Schembri. “I have no doubt these people were in full complicity with the Maltese government in the theft of taxpayers’ money,” Delia said. Since 2015, the spend on the three hospitals increased by close to €100 million. “We now know Joseph Muscat is lobbying on behalf of the outsider here [Steward]… if you see the poor verification carried out of this management agreement, it is scandalous. Everyone associated with this contract has to take responsibility for this.” Delia said he will demand explanations as to why taxpayers were being robbed of their money to pay “outsiders who are not giving us any service for what they are paid.”
'Robert Abela must make a decision immediately' Delia said that Prime Minister Robert Abela "needs to make a decision immediately" with regards to ministers, including Finance Minister Edward Scicluna, in light of the procurement and evaluation report published by the party. Delia said that he was disappointed that Abela hadn't yet made a decision and presumed that the prime minister knew about the contract beforehand. "I am very surprised that Robert Abela is yet to make a decision in light of all of this. Hopefully, he doesn't say that he was unaware of this agreement because that would be an act of irresponsibility like never before. I am presuming that he knew about it, so he should have taken a decision earlier," he said. Asked by MaltaToday whether Abela's position is untenable eitherway, Delia did not respond and instead said that it was truly shocking that business consultants Nexia BT were once again involved in the procurement process.
"It's unbelievable that we paid Vitals €180 million from the get go and then kept paying them millions per year, another €20 million in 2016, €40 million in 2017, another €40 million in 2018 and €50 million in 2019. And Joseph Muscat approached Abela to tell him that we need to keep paying them. For what? They took our money, property and gave nothing back," Delia said, adding that in a public-private partnership, the private bidder should also enter into a risk, something that was not done in this particular case. Delia insisted that he had taken the government to court over the Vitals deal back in 2018 to return the hospitals back to state ownership. He said that the case was now at the stage where he was summoning witnesses to testify for new information to come out regarding the concessions deal. Asked how he could explain his bad showing in the polls, Delia said that his job as an Opposition Leader was to safeguard the interests of the people. "Our point here is to safeguard the interest of our nation, then it's up to the people to vote. After the electorate sees the reactions of this government to this revelation, it will then decide who to trust."
Chevalier Michael Camilleri Cauchi receives Gieh in-Nadur 23 November, 2019
Members of the Confraternity of the Knights of St. Peter & St. Paul of the Grand Chapter of Malta, during the presentation of Gieh in Nadur to Chevalier Michael Camilleri Cauchi Deputy Chancellor.
Photo from left: Chevalier Adonai Camilleri Cauchi, Dame Marlene Muscat, Chevalier Carmel Saliba, Chevalier Michael Camilleri Cauchi, Chevalier Chancellor Joseph Louis Meilak, Brother Matthias Mercieca and Dame Veronica Camilleri Cauchi.
Message from the Grand Master H.E. Chevalier Peter Paul Portelli
Photo: The Secretary Chevalier Carmel Saliba is reading the message from the Grand Master for the presentation of Gieh in Nadur to Chevalier Deputy Chancellor Michael Camilleri Cauchi.
The Grand Master His Excellency Chevalier Peter Paul Portelli and the Supreme Council of the Confraternity of the Knights of St. Peter & St. Paul is very honoured to have Chevalier Michael Camilleri Cauchi one of its own.
He has been a very dedicated and honourable member of our Confraternity. He is always ready to give advice to help our Confraternity to achieve more.
We are very happy to say that on Tuesday this week, we donated $10,000 to the Royal Women’s Hospital - Newborn Intensive Care Unit. The money was raised from a Fund Raising Lunch we had last month and some donations from individuals and sponsors.
This year we donated others sums of money to the Australian Farmers who were suffering from drought-ravaged part of the State of Victoria and to our missions in Peru.
Our Confraternity is still small but it’s making a big impact to help those in need.
We like to Congratulate Chevalier Michael Camilleri Cauchi, on receiving the honour Gieh in-Nadur 2019.
God bless you.
