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Updated | No love lost between Debono and Busuttil during Valletta row

Former MP interrupts Simon Busuttil during conversation with Jean-Pierre Farrugia in Valletta café.

jurgen
Jurgen Balzan
26 March 2013, 12:00am
Former MP, now Commissioner for Laws, Franco Debono.
Former MP, now Commissioner for Laws, Franco Debono.


Updated at 1:39pm. Adds comment by Franco Debono

Passers-by and patrons of one of Valletta's most popular cafes were treated to an astonishing, but presumably highly entertaining, ruckus involving the newly-appointed Commissioner for Law Franco Debono and Nationalist Party deputy leader Simon Busuttil.

MaltaToday is informed that the outgoing deputy leader was having coffee in a quiet corner of Caffe Cordina with former Nationalist MP Jean Pierre Farrugia, who was in the news recently for his severe criticism of the party and its administration.

At this point, it seems that Debono blitzed the quiet conversation by loudly asking Busuttil whether he had been cornered into an aquarium, a reference to their infamous encounter at the Where's Everybody studios in December, when Debono attempted to replace the absent Anglu Farrugia in a televised face-off with Busuttil. During the subsequent confusion, the PN deputy leader was holed up in a room with glass walls at the studios, prompting the quick-witted Debono to ask Busuttil to 'get out of the aquarium' and confront him.

After repeating the same remark this morning, Busuttil apparently asked the former Nationalist MP and dissident to leave him and Farrugia in peace, at which point Debono allegedly told Busuttil: "the PN is in the shit up to its neck."

Phoning in to relay his version of events, Franco Debono said his encounter with Busuttil had been cordial and onlookers might have misinterpreted the situation.

"I bumped into him and Farrugia at Caffe Cordina and offered him a cup of coffee and a pastizz. Yes, I joked about him sitting in a corner and the aquarium but it was a way of greeting him jovially," Debono said.

Debono also said that he told Busuttil that while he didn't wish to have anything to do with the PN, he still wished to be "on good terms" with it.

"And that is the bottom line. I don't want to be active within the party but I want to be on good terms with the PN... and we parted smiling."

The relationship between the two has always been frosty and despite both men had hinted at a possible reconciliation before the electoral campaign started in January, Debono's relationship with Busuttil and most of the PN administration remained sour.

Debono was a constant thorn in the former Nationalist government's side for the last two years and his vote against the Budget in December was the final blow to the PN administration which had no other option but to call an election.

