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RANKED: Malta’s Public Servants Who Skipped Parliament In 2020 For No Reason Whatsoever

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There were 124 parliamentary sittings throughout the tumultuous year of 2020 – but not every Maltese politician chose to attend them. 

From independent MPs to government officials and PN MPs, a number of lawmakers didn’t turn up for their job throughout the year, with each no-show seeing them slapped with a €50 fine. 

Here are the elected officials who didn’t show up for work last year in order of most sittings missed.

1. Konrad Mizzi – missed 26 sittings.

Ex Energy and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi was the MP who missed the most parliamentary sittings with no justified excuse, which comes as no surprise considering the long list of allegations to his name.

During his time as a Labour MP and his shift to becoming one of three independent parliamentarians, Mizzi was a no-show for 26 sessions in the year.

Mizzi, who is still earning his honorarium as an MP, was also absent from parliamentary sittings for the first three months of the year as he remained in the UK. He was labelled a fugitive by then PN Leader Adrian Delia, despite Speaker Anglu Farrugia excusing Mizzi’s absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mizzi is connected with a wealth of corruption allegations, namely through links to the Panama Papers scandal and Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech’s Dubai company 17 Black.

He was voted out of the Labour Party in June amidst reports that Fenech made millions out of the Montenegrin wind farm deal when Mizzi was Minister for Energy under the previous administration.

Konrad Mizzi

Konrad Mizzi

2. Godfrey Farrugia and Marlene Farrugia – missed 17 and 16 sittings.

Malta’s other independent MPs Godfrey and Marlene Farrugia were next in line when it came to unjustified absences, with the former missing 17 and the latter skipping out on 16.

This means the Farrugias missed more than 30 parliamentary sessions last year. It’s hardly a surprise that reforms to Malta’s third party ran so flat if their former representatives can’t even turn up for work.

The Farrugias

The Farrugias

3. Jose Herrera, Mario DeMarco and Stephen Spiteri followed – missed 15 sittings each.

Malta’s Arts and Culture Minister Jose Herrera as well as heavyweight Nationalist MPs Mario Demarco and Stephen Spiteri were all marked absent for 15 sittings.

Perhaps Spiteri was too busy trying to stop the Medical Council from taking action against him for selling medical certificates to patients without seeing them.

 

Jose Herrera, Mario DeMarco and Stephen Spiteri

Jose Herrera, Mario DeMarco and Stephen Spiteri

4. The Prime Minister and Ex-Opposition leader – missed 14 sittings.

Six MPs, including Malta’s very own Prime Minister Robert Abela, ex-Opposition leader Adrian Delia, former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and PN’s deputy leader Robert Arrigo have all missed 14 sessions without providing a valid excuse to the Speaker.

Others who missed 14 sessions included former Finance Minister Edward Scicluna and current Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis.

Robert Abela and Bernard Grech

Robert Abela and Bernard Grech

5. Silvio Schembri, Edwin Vassallo, Jason Azzopardi – missed 13 sittings.

Our very own Economy Minister skived 13 sessions as well as PN’s Edwin Vassallo and Jason Azzopardi.

Silvio Schembri, Edwin Vassallo and Jason Azzopardi

Silvio Schembri, Edwin Vassallo and Jason Azzopardi

6. Ian Borg, Clint Camilleri, Aaron Farrugia, Chris Fearne and Anton Refalo – missed 12 sittings.

A handful of ministers missed 12 parliament sessions including Transport Minister Ian Borg, Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri, Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia, our very own deputy Prