Carmel nods on AD’s watch

Published: March 4, 2008 at 9:57am

If the Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando case was really that scandalous, then how come AD didn’t know anything about it? Carmel Cacopardo must have fallen asleep on the night-watch. Too bad Jo Said didn’t jump out at him from a bush to yell ‘Corruption!’ in his ear.

Now here comes Harry Vassallo, to join forces with his sole remaining potential coalition partner, Alfred Sant. Vassallo called this ‘the obscene Mistra case’. Go back to sleep, Vassallo – or to borrow a choice phrase from my youngest son, just eff off until you get your priorities right.

This campaign has been littered with Labour’s hideous obscenities, and finally Vassallo wakes up from the land of nod and calls something obscene – only it’s not the way that Sant behaved in this case and others. Oh, no – it’s the way a third party put in an application for development on Pullicino Orlando’s land.

Vassallo should have a little consultation with Cacopardo, a man who seriously needs to have his eyebrows trimmed because they’re taking over the whole show. Tenants apply to the MEPA for permission to develop their landlord’s property all the time. They are supposed to inform the landlord and seek his permission, but they don’t and the MEPA never checks. I live in a green area, all of it agricultural land which is owned by the Joint Office (church-government), and you can bet that when any one of the tenant-farmers wants to build a room for his tools or a rubble wall, dig a reservoir or an artesian well, or put down a cement road for his truck, it’s not the Joint Office that puts in the application. The Joint Office probably doesn’t even know what’s going on.

And this throws up some very interesting scenarios. Let’s say that when Alfred Sant is prime minister, somebody who pays rent to the Joint Office for a stretch of land decides to apply to the MEPA for permission to build an open-air nightclub or even a pizza parlour. The Joint Office is not informed. What are we expected to do, then – stand outside the Archbishop’s Curia and the Auberge de Castille to shout ‘korruzjoni’? Maybe Harry Vassallo will come out of the woodwork to call Archbishop Cremona and Prime Minister Sant ‘obscene’.

AD the watchdog

I can’t believe that the AD people are still at it, ranting on about coalitions until the 11th hour. Claire Bonello has colonised the Internet forums to tell people that a seat in a coalition government for AD is crucial because that way, AD can be the people’s watchdog.

What? The people’s watchdog when the people didn’t vote for AD? How presumptuous and self-important these people are. They don’t even begin to realise how arrogant they sound: 3000 people vote them in to parliament and suddenly they’re the nation’s watchdog. I don’t see Rita Law saying she’s the national watchdog just because she has more votes than AD.

Bonello didn’t have a ready reply when somebody asked her, ‘In that case, if AD is going to watch the government, who is going to watch AD?’ Because all of its people are as pure as the driven snow, AD has the divine right to govern unchecked.

Well, I have news for you. Nobody’s perfect.

Harry the rent-law campaigner is a protected tenant

On The Times Internet forum, I have been challenging AD for days to come forward with their much-trumpeted honesty and declare that none of its leading protagonists is a protected tenant. As soon as I post that kind of comment, AD’s input into the debate goes dead silent.

They know that I know exactly which one of them is a protected tenant, and they also know why I’m asking. And like Alfred Sant, they’re too chicken to say, because it kind of undermines their relentless rent-law campaigning on behalf of landlords, if the news gets out that Saint Harry Vassallo is a protected tenant himself and won’t return the keys.

Yes, he has offices in Valletta which he never uses because he hasn’t worked as a lawyer for years. The offices belong to somebody else and he pays a peppercorn rent every year. The owners have been asking him for a long time for the return of the keys and what’s rightfully theirs. They have to listen to Harry Vassallo rant on about the unfairness of our rent laws while knowing that he’s exploiting the system to suit himself.

When Vassallo began his rent law reform campaign, they thought their moment had come. Through their lawyer they asked Vassallo to be a gentleman, stand by what he preaches, and return their property to them. Vassallo’s response was a hysterical outburst in a telephone call to the lawyer, complete with lovely threats.

