Chairman of Malta Council for Science & Technology and Law Commissioner/Chief of Constitutional Reform in Rabat brawl at 5am today

Published: August 4, 2013 at 9:37am
The Chairman of the Malta Council of Science and Technology, in another drunken incident at another bar on another day.

The Chairman of the Malta Council of Science and Technology, in another drunken incident at another bar on another day.

The Law Commissioner and Chief of Constitutional Reform, carried by Labour supporters to celebrate the Labour victory

The Law Commissioner and Chief of Constitutional Reform, carried by Labour supporters to celebrate the Labour victory

The chairman of the Malta Council for Science and Technology, Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, and the Law Commissioner/Chief of Constitutional Reform, Franco Debono, were involved in a brawl outside the Rabat bar known as Tas-Serkin (near the Roman Villa parking area) at 5am today.

Sources within the police force told me this morning that towards dawn today, police were called to the assistance of a young man outside the Tas-Serkin bar/tea-shop. His spectacles had been smashed and he had been lightly wounded. He gave the police a statement.

In this statement, he said that he was seated in the bar – a place that is known for its early-morning pastizzi and coffee, and piles of newspapers – when the chairman of the Malta Council for Science and Technology walked in at 5am. Reacting to the front page headline on The Sunday Times, quoting Lawrence Gonzi as saying that the Prime Minister will live to regret appointing John Dalli and Franco Debono, the MCST chairman began shouting: ‘F’ghoxx in-Nazzjonalisti! F’ghoxx in-Nazzjonalisti!”

This is recorded in the police statement.

He received encouragement from others in the bar, who joined in and began to celebrate along with him, repeating his chant and laughing.

The young man, Nicholas Azzopardi, who is just 22 and works for the Information Office at the Nationalist Party, walked out of the bar, and was followed by the chairman of the Malta Council of Science and Technology. Azzopardi turned to Pullicino Orlando and said to him, “Aren’t you ashamed to behave this way?”

Pullicino Orlando’s response was a volley of abuse and repetition of the words “F’ghoxx in-Nazzjonalisti.”

He began waving his arms around and hit Azzopardi in the face, though it is not clear whether he did so deliberately or accidentally.

Franco Debono became involved at this point. Since the information I received via the police is unclear on the involvement of the Law Commissioner and Chief of Constitutional Reform, I rang Nicholas Azzopardi to confirm what actually happened.

He said that when the chairman of the Malta Council for Science and Technology was shouting abuse at him and at the Nationalist Party in general, outside the bar, the bar’s other patrons spilled out onto the street. They joined in shouting abuse at Azzopardi and one of them punched him squarely in the face, smashing his spectacles. “I had to pick them up and piece them together to be able to see the numbers on my phone and ring the police for help,” he told me.

At that point, he saw the Law Commissioner and Chief of Constitutional Reform hurtling in his direction in an absolute frenzy, looking out of his mind. He hadn’t been in the bar but had been outside it with a group of people and was clearly in the same party as the chairman of the Malta Council for Science and Technology.

“He looked like he wanted to kill me,” Azzopardi said. “He made straight for me and was so determined to get at me that he had to be held back by some people who were with him. I didn’t recognise any of those other people. If they had not held him back, I don’t know what would have happened.”

I cannot emphasise enough that this is a 22-year-old we are talking about here, of fairly slight build and wearing spectacles that had been smashed already. And yet the 40-year-old Law Commissioner and the 50-year-old MCST chairman went for him.

The police arrived and helped Nicholas Azzopardi to the Rabat station, where he gave a statement. At around 6.30am they rang the chairman of the Malta Council for Science and Technology and called him in to give a statement, too. I have no information yet on whether the Law Commissioner and Chief of Constitutional Reform was summoned to give his statement. The indications so far are that the police will press charges.

Whether the police press charges or not (we are speaking here, after all, of the Police Minister’s friends and the Malta Taghna Lkoll way of doing things) the Prime Minister simply cannot let this go. He must demand the resignations of the chairman of the Malta Council for Science and Technology and of the Law Commissioner and Chief of Constitutional Reform. This is the most serious resignation matter: people in that position cannot be brawling outside a bar at 5am, or shouting “F’ghoxx in-Nazzjonalisti.”

If the Prime Minister lets this go, he will have effectively set the standard for behaviour in public office, and it’s all hell from now on.

73 Comments Comment

  1. Mark says:

    Surely ‘cockfight’?

  2. Liberal says:

    Of course, there will be no resignations for this thuggish behaviour.

    • Denis says:

      It is not a resignation that is required but a sacking.

      Five months in a new goverment and this bullying must stop at once. The PM will lose all respect if this is tolerated any further. Disgusting behaviour.

