The Broadcasting Authority gives in to Sant’s bullying

Published: March 3, 2008 at 5:35pm

I have just watched the coverage of Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando’s showdown with the cowering Sant, and it was cathartic. I sat there applauding alone on my sofa, feeling as though Pullicino Orlando was voicing my feelings and those of thousands of others who are sick to the gills of this ghastly, nasty man, who is more concerned with how to seize power than with what to do once he gets hold of it.

Watch it. You can’t miss it. Tell everyone you know that they have to see it too.

And this is the story behind the story. The Broadcasting Authority first agreed that Pullicino Orlando could represent the Nationalist Party media. Then the Labour delegation arrived: Alfred Sant, his sidekick Jason Micallef, playing Robin to Sant’s Batman, a few other nasty little men, and that horrible photographer who harassed me at the university. Bossily, and with all the hideous arrogance we know from long years of experience with Labour, they demanded a meeting with the BA chairman in the privacy of his office. When journalists tried to follow with their cameras, they were prevented from doing so. Somebody must have filmed the event using a mobile phone or something similar, because NET showed footage of lots of backs and bottoms ascending the stairs and Jason Micallef, still concerned with his appearance even in the tussle, making a fuss.

The Labour delegation returned from that meeting with the BA executives, who announced that they had reneged on their commitment to allow Pullicino Orlando to participate in the press conference. My moles tell me that Alfred Sant made it clear to the BA bosses that he had ‘important ammunition’ to fire at Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, and he wouldn’t feel comfortable firing it at him while he was sitting right there in front of him. And so the Broadcasting Authority accommodated Sant and kicked Pullicino Orlando out.

This is the same Broadcasting Authority that fined Peppi Azzopardi for telling an opinion pollster on camera that he doesn’t agree with Labour’s ‘repeater class’ proposal. Because he is a TVM show-host, the BA takes exception to his voicing of political opinions.

Jeffrey tells Sant where to put his ammunition

By that time, Pullicino Orlando was already safely installed in his seat in the press benches. Alfred Sant stalks in, shakes Anna Bonanno’s hand, turns round and goes rigid. He points at Pullicino Orlando like an SS doctor selecting a patient for his next genetic experiment in the lab and says: ‘What’s he doing here?’

And then the showdown begins. Except that it’s a one-sided showdown – Pullicino Orlando challenging Sant to have the guts to look him in the eye and say what he said at the mass meeting, telling him ‘Shame on you! What will become of Malta if you become prime minister? If you are capable of destroying people when you are leader of the Opposition, how much more will you then abuse the more powerful position of prime minister?’

Sant didn’t look him in the eye once. Instead, he backed off, further and further, and at one point literally turned and ran away into a separate section of the television studio, so that he was filmed standing, ridiculously, under the promotional backdrop for a distributor of cooking implements and other household goods. Meanwhile, the fat photographer who thought it was such a scoop to harass ‘the son of Daphne’, as they call him, giggled like somebody with an IQ of 12. Next to him, Jason ‘Robin’ Micallef stood, giving us his best smile, still concerned primarily with how he looked on camera. And Sant? He was still cowering beneath the Crosscraft backdrop, looking like he was about to start demonstrating the use of a Kenwood mixer.

He had the classic body language of somebody being hunted and on the defensive: arms folded, nervously licking his lips, swallowing conspicuously. And not once did he attempt to engage with Pullicino Orlando in any way. Not once – even though they are both MPs in the same parliament, and as such are obliged to engage with each other and accord each other a modicum of respect, at least in public. If Pullicino Orlando asks Sant a question in parliament, then Sant has to answer, but parliament has been dissolved.

Sant calls the police

When he did this, Pullicino Orlando stood up, waved his press card about, and said: ‘That’s it – do your utmost to carry on shackling the free press. Isn’t that what you’re so good at doing? Go ahead – call the police to throw me out! Why don’t you ask them to beat me up as well – like they beat up me and my friends in days you remember well?’ Sant brought out his sheets of notes and pretended to read them, while his fat photographer continued to giggle.

The days when violence and corruption were OK with Sant

Pullicino Orlando’s words brought back a poignant, but terrible, memory. In the summer of 1986, when Alfred Sant was president of the Labour Party and still married to my husband’s cousin Mary (her mother’s surname is Caruana Galizia), I learned first-hand what ‘zero tolerance to corruption and violence’ truly mean to Sant. I also learned, in a way that shocked me to the core, how the former wife who still follows him around like a loyal dog – even though he left her 23 years ago and never respected her – will excuse anything in the name of the man she adores.

