The Times report includes the immortal line: “It is not clear whether they were dressed as waiters or whether they wore police uniforms.”

Published: June 29, 2013 at 12:32pm


Times of Malta has reported on the business of police officers cooking and serving food to guests at Manuel Mallia’s banquet at Girgenti Palace.

The report adds to the information that is already known, including the fact that the journalist could not get a reply on whether the police officers serving guests wore their police uniforms or were dressed as waiters.

“It is not clear whether they were dressed as waiters or whether they wore police uniforms.”

It reports that most of the food was prepared at the Police Depot in Floriana and transported – presumably in police vehicles – to Girgenti Palace.

But there’s more, which confirms what I myself wrote in the original post yesterday morning: that around 25 police officers were literally ORDERED to serve as waiters.

Here is Times of Malta’s report:

Although Dr Mallia told Parliament yesterday the police officers had volunteered to serve the guests, sources told Times of Malta that between 25 and 30 officers were ordered to leave their stations and report for work at Girgenti.

Times of Malta was also told that the prime minister’s wife, who was at Girgenti Palace welcoming guests while police officers cooked and served, was there “on behalf of her husband, who was attending the European Union summit in Brussels”.

That Labour do not understand protocol is an understatement. The prime minister’s spouse, be it a man or a woman, has absolutely no Constitutional role. In the absence of the prime minister, it is the deputy prime minister who stands in for him, hence his ‘job title’.

But in this particular instance, there was no need for any ‘stand in’ at all, because the Minister for Broadcasting was there in representation of the Government of Malta. The prime minister does not represent himself. He represents the government. If somebody is representing the government already (Manuel Mallia), Louis Grech can stay home.

This fundamental lack of understanding is the reason why Michelle Muscat is pushed forward to “represent her husband”. She cannot and may not represent her husband, because her husband represents the government. Mrs Muscat can no more represent the prime minister in an official capacity at social occasions than she can represent him in an official capacity when signing documents on behalf of the government of Malta. If she turns up at a social occasion without her husband, she represents nobody but herself.

Here’s Times of Malta again:

Dr Mallia confirmed in Parliament yesterday that the meal had taken place and officers had volunteered to act as waiters.


Sources said the force was chosen to provide the food to save money on outside catering. Having police officers serve as waiters was also a cost-cutting initiative, they said.

52 Comments Comment

  1. george grech says:

    Has any journalist approached any member of the EBU present and asked them whether or not they were aware that they were being served by policemen ?

    • Last Post says:

      In his preposterous incompetence he possibly believes the EU will applaud his behaviour as an austerity measure to cut down on Malta’s government expenditure.

    • ciccio says:

      Thank you for setting out an obvious question.

      Our journalists seem to have been more interested in an “arlogg tal-lira” worth no more than Euro 500 than in an embarrassment of our country with Europe’s broadcasters which is worth much more.

    • maryanne says:

      They must have had some intuition that something was wrong.

      Can you imagine for a moment that all 25 policemen knew perfectly well how to serve dinner?

      I shudder to think of all the ‘service’ sins that were committed in the name of Scrooge.

      • John Profumo says:

        “Aw hi, trid ftit inbid? You want wine, mister?”

      • Rita Camilleri says:

        @John Profumo – “do you want more grass please?” This really happened to me ages ago at a restaurant, he obviously meant if I wanted more vegetables and translated from Maltese… haxix.

    • thehobbit says:

      They probably got the idea from the way the Rixos hotel was staffed, south-east of Malta.

    • Antisocial(ist) says:

      The press in Malta is in an utter shambles. No journalists whatsoever other than a bunch of amateur reporters who can’t even get the reporting right.

      Thank God Daphne has made it her mission to fly the flag in this department or we would be starved of any issue whilst our Head Chav takes all that Malta is today and throws it straight into the gutter.

  2. Leslie Darmanin says:

    It may be that the policemen concerned were actually volunteers. They may have been just a bunch of Laburisti hodor rounded up by someone “biex jaghmlu pjacir lill-ministru”. No strings attached, of course, that wouldn’t cross our mind.

    Orders would need to be issued in any case to authorise them to leave their posts.

