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PN no longer has little emperors, says Gatt aide on election bid

‘No more emperors on PN’s candidates’ list’, says Manuel Delia after Franco Debono alleges minister’s clan extends influence on party.

Miriam Dalli
14 July 2012, 12:00am
Manuel Delia with his mentor, Transport Minister Austin Gatt
Manuel Delia with his mentor, Transport Minister Austin Gatt
There is now nothing to quell the perception that the Nationalist Party is finally in full electoral mode, after the Prime Minister's casual announcement of 60 approved electoral candidates.

Having survived his hardest six months in parliament - filibustering on votes, attempting to placate Franco Debono, weathering confidence votes - Gonzi can now map out a roadmap to the next elections over the summer recess.

In doing so, he is priming 10 new names on the electoral ticket: Gejtu Vella, Manuel Delia, Claudio Grech, Therese Comodini Cachia, Ian Spiteri, Ryan Callus, Mark Anthony Sammut, Mario Rizzo Naudi, Albert Fenech, and Antoine Borg.

Two of them are not so new. Gejtu Vella and Delia may be newcomers to the ballot, but not to the public. Vella boasts of a sterling career as secretary-general of the Union Haddiema Maqghudin (UHM), while Delia is one of the architects of public transport reform.

Manuel Delia, who joined the PN's ranks at a young age, has spent 12 years at the flank of transport minister Austin Gatt. Delia, who will be running on the fifth district, also led the student protests of 1997 against the Labour government's stipend reform. "What I know in this business I learnt from him," Delia says of Gatt.

During the last 12 years, Delia has worked in justice, IT, transport, energy, water, film, public broadcasting, foreign direct investment, urban regeneration and various other ministerial endeavours - always at the side of Gatt, the brusque but accomplished government minister who recently weathered a revolutionary if stuttering public transport reform, and a controversial decision to fire the Delimara power station on heavy fuel oil.

 "I have been in the kitchen and felt the heat. I believe this has been a very good education for a career in public service. I could have hardly asked for better," he adds.

Asked whether his proximity to Gatt will be an asset or a liability for him, Delia insists it will only be up to his constituents to decide.

Marsaxlokk is one of the localities that fall under his district, with many of its residents complaining about the Delimara power station and the use of heavy fuel oil to fire the plant. But according to Delia, this might not be an issue for him: "The issue, such as it is, was never brought up with me in any of my visits to Marsaxlokk families."

Delia is not the only 'Gatt man' to be running on the PN ticket. Gatt's former head of secretariat and chairman of the Malta IT agency, Claudio Grech, is now entering the electoral race body and soul.

PN backbencher Franco Debono, who has now been banned from contesting the general elections, has described this development as  Gatt's attempt at "expanding his empire".

Delia, author of the public transport reform that Debono vehemently criticised to the extent of endangering Austin Gatt's ministerial permanence, replies knowingly to Debono: "There are no emperors in the PN. 

There are some that may have been tempted to consider their constituency as their territory - or empire - in which no one else would be allowed to serve, but since Thursday they are no longer on the PN's list of candidates."

Grech was an integral part of both the government and party machinery. In Gatt's ministry he led the negotiations with Dubai-owned Tecom for their acquisition of the Ricasoli land for the Smart City deal. He drifted out of public service and was appointed chief executive of Smart City Malta, and concurrently then politically appointed to serve as chairman of MITA. Politically he was never far from the PN, and he assisted the anti-divorce campaign in 2011 alongside such party strategists like Lawrence Zammit. After resigning as MITA chairman, he was reappointed to Gatt's side as his advisor on IT policy.

On the other hand, if the PN wants to attract working class voters, then Gejtu Vella is definitely the man to approve.

Following his retirement from the trade union, Vella denied immediate rumours that he would contest the elections on a PN ticket. However, the 52-year-old trade unionist has always insisted that he still had much to offer.

"During my career in trade-unionism I came across workers and families from all walks of life. This experience can help me help others face the difficulties which I believe only the PN can answer," Vella told MaltaToday this week.

Despite repeated denials from the union, the UHM has long been perceived as favouring the PN. While Vella's candidature on the fifth district has once again sparked this perception, he argues otherwise.

"Perceptions are perceptions and reality is reality. I no longer form part of the UHM and I feel that I can give my contribution in different sectors, including in the political arena," Vella said.

He added that he had always worked hard to defend the best interests of the workers, pensioners and families. So why choose the PN?