My mother-in-law (her aunt) was at a protest meeting of housewives, in Valletta. They were protesting because we had been left for months on end without water, in the heat of summer. I had a newborn baby and was forced to carry him around to friends to bathe him, and to cross the road to pull buckets of water from the sea to wash the floors and flush the lavatories. I wasn’t at that protest. I was at home, nursing my baby who had diarrhoea thanks to the lack of clean fresh water in our home. Thugs and police attacked those middle-aged, defenceless women. My husband heard the commotion from his office nearby, rushed out and tried to pull his mother from of the melee. The police set on him, beating him to a pulp, while his mother screamed and cried hysterically.

He had to be hauled to a clinic and then brought home, his face a bloody mess. His spectacles had been smashed; his silver cigarette lighter, a memento of his father, had been stolen; his arm was in a sling. He couldn’t move properly. We received a visit from Mrs Sant, who burst into tears when she saw the state of him, and then said: ‘If the police come round to your house to arrest him tonight, ring me at once and I’ll tell Alfred to do something about it.’

I was speechless. When I closed the door behind her, I turned to my husband and asked him: ‘Did she really say that?’ In those days, when Labour sent the police to beat you up, they later sent more police to arrest you for the crime of being beaten. We spent the night frozen in fear, waiting for the knock on the door that never came.

Alfred Sant knows all about this and the countless other cases of horrible violence in which the Labour government was implicated. He was president of the party, but he said nothing and did nothing. And now I have to watch him on television, posturing about his zero tolerance for corruption. Oh, I didn’t remember: that’s all water under the bridge to him, and he has no regrets.

As he keeps repeating in this campaign: those who tolerate corruption are complicit in that corruption. Zero tolerance for corruption? What I have is zero tolerance for his utter hypocrisy.

Just as he doesn’t have the spine to confront Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando with his ‘ammunition’, so he doesn’t have the spine to confront me. I had a grandstand view of his involvement in the Labour Party in its dirtiest, darkest and most disgusting days, and unlike those voters he tries to convince with his ‘cool’ modernity, I remember everything.

I’m watching you, Alfred. And I’ll keep watching you until you leave the Labour Party and leave Malta in peace. It may be water under the bridge for you, but it’s not water under the bridge for the rest of us.

28 Comments Comment

  1. Matthew says:

    I don’t think the authors of the Book of Revelations would mind me paraphrasing:

    ‘And the Crosscraft kitchen set cried out, Alfred, there’s no hiding place down here!’

  2. Simon says:

    this was just the cherry on the cake – sant’s mud slinging campaign has been overstretched and now is starting to backfire – I think people have realised by now that Sant comes up with nothing more than frivolous allegations aimed to target the most influential within the pn camp – I am confident that his strategy has now boosted PN’s chances next Saturday -it has surely ensured that Jeffrey will be elected form both districts!

  3. joseph says:

    I clearly remember Sant’s 1996 campaign on the advice of his american consultant, when he shamelessely targeted Michael Frendo, over an issue which resulted to be an outright lie. Then his tactics were a surprise. This time round his rehash of mudslinging on Jeffery has backfired as he (jeffrey), deriving strength from his rightful indignation has challenged him to face him with his baseless allegations and he has not had the decency to even try. After all, why should Alfred Sant be expected to substantiate anything???

  4. Chris says:

    I have known Jeffrey since we were both at University together and I can vouch for his integrity and inner strength to face thee baseless allegations.

    Jeffrey keep it up – remember the 1987 motto – “Is -sewwa jirbah zgur”

  5. Gozo says:

    I was 8 years old when my father came home with his face beaten up. A labour-thug had assaulted him just because we were PN. My dad went to the police station to report the incident and the police sergeant on duty told my dad that if he would take the report, he will be transferred from Gozo to Malta.

    In 1981 and 1987 we had Labour people chanting in front of our house that my dad will be transferred to Malta the day after the election. They threatened to fill up the MV Ghawdex with Gozitans and sent them to work in Birzebbuga. Dead rabbits were thrown in our drive-way and lemons were strung on our house facade. These people have not changed. They are alive and active members of the local MLP committee.

  6. Mathias says:

    I was not alive in the times of the labour rule in Malta, but my father was … and he suffered.

    His nationalist friends and himself were driven off work with chains and daggers and arrested for days on end just for turning up to work and being proud of their nationalist beliefs. My present house was a stronghold for any nationalist who was seeking some sort of refuge including a few present ministers whos name i will not mention.

    My father is not a minister, and he is not a hero, he is simply a man who stuck to his beliefs and suffered harshly to near death.

    He was sent threats that the Labour party were going to come with bulldozers and knock down our house, i beg anyone who is not hard-headed enough to fall for these lies and propogande to vote for the party that does not resort to mindless violence and threats.

  7. Charlon Grech says:

    Idoqqu bil vjolini….

    Smajtu li hemm gurnalista li rraporta il serqulu il portafoll fis saghtejn ta filghodu minn Albertown? Min jaf x’kien qed jaghmel hemm f’dak il-hin? Tghid kien qed jaghmel xi ricerka vici jew versa?

