‘I’m staying in Labour to make Malta Tagħna Lkoll a reality’ – Farrugia

Former health minister speaks out – left resignation letter at Castille and then SMSed Muscat – sole exchange with prime minister was by text message

Labour MPs Marlene Farrugia and Godfrey Farrugia
Labour MPs Marlene Farrugia and Godfrey Farrugia

The former health minister Godfrey Farrugia may have tendered his resignation but is now striking a somewhat defiant tone.

“I’m staying in the Labour movement… I’m going to make sure the ‘Malta For All’ (Malta Tagħna Lkoll) election slogan actually becomes a reality,” he told MaltaToday.

Farrugia tendered his resignation today after a year in which his stewardship came under criticism by stakeholders, and now prompting an expected Cabinet reshuffle previously mulled by Joseph Muscat.

Today morning, Farrugia took all confidential files and papers in his possession to the health ministry in Merchants Street in Valletta, to deposit them with a senior official.

“I found two employees there and left all the papers to a senior official. I don’t think they were aware of my intentions,” he said.

He then proceeded unannounced to the Auberge de Castille, and asked for the Prime Minister. There, he passed by the side door and took the elevator up to the Office of the Prime Minister accompanied by a soldier.

He was informed that the Prime Minister would only be at the office in the afternoon after 2pm. He left an envelope with a messenger and told him to pass it on urgently to the Prime Minister. 

On leaving the Office of the Prime Minister, he sent an SMS to Muscat informing of his decision. And the only conversation that took place between the two – perhaps tellingly – was by SMS.

Farrugia did not divulge what was exchanged in their conversation.

Farrugia then informed his communications coordinator Etienne St John of his resignation, who did not know of his decision.

Farrugia denied that his partner – Labour MP Marlene Farrugia – had put up the resignation letter on her Facebook wall before the Prime Minister was informed. “I showed her a mobile phone photo of my letter. And we decided to share it.” 

Both Godfrey and Marlene Farrugia have said they now have more than on reason to keep militating within Labour, which they described as “the movement”.

But there’s a parting shot here: “We see this happening under the leadership of Joseph Muscat… but we want to keep working inside the movement to ensure that the pre-electoral of Malta Tagħna Lkoll really becomes a reality,” they said of Muscat’s meritocracy pledge.

So why did Farrugia not accept the social solidarity portfolio he was earmarked for?

“I have worked all his life to be at the service of patients, and that is my vocation.”

He did not divulge which other portfolio was offered to him.

“The message I want to pass on to health workers and patients is that I want to thank them: I know they are at a crossroads in this field.”

More in National