Labour loves a good lie

Published: March 6, 2008 at 5:58pm

Our feathered friend Alfred Sant morphed back into a cross between Lord Voldemort and Darth Vader yesterday evening and was busy beneath one of his wigwams, inciting yet another of his mobs into a mad frenzy against those who dare insist that the leader of AD pays his fine or serves his sentence.

As the red-sweatered crowd screeched its appreciation, I sat and wondered at the mysterious ways in which people swallow this man’s application of two weights and two measures. On the one hand, he commissions books about l-iskandlu tal-Mistra and persecutes Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando. On the other hand, he defends the leader of a political party who breaks the law, doesn’t pay his fines, and then turns the matter into a media circus to avoid having to settle his dues.

It’s the MLPAD all over again. If you’re going to be voting for any coalition, like Claire Bonello and Arnold Cassola keep telling you to do, this is the one you’ll get. As for me, I’ve had enough of self-serving truth-twisters.

Read this latest update from

Vassallo convicted twice – Court Registrar

The Registrar of the Criminal Court, Paul Miruzzi, in a statement this afternoon explained how ‘conviction tickets’ were issued by the courts against AD leader Harry Vassallo after two convictions by the courts.

He explained that on November 17, 2005 Dr Vassallo, as a person registered with the VAT Department, was arraigned before the Magistrates’ Court and accused of having failed to conform to a sentence against him handed down by the Magistrates’ Court on November 5, 2002. He was accused of having failed to obey a court order to comply with the law within two months, failing which he would be fined Lm6 for every day that the original fine remained unpaid. Dr Vassallo told the court that he was a lawyer and did not require legal counsel. After hearing the prosecution and Dr Vassallo and considering the evidence, the court condemned Dr Vassallo to pay Lm3,954. On August 3, 2007 the Registrar of the Criminal Courts was informed of a petition to the President, dated January 3, 2006, with regard to the court sentence. On September 18, 2007 the Registrar was informed that the petition had been turned down. On September 27, 2007 the Registrar issued a conviction ticket against Dr Vassallo and passed it on to the police for execution. On September 28, 2008 the courts had handed down another sentence against Dr Vassallo. Dr Vassallo had faced the same charges but over a different period of time. After considering the evidence, the court convicted Dr Vassallo and fined him Lm2,100. After having verified that there was no other plea for a presidential pardon, the registrar on September 27, 2007 issued another conviction ticket against Dr Vassallo and passed it on to the police for execution.

And Harry Vassallo loves a good lie-in

Pink magazine interviewed the wives of the political party leaders, or least the three who have one. I decided that Mrs Vassallo should be given a medal for heroism, while her husband needs to be reminded that this is no longer the Victorian age. All the women in my family were struck by the same thing: Mrs Vassallo’s description of how she wakes up at 6am every day, rushes round cleaning, tidying, sorting things out and getting the children ready for school. Then at 8.30am she tiptoes into the bedroom with a cup of tea for Harry and wakes him to start his day, before she rushes off to earn the family bread. She rushes back from her job, cooks and shops, does some more tidying and sorting, and has everything spick and span and food on the table for the master of the house whenever he chooses to return from whatever he has been doing all day (knocking on the neighbours’ doors and telling them to vote for a coalition, probably).

Aaaaarrrrghhhhhh! There, I’ve got that off my chest.

A few days later, I was reading some of Vassallo’s rubbish about family life, and how if AD is elected to the coalition government of his dreams, he will ensure that women have extended maternity leave. And I thought: what do you know about that, buster?

Where I come from, it’s the men who wake up at the crack of dawn, bring their wives a cup of tea in bed, and then rush off to earn the family bread – especially if the wife is going to be busy earning some of it too. And they’re expected to pull their weight with the chores, or failing that, to pay somebody else to do so. In our neck of the woods, lazy men are not allowed.