  8. says:

    It’s so easy to move on and forget the not so distant past.
    I’m now in my early forties, and have had a first hand taste of what Maltese “socialism” (lowercase intended) is all about. I hope that days like when my father was locked-out of employment as a teacher in a state school are really over.
    I hope that my teenage children will never run the risk of being beaten up by Labourite thugs whilst on Campus. That they need not opt for a second or third preference University course because of Numerous Clausus and that one day we could look forward to an election where we have more that one sound choice.

  9. karl schembri says:

    A question to our independant journalist DGC…How come a candidate of PN was issued a press card from the DOI for just 4 days…Is he a part time journalist JPO?? I need an answer

  10. gozo says:

    Karl, maybe you better ask where alfred sant is getting his so-called proof on JOP.And also where will Sant get the money to pay for his promises such as the electricity surcharge.The Maltese people are more schooled than ever before, no longer living in a Mintoffian era where we believed whatever we were told.

  11. Andrew says:

    I am truly and utterly disgusted by the ignorance rife in this country, at how the lack of education permits an “inherited” loyalty to a political party as opposed to a desire for what’s best for Malta. That anyone could take someone like Sant seriously, that anyone could forget the totally thuggish behaviour his party exhibited in the past and yet again in the present day, bullying Minister Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando like that. As DCG so brilliantly pointed out, is Sant seriously attacking the Nationalist party for being corrupt?? Someone remove this bitter, angry, cowardly and totally useless man.

  12. Robert says:

    The difference between Labour today and Labour yesterday is that in the past they resorted to physical violence and now they resort to psychological violence.

    They did it to my father in the 70’s and they did it to me in 96-98. The method was different – the result the same. No work and no dignity!

    MLP – it targa tal haddiema! Capcpu a cwiec!! Viva l-Lejber!!

  13. James De Giorgio says:

    I wish all the floaters (it’s hopeless regarding the labourites, they never switch allegiances) could see this report instead of the insipid report on TVM. has a secret footage of what really happened. It’s sickening.

    [Moderator – James, please post a YouTube link to the video. We’re all dying to see Alfred ‘Mastro Lindo’ Sant.]

  14. karl schembri says:

    to gozo :-

    I asked a question, you said everything without answering my simple question. According to Sant he got his info from an employer in MEPA, but he cant state his name because he might be in trouble. Again according to Dr Sant, why this goverment did not implent the ‘whistle blower act’?

    [Moderator – this person is not the Karl Schembri who writes for MaltaToday and is probably using a false name.]

  15. karl schembri says:

    Gozo, I asked a simple question and you pointed out something else…According to Dr Sant he can’t state the name of person who gave him the info cause this government led by Dr Gonzi did not implement the ‘whistle blower act’.

    [Moderator – this person is not the Karl Schembri who writes for MaltaToday and is probably using a false name.]

  16. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    Karl Schembri – here’s your answer. Why in heaven’s name should anyone need a press card issued by the state to go to a press conference? Like I said, the Journalists’ Committee and the Institute of Journalists have made a professional career out of missing the point. The last thing that journalists need or should have is authorisation by the state. That is reprehensible. What have we come to now, if no journalist or reporter is allowed into a press conference without state authorisation through the government’s Department of Information. I don’t have a press card and haven’t had one for years. Yet every man and his dog in this country knows that I work for the press – and that, in effect, means that I don’t need a press card. A press card is nothing but proof that a person works for a media organisation. It should be issued by the media organisation, and not by the state, because this isn’t the Soviet Union. I refuse to have a press card for this reason. If everyone knows that I write a newspaper column, then for heaven’s sake, I don’t need to wave a card around to prove that I do. Press cards issued by the state are precisely the sort of thing that the Journalists’ Committee should be fighting against, and not fighting for.

  17. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    Karl, again – you can rest assured that when an employee of the MEPA gives the Labour leader information he can use to tarnish an opponent in the last week of an electoral campaign, he is not doing so to blow the whistle on corruption and put things right, but because he thinks Labour is going to be in government and he’s holding out for promotion. The last thing we need to give such people is protection through a Whistleblower Act. Whistleblower Acts are there to protect people with genuine intentions. If this man wanted to blow the whistle on Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, he could have blown it a few months ago. This is about as whistle-blowing as Carmel Cacopardo and his vote-catching report revelations. Glad to see those backfired too.

  18. karl schembri says:

    DCG thanks for your answering part of my question….Is JPO a journalist or no…What if this scene was done by a Labour MP, what will be the reaction of everyone?

    [Moderator – this person is not the Karl Schembri who writes for MaltaToday and is probably using a false name.]