The new Labour government's decision to appoint Debono as Commissioner for Law and coordinator of the Constitutional Convention drew a bitter reaction by Debono's former colleagues, with the PN calling it a "divisive" move.
jurgen
Jurgen Balzan joined MaltaToday in 2011, specialising in politics, foreig...
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Thats exactly why he is irrelevant because he is arrogant and angry man because he never made it to minister.
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Capable? That's too funny! FD might be capable in the PL's books, but that's because your standards are so low -- in all respects. The electorate was duped. But don't worry -- the PL will drive us into the wall soon enough. It can't do otherwise -- it just doesn't have the people to do any better, precisely because of it's low standards. Malta Taghna Lkoll? What a sad, sad joke.
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Yanika Chetcuti
tweetybirdie so typical to pounce on a minor typing error and completely ignore the actual points being made! Typical GonziPNista! You are really off the mark with your statement that GonziPNisti are persons of principle. Just look at the way you treat your own capable people. First you ostracize them, and then you hound them, even from the opposition benches. Well you had better accept the fact the Franco is there to teach you how it should be done. Only monkeys, that hear and see nothing (like stooges), are good for GonziPN's hidden power brokers. Which principles are your blabbering about? Those that concern first, second and third their self interest? Of course, GonziPN did turn Malta into a banana republic, just look at all those juicy Government appointments for nincompoops (of which you sound like one)and the widespread corruption oozing from every political appointment you look at! Now all you need do is sit in that corner covered with insults thrown at you by the electorate, and you might learn the ropes of decent politics. Say in 25 years time!!!
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Yanika Chetcuti
tweetybirdie so typical to pounce on a minor typing error and completely ignore the actual points being made! Typical GonziPNista! You are really off the mark with your statement that GonziPNisti are persons of principle. Just look at the way you treat your own capable people. First you ostracize them, and then you hound them, even from the opposition benches. Well you had better accept the fact the Franco is there to teach you how it should be done. Only monkeys, that hear and see nothing (like stooges), are good for GonziPN's hidden power brokers. Which principles are your blabbering about? Those that concern first, second and third their self interest? Of course, GonziPN did turn Malta into a banana republic, just look at all those juicy Government appointments for nincompoops (of which you sound like one)and the widespread corruption oozing from every political appointment you look at! Now all you need do is sit in that corner covered with insults thrown at you by the electorate, and you might learn the ropes of decent politics. Say in 25 years time!!!
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@Justice "as the new Commissioner of Laws [Franco Debono] must learn to control his emotions". HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!! Have you EVER seen him NOT ranting and raving? I am looking forward to his tantrums with Joseph Muscat. :-D
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Joe Bugeja
Better Future, let us hope that from better we don't become downward future.........We shall see if our secure future will be turned into a downward trend. We already have a better future. Talk to me in 2, 3, 4 and 5 years and we shall see if we have a better future or went downhill. It is hard to best what we had. Don't you agree. It is very hard.
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@BETTER FUTURE It's a *DUNCE* cap! Not very bright are we? As for being 'in denial', we are not in denial. We know exactly where we are and why we are here -- and part of the reason is people like this. The PN should have been far more selective in their choice of candidates. People like me voted PN because we don't vote for opportunists without principles, and we assume that people on the PN ticket are upstanding respectable people not self-centred spoilt brats. This is where the party let PN voters down very badly. You all complain that the PN government was 'arrogant', but you don't see the arrogance in this individual, who thinks he is the only person with a brain on the island? And you don't think it is arrogant of Joseph Muscat to have appointed him to this position? After 2 weeks, Joseph Muscat has shown more arrogance than in the 25 years that the PN were in power. And now we're supposed to watch the 'real boys and girls make it happen'! HA HA HA! :-D If anyone 'made it happen', it was the PN government. It turned the country from a banana republic that didn't even have bananas to a (strong if small) first world country in Europe. That's why Malta is not on the trash heap with half the countries in Europe -- and even you guys admit that you got a country 'fis-sod'! All you guys will manage to do is drive us into the nearest ditch. All labour *ever* managed was to bring unemployment and misery to this island -- besides class hatred, division, vindictive behaviour, state sponsored violence, and a whole host of other undesirable things. So here goes -- let's watch that happen... And let's be clear -- I am NOT looking forward to saying "Well done!!!"!!
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@BETTER FUTURE It's a *DUNCE* cap! Not very bright are we? As for being 'in denial', we are not in denial. We know exactly where we are and why we are here -- and part of the reason is people like this. The PN should have been far more selective in their choice of candidates. People like me voted PN because we don't vote for opportunists without principles, and we assume that people on the PN ticket are upstanding respectable people not self-centred spoilt brats. This is where the party let PN voters down very badly. You all complain that the PN government was 'arrogant', but you don't see the arrogance in this individual, who thinks he is the only person with a brain on the island? And you don't think it is arrogant of Joseph Muscat to have appointed him to this position? After 2 weeks, Joseph Muscat has shown more arrogance than in the 25 years that the PN were in power. And now we're supposed to watch the 'real boys and girls make it happen'! HA HA HA! :-D If anyone 'made it happen', it was the PN government. It turned the country from a banana republic that didn't even have bananas to a (strong if small) first world country in Europe. That's why Malta is not on the trash heap with half the countries in Europe -- and even you guys admit that you got a country 'fis-sod'! All you guys will manage to do is drive us into the nearest ditch. All labour *ever* managed was to bring unemployment and misery to this island -- besides class hatred, division, vindictive behaviour, state sponsored violence, and a whole host of other undesirable things. So here goes -- let's watch that happen... And let's be clear -- I am NOT looking forward to saying "Well done!!!"!!