Vella argues that even though in the past there might have been occasions were the PN failed to take into consideration the aspirations of the people, it still took the best decisions in the moments of truth.

"The PN was the party that fought for Malta's accession to the EU, the VAT tax system, privatisation and other measures that strengthened the country economically and expanded social services."

Miriam Dalli joined in 2010 and was assistant editor fr...
Anthony Zarb
"Claudio Grech, is now entering the electoral race body and soul." Filfatt jidher li se jonfoq kwart ta' miljun ewro fi progett go wiehed mill-kazini tal-banda fil-Hamrun.
Monique Vella
Dak tan-nofs mhux it-tali li kien qalilna li "zmien il-buzullotti spicca"? Ha zball miskien. Ried ighid li ZMIEN IL-BUZULLOTTI KIEN SE JIBDA - u mhux qed nirreferi biss ghall-"cacata pazzesca" (biex nikkwota lir-Raggonier Fantozzi) ta' l-Arriva (li dak tad-daqna kien l-arkitett (!!) taghha) izda ukoll ghal dak kollu li ghaddej fi hdan GonziPN. E la commedia continua!
Saviour Cassar
iva int tkellimt sur delia,ghadek ma taghlimtx bierah kont gej min ghawdex ghal habta ta sitta ta fil ghaxija kont qied ghaddej mil lghadira..fuq kull stage kien hemm madwar 30 ruh jistennew tal delia ma tafx tisthi.pero ghidt wahda tajba li taghlimt hafna min dak larroganti austin...imxi bhal ma mexa hu hu il gap li hemm bejnkom u il pl jigber bil kbir.Narak wara l elezzjoni sur delia,harsu ftit lejn r ritratt delia jidher kuntent ghax austin kuntent...hahahahahaha...hallina delia
Saviour Cassar
iva int tkellimt sur delia,ghadek ma taghlimtx bierah kont gej min ghawdex ghal habta ta sitta ta fil ghaxija kont qied ghaddej mil lghadira..fuq kull stage kien hemm madwar 30 ruh jistennew tal delia ma tafx tisthi.pero ghidt wahda tajba li taghlimt hafna min dak larroganti austin...imxi bhal ma mexa hu hu il gap li hemm bejnkom u il pl jigber bil kbir.Narak wara l elezzjoni sur delia
Raymond Mintoff
"‘No more emperors on PN’s candidates’ list’, says Manuel Delia........... but not short of moronic incompetent idiots.
Manuel Cini
Dan se jibda jdaħħak jew? Bilħaqq, xi ħadd irid ikompli bil-bużulotti li bdew ta' qablu hux! Għandkom għalfejn tippruvaw taqilgħu il-ħmieġ tas-snin 80 ukoll! Qatta IPOKRITI u FAĊĊOLI, b'hekk ħaġa waħda mal-knisja, speċjalment meta kienet titmexxa minn gonzi u mercieca!
Rita Grioli
Pajjiz b'zewg partit tal-biki fis-sena 2012. Klikka qeghda kavall u cikku l-poplu iccapcapilhom. Il-Gahan Malti kien hemm wiehed jghid.....imma ghaddewh b'mignun, bhall ma ghamlu lil minn kien kontra l-EU.
albert leone
no longer has little emperors.... just CLOWNS! ARRIBA, ARRIBA....andele andele : )
George Muscat
PN no longer has little emperors, but they have GRAND EMPERORS who are ruled the the GREAT ONE "The Great DICTATOR".
Lino Bonett
Gejt, go get a job, coz there's only one guarantee for your future in politics... you'll never be elected or coopted or lix xjafek trid...
Lino Micallef
If Gejtu Vella is elected I expect he insists to get us Lm9 worth in Euros weekly increase. He used to be Secretary General of the UHM than in 1996. Amazing when the PN got elected in 1998 till his career ended as Secretary General of the supposedly non aligned union, Lol, now we all know it was all a lie. Since than he never asked for the Lm9 weekly worth in Euros increase in fact he always said let's be realistic, so he was not realistic between 1996 and 1998. Sorry no vote from me.
Carm Cachia
"What I know in this business I learnt from him," Delia says of Gatt. What business Dr Delia? I thought politics was a service but I suppose with a master like Dr Gatt the first lesson you learn is that politics is first and foremost a business. And of course not, the PN no longer has "little emperors". Now it only has fat cats.
Albert Spiteri
Lol no little emperors but there are as sure heck some little khans in the making. some track record to boast of Manuel Delia. With Austen GATT as his mentor. Surely with Gatt a proper audit of his decision making regardless of the spin is hardly jaw dropping effective nor was it efficient. What is more he failed miserably on national projects of importance. If bullying Tactics are the stuff of good governance and avant garde politics then what can i say Mintoff was a visionary. As for Manuel Delia his track record is merely that of a blue eyed boy who failed abysmally when push came to shove.
Alvin Pace