  19. karl schembri says:

    Maybe this guy who gave the info to Dr Sant was given to him maybe months ago, Sant felt to throw out all the mud now because this guy JPO was given the certificate of the green politician of the year

    [Moderator – this person is not the Karl Schembri who writes for MaltaToday and is probably using a false name.]

  20. gozo says:

    Inhossni ahjar nikteb bil-Malti.

    Sant qed jinheba wara subajh. Jitfa’ t-tajn imbaghad jigi jghid li ma jistax jikxef min qallu. Fil-qorti jista’ juza dik l-iskuza?

    Ix-xniegha hi xi haga kerha hafna f’pajjiz zghir bhal Malta u n-nies ma jinsew qatt x’ikun intqal fuq haddiehor.Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando ma nafux personali imma nifhem ghaliex irid li ismu u isem familtu ma jintefax fil-hama.

    Dottor Sant (kif hadd ma ccekkja l-kontenut tat-tezi tieghu halli naraw x’kiteb fuq l-ekonomija Maltija??) ghamel kampanja fuq il-barunijiet,fuq il VAT fl-1996 u n-nies waqghu fin-nassa. Kien hu li waqqaghna ghac-cajt meta harigna mill-Partnership for Peace. Esperjenza xejn pjacevoli xhin tkun il-Belgju fl-1997 u thossok ‘unwelcome’ ghax il Prim Ministru ta’ dak iz=zmien jahseb li jaf aktar minn kulhadd.

    Ahna l-ghawdxin ingdimna hekk kif tela’ Sant (ghaxar snin ilu); in-noll tal-vapur ghola mas-sema, mi’llum ghal ghada, u l-ghixien taghna gie kompromess.

    Bl-ingliz ighidu: “its better the devil you know than the one you don’t.” Mitt darba nibqa’ taht Gonzi milli Sant. Le Grazzi.

  21. Today we witnessed the actions of a man who next week could be our next prime-minister. The thought is more than just frightening. Sadly it also says a lot about the mind-set of a considerable chunk of the Maltese population…………and THAT does not augur well for us all.

  22. Reuben Balzan says:

    to Karl Schembri:

    Karl since you are asking so many questions, I have one for you.

    Why has the MLP not included its proposal to enact a Whistleblowers Act in its electoral programme? I find it pretty strange that notwithstanding that Alfred Sant has made the fight against corruption the central theme for his party’s election campaign and yet he did not deem this proposal important enough to be included in the electoral manifesto.

  23. europarl says:

    hehehe “this isn’t the Soviet Union”

    Take it from one who studied there for 4 years in the time of Brezhnev and Andropov: We are softly entering a soviet age. Welcome Daphne.

  24. Karl Schembri says:

    Daphne, I did not write any of the posts above and you have no right to let anyone use my name in any way whatsoever. Please make sure to remove any reference to me from the past and future comments, as I have never put any comments on your websites nor do I intend answering any in the future.
    Karl Schembri

  25. peter carbonaro says:

    it is incredible how labourites, like karl schembri (or whatever his name is) try and stick to one particular detail, like the press card and forget all the other important factors? for gods sake have you seen the footage? have you seen Dr.Sant s face to what JPO was telling him? this doesn t tell you anything by , godforbid, our future Prime minister? he is a cold, insensitive, arrogant and rigid as a sweeper stick….stop asking petty questions and spend some time checking out the difference between both Dr.Sant and Dr.Gonzi… don t worry it won t take too much of your time!

  26. Maxine Borg Ganado says:

    Oh dear Philip… and you will not be on the board of the ADT if the Sant government will be up now will you? Oh for God’s sake Philip… you are the last person who should be giving an opinion on this subject.

  27. Matthew Borg says:

    To be fair Karl (the real one), it wasn’t Daphne’s fault, but someone else’s – who it belongs to might be an imposter; or there might be another Karl Schembri in Malta writing comments.

  28. Charles says:

    I am astonished with the level of support you give to these blood sucking political parties. I cannot understand why the celebrations when one or the other wins, after all the real winners are those that are elected (and those around them obviously).
    You keep repeating of what one party did 30 years ago, and those that suffered I sympathize with. But let’s not forget that both of them beat the others up, because if it wasn’t in the eighties, it was in the sixties. Morally and spiritually, the church and clerics rubbed in pretty much to.
    Let’s not forget poor Kirren also. She wasn’t in a political club when she was blasted to pieces. She wasn’t even old enough to vote.
    What about the bombs that suddenly stopped when the Nationalists took office in 87?
    However, the early eighties were a nightmare for our country.
    What I intend is, if we keep mentioning the past it’s a never ending story on both major parties and to be honest we have no good choice in our beautiful divided/corrupt country(as it has always been).
    What me and my family achieved is true our sweat without any helping hand of god, so be wise and stay put. It makes you feel good. At least I laugh when I look around me during these times, because we are poorly addicted to these blood suckers.

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