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Nationalists come down hard on Labour minister’s ‘shameful past’

Labour international secretary’s ‘lessons on democracy’ raise PN’s ire.

Matthew Vella
8 August 2012, 12:00am
Former Labour minister and PL international secretary Alex Sceberras Trigona.
The PN has reacted vehemently at claims by the former Labour minster Alex Sceberras Trigona - who is today serving Labour as its international secretary - that Malta's hung parliament has turned the government into one that is "blatantly unrepresentative and undemocratic."

His comments, appearing in an opinion piece penned for The Times, attracted the opprobrium of the PN which said it needed no lessons in democracy from a former minister whose Labour government spent five years in power without a democratic majority.

Sceberras Trigona served as foreign minister in the Mintoff government that was elected in 1981 on a majority of seats, but not on a majority of votes, a constitutional anomaly that was later rectified partially in 1986.

In its reaction, the PN said Sceberras Trigona was a cabinet member of a government that governed Malta "with an iron fist", and accused him of thrashing the hopes of thousands of young men and women, when in power.

"The Nationalist Party does not take lessons in democracy from someone who, when in power, staunchly defended Labour's dictatorial style of governing and was the reason for thousands of people losing their jobs," the party said.

It also attacked the former foreign minister for giving Malta a bad name in diplomatic circles, and for seeking "intimate friendships with dictatorial regimes" - amongst them Libya and other communist countries, during the 1980s.

"The Nationalist Party does not take lessons in democracy from someone who wined and dined with autocratic leaders, whilst millions of people were starving and living in miserable conditions."

The PN also highlighted the fact that the former minister had negotiated a secret pact with communist North Korea for the delivery of armaments and the training of Maltese special mobile unit police.

"Sceberras Trigona should have called it a day ages ago - a political dinosaur of the worst type. Instead, he writes an article in The Times - the paper his party in government burned to the ground - and calls the Nationalist government 'undemocratic'," the PN said in its statement.

PN information director Frank Psaila took the opportunity to latch on to the party's ongoing campaign to suggest a Labour re-election would mean returning to a "shameful past" where people like Sceberras Trigona "called the shots and dictated the way we live."

In his opinion piece, Sceberras Trigona said the additional four seats the PN government had gained by winning a relative majority by 1,500 votes, had now been lost after MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando had broken away from the party and taken up an independent seat.

"Without a relative majority of votes those compensatory four extra seats are no longer due to the government. Retaining those extra four seats without any justification whatsoever is grossly unfair and manifestly unwarranted. Malta's government has now become blatantly unrepresentative and undemocratic," Sceberras Trigona wrote.

"Malta now has an undemocratic government. It arrogantly defies the very first article of the Constitution which stipulates that 'Malta is a democratic republic'."

The former minister also argues that had five MPs broken off to form their own party, their votes would no longer be the ruling government party's. "MPs' votes appear as their very own here and no longer their party's. Would it also be right and proper, for the sake of governmental stability, to give the government an extra seat if one Nationalist MP crossed the floor?"

Sceberras Trigona defended the constitutional legality of the Labour's government's rule between 1981-1987, saying the PN never contested the government's constitutional right to govern before the Constitutional Court.

"The PL has committed itself to hold a wide-ranging Constitutional Convention if elected. This issue of undue compensation is essentially the stuff that the Constitutional Convention should also be considering in depth. Many are those who expect that Convention to launch the right proposals for appropriate constitutional amendments in this regard too."

Matthew Vella is editor of MaltaToday.com.mt.

After graduating in a...