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Busuttil ibati qal Toni Abela minn fissazzjoni simpatika tal-banana. Jien nghid li dan sar awtorita' tal-banana u ma jbatix biss minn fissazzjoni li l-banana tieghu hija ikbar minn ta' haddiehor. Meta tohrog ras ghal ras piz accettabbli ghal kull Malti ta' madwar 80 kilo' u timmultipplikah b'xi 35,000 darba tasal ghall piz konservattiv ta' miserjament 2.5 miljuni kilo. Daqshekk u ikbar hija l-banana li bela' Busuttil l-ahhar elezzjoni u taf kif dahlet go fih nies: GAS DOWN. Fil-fatt kieku Xmun Busuttil ried verament jirrapresenta lil Maltin missu baqa' l-ewropa fejn b'ammissjoni tieghu stess beda jiftah mohhu (ara ahna mohhna maghluq ghax ma konniex MEPs sieheb bhalu) halli jirrapprezenta 400,000 Malta mhux miserja ta' xi 15/16,000 parruccan. Hemmhekk kien ikollu cans jilhaq bhala n-negozjatur ewlieni ta' l-Ewropa mar-Repubbliki tal-Banana, avveniment li kien ikun mutwalment pjacevoli, igifieri ghar-Repubbliki u ghal Xmun.
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Paul Sammut
franco kompli wegga u insulta lin nazzjonalisti u paxxi lil laburisti......pero tinsiex li hadd wara hadd tasal ta kullhadd.
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Dr Franco Debono, whether you accept it or not, is an extremely intelligent person with strong legal knowledge and very capable of carrying out the task of Commissioner for Law. After all the hassle, attacks, victimizations he suffered, I do not blame him when the opportunity came to ask his pound of flesh. However, as the new Commissioner of Laws he must learn to control his emotions and respect the Office he now occupies and I take this opportunity to wish him well in his endeavours to help the People of Malta.
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Anthony Pace
Mignun.
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Yanika Chetcuti
tweedybirdie, shame on "in denial" commentators that cannot fathom the depth of their arrogance, when their Party had the opportunity to access this person's and other persons capabilities, but simply shoved them aside. Why? Because the truth they spoke, impinged on the "acquired-over-25-years" business interests of the hidden power brokers maliciously operating from within GonziPN. NOW, go put on the deuce cap and sit in that corner, watching the real boys and girls making it happen!
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Cercur! Xeba jqazzez lil kulhadd!
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Joe Bugeja
grow up debono.......you are acting like a big bully in a school yard. Don't get the position you just got go through your big head. Be civil and gracious to your opponents because you never know when you may need them. stop this bullying once and for all.
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This guy is one sandwich short of a picnic! And he is the best person in Malta to be Commissioner of Laws? Good grief! He is not even capable of walking down the street without insulting people! He is just an embarrassment, to himself and to everyone who surrounds him. Meritocracy? You can't be serious. You aren't serious. This guy was obviously appointed to this position to keep him spouting his venom against the PN, nothing less, nothing more. If he hadn't been appointed, then he would be of no consequence, no one would hear him anymore, and he would go away -- but no, Labour weighed very carefully where to put him so as to cause the PN the greatest annoyance, and to insult every Nationalist in the land. Shame on Labour. Shame on Malta Taghna Lkoll!
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The media bully at large again. Honestly, why the Prime Minister is shooting himself in the foot with this provocative appointment is beyond me and most level headed people, but it would appear that level-headedness only lasted till the 10th March. What a pity.
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The media bully at large again. Honestly, why the Prime Minister is shooting himself in the foot with this provocative appointment is beyond me and most level headed people, but it would appear that level-headedness only lasted till the 10th March. What a pity.
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@ Nikos: Moses roamed the desert with his people for 40 years but in the end was successful and his people occupied Canaan. What is wrong with Labour roaming the wilderness for the last 25 years? You have said it yourself. All we had these last 25 years was wilderness. The wilderness that stems from arrogance, deceipt, corruption and nepotism. Now the period of wilderness is over for the Chosen People and Franco and others who are willing to work with the Chosen People are welcome to join. God is always on the side of righteousness and not evil.
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Why should we bother to discuss Franco Debono vs NP. He is history to PN supporters!!!
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Yanika Chetcuti
If Peppi psapar does not oblige, get Loki Lou to take on this herculean task. Go for it cowards! Let's see virtual blood drawn (that is, if he has any left after that bloodbath!!!) in that arrogant, insipid obnoxious PBS arena.
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antoinette borg
Franco what about a debate about labour's roaming in the wilderness for the last 22yrs
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Philip Borg
divisive move: gejja mid-dirigenti ta' Partit ma tawgurax rikonciljazzjoni anzi divide and rule, il-motto tar-Rumani fil-kolonji taghhom. Dr. Debono kellu x'joffri u hatfu haddiehor wara li gie michud mil-PN. Ghalhekk ikun hawn firda fil-pajjiz ghax din tigi imkesksa mil-kbir.
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Saviour Cassar
Ma tarax franco,peppi jizen u jixtarr sewwa qabel jiddeciedi xi program jaghmel.F'kelma wahda peppi gurdien xih.
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Its a reflection of the society that we live that no current affairs programme worth its salt has as yet entertained the idea of having these two charachters face each other off. Obviously the advertising revenue leading up to such an event is not worth while or that current affairs programmes on our TV have other loyalties.
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Lionel M. Cassola
To my mind, Dr. Debono is the ideal candidate to fill in this post. It was thanks to his insistence and personal sacrifice that we now understand the importance of the whistleblower act, party financing and other laws. I understand that draft laws (drafted by Dr. Debono himself) were shelved by the previous administration only to see the day of light now. Was it not these same people calling Dr. Debono's appointment as divisive, that labelled him as irrelevant and made his life hell?
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Luke Micallef
Franco your action was wrong (if that is what really happened). You have been amply vindicated. A confrontation with Simon Busuttil will lead to more bickering from the PN. Your talent and energy are nedded elsewhere. Action speaks louder than words
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christina mangion
Not quite the behaviour befitting a Commissioner of Laws, but hardly surprising knowing what Franco Debono is like.
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Raymond Mintoff
Maybe it is time Simon asks for a debate with Franco regarding the electoral thrashing. Maybe Peppi xarabank's ticket collector could accomodate such an event.