Letters: 14 February 2016

15 February 2016, 8:39am
On Mabel Strickland’s will

Out of courtesy to the court that is hearing the case filed by Robert Hornyold-Strickland against Professor J.M. Ganado as testamentary executor of the late Mabel Strickland and against the Strickland Foundation, we choose not, at this stage, to reply to what Hornyold-Strickland wrote in his one-page reply to your law report of January 3, 2016, which reply was ostensibly meant to correct what he described as certain inaccuracies in your law report.

However, we feel that it is relevant for your readers to learn what the relevant parts of the public deed setting up The Strickland Foundation and Miss Strickland’s testamentary will state as the validity of the respective deed and will are not in contestation.

It is then for the court to determine the interpretation of certain provisions of the deed and of the will and not for your correspondent.

Miss Strickland established The Strickland Foundation by public deed in 1979. The first article establishes the seat of the foundation at Villa Parisio. The foundation is a public benefit organization, administered by a council of administration.

Miss Strickland established the foundation ‘to be of service to the people of Malta by helping the development of freedom of thought and expression which, through a free press, is essential to the maintenance of democracy and basic for the proper development of a country’.

Its aims include to help improve the standard of Maltese journalism and the preservation of its freedom and independence, and to uphold the European and Mediterranean character of Malta and to support Malta’s continued presence in the Commonwealth.

Hundreds of people have benefited from activities organised by the foundation at Villa Parisio and elsewhere. These have ranged from talks and seminars to specialized courses in journalism.

The foundation has also given financial assistance in various forms for purposes falling under the objectives of the foundation, and has also financed an internship scheme for journalists.

Miss Strickland bequeathed in legacy to The Strickland Foundation through her testamentary will Villa Parisio in Lija, including all the contents thereof with the exception of gold, silver, and other precious articles, sums of money, bank books, bound books and other documents of title and stock; and a number of shares in Allied Newspapers Limited.

She also bequeathed by title of legacy to her heir Robert Hornyold-Strickland, who is her great-nephew, “the right of use and habitation of the guest rooms with bathroom and study at Villa Parisio provided that the enjoyment of such right shall in no way interfere with the work of the foundation”.

It is therefore regrettable that Hornyold-Strickland views any activity or presence of the Foundation at Villa Parisio as tantamount to some form of harassment or infringement of his rights.

Ronald Agius

Acting Chairman, The Strickland Foundation