Zunzan
@ giovann il-Gidra. Jekk tnehhielek it-tghajjier u l-hdura l-ghandek issir fantazma. Meta se timmatura?
Aristide Galea
Sinjuri , ma nafx kif tibgħu tirrispondu lis-Sur Giovann Demartino li min kif qed taraw għandu wiċċu agħar mill-qiegħ tal-mizbla tal-Mghatab mimlija qrusa u ħdura għall dawk kollha li huma ta twemmin Laburista . Halluħ jindanna u jifga f'demmu .
guido cutajar
Sur Editur, L`anqas biss nahsibha li nindahallek kif tmexxi din is sezzjoni tal gazzetta li kull ma tmur qeghedhs issir popolari. Pero nitolbok sabiex ma tghamilx l-istess zball li jghamlu tat T.O.M,u lil Giovanni DeMartino thallilu l-ahhar ittra.Li tibbilancja hija l-aqwa sistema. Nirringrazzjak talli ittina l-opportunita li nesprimu il femha taghna. Nixtieq li din l-ittra ma iggibix.
john mercieca
ara vera trid tkun hmar tas-sienja ta biex mil 1996 sa 2012 tghid li ghaddew 31 sena.trid ikun kunjomok Demartino biex tghid dawn l-affarajiet nahseb.
charles philip zammit
ma nistax nifhem ghala flok argumenti sodi hawn hekk 1imsejha nies li jinfexxew fit tghajjir personali. imma kullhadd a modo suo. issa sa fejn naf jien l elezzjoni tal 1996 eziztiet u sa fejn naf jien ghalkemm xi hadd kien qal li kienet fotofinish din kienet intrebhet mill-partit laburista bxi 8000 vot
guido cutajar
Giovann. Int qeghed tghajjarni li ma nafx nikteb....Ibda min ismi ilek snin tghejdli Guid`a`forte, meta jien Guidocforte.~Arhyom~ f`liema kalepin nista infitxa.L-istess ~Ar5aq ~ fejn ser insibha. u ~te ecc~ x`inhi ? u ~ BAZZI~ x`tahbat ? jaqaw `BAZI` ridt tghejd STUPIDU u BAHNAN.
gIOVANN DeMartino
Arhyom kif inharqu!!!!!!!!!!!!Ghandhom ragun!!!!!!!!Ilhom fil-minoranza mill-1981-Record ta' 31 sena. Ar5aq Guidaforte l-VAVU rega' fegg. Ghidilhom BEZZIEGH lill-qarrejja x'ridt tghid bit-tabib, te ecc. BEZZIEGH. KUN ragel u ammetti li la taf tikteb u anqas fuq min qed tikteb. L-iehor qal li ahna kontra t-tnehhija tal-"BAZZI Ingliza. F'idejn min waslu l-kompjuters ukoll!
Christian Thorn
WAHDA BISS NGHIDLU LI GIOVANNI DEMARTINO - Qatt jista jakkuza xi Prim Ministru, Kap ta' L'Oppozzjoni, Ministru Laburista li f'kull decizjoni li hadu ma kienx hemm l'interess NAZZJONALI , mALTA L'EWWEL U QABEL KOLLOX? ------ JIsta jghid l'istess ghal tal-Partit tieghu u nfakkru fl-ezempju KLASSIKU ta' Eddie qabel ma sar Edward u kien Kap ta' l'Oppozzjoni IMMUR JIGRI GHAND GADDAFI BIEX JAGHTIH L'APPOGG U S-SOLIDARJETA meta Gaddafi kellu kwistjoni ma Mintoff fuq il-Linja Medjana! Tipruvax tikteb l'istorja bil-lenti imcajpra tal-Partit tieghek!
guido cutajar
Kompli dahaq Giovann..........Prosit kemm taf titkellem pastas..insomma min bniedem baxx bhalek x`tistenna...HA....HA...HA....HAJ...Ara veru li jekk il Gemel jara hotobtu..jaqa u imut zopptu.Ara min irid jghajjar bl`ghadba tal Qorti....gvern sfiducjat ghal 5 darbiet u jibqa imkahhal mal poter...gvern immexxi min zewg PM....
ray zammit
Proset nutar.Ahna m ghanniex min xix nishtu mil passat.is 70 u 80's kienu l ajhar zmien ghal min ghexhom.Grazzi MINTOFF u il kabinett li kellu
Pawlu Spiteri