I am familiar with those hysterical outbursts because I have seen a few of them at MEPA public hearings. They’re one of the reasons why I think of Vassallo as a latter-day Savonarola – all that screeching denunciation of others. It’s just too much.

So Harry Vassallo the campaigner for landlords is still a protected tenant. My husband wrote a letter about this to Malta Today, and because Malta Today appears to have become part of the MLPAD coalition, it wasn’t published. Never mind – his wife has a blog that’s had 9,500 hits in just 12 hours (and a newspaper column for good measure), so Harry’s little secret is out.

He’s got a right to be a protected tenant

Of course he has. That’s exactly what he’s campaigning against: the fact that the law allows people like him to hang on to other people’s property, even when they’re not using it, while paying peanuts.

When this subject came up at a social gathering recently, an AD supporter defended him by saying, ‘Don’t blame Harry. Blame the law. As long as the law says he should keep it, then he can. That’s why he’s campaigning to change the law.’ Excuse me, but how does that work, exactly? The law allows Vassallo to keep the property, but it does not oblige him to do so. He is free to hand the keys back to the legal owner of the place, and because this is the main tenet of his rent law reform campaign, he should set an example immediately by doing so.

But he doesn’t, because we’re all human. Savonarola has feet of clay, after all.

Jason il-pilastru ta’ Sant

Jason Micallef, armed with his vacuous smile even in the most serious of situations, and wearing the expression that says “Everything that goes in from my left ear comes straight out of my right’, huddles up to Sant rather too cosily. On Super One yesterday afternoon, when they sat behind that silly desk trying to explain to the nation why Sant walked out of the PBS studios to avoid nasty Jeffrey, they were shoved right up together, leaning in to each other with their shoulders touching. What purpose does Micallef serve, exactly – literally that of moral support? Would Sant have slid right under the desk without Micallef propping him up?

If Sant feels the need to have a dog around, now that his poodle has been long gone in Brussels, he should get a real one. I can recommend Staffordshire bull terriers. They hug up against their owners and keep nasty journalists and angry MPs away. Oh, and they have a brain.

Batman and Robin visit Kennedy Grove

In the final week of the electoral campaign, Batman and Robin are finding nothing better to do than trail around local beauty spots to tell us how malandati they are. First they went to Buskett. Now they’ve gone to Kennedy Grove.

I watched them wandering like a funeral procession around the scene of so many of my childhood picnics. It seemed like a violation. I’ll never be able to remember butterflies again. Now all I can think about when I see the Kennedy Memorial is those grim-faced crows.

‘What on earth are they doing trailing around Kennedy Grove in the last few days of the campaign, instead of explaining to us what they plan to do when in government?’ I muttered to myself on the sofa. Somebody overheard me. ‘Maybe they’ve run out of mud and have gone to pick up supplies,’ he said. ‘After 16 years of mudslinging, they must have run out.’

Somebody else chimed in – ‘Maybe Jason Micallef has been stealing his boss’s supply of mud to use as a face-pack.’ Well, I don’t know about that. He had very deep black circles round his eyes the last time I looked at him. Someone isn’t sleeping.

Sant’s whistleblowers

AD has another rant to share with the MLP: the need for a Whistleblower Act. Sant has found a convenient excuse as to why he won’t release his remaining bits of ammunition, and it’s not that his machine-gun has malfunctioned.

He can’t release this information, he said at his mass meeting, because the people who passed it on to him have changed their minds and said that they feel their livelihoods might be imperilled. Well, what can I say – at least it’s only their livelihoods and not their lives as it would have been when Sant was president of the MLP. Why do I think that this just sounds like a very convenient excuse?

If Sant’s informants in the Pullicino Orlando case and others like them were really whistleblowers in the true sense of the word, they would not have waited until the 11th hour in an election campaign, when they sense that Sant will be the next prime minister, to blow their pathetic little whistles. All this tells me is that they’re trying to curry favour with the next administration and holding out for promotion and a little bit of favouritism. I give you this information and you give me a leg-up.