In the media circus surrounding his ‘fine or imprisonment’ problem, Vassallo squeaked in protest that if his sole source of income is Lm400 a month as leader of AD, he shouldn’t be expected to be able to pay Lm6,000. Try telling him that’s his problem, when he is so busy right now telling us that it’s ours. Hasn’t anyone ever told him that his first duty is towards his wife and children, not towards himself and politics? I can understand that he is too busy to work and earn money in an electoral campaign, but there isn’t much to keep the leader of a political party (without a single seat in parliament) occupied for the other four years and nine months. So how does he spend his time, while his wife cooks, cleans, earns money, shops for food and looks after the children? Sleeping (another thing he has in common with Alfred Sant)? Reading (ditto)? Writing propaganda articles (ditto)? Trying to convince his neighbours of the wisdom of a coalition government? At least Alfred Sant has some chickens to feed in a coop at the end of his garden (feathered friends for our feathered friend).

Harry Vassallo’s lifestyle is beyond my comprehension, but that’s because I am unnaturally prejudiced against men who allow their wives to work much, much harder than they do, running around in circles trying to keep a hundred balls up in the air while their husbands float around and dream. Perhaps in this I am sexist, because I am not similarly prejudiced against women who float around and dream while their husband works his socks off (though I do think they are a bit of a waste of space). But there’s something that bothers me a lot about a man who lets a woman lift far more than her fair share of the burden. It doesn’t ring right.

Vassallo’s excuse that he can’t work because he’s too busy with AD strikes me as the false protest of the shirker. There are lots of politicians who are far, far busier than he is in their political work, but who still succeed in holding down their day job. This may not be ideal, and in several cases it leads to conflict of interest, but that’s only because they have a parliamentary seat – and Vassallo does not. There is no conflict of interest involved for him. Besides, I use this only as an example that, if you are a hard-working man and not a lazy one, you’ll work all the hours God sends to provide for your children and even for your wife if she is looking after them, and still have time for your political hobbies or even your political work. After all, Vassallo is in a more privileged position than most, because he has a profession which allows him to be self-employed and to make his own hours. He doesn’t have to answer to a boss or be a salaried man at the office between 9am and 5pm.

Instead of sleeping until his wife wakes him at 8.30am with a cup of tea every day, Harry Vassallo should have been filling in some forms.

15 Comments Comment

  1. David Friggieri says:

    Oh, it takes all sorts, Daphne! The world’s a wonderfully varied place. Geez, some PN politicians are still holed up with mamma. So are a couple of artist-columnists. And they’re 50. Or was it 55? Boo to them too then, right?

  2. Jenny says:

    Hi Daphne,

    I couldn’t help not remembering about the email about the excerpt from the ‘The Good Housekeeping Guide for women’ dated back to 1955 recently when I read about Mrs. Vassallo’s daily routine. Poor woman! Who knows maybe she received the email herself too? Here’s the link :

  3. Leonard says:

    Just in case Harry goes for hara-kiri – I’ll buy his widow a one-way ticket to New York.

  4. Rita says:

    Zero Tolerence means zero tolerence I guess………
    In a few days time, the distinct possibility of Dr. Charles Mangion sitting behind the minister of finance’s desk in town beckons. Now I would like someone to tell me…how does one reconcile the fact that as a Notary, he oversees sums of money changing hands for property deals and puts his signiture to these but EVERYONE KNOWS that they (notaries)also oversee the passage of money which is undeclared. How many of you out there have been through the travails of buying or selling a property of sorts and having the buyer ask to undeclare. Of course I would argue that the more popular a notary is the more he does this ( tut tut tut) On the other hand failure to this would no doubt entail the notary closing shop ( ghax hadd ma jkun irid imur ghandu!) . Now Dr. D.N.A Mangion is known to have a very good practice so……In fact the authorities too know about this and in fact send architects to confirm that the value stated on a property deal is in fact reflective of the value of the property itself. This is done under the aegis of the CIR to ensure that it has collected all tax due. Question1: How is the minister going to catch himself? Question 2: Does Alfred Sa(i)nt approve of this ( perhaps once he sees the documents and claims all is in order)?

    Zero Tolerence………..

  5. Corinne Vella says:

    If you’re genuinely sympathetic towards Mrs Bonello, you wouldn’t be making jokes that could hurt her. Why punish her for someone else’s wrongdoing?

  6. C Gauci says:

    So the police went to talk to Dr Vassallo originally about a neighbouring burglary and not the arrest. And they decided to remind him of the pending arrest warrants.

    This implies that Dr Vassallo had been served with the warrants before.

    Or wasn’t he?