    If this is the case, then they did it “ghall-partit”, reflecting yet again Labour’s absolute inability to differentiate between government and party, not to mention government and the Police.

    It is more likely that the catering unit was “ordered”. In any case, someone was there against his will and spilt the beans.

  3. Paddling Duck says:

    Oh for heaven’s sake!

    NET TV’s footage yesterday showed those police officers in uniform, entering Girgenti Palace an hour before the event started.

  4. CIS says:

    Justice Minister caught in a lie. Hiding his actions by saying this is a new way of doing things – so shocking coming from a criminal lawyer.

    He’s got the secret service under his thumb now. What a difference from the previous Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici and he was the one to get sacked.

  5. Plagarised says:

    If it is truly a case volunteer work, then the word ‘volunteered’ is a bit of an ambiguous here.

    Did the police officers volunteer to leave their posts during working hours to be waiters?

    Or did the officers volunteer out of their own free time to be personal waiters to the man who sits in during their interviews?

    In both cases the actions are wrong however, if the latter case is true one has to look at ulterior motives that the volunteers have in mind.

  6. Jozef says:

    Ghidli l-kostituzzjoni kif se jzarmawha. ‘Burokrazija’.

  7. john says:

    Did Mallia slip out of the banquet at some stage and carry out a spot-check at police headquarters and the village police stations to see if any officers were not at their place of duty?

    If he did I reckon he would have found at least about twenty five AWOL.

    And if he did, how come he hasn’t held a press conference about it?

  8. Str8 says:

    This is abnormal, perhaps abusive too. This crippled the security / police force when their duty was definitely not to serve as waiters.

    Common sense should have prevailed. What an administration!

  9. WhoamI? says:

    What about health and safety? Food can’t be transported in non-refridgerated vehicles in such a hot climate.

    We all remember a one-off case of a very reputable and experienced caterer at a particular wedding gone wrong.

    Crazy stuff. It’s no longer funny.

  10. TROY says:

    Can I order food from the police HQ? Will they deliver?

    Is this what all those switchers switched to?

    Well the police motto under Labour used to say ‘To SERVE the people’.

  11. Ghoxrin Punt says:

    I wonder if Mrs Muscat was there as Joseph’s eyes and ears.

    I think paranoia has set in and he trusts no one

  12. Tracy says:

    Jekk qed nifhem sew dan ix-xoghol ta’ waiters inghata lill-pulizija biex il-ministeru jiffranka l-flus jew biex ibaxxilhom il-moral?

    Ghandhom ghalfejn jiftahru li huma parit li jaqbez ghall-haddiem. Li jieku sab nofs tuzzana waiters jaghmlu dak ix-xoghol ma kienx jahjihom?

    U fuq kollox kienu jaghmlu x-xoghol b’aktar kapacita’?

  13. nutmeg says:

    Baking their cake, and eating it too.

  14. Colin says:

    Have any foreign press groups picked up on this?

    This would be interesting news, at least in Europe.

    The Sky News App would definitely have this listed under their “Bizarre” category.

  15. matt says:

    All the people who fall under Mallia should be afraid. Obviously they gradually are losing their freedom. I wonder why Tony Zarb is so silent.

    Oh yes I remember, MLP is in government.

    • ciccio says:

      And what does Tony Zahra have to say about this, and its impact on our image with visitors?

      • trueblue says:

        As well as the impact on his members and his own business. But no problem – he will get something

      • ciccio says:

        The hunters should be quite angry, and I cannot blame them. Tony Zahra asked for a national conference about the impact of hunting on visitors and hence on the tourist industry.

        But now he has not asked for a national conference about how the government treated 200-300 delegates of the EBU to a dinner and had the police serve them under cover.

  16. Colin says:

    Sorry I meant “Strange” not “Bizarre”… Although either would be suitable. Shame they don’t have a “Ridiculous” category.

  17. ciccio says:

    The picture chosen by Times of Malta is spot on.

    Cabaret Minister.

  18. Mike says:

    Who paid them for their services?

    I doubt it would have free services, so who paid and how?

    Will it be registered as overtime on their police paycheck?

    So much for cost-cutting. More like transferring of costs to a harder to trace source.