So the PN would ask the UK and the west for arms. And one would not go the Russia. In late 1970s Wrangler a US multinational (John Dalli) used to sell to the Eastern Bloc through its Brussles Regional Office. AST had opened the political doors for Maltese jean factories to sell direct to the eastern bloc countries through then bartering arrangements. Many pro-PN companies grabbed these opportunities. West Germany did deals with the East Germany on commercial terms. Why shouldn't we have opened commercial ties with the Eastern bloc China and Libya. Well done AST you brougth moneys to Maltese factories jobs to Maltese families. And the PN kept the free hospitals, free schools but housing is way beyond the first time buyers today. Prior to 1980 there were no exports to Eastern bloc and you opened the political doors to these vast markets. To the benefit of MLP and PN Maltese. .. my comment must not be construed my support for violence or expropriation of property by the state of Maltese owned properties without compensation
George Borg
Le ghal Malta nord koreana socjalista. L-ahhar qatra ta' demmna ncarcru ghal- Liberta` kontra regim xellugi.Viva Malta Libera. Viva il-Lemin.
m borg
@Demartino,X'demokrazija tridu jippriedka il-partit mishut btieghek. Kontu kontra l-vot ghal kulhadd indaqs (One man one vote), kontu kontra l-vot lil Mara, kontu kontra l-vot ta' 18-il sena, kontu kontra li Malta tnehhi l-bazzi ingliza, kontu kontra l-Ghajnuna Socjali f'kull mod taghha,kontu kontra lAirmalta, Seamlta, kontra l-investiment barrani u kontu tiggerrew fl'ewropa tittolbu l-pajjizi jirtirraw l-investimenti taghhom gewwa Malta. Intom tridu titkelmu fuq demokrazija meta nehhejtu 3 deputati minghajr ma tajthom cans jiddefendu l-kaz taghhom jew l-ezekutiv jghamel dak li jiddettaw gonzi/RCC
m borg
@Demartino, ghandek ragu tikteb "Afli jrid ikollok mhux wicc l-ghatba tal-qorti, mhux wicc ta' qahba, imma wicc ta' xi ex-ministru socjalist biex tghid dak li qal dan." meta int ghandek xi xhom taht ghabtek. Kemm taf fuq ic-Ciccolina qed nghid, jaqaw kont issegwihja fuq Studio Master minn fejn il-partit mishut tieghek kien ix-xandar permezz ta' certu Muscat,dak il-hmieg kollu kontra Malta, mhux kontra Mintoff imma kontra l-pajjiz kollu.
parla piu piano
Labour needs to immediately shed away all these characters from the past. Not only but even heavyweight MP who hail from KMB era. The likes of Gozitan MP Anton Refalo is such an example. Our Nation needs new blood and a complete overhaul in the political system. These fossil politicians are best put in a museum. Labeled as "Hoarding Professionals" both of votes and obviously other things. Just ask the locals at the village square. These characters will definately not attract any dissident PN voters to the MLP movement!!!
salgister
@Giovanni Demartino. Ahjar ma nafx lil min semmejt, milli semmejt qahba. Jekk taghti harsa lejn il-PM tkun taf min hi l-qahba. Biex jibqa' iggranfat mas-siggu tal-poter, Gonzi anke l-unur tilef, u l-irgulija. Issa, biex jaghmel pass, irid il-permess ta' backbencher. Mela l-ewwel kien il-qahba tal-backbenchers shabu, issa gie l-poggut ta' wiehed mill-backbenchers taparsi ko-alizzjoni. Hallina Giovann! Qahba ghandha unur izjed milli ghandu Gonzi.
Just Ray
Dear PN, STOP being a fool - we know the truth and you cannot change it! Just say good bye to power cos the people had enough of you. The Golliwog days are over.
gIOVANN DeMartino
Afli jrid ikollok mhux wicc l-ghatba tal-qorti, mhux wicc ta' qahba, imma wicc ta' xi ex-ministru socjalist biex tghid dak li qal dan. Dik gilda xierfa. AST jitkellem fuq id-demokrazija. Qisha Cicciolina, meta kienet fl-aqwa taghha, takkuza lil xi hadd bl-immoralita ghax il-kmiem tal-libsa ma jkunux jaslu sal-minkeb.
Christian Thorn