  3. Colin says:

    I will eat my hat if anybody resigns or gets done for this. This is the new Malta. I bet Mr Azzopardi will end up with the blame.

  4. curious says:

    So Lawrence Gonzi was instantly proved right, after all.

    Both Muscat and Mallia must have privately sworn abuse against these two for having to wake up at such a ghastly hour on a Sunday morning in August.

  5. Esteve says:

    The word “indannati” (“damned” used in the maltese way) comes to mind.

    Why do they behave this way? What more on earth could they possibly want?

    And by “they” I mean here, Pullicino Orlando and Franco Debono.

    It is clear that this Nicholas guy touched a raw nerve by saying what he did.

    • Josette says:

      I think that a psychologist would have a field day studying their thought processes. They played a game of brinkmanship and finally Gonzi called their bluff. Once the Nationalist government fell, they lost their power and, to a large extent, their strategic importance to Labour.

      Muscat did reward them but finally they are has-beens, who are of no particular value to anyone and who are not totally comfortable in the company they have chosen – even if they can act the part of loutish Laburist better than any other loutish Laburist.

    • Joe Fenech says:

      I simply think they are incompetent, very sad and have a bloody screw loose.

      Franco might need to sort his issues the ‘old way’.

  6. il-Ginger says:

    Sounds unbelievable, why is this not headline news?

  7. Duke says:

    Issa tista tghid li veru saru Laburisti/Socjalisti.Tal misthija li jaqaw daqshekk baxx.

  8. Francis Saliba MD says:

    Loutish behaviour totally unbecoming of people selected for high office by the LP Prime Minister. Unless he dissociates himself from this loutish and violent behaviour, and unless the police prosecute quickly and effectively, the Prime Minister and whoever else is responsible for the police, will have only themselves to blame for the justified conclusion that we are well and truly back to the seventies and eighties and that this is no “new” Labour movement at all.

    • La Redoute says:

      Loutish behaviour is totally unbecoming in middle-aged men generally, particularly those in fairly advanced middle age, as Pullicino Olando is, whether he likes it or not.

  9. Pandora says:

    I don’t know what scares me most, this shameful and scandalous behaviour from two professionals occupying important posts, or the people’s reaction egging them on.

    I am bracing myself for comments on on the lines of “u ajma, no big deal…” or “it was a frame-up”. God help Malta.

  10. zorro says:

    It seems THERE IS NEVER A DULL MOMENT! Something shocking and new everyday!

  11. Stella says:

    These two ex Nationalist MPs out at 5.oo causing trouble in a bar. How true the headline of The Sunday Times front page is!

  12. The Prince says:

    What shame! Absolutely despicable from a dentist and a lawyer and even more so for the positions they hold! Just unbelievable!

    Where from now?

  13. Alf says:

    It is said “Every country gets the Government it deserves”. I ask: “Does this country deserve to have people like Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando in a supposedly respected position?”.

    I sincerely hope that (a) the Police will press charges against JPO regarding the alleged incident and investigate Franco Debono’s involvement and (b) JPO, and Franco Debono if he was involved as claimed, are immediately removed from any public position they occupy. If this does not happen it would be correct to ask “Does this country of ours deserve to have a Prime Minister and a Police Force who wear “coloured” glasses and ONLY take action against person/s depending on his/their political affiliation ?”

    Let’s wait and see what happens. Immediate action by the PM and by the Police is demanded and expected and, since the two persons involved are public officials, an official statement is eagerly awaited.

    • Francis Saliba MD says:

      If past experience from the days of MLP Commissioner of Police Lawrence Pullicino is anything to go by – and this is increasingly becoming more obvious day after day – one shouldn’t be surprised if the police are already organising some frame-up, supported by perjured affidavits, that will be accepted without a moment’s hesitation by the Hon. Minister.

      Anyone remember the murder of Nardu Debono inside the Police GHQ and the police lying affidavits, glibly accepted by the MLP Prime Minister that alleged falsely that he had “escaped” from custody?

    • Last Post says:

      I get the answer to your questions this evening on TVM 8 o’clock news:

      a) the prime minister has all the confidence in his police corps to do the needful in this case;

      b) rather than a request for a police investigation, he expected the PN to press Austin Gatt to react to the Auditor General’s report about the oil procurement scandal.

      Need I say more about how JosephPL intends reacting to this and similar incidents of thuggery by government officials, more of which we can expect to endure under his administration.

    • Harry Purdie says:

      Fat chance.

  14. MojoMalti says:

    Sad. And at the same time, the way the prophecy was self-fulfilled is hilarious. Are we allowed a little laugh?