    If he was, could we please know when?
    Such date would be both on police records and court records. Official.
    Why hasn’t the date when Dr Vassallo was notified about the arrest warrants been mentioned in any of the media?

    If he hadn’t been informed at all previously, we’re just back to square one!


    How come an arrest warrant got notified:

    a) 5 months after it was issued;
    b) how come this coincidentally occurred on the eve of the election, and
    c) excluding clairvoyance, how come the PN journalist knew that it was going to happen before it happened?
    To be precise he/she got to know a whole 5 months after the warrant was issued which is quite tardy, but 4 hours BEFORE action was taken by the police and 2 days before the general election…

    Another thing: Why is there no track of Dr Vassallo’s case on

    All this without going into the merits of whether Dr Vassallo was right in asking a re-consideration of the case consisting in him having to pay fines for the lack of submittance of VAT returns for a company whom he had not been representing at that time.

    I’m sorry but apparently this ‘saga’ is far from solved. Actually, it’s getting all the more complicated the more it develops. A very stinky kettle of fish indeed, and believe me I hate to be saying this.

    Please I implore journalists to inform us, the electorate, whether Dr Vassallo had been served with the arrest warrants, during the period between September 2007 and March 2008. Only then we might be getting a hint of the truth.

    As a floating voter now I feel that I can’t trust anyone, I don’t know whether I’m going to invalidate my vote or vote MLP now. The latter is remote, I think I’ll invalidate at this point. Or not go at all and disconnect my telephone.

  7. Angela says:

    Hi Daphne,

    Thanks for being one of the few maltese journalists with the courage to speak your mind.

    Right now I’m listening to Micheal Falzon at the last mass meeting, its unbelievable.

    Can you believe that they are saying that PN are the party of failures and that they do not believe in the potential of the maltese people. Are they serious?

    I used to consider myself a floating voter but the more I listen to labour the more they disgust me and the mere thought of ever associating with them gives me the creeps.

    I cannot understand how people can thirst to listen to their nonsense, let alone follow them!

  8. Amanda Mallia says:

    Thursday, 6th March 2008 – 18:12CET

    UPDATED: Vassallo can still regularise his position – Ministry
    Taken from The Times online of this evening:

    The Finance Ministry said this afternoon that contrary to what was claimed yesterday by Alternattiva Demokratika leader Harry Vassallo, according to the Registry of Companies the company Abelweld Ltd still existed and Dr Vassallo was shown as being its majority shareholder, director, company secretary and the person legally responsible for the company.

    It was not the case, therefore, that Dr Vassallo no longer represented the company, as he claimed yesterday.

    Therefore, the ministry said, when Dr Vassallo informed the VAT Department that he was no longer responsible, he was misleading the department.

    The ministry said a Presidential pardon could not be given to Dr Vassallo because he was refusing to fill in the 37 VAT returns covering the period for which the courts found him to be legally responsible and guilty.

    Dr Vassallo, however, was still in time to regularise his position by filling in the VAT forms for the years at issue so that his plea for a pardon could be considered.

    The ministry also published the report of the VAT Commissioner on the case.

    In his report the VAT commissioner said Dr Vassallo registered the company for VAT purposes on September 29, 1994. The company did not submit VAT returns between August 1, 1999 and July 31, 2005. It sent one return in 1999 but failed to file the other 37 due to date. After several warnings, legal action was instituted by the police.The police sued Dr Vassallo as the person responsible under the law and he was arraigned on November 2002, convicted and fined Lm100 and Lm6 for every day that he failed to settle the fine. Since Dr Vassallo did not follow the court’s orders, fresh legal action was instituted in November 2005. Dr Vassallo was again found guilty and fined a total of Lm3,954 covering the period January 2003 to October 2004. Dr Vassallo was arraigned again in May 2005 on similar charges, convicted once more and again fined Lm100. Since he did not submit the returns, Dr Vassallo was again arraigned in September 2006 and fined Lm2,100. In January 2006 Dr Vassallo requested a Presidential pardon but since the returns were still not submitted, the request was denied.The comissioner said DrVassallo was still a major shareholder of the company Abelweid Limited as well as director and legal representative.

