Bands on the run: Mangion says he’s ‘only a service provider’

The former Eurovision singer shies away from explaining what he is being paid taxpayers’ money for, and what he is doing to earn it.

William Mangion sings for Labour in 2013, and below for the PN in 2008
William Mangion sings for Labour in 2013, and below for the PN in 2008

Singer William Mangion is refusing to answer questions about his contract with the government and his alleged role in searching for rehearsal space for bands.

Mangion’s job – he now dubs himself “a service provider” – was awarded to him soon after Labour’s re-election. The singer formerly rooted for Lawrence Gonzi’s re-election in 2008, singing ‘Iva, Flimkien Kollox Possibli’ but then switched sides in 2013 when he joined forces with Joseph Muscat.

His one-year contract with the government is still running, allegedly to fulfil Article 24 in Labour manifesto’s to find rehearsal space for bands.

When contacted by MaltaToday this week, Mangion said he was “only a service provider” and that any questions on his tax-funded role should be raised with the Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government.

Bands which spoke to MaltaToday take the 1993 Eurovision song finalist with a healthy dose of salt. One recording artist who preferred to stay anonymous said the alleged ‘coordinator for the promotion of local bands’ had emailed him, requesting an updated list of email contacts for all Maltese bands.

In November 2013, Mangion said that the government was probably going to rent venues and rent them out to bands at a subsidised price. However, he also said that any system should allow bands to choose how long they would like to rent a venue for.

On 14 July, 2014, justice minister Owen Bonnici confirmed that the government was still in the process of evaluating a number of proposals put forward by Mangion.

“He is a valid person with vast experience in the sector, Bonnici said.

“His job was not to simply find a garage but one should also consider the technical research required in finding the perfect place,” Bonnici had said in response to a question raised in parliament by Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi.

It is not known how much Mangion is being paid for his job.