No Whistleblower Act should ever be used to protect nasty specimens like this, who are only in it for what they can get out of it, and who are certainly not thinking of what’s right or of the national interest.

Labour – a slick and professional outfit

You know how the Nationalist Party raised around €500,000 during a fund-raising marathon on NET TV the Saturday before last? Well, the Labour Party felt it had to go one better, and held a fund-raising marathon on Super One the next day. When I switched on the television to take a look late in the evening, the figure hovered at just over €100,000 and the hosts looked a bit down-in-the-mouth.

They’d realised too late that they had made a serious misprint: holding a fund-raising marathon on television while their entire television audience was standing on the Floriana Granaries shouting and waving MLP flags. God, how I laughed: another misprint from Labour; another computer malfunction.

I bet it was Jason Micallef and the Lion of Change who dreamt that one up. I’d like to see them trying to slash the deficit to nothing and keep unemployment down if they can’t even work out something like this: that you don’t put on a television fund-raiser while all your donors are at the biggest mass meeting ever.

Then they tried to Tippex over this misprint by saying that the Labour Party is il-partit taz-zghir who can’t afford to give donations (and of course, the nasty government has taken all their money anyway) and not il-partit tal-baruni like Joe Saliba’s gang. Maybe the Nationalist Party just has common sense and strong organisational skills, and they don’t.

10 Comments Comment

  1. Mark Azzopardi says:

    Deja Vu

    This week I had the pleasure, for the second time in my life, of receiving a personalised letter from Dr Alfred Sant, leader of the MLP. When I read this letter it was deja vu for me. I had received a similar letter before the election held in 1996. At that time I had no vote, and I was going to start university. In that letter Dr Sant had promised me that my stipend would be secure once he was elected Prime Minister. But what he did with my stipend was exactly the opposite, and if he had stayed in power I would have ended up paying back my stipend together with the interests.

    The letter I received this week was similar. It was inviting me to start a new beginning in order to live a better life. No thanks Dr Sant. My new beginning started when Malta joined the European Union after the majority of the Maltese people, including me, voted YES in the Referendum and confirmed that result in the 2003 election since you did not accept the result and believed that the partnership had won. From that day onwards I’ve been living a better life, and I hope to continue living it unless someone decides to renegotiate the EU treaty for which I voted.

    Dr Sant also told me that his new government wanted to bring changes in different sectors such as the environment, education, training, industry, Information Technology, and tourism. No thanks again Dr Sant. This government has already brought a lot of changes. This government closed Mount Maghtab, introduced waste separation, built new schools and invested in teachers and resources, trained people (also with the help of the European Union), made huge steps in IT and brought Smart City to Malta, and achieved a new record in tourism.

    “Our ambition is your ambition” was said in this letter. Again, no thanks. My ambition is not to make our students repeat a year. My ambition is not to make my fellow workers get paid less for their overtime. My ambition is not to reduce social services to those in need in case there should be a deficit. My ambition is to have a government that creates as much as jobs as possible, not just 6000 in five years.

    But the funniest part of this letter is where Dr Sant tells me that he believes in me and that we can be among the best inside the European Union. Dr Sant we are already one of the best countries in the European Union. We proved ourselves to be on the same level, or better, than other countries and not makku like you used to tell us we would have been. That is why this government managed to introduce the euro and obtain 850 million euros for our country, and not one million a year like you had told us. That is why our young people are being offered loads of opportunities to study or work in the country they choose. That is why if I should ever be unsatisfied with something or think I’ve been discriminated against, I can always go and complain to other authorities in the European Union. That is why Malta now is more secure, both geographically and economically, and we have never seen bombs passing on our heads like we had been told.

    The letter ends with Dr Sant telling me that he is proud that together we can bring change and ensure a nice future. I tend to agree with this last part. Yes together we can continue to change our country. We can do it together with all the different sectors in Malta, together with the other countries in the European Union and obviously together with Dr Lawrence Gonzi again as our Prime Minister.