  19. Wilson says:

    It is very demeaning for any self respecting policeman to do that, unless they form part of some ‘special section’ in which case they will also clean drainage pipes if need be.

  20. bob-a-job says:

    Just another episode of ‘Are you being served’

  21. Lomax says:

    Somebody wake me up and tell me this was all a nightmare.

    Should the Minister for the Police order the police anywhere? Of course not.

    Should the police do the Minister’s bidding? No.

    If the Police Commissioner had a shred of dignity left he would resign.

    This must have been abjectly humiliating to the police officers in question.

    I hereby ask the Opposition spokesman for the Police, Jason Azzopardi, to ask for the following information, in parliament.

    1. The name and rank/number of the officers ordered to do this.

    2. Where they are normally deployed.

    3. Whether they would have been on duty had they not been ordered to serve the EBU delegates as waiters.

  22. Jeeves says:

    You rang M’Lud?

  23. Victor says:

    How I wish that I lived in a country where there were tens of journalists just like you Daphne (I know you are not a reporter, but you do get the gist) and could have the pleasure of reading about the embarrassing questions asked to this arrogant and amateur lot.

    But alas.

  24. rupert says:

    I wonder what the EBU delegates thought of the quality of the food they were served and the serving skills of the police officers.

    Waiting at table is a skill which is learnt at a catering school not at a police academy.

    So is cooking a formal dinner for large numbers.

    This is not an occasion that required police canteen food and service. Utterly embarrassing.

  25. Crockett says:

    Are we to assume that there been no coverage of the event where Mrs Muscat covered for her husband?

    And has it been uncovered how many covers were served undercover?

    Meanwhile, it seems government is covering-up by stating it was saving us pennies.

    Ah, that’s a relief, our collective arses are covered.

  26. U Le! says:

    Heard it on the grapevine that Mad Magazine is trying to boost circulation and hence will be opening an office in Malta.

  27. U Le! says:

    Law and ORDER (Special Waiters Unit).

  28. makjavel says:

    Next step: police catering for cabinet meetings.

  29. Ronnie says:

    Was the food transported from the Police Depot to the venue in refrigerated trucks and proper packaging? If not quite a few health safety rules were broken.

  30. La Redoute says:

    The minister should not give orders to the police and the police should refuse to take orders from a minister.

    There are no ifs and no buts. To do otherwise is to abuse of one’s power. All other concerns are side issues.

  31. Chalie says:

    Manuel should open police stations to serve burgers and hot dogs during the festa. Naqilghu lira xi tghid Lel

  32. Chalie says:

    Bdejna zmien il-qamel.

    So much like the golden Mintoffian years of a second or third hand power station, second hand telephone system etc.

    Now it’s Police Catering Services. So typically Labour, and the main issue is that Labour cannot see the humiliation it brings to the Police.

    Even if for one second we believe that it was the police who offered such services for free, the Police Commissioner and the Minister should have refused.

    However as long as it’s a cost-cutting measure, Labour will justify it.

    I just wonder if they would refuse anything as long as it’s free.

    A feasibility study by a blacklisted company.

    Catering services by the Police.

    What next?

  33. d_Riddler says:

    The humiliation of the Police Force may be intentional. Remember that the Police were the Minister’s main antagonists during his life as a top criminal lawyer. He may actually be following his Great Leader’s footsteps in trying to undermine his past rivals.

    Notice as well that he did not put ‘one of them’ to lead the Corps, but he got a person from outside.

  34. Candida says:

    Preposterous the dignity and self esteem of a person is not to be compromised by any means of cost-cutting.

    Cost-cutting at the expense of one’s self-respect is never acceptable.

  35. Overseas says:

    Apart from all the issues already highlighted about having police used as waiters, in any EU or other country the unions by now would be balloting for strike action.

    As their members in the catering industry have been deprived of the opportunity to work and instead people not trained in the catering business have been used.

  36. Dagobert Merovin says:

    Could it be that this is intended to signal to the European Union summit in Brussels that Malta, under the auspices of the newly elected Labour Administration, is a police state in the making? Whatever, this is nothing compared with what we are going to witness in the months and/years ahead.

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