Little one's forsi le Austin imma big ones kemm trid! U INT wiehed mill-akbar u ghalhekk daqshekk ivvutajt PN qabel ma l-partit inaddaf il-hmieg KOLLU billi jibda minnek u ta madwarek!
Narcy Calamatta
Fl-ahhar elezzjoni it tlett deputati imkeccijin gabu hekk fl-ewwel preferenza..Franco Debono...163....2065...; Jef.Pulicino Orlando....2301...2824...;Jes. Muglette...2484....B`kollox....9837 vot...l-ewwel preferenza. Ta min wiehed jistaqsi...Kemm min dawn il votanti( dejjem min ghadu haj ) mhux ser jivvota, jew jivvota il kontra..? Zgur li ser ikun hemm min jibqa leali lejn il kandidati imsemmija.
Natasha Ciancio
Imma Dictators hemm u Kif ....ara min tkellem ukoll lol biex ha jabbi il Pn
Janet Chircop Bray
Diga qed juri x'taghllem minghand il-master tieghu. Hareg bl-unuri fl-arroganza u jaf jaghmel il-frejjeg bhal master ukoll. Issa verament jiddeciedi l-poplu jekk iridx tahwida ohra fil-PN fil-futur bis-sequel Gatt 2.
Andrea Briffa
If Delia may be considered as an architect of the transport reform, than it means that the building completed will be collapsing or is surely to collapse. The only way to keep the Public Transport reform in place was to fork out more money from the people's taxes into a reform. No private entity would allow such a thing. But since it was set up by the a big blue eyed boy than the government felt obliged in forking out more money. And what is the status now....a service that has the same issues as the previous one except that in most cases the buses are air-conditioning, though one must admit that the price is very much higher than that of the old service. And Gejtu...finally he has admitted his true loyalties. We have seen the different reactions the UHM had in the 96-98 period when compared to pre-1996 and post-1998 actions. So we are aware of what to expect. And the young Claudio. Yes with his help the government improved a lot in respect to IT, but there is also the lack of security in the government's IT infrastructure; the number of times e-mails were hacked and the incident where no-one was held responsible for the attack on the government's data. How can one confide in such a person!! As for the other new ones....sons and daughters of PN fanatics who will maybe give a contribution by getting some of the lost votes and souls of the PN. Will wait to see when the Prime Minister puts the interest of the country first and calls an election as for the PN this is the right moment "in the interest of the country (PN)".
mark bonavia
This man, Manwel Delia, has a cheek going to visit families who probably suffered so much when the Arriva routes he originally planned turned out to be a disaster , causing so much hardship and anger to countless thousands of commuters !
mark bonavia
The VAT tax system and privatisation were imposed on the PN government by the EU once the government had applied to join the EU. On social services, it was also the PN which had voted against many of the social services introduced by Labour governments ! Once they had been introduced, the PN realized that in order to attract workers' votes it would be better to accept them- as that old saying, says: " If you cannot beat them, join them " !
The last paragraph is the only thing that Gejtu can boast about. The PL can boast about the old age pensions, children allowance, housing estates, minimum wage, annual leave for all workers, annual bonuses and a lot more. Now we know where Gejtu's hidden agenda was.
John Zammit
gonzipn didnt survive. it just sailed a rudderless ship throught these four years. four years that the people felt robbed of the rightful government. only the tricks of incumbency and jpos show were the result of this. and gonzipn paid dearly and we havnt seen the end of this yet. come october and if election is not in sight where will these three interdicted mps vote? your guess is as good as mine. as to the list of new candidates with gonzipn it doesnt go any near the labour list. while gonzipn is still trying to put its finger in a leaking dam which is bursting from its seams, the new movememt led by dr muscat is focusing on the roadmap that will lead the country back to sanity.
M Saliba
Oh dear not only we had a weak corrupted government but with these new candidates the p.n is going to be a non existing opposition.
emmanuel grech
‘No more emperors on PN’s candidates’ list’, says Manuel Delia. Just arrogant pretenders and their acolyte followers.
simon lia