Nationalist Party blasts Micallef’s appointment to Valletta 2018

PN says choice of former Labour secretary-general has sacrificed culture to political interests.

Jason Micallef
Jason Micallef

The Nationalist Party has called into question the choice of former Labour Party secretary-general Jason Micallef as chairman of the Valletta 2018 foundation that will lead Malta into becoming the European Capital of Culture for 2018.

Micallef, formerly a PBS television presenter who later spent five years as Labour secretary-general under Alfred Sant, was appointed V18 chairman by culture minister José Herrera against all expectations given that internal government sources had ruled out the appointment.

"His appointment is the worst advert that Malta can have for its capital city," the PN said in a statement. "Micallef does not have the capabilities or knowledge required for such an important project for this country."

Micallef's role as secretary-general was abolished soon after Joseph Muscat's election as Labour leader in 2008, and was appointed chairman of One TV, Labour's television station, instead. He also contested the last general elections, but failed to be elected.

"The Prime Minister is caught between a rock and a hard place, by his own doing, because he gave in to Micallef's pressure and in the process, humiliated and ridiculed the country. Muscat is using his power as prime minister to address personal matters," the PN said.

The chairmanship was previously occupied by architect David Felice of the firm Architecture Project.

The PN was equally disdainful of the choice of José Herrera, formerly shadow justice minister, as minister for culture. "Choosing Micallef for V18 chairman and Herrera as minister for culture does not augur well for our culture industry."

Herrera, who announced the appointment during a press conference on the V18 programme yesterday afternoon, said Micallef's role has yet to be officialised.

The announcement was made despite government sources having denied to MaltaToday that a decision was taken to appoint Micallef as chairman of the V18 board.

It also appears that OPM officials had no knowledge about Herrera making such an announcement.

Herrera said that outgoing chairman David Felice will "supervise" Micallef's work.

In a reaction, former culture minister and PN leadership contender Mario de Marco expressed dismay at the choice of Micallef for the role, dubbing it as "entirely partisan".

"When I wrote a letter of appointment for David Felice, I took into consideration his experience within the cultural sector, his love for our capital city and his professional competence - a decision which was vindicated by Valletta's success in acquiring the title of European Capital for Culture in 2018."

De Marco added that the process to secure the title for Valletta came after full involvement with the then in opposition Labour Party.

"I would keep in regular contact with Owen Bonnici and Evarist Bartolo over this initative, and in fact we even set up a parliamentary committee to oversee this important event - which will not only impact Valletta but Malta as a whole.

"In light of this, I have to express disappointment that a role which was originally not in the least bit partisan has clearly taken on a partisan hue. This is a culture change we did not need," de Marco said.

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Emmanuel Mallia
Do you think that Austin Gatt, as a minister, was a good administrator ? Arriva, Xandir, Arms, SeaMalta and other disasters ! Was he a good campaign manager, steering the PN to an all time landslide electoral defeat ?
Sammy Cutajar
Hekk sew. Tilfu elezzjoni u ghandhom jahsbu li dak li jghidu huma biss hu tajjeb. Dr.Demarco qed jidher hekk u qal hekk halli forsi jigbor giehu u erba voti ghal l'elezzjoni tal leader ghal partit 'glorjozament' imfarrak'. Il kultura ghalihom hija dak kollox li ghandu x'jaqsam mal barokk u xejn aktar. Jekk Demarco jitla , jista jaghti garanzija li jnehhi l'idejal tar 'Relgio et Patria', idejal li hu antik u jreggix ghaz zmienijiet tal-lum? U jbiddel'arma tal partit tieghu billi jnehhi l'isfar u l'iswed, kuluri li jfakkru iz-zmienijiet li l'Italja kienet taht id dittatura faxxista ta Mussolini?
According to this Franco, whoever he may be, anyone who may have voted PN last election has no right to say anything about anything. I see, so that is what a different style of governance is all has to just be happy and content with all that merry Joseph and his technicolor dream team say, do or propose. Interesting....shades of...!!!
At least Jason unlike chairman apponted by PN has never been acused of bribery. PN just cannot reLise and accept the fact that they are no longer in Government
I once heard that the PN is fully against Jason Micallef simply because he was against extending the election time by one hour in the 2008 elections. Can someone tell me whether this is true or not and whether the PN hate Jason because of this?
Talking about ridicule, wasn't it the Mayor of London and Prime Minister of Gersey who ridiculed Malta for accepting theARRIVA bendybusses they had redfused?
elwenzu you did not vote for change but fir the status qou of corruption, therefore you of all people have no right to voice your opinion on the choice of appointments.
Can't understand how gonzipn have the gall to criticise Jason's appointment. I will not go into the merit of his abilities but for heaven's sake that gonzipn should find fault when it was Dr Gonzi who mucked up Valletta's entrance with those monstrosities thought up by Piano who might have been on a high when he designed it. Adding salt to the wound millions were spent on this tragedy. Get a life the whole lot of you.
Mario's assessment is correct. Architect Felice was chosen because he is one of the foremost architects and, above all, because he is an expert on Valletta and on old cities. His appointment was welcomed by all, even the opposition at the time. He was the perfect person for the role. Substituting him with anyone is a mistake, let alone with a person who certainly does not inspire anyone or who does not possess any known knowledge on Valletta. Truly a stupid choice that could come back to haunt the government. Certainly the people will not forgive the Prime Minister for this transgression if this guy messes up V18.
Jobs for the boys is STILL alive and kicking. Out with the old way of doing things and in with the old way of doing things. We voted for a change, but we didn't get it.
Il-PN issa spicca minn partit tal-klikka u sar partit tal-qrid. Kontu komdi ghal 25sena u aghmiltu l-pajjiz taghkom. Issa qed tiddejqu bil-bidla, eh? Ma tridux li l-gvern jiehu l-parir taghkom ukoll hux biex jahtar lil xi hadd f'xi bord?
How can the PN be taken seriously if they continue to lie ?