Ofcourse the PN would come down hard on Alex Sciberras Trigona , not because of "shameful" past but because the PN KNOW NO SHAME and AST is a thorn in their side! He has what it takes - he is CLASSIC LABOUR in times PAST & PRESENT where the NATIONAL INTEREST CAME FIRST and not the NATIONAList Party and its sustainers where and still are TOP OF THE AGENDA!
Brian Camilleri
I remember the 'Dejma' days, it was sufficient, but now, I am in my third Part-Time year - it's hardship....
mario gellel
DAWN TA GONZIPN HUMA DAWK LI GHAMLU BOMBI WARA IL BIBBIEN, DAWK LI MARRU BARRA MINN MALTA BIEX IHEGGU FABRIKI JITILQU MINN MALTA, DAWK LI QATLU LIL KARIN GRECH RAMOND CARUANA U LIL DAK TA TA QALI LI KIEN HA JIKXEF BIT TERRORIZMU IPPJANAT TA PN TA TAHT EFA ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? DAWN HUMA L-ISTESS GONZIPN LI IRDUNA NIBELAW ID DEMOKRAZIJA "ALA PN" ???????????????????????
mario gellel
DAWN TA GONZIPN HUMA DAWK LI GHAMLU BOMBI WARA IL BIBBIEN, DAWK LI MARRU BARRA MINN MALTA BIEX IHEGGU FABRIKI JITILQU MINN MALTA, DAWK LI QATLU LIL KARIN GRECH RAMOND CARUANA U LIL DAK TA TA QALI LI KIEN HA JIKXEF BIT TERRORIZMU IPPJANAT TA PN TA TAHT EFA ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? DAWN HUMA L-ISTESS GONZIPN LI IRDUNA NIBELAW ID DEMOKRAZIJA "ALA PN" ???????????????????????
Brian Camilleri
Democracy is very important, however, born in '65, my mid-teens in '81 and now into my 50's, I feel democracy today is very threatened, turned into dictatorial democracy - a Constitution revamp is needed in order to protect it.
Nigel Lawrence
Very observant of Gonzi's tribe. Out of a red dictatorship and entered the blue dictatorship. Obviously the tribe don't abide by the saying- "People who live in glass houses etc."
Matrix
What about the shameful present of GonziPN. Is it democracy that you put the highest institution, the parliament, to hibernation because GonziPN is afraid of parliament voting? Is it democracy that you have a Prim Minister that has lost his majority in Parliament and has to dance to whatever tune one of his backbenchers plays? When it comes to foreign regimes this is the pot calling the kettle black, who was the last western Prime minister to hug and kiss Gaddafi? Who was the leader of the opposition who went to meet Gaddafi, when Gaddafi had problems with the Labour Government? As to Political History least said soonest mended, who won elections because of mortal sins? Who was very happy that Generalissimo Franco has entered Madrid? What about the shameful way the Nazzjonalisti acted in the eighties, going to Labour Ministers houses and filming their houses. I am more than sure that the GonziPN ministers do not live in hovels. Maybe One TV could show us some of the Minister’s houses. The shame is that Labour left the Nationalists to write the recent history of Malta, according to the Partit Nazzjonalista. GonziPN should be better commenting and issuing statements about the present, like for instance what is one of their members of Parliament saying about the oligarchy that has become GonziPN and the scandals that he is hinting about.
Tony Fenech