  9. K Zammit says:

    Can the person who sent the email saying that Gonzi baqa issumat explain to me whether he saw the same political debate I just finished watching?
    Well done Gonzi. Sums up in an hour the previous five week campaign. Sant with the same tactics up till the end and on the other hand the constructive campaigning of Gonzi.
    Its up to the maltese know to choose what they want.

  10. James De Giorgio says:

    For those who missed the debate, you can watch it on this link:

    Needless to say, Gonzi emerged as the clear winner.

  11. Stephen says:

    I have disagreed with Daphne many times however i must say that i sincerely admire her and this time she is one hundred percent right ! Shame on you both Dr Harry Vassallo and Dr Alfred Sant ! Have you no self respect ? Don’t either of you feel any sense of duty towards our beloved country ?

  12. It has been confirmed from an OPM statement tonight that Vassallo’s petition for a Presidential pardon would have been considered positively … if only he bothered to fill in the forms for a company which still appears in the Companies’ Register and for which he still appears as its majority shareholder, director, company secretary and legal representative.

  13. DVella says:

    In my relative ignorance on legal matters, does conviction by a criminal court against a person technically make that person a criminal? If this is the case, does our constitution not have a safeguard clause which prohibits persons having a criminal conviction from submitting their candidature for a general election? Does the electoral office have no responsibility for verifying the integrity and record of persons submitting their nomination for an election? What are the implications if a person with a criminal conviction is elected to the House of Representatives? Overlooking the fact that some of the primates that, on occasion, graced our parliament are hardly exemplary specimens of polite and educated society, I find the notion somewhat disturbing and possibly a precedent for an even worse scenario.

  14. Leonard says:

    Isn’t it unusual for a Green party not to field a single female candidate?

  15. johnmary spiteri says:

    Xi haga f’din id-drama ta` Harry Vassallo ma daqqetlix! Ma stajtx
    nifhem x’inhi. HV, avukat u ma tax kaz li jimxi skond il-proceduri
    stabbiliti mill-Ligi dwar id-Diretturi tal-Kumpaniji? HV, avukat u ma
    tax kaz id-digriet tal-Qorti? HV, Kap ta` partit politiku riesaq ghal
    elezzjoni u ma jirregolarizzax ruhu mal-ligi? Il-PN, riesaq ghal
    elezzjoni tant krucjali ghall-pajjiz u jaghmel att suwicidali fl-ahhar
    ta` kampanja elettorali? Ma kontx naf x’qed jinkwetani dwar dan
    il-Kaz. Sakemm fittixt id-dettalji li johorgu minn dak li qal u ghamel
    HV innifsu. Qal li cemplulu l-pulizija wara li kien mistoqsi minn
    gurnalista tal-Media.Link dwar l-irregolarita` ta` ghemilu mal-Qorti.
    Qallhom li kien ma jiflahx u ma setghax johrog u jekk ma jimportax
    imorru huma ghandu d-dar. Hekk ghamlu. HV kellu indikazzjoni ghal xiex
    gejjin. Nafu issa x’ghadda bejn HV u l-Pulizija mill-istqarrija
    tal-Kummissarju. HV, ohrog il-ghageb wara li telqu l-pulizija, mhux
    talli marlu l-mard kollu, talli gibed mieghu it-tfal u rhiela lejn
    il-HQ tal-AD. Kellu bzonn kemm it-tfal kif ukoll il-backdrop tal-AD
    ghal konferenza stampa. Kellu bzonn konferenza stampa; Il-partiti
    l-ohrajn kien ser ikollhom l-ahhar kelma qabel l-elezzjoni. L-AD
    kellha bzonn konferenza stampa wkoll. Kellha bzonn platform: “bad
    publicity better than no publicity at all”. HV haseb li jekk imur hu
    l-ghassa, din ma fiha news value ta` xejn, tigri kuljum. Ried xena
    drammatika bil-pulizija wara biebu. Allura l-iskuza tal-mard. Wara
    ried il-media, allura l-backdrop tal-AD. HV ried is-simpatija, allura
    l-mara u t-tfal. HV jrid il-voti ghal AD, allura l-montatura li
    tpoggih fl-istampa tal-kampanja elettorali bhala vittma.
    HV. kelli rispett lejn l-AD. Kelli ammirazzjoni sigrieta ghalik. Issa naf ahjar

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