British tabloid Sun picks up on Maltese uproar over Peter Andre’s ‘ambassadorship’

Newspaper reports Valletta mayor’s unilateral appointment of Z-list celebrity to Knights’ city ‘cultural ambassador’

Staff Reporter
11 February 2013, 12:00am
Peter Andre hosted inside Mater Dei Hospital's hallowed corridors by health minister Joe Cassar.
Peter Andre hosted inside Mater Dei Hospital's hallowed corridors by health minister Joe Cassar.


British tabloid The Sun has reported Malta's "uproar" over the Valletta local council's unanimous decision to appoint "perma-tan pop statesman" Peter Andre a cultural ambassador to the capital city.

In a comment on MaltaToday.com.mt's comments board, Valletta council minority leader Ray Azzopardi said that no vote had been taken in the council for Andre's appointment. "The decision was taken by the mayor the week before, and he informed us about the decision, which he took on his own. There was never any discussion about it."

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In fact, it turns out that when MaltaToday revealed Andre's appointment, Valletta local council did not even release an official announcement.

News of Andre's nomination only surfaced after local Facebook users began sharing a report from the UK celebrity gossip website Reveal.co.uk, with some users expressing bafflement as to why Andre - a singer more famous in recent years for his high-profile on-off romance with British tabloid-magnet Katie 'Jordan' Price, than for any achievements in music - was chosen to represent Valletta.

Asked about the nomination, Valletta Mayor Alexiei Dingli revealed that the nomination does not have a particularly strict set of criteria, explaining that, in order to 'qualify' as an ambassador for Valletta, a person has to be: "a celebrity, fond of Valletta, and someone who will help in the promotion of Valletta abroad".

Dingli added that Andre was chosen "by the Valletta Local Council during its last council meeting on the 29 January, and it was a unanimous decision of the council".

More than 1,000 Facebook users have signed a petition to get the Mysterious Girl singer, who was in Malta to attend the Malta Music Awards, to have his 'ambassadorship' revoked. "Peter Andre should be the last person to carry such a prestigious and important title. Valletta shall only be handled with honour," the Facebook plea goes.

"Still reeling from the honorary citizenship given to Latin pop star Enrique Iglesias, in 2008, residents branded this celebrity title '100 times worse'. Despite winning 'Best International Male' at the Malta Music Awards last week, Andre made no mention of his appointment by mayor Alexiei Dingli earlier on the same day," the Sun reported.

Dingli claims the nomination is of benefit to Valletta.

"Valletta will feature prominently in his show on iTV which has an average viewership of 1.7 million viewers and a peak viewership of 1.9 million viewers. An additional 300,000 viewers watch reruns of his show. Apart from this, I can reveal that Peter promised to come again to Valletta this coming summer where we will be discussing potential future collaborations."

Dingli also deemed Andre to be an adequate celebrity to represent Valletta, citing the fact that Valletta's nomination as European Capital for Culture in 2018 promotes a wide-ranging sweep of the definition of culture: "from high culture to pop culture and even particular niches".

However, when contacted for comment, Edward Bonello, the press officer for the V.18 Foundation denied any involvement with the decision to appoint Peter Andre as Cultural Ambassador. "The nomination has no relation to V.18," Bonello said.