  15. jaqq says:

    Had the same been done under a PN administration they would have been the first to condemn the behaviour.

  16. Bubu says:

    And it’s definitely back to the future then.

    Of course they won’t be made to resign. Labour thrives on this kind of human rubbish.

    We’re in for an “interesting” five years.

  17. Jozef says:

    Beda’ s-swat. Malajr.

  18. Edward says:

    I can bet you that the PM will do nothing of the sort.

    He will stand up for the two rotten bastards, and then crack a joke, as if to say “It was worse under the PN”, something obviously not true, but since so many people so desperately want Labour to be the hero, they will go along with it.

    Because that’s the social contract they have entered into with the PL: we will forgive everything and in return we get to walk around like kings of the island and do what we like.

  19. manum says:

    I shudder to think, vera sitwazzjoni tal biza.

  20. pazzo says:

    Many good comments and observations but the saddest and truest is ….. it’s all hell from now on.

  21. charon says:

    Jeffrey and Franco, next time round pick on someone your own size. But then you would not would you? People termed as being yellow never do.

  22. anthony says:

    I have been attempting to imagine Prof Sir Mark Walport or Prof Dame Nancy Rothwell shouting obscenities at 5am this morning at a pub along the King’s Road.

    I have been unable to imagine anything of the sort.

    Eminent medical scientists do not shout obscenities in public at any time of the day or night.

    I have always held that Malta is around forty years behind Britain most of the time.

    On occasions like this it must be more like four hundred.

    • La Redoute says:

      Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando is not an eminent scientist. He’s a village dentist with an over-inflated ego.

      Franco Debono is a middle-aged man still living with his mother in one of the more backward Maltese villages, who starts his day feeding 400 caged birds.

      Enough said.

  23. Cicca says:

    I expect the Nationalist Party to immediately expel these two if indeed they are still members of the Party.

  24. Alf says:

    Msieken JPO u Franco ….. skond qed jilghabuha tal-vergni issa.

  25. TinaB says:

    Middle-aged men behaving worse than 18-year-olds in Paceville, but what is much worse is that they both hold important public posts.

    Shame on you both, and shame on Joseph Muscat for not giving a damn.

  26. Pat says:

    Mintoff’s government imploded because he could not control his own people. To a certain extent the same happened to Gonzi.

    Muscat had better stamp out this sort of behaviour and show them who calls the shots before he too becomes totally ineffectual.

    • La Redoute says:

      Muscat is totally ineffectual by definition. He has shored himself with the support of people like Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando and Franco Debono.

  27. Leo Said says:

    Any self-respecting social-democrat in mainland Europe would probably in no way endorse some of the fatal blunders being enacted by the Moviment PL-Malta Taghna Lkoll.

  28. Pat Zahra says:

    The abnormal energy levels that enable them to stay up all night moving about at their age, the lack of inhibition and the violence and aggression are all symptomatic of drug use, specifically amphetamines or cocaine, or very heavy drinking. They should stop behaving in such a way as to give rise to this kind of speculation about them.

  29. EVC says:

    Why am I not surprised at the behaviour of these two men? Men who betray others can’t be expected to behave properly.

    This is the prime minister’s chance to get rid of them. He should seize it before they do more damage to his government and to the institutions they represent.

    They have no seat in parliament and no leverage over him. Or do they?

  30. Rahal says:

    Mela ma kieltux bizzejjed fl-August Moon Ball, Jeffrey u Franco?

    Ja mdejjqin.

    Komplu sejrin hekk. Ghamlu hsara lil-partit taghkom socjalista, u lilkhom stess.

  31. ciccio says:

    If I understand the situation correctly, there was incitement to disorder, which eventually ended up in violence, in a public place, by the Chairman of the MCST.

    And why did the Commissioner for Laws get involved in this, when, as a lawyer, his first duty was to see that the law is respected, and therefore his first reaction should have been to involve the police?

    The minimum action expected from the PM is to suspend the two public officers until the facts of the case are established with clarity.

  32. Maria says:

    Back to the late 70s and 80s. Dr. Busuttil, please start acting like Dr. Eddie Fenech Adami used to act at the time.

  33. P Shaw says:

    Shouldn’t Franco Debono and JPO be super-happy that the PN lost, MLP won, Gonzi resigned as leader, and that they got their cosy appointments?

    They shouldn’t be ‘indannati’ at this point.

    This state of mind indicates that their spiritual and psychological problems are much much deeper than we may have been led to believe, and that there is something else that is triggering all this anger.

  34. Natalie Mallett says:

    Nicky Azzopardi is a friend of Jeffrey PO’s son, so this must have brought yet more embarassment to Jeffrey’s children.

