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Election treats: MCST chairman offers voters Esplora discount

Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, executive chairman of the Malta Council for Science and Technology and the Esplora Science Centre, is offering his constituents discounted entry to the interactive centre in Kalkara, claiming to subsidise the difference out of pocket

paul_cocks
Paul Cocks
29 May 2017, 12:15pm
Jefffrey Pullicino Orlando: offered voters a discount on visits to Esplora. He will be making up the difference in price
Jefffrey Pullicino Orlando: offered voters a discount on visits to Esplora. He will be making up the difference in price
Forget hampers of canned food, bottles of wine or plastic bags filled with oranges from your favourite district candidate.

Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, executive chairman of the Malta Council for Science and Technology and the Esplora Science Centre – and who is contesting the 3 June election on the Labour Party ticket – is offering his constituents discounted entry to the interactive centre in Kalkara, which he says he will be subsidising the difference out of pocket. 

In an SMS sent to residents of the seventh district – Zebbug, Dingli, Mgarr, Mtarfa and Rabat – Pullicino Orlando told his constituents that if they visit the Esplora Interactive Science Centre today and show the original SMS, adults would only pay €3 for entry, while children would not pay anything.

The former Nationalist MP fell out with the PN in 2012 when he resigned from the party. Originally a bête noire of Labour under Alfred Sant during the 2008 electoral campaign, in 2013 he was openly supporting Joseph Muscat.

Now, as various Labour candidates outdo each other in gifts to their potential voters, Pullicino Orlando appears to be using his influence as MCAST chairman to offer discounts at the science centre public attraction.

Normal ticket prices at Esplora are €6 for adults and €3 for children aged 5 to 11. Children under five years of age enter for free.

In a staged telephone call to Esplora to verify that the offer was part of Pullicino Orlando’s electoral campaign activities, MaltaToday confirmed that only recipients of the message and their children could pay the discounted prices. The person who took the call on the centre’s 25401900 enquiries number explained that only people in possession of the SMS could be granted the discounted entry.

Pullicino Orlando confirmed that this was an election gag he had organised for his constituents. 

He told MaltaToday that he was not the only candidate to have organised a political activity at Esplora, though he would not name names.

“I can confirm however that I will be paying the difference in ticket prices directly to Esplora myself,” JPO said. “That is why the people at the counter will be keeping a record of how many people present the original SMS at the door, so that I will be able to settle the difference.”

Electoral Polling Ordinance rules prohibit the use of treating, the practice of using as well as receiving food, drink or entertainment to “corruptly influence” someone’s voting preference.

It is common practice for electoral candidates to host parties or get-togethers that are generally organised by their campaigners, rather than by them personally.

paul_cocks
Paul Cocks joined MaltaToday after having spent years working in newspapers with The Times...