    The last line of the letter is an invitation for me to choose Labour on 8 March. No thanks Dr Sant. I cannot risk having other undesired surprises like I had after your first letter in 1996. I hope this time people won’t be fooled like they were in 1996 so I will choose PN.

  2. Carmel Scicluna says:

    Kompli ikteb kemm tiflah, Daphne! Naqrak b’entuzjazmu liema bhalu … din il-kampanja elettorali qed toffrilna divertiment mill-aqwa!
    Minn fejn il-mnieghel inqala’ dak Alfred Sant? Nixtieq li hu, Boob-Job Jason, l-Iljun tal-Bidla u Charlie ‘DNA’ Mangion ma jitkeccewx ‘il barra bid-daqqiet ta’ sieq mill-partit Laburista la tithabbar ufficjalment ir-rebha tal-Partit Nazzjonalista nhar il-Hadd li gej! Ghandna farsa mill-aqwa bihom!
    Hamsa u ghoxrin sena fil-gvern? Deal or no deal? Deal! Deal! Deal! U kif!

  3. Gilbert Camilleri says:

    Good afternoon Ms.Caruana Galizia,

    Yesterday I was watching Bondi+ and at one point in time – to my astonishment – I heard Mr.Ev critising the government re Tourism stating that PN didn’t make the best out of low cost airlines, amongst other issues

    But – wait – are these the same old guys that accused PN that the low cost airlines affair was not going to be beneficial to the country and that it was going to ruin AirMalta??

    Are they insulting my intelligence or what?!?!

  4. Charles Camenzuli says:

    In between an intense election campaign I can’t miss my daily appointment with hyper guy ‘saper tutto’ Roberto Francalanza. Who ever never watched Qribna on Sniper1 I can assure you that once you see it….you want to rewind and see it on again and again….

    I’m sure former Sant’s driver missed the boat on not logging in

  5. Colin Vassallo says:

    Good one Harry!!!

    I reckon you have signed AD referendum petition on our archaic rent laws. Virgin Harry is not squeaky clean after all. It would be interesting to learn what Claire Bonello has to say about this.

    This electoral campaign gets better by the minute.

  6. Helene Asciak says:

    Harry AD – I am sure you have logged in to this at least out of mere curiosity if nothing else so please do yourself a favour have some dignity stand by what you are supposed to believe in …. hand over those keys … then you might make your party’s beliefs more credible … till then in my eyes you will remain one of those politicians you claim you want to keep out of government.
    NOTE TO MR LAIVIERA: I am the fourth sister

  7. AlphaBeta says:

    Thanks for this piece. It has convinced me not to vote for AD:
    1. In principle, I’m not in favour of a party whose policies are guided by a single conviction completely overlooking other considerations…to me, this amounts to fundamentalism (no matter how worthy environmental matters happen to be). Example: AD’s electoral pledge to subject permits for major projects to a local referendum is an invitation to an investment deadlock in Malta;
    2. The shameful way Perit Cocopardo released a self-authored report prepared when he was a public official and when said report was not endorsed by the organisation he worked for (regardless of its content, which is another matter altogether) – you cannot right a wrong with something wrong;
    3. Now this. Although I’m not involved in rented property, I always thought (still do) that this legislation is unfair. Yet, here I stand in awe. I had always thought that Holy Harry was made of a different matter.

  8. Marisa says:

    Mark, on reading your ‘Deja Vu’ I realised you had put into words exactly what I felt after reading the letter you mention. Thank you, I couldn’t have put it better myself.

  9. Corinne Vella says:

    Victor Laiviera: Since you are the MLP’s unofficial spokesperson, perhaps you know the answer to the following question.

    What became of all those thousands of PARTNERSHIP flags, banners, scarves, stickers, CDs and T-shirts? Were they recycled in line with the MLP’s holier-than-thou green credentials or did the MLP just bin them, increasing the stock of environmental pollutants?

  10. Amanda Mallia says:

    First a poodle, now a chihuahua … Oh yes, and a lion too.

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