    Can’t he grow up and stop behaving like a spoilt teenage brat when he is 50?

    Shame on both Pullicino Orlando and Debono. I think the PN should make a public announcement stating that these people are no longer members of the Nationalist party and disassociate themselves from them completely.

    [Daphne – There really is no need for that. In what way might anyone think they are associated with the Nationalist Party?]

  35. Arcipierku says:

    Ghandu ragun jghid dak il-kliem oxxen. Ghax kienu n-Nazzjonalisti li telghawh fil-parlament.

    Ghax ma jigiex in-naha taghna joffendi n-Nazzjonalisti b`dak il-mod.

  36. U Le! says:

    Hu go fik, poplu Malti.

  37. sammy says:

    Did they breathalyse the MCST chairman and ask the Law Commissioner to give them a urine sample?

  38. fenek says:

    Jidher li ngarru mill-marmalja

  39. Sparky says:

    Do these two labour lackeys ever hit the sack? Must explain why they’re always over-reacting and hysterical.

  40. Socrates says:

    Muscat showed his immaturity during the pre-elections phase. Now, there is ample proof of his unsuitability for his role. He is just incompetent. His silence is the strongest evidence of what he can never be: a proper prime minister.

  41. Gahan says:

    Kollu tort ta’ Gonzi!

    Li kieku tat-Times ma intervistawx lil Gonzi u kieku ma tkellimx hekk fuq Franco Debono u John Dalli, kieku JPO ma kienx jizbel fil-hamsa ta’ fil-ghodu, kif jaqra l-gazzetta qabel ma jmur jisma’ l-quddiesa tal-ewwel.

    Gonzi tellef id-devozzjoni lil JPO u lil Franco minhabba dik l-intervista.

    Imissu jisthi u jitlobom skuza!

  42. mikiel says:

    Yesterday was August Moon Ball night. They probably went there, as it’s their first one under the Labour government – then off to a club and after that, pastizzi.

  43. Some comments say “This is unbelievable.”

    Not for me.

    It is the typical behaviour instilled in the days of the leadership of Dom Mintoff and Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici in their followers when drunk with power.

    To his credit, Alfred Sant put a brake on this, but now things are getting worse because the persons involved are supposed to be of a higher educational level and entrusted with roles of responsibility. Just getting involved in such incidents is disgraceful.

    It is Joseph Muscat who invited, and welcomed back the old timers, some of whom may be too old to get personally involved but the spirit of those days has been revived, and there is no evidence that there is any serious attempt to instil a genuine sense of responsibility.

    Malta needed a change, it was claimed. Is this the change the country needs?

  44. CIS says:

    The Prime Minister will just dig out an incident of the past and say that no action was taken before and so no action is going to be taken now.

    The Law Commissioner/Chief of Constitutional Reform and the MCST chairman are really petty. Where is their dignity?

    The PN should have got rid of JPO in 2008 after all that muck was dug up against him by Labour. Now they are friends.

  45. Catsrbest says:

    So Dr Gonzi is having the last laugh here. Before the end of day, he was proved right in what he said in that interview which enraged the MCST chairman.

  46. Francis Said says:

    Well, what can one say – maybe if these two “gentlemen” were to be found guilty, I am sure that the PL would consider granting another amnesty.

    The so called PL movement is actively seeking to improve a new national sport, PUBLIC BRAWLING.

    This incident and other constant whining requires a very tough opposition. I am confident that Dr. Busuttil and his colleagues are more than capable of providing this. It is in everyone’s interest.

  47. Viva il lejber says:

    Have The chairman of the Malta Council for Science and Technology, Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, and the Law Commissioner/Chief of Constitutional Reform, Franco Debono been arrested?

  48. Urtats says:

    No action will be taken against them. Rabat falls under Magistrate Consuelo S Herrera.

    [Daphne – The Chief Justice will then no doubt move to have the case transferred to another magistrate, as he did with mine in the matter of Ignatius Farrugia, even before a request was made.]

  49. Rumplestiltskin says:

    This is the change the dumb switchers voted for.

  50. Giraffa says:

    In the wake of this disgusting provocation and incitement by Pullicino Orlando and Franco Debono, I expect the Nationalist Party and especially Simon Busuttil to stop pussy-footing and solelmly declare that they will boycott completely any function or dialogue with these two rogues, and demand that Muscat removes them from their undeserved posts.

    Constitutional reforms be damned!

    Come on, Simon, this is what people expect you to do. If you want our respect, you have to stop behaving like a wet rag.

  51. Raquel says:

    “F’ghoxx in-Nazzjonalisti”?

    Ghandu wicc, ukoll.

  52. karl says:

    Why did I vote for JPO in 2008? I’m an idiot.

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