Broadcasting Authority chairman is also deputy Prime Minister’s “person of trust”

Published: March 25, 2017 at 5:25pm

The Times of Malta has broken the news – which had been kept secret from the public – that Tanya Borg Cardona is one of the deputy Prime Minister’s “persons of trust” and that she was in that position already at the time the government appointed her chairman of the Broadcasting Authority, a post which requires political impartiality.

Mrs Borg Cardona has held her post in Louis Grech’s private secretariat, for which she is paid €27,000 a year, since February 2016. She is not required to go into the office on a regular basis.

The following month, she was appointed chairman of the Broadcasting Authority, for which she is paid €20,000 a year. It is a non-executive position which she has interpreted as that of CEO entitled to make executive decisions and interfere in the administration of the office, which – together with the fact that she has not worked in the last 40 years and knows nothing about broadcasting – has led to the current crisis.

The deputy Prime Minister recruited Mrs Borg Cardona as his ‘person of trust’ to “advise on protocol in connection with Malta’s EU presidency”. Both Louis Grech and Mrs Borg Cardona appear to have confused protocol – a field of diplomacy – with etiquette, about which Mrs Borg Cardona used to speak for a time on a television show. Even the definition of etiquette appears to be the source of some confusion, Mrs Borg Cardona seeming to think that it is about which knife or fork to use, and not about what one should do when one chairs a constitutional authority to which one has become a problem of crisis proportions.

Protocol for situations like those involving the EU presidency is customarily dealt with by the Foreign Ministry, which is the repository of public-service knowledge and long-time expertise in this department. Yet Malta’s EU presidency is being handled by the Ministry for Europe (Minister: Louis Grech) and not by the Foreign Ministry (Minister: George Vella), which may be the reason why the deputy PM drafted in Mrs Borg Cardona, a capricious housewife, as a substitute.

Tanya Borg Cardona, together with her long-time boyfriend, Briton David Newman, led the campaign for John Dalli to be elected leader of the Nationalist Party when Eddie Fenech Adami stepped down in 2004. When Dalli was Finance Minister, Newman was his consultant at the ministry and ‘person of trust’.

Tanya Borg Cardona, the deputy Prime Minister’s ‘person of trust’ and protocol consultant, who is also chairman of the Broadcasting Authority.