If we go back in time like say the 1971 election Labour won it with 25 votes on the Siggiewi district as I can recall, though labour had a majority of 4,695 votes with registered voters as 181,768. Adding that twenty one year olds onwards could only vote, yet the majority was by just one member of Parliament. PN tried their best even to get a member of parliament on the labour party side, by fraud paying him to change sides, but he was an honest man and an honest politician. Taking the 1996 election Labour got a majority of votes by 7,633, should have had at least three members of parliament as majority. 1998 with 12,817 majority PN with five seats majority. 2003 with 12,080 majority of votes PN got five seats majority. 2008 with a majority of just 1580 PN had one seat majority. That is accurate history and is it logical by PN only where it suits them? As quoted by MT what PN opprobrium just claimed: PN which said it needed no lessons in democracy from a former minister whose Labour government spent five years in power without a democratic majority. Referring to 1981 elections. Just have u look at the rest of the elections listed above specifically exact first count votes. Five elections labour had to endure inequity. Five elections and one Constitutionally agreed in 1974 with two thirds majority of Parliament where agreed by both parties changed in 1986 to who gets the most first count votes, gets elected. I ask what about after the 1987 election, where they all rational? On this cause PN better conceal the matter about Dr. Sciberras Trigona and previous labour Governments. All the proof is as specified above.
godwin scerri
MA NAFX GHALFEJN FETAH HALQU DAN. IMBARAZ BHALL DAN MANDUX BZONNU IL PL. NIES BHAL DAWN HSARA JAMLU.
mario gellel
DAWN TA GONZIPN HUMA DAWK LI GHAMLU BOMBI WARA IL BIBBIEN, DAWK LI MARRU BARRA MINN MALTA BIEX IHEGGU FABRIKI JITILQU MINN MALTA, DAWK LI QATLU LIL KARIN GRECH RAMOND CARUANA U LIL DAK TA TA QALI LI KIEN HA JIKXEF BIT TERRORIZMU IPPJANATY TA L PN TA TAHT EFA ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? DAWN HUMA L-ISTESS GONZIPN ???????????????????????
mario gellel
DAWN TA GONZIPN HUMA DAWK LI GHAMLU BOMBI WARA IL BIBBIEN, DAWK LI MARRU BARRA MINN MALTA BIEX IHEGGU FABRIKI JITILQU MINN MALTA, DAWK LI QATLU LIL KARIN GRECH RAMOND CARUANA U LIL DAK TA TA QALI LI KIEN HA JIKXEF BIT TERRORIZMU IPPJANATY TA L PN TA TAHT EFA ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? DAWN HUMA L-ISTESS GONZIPN ???????????????????????
David Bezzina
HADD MA JISTA' JICHAD CERTU AZZJONIJIET DISKUTIBBLI TA' AST PERO' DAK LI QAL HU STAT TA' FATT. IL-PN QED JIPPROVA JIGGRANFA MA' KULL TIBNA BIEX IZOMM FIL-WICC U KOMPLA B'DIN IT-TATTIKA TA' TWERWIR LI ISSA QED IDEJJAQ LIL HAFNA. KIF JGHID IL-MALTI 'KULL MIN JGHOLLI GHABTU GHANDU XI JXOMM' U L-PN GHANDU HAFNA XI JXOMM. U BILHAQQ.....FUQ ID-DEMOKRAZIJA,IL-PN BISS JISTA' JITKELLEM GHAX HUMA BISS JIFMHU.
charles philip zammit
who do gonzipn think they are kidding. why dont they produce statistics to back up their claim that under the labour government thousands and thousands of maltese lost their jobs....let me remind these shameless people where job creation took place ie telemalta, seamalta, enemalta, bank of valletta, midmad bank, tug malta, malta drydocks, st electronics, malta rubber these were jobs of a lifetime with excellent pay and conditions and not precarious jobs and part time as full time jobs. apart for creating jobs for the local population the seventies and eighties saw a new phenomenon. thousands of maltese migrants returned back to malta since by then the maltese economy was as sound as rock and without a single deficit budget......keep hitting them hard nutar.......