H.E. Chevalier Peter Paul Portelli Grand Master CKSPP
Gozo Channel ship damaged after crashing into pier - MinisterMonday, 25 November 2019, Gozo Channel is operating with only two ships after one of the ferries was damaged today due to the strong winds and rough seas, Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana told Parliament. It had already been announced that the MV Nikolaus, which was leased by the company to operate as a fourth vessel, was to undergo repair work that will last till mid-December. The company was operating with three vessels until this morning when one of the remaining three ships was damaged and needs repair work.
CONFRATERNITY OF THE KNIGHTS OF ST. PETER & ST. PAUL Melbourne. Australia. By Chevalier Peter Paul Portelli - Grand Master
On Tuesday 19 November, 2019 the Members of the Supreme Council of the Confraternity of the Knights of St. Peter & St. Paul made a generous donation of $10,000 to the Royal Women's Hospital - Newborn Intensive Care Unit.
Every year more than1,600 babies who are born sick or prematurely are cared for by the specialist NICU team at the Women's.
The money was raised from a Lunch organised by theGrand Chapter of Melbourne on the 13 of October, 2019.
The Supreme Council has agreed to donate money to the Royal Melbourne Children's Hospital at the Good Friday Appeal.
Photo from left: Chevalier Saverio Greto, Dame Gail Vas, Dame Carmela Barbaro, Chevalier Vincenzo Galtieri. H.E. Chevalier Peter Paul Portelli - Grand Master presenting the cheque to Sue Jacobs Deputy Clinical Director - Neonatal Paediatrician, Laura Bignell Chief Midwifery and Nursing Officer, Dame Angela Greto and Dame Mimma Sabatini.
The Most Respected Confraternity of the Knights of St. Peter & St. Paul. Grand Chapter of Malta. Address: December 13 Street. Nadur, Gozo. 22 September, 2019
Congratulations to our Members in Malta for doing such a great job in helping the poor in Peru. Chevalier Peter Paul Portelli Grand Master CKSPP
The mission of the Confraternity of the Knights of St. Peter & St. Paul is to help the poor and the sick
HELPING THE POOR IN PERU
Yesterday Bishop Giovanni Cefai a missionary priest in Peru celebrated Mass in the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul in Nadur. After the Mass the Confraternity of the Knights of St. Peter and St. Paul donated money to his mission. Thanks to the Supreme Council of the Confraternity in Melbourne and the Grand Chapter of Nadur for the money. Thanks also to Mons. Jimmy Xerri Parish Priest of Nadur for his support.
This was the second time that the Confraternity donated money to missions in Peru in the last couple of months.
God bless His Excellency Bishop Giovanni Cefai for his work to help the poor and the sick.
God bless the Confraternity of the Knights of St. Peter and St. Paul. Chevalier Peter Paul Portelli Grand Master CKSPP
Dahlet Qorrot Bay from Sopu Tower in San Blas Nadur, Gozo. Malta.
Nadur Bailica Church from San Blas
Sopu Tower built in 1667 by the Knights of Malta
Sopu Tower is situated on the cliffs between St. Blas and Dahlet Qorrot bays in Nadur.
Black statue of St. Peter on the throne
I saw this statue while visiting the church of St Anselm and St Cecilia Roman Catholic church in Kingsway, Holborn, London.
Just like the one in Rome and Nadur.
CONFRATERNITY OF THE KNIGHTS OF ST. PETER & ST. PAUL Nadur. Gozo. A meeting of the Confraternity was held in the Nadur Council Board Room on Monday 24th June where two newly Knights were appointed by Chevalier Peter Paul Portelli Grand Master CKSPP of the Confraternity of the Knights of St Peter and Paul. These are Chev Joe M. Attard of Rabat Gozo and Chev Joe Meilaq. Congratulations. Photos Copyright Carmel Saliba 24.6.19.
After the meeting of the Confraternity of the Knights of St Peter and Paul we attended for the 25th Anniversary Mass of Fr Raymond Portelli at Nadur Basilica. Donations to Fr Raymond were presented to be used in his mission in Peru. Congratulations to Fr Raymond. Photos Copyright Carmel Saliba 24.6.19.