[LISTEN] Radio 101 gets a frank reply from William Mangion

The man being paid €20,000 to 'find rehearsal space' for Maltese bands accepts to answer some straightforward questions. Finally.

William Mangion at a Labour rally in 2013
William Mangion at a Labour rally in 2013

Singer and Labour ‘billboard activist’ Willie Mangion answered some straight questions from Radio 101 presenter David Thake about his €20,000 contract as a ‘service provider’ whose role is allegedly that of locating rehearsal space for bands.

Mangion described his role, berated by Maltese bands for being just a plum job that has served them no end, as having to locate a space for a hub for bands, that will also allow them to rehearse as well as record.

“We are still looking for places. There is main interest in one location, which the ministry is seriously looking into. We are doing all this work, all the way. I’m doing all I can to get things done. I don’t understand what the bands want,” Mangion said when Thake read excerpts of a MaltaToday article replete with criticism from bands.

Mangion refuted suggestions that he was granted the €20,000 contract, which is now in its second year, for his political allegiance: he was formerly a public personality supporting Lawrence Gonzi in 2008, before switching sides to publicly support Joseph Muscat.

“No, no. This is something that has been invented. The Prime Minister  approached me and asked me whether I could take up this job, and we working on it…

“I am not a politician, but a musician. I have lived this career for the past 40 years. And I am working on it all the way.”

  • Is this job down to the fact that you support Labour? Thake asked.

“I don’t know what to say. Everyone knows that I voted for Labour,” Mangion replied.

  • So have we spent €40,000 just looking for a garage?

“No, we are not looking for one garage, but a hub for musicians.”

 - Is there a budget for it?

I cannot answer for this…”

  • So you don’t know how much you can spend…

“I’m a service provider, I’m not deep in government. My duty is to look for the place. I have various proposals from people who own the premises. We have found one place that there is great interest in. We are seeing what work has to be carried out on the place. I cannot just go and tell the prime minister, ‘hey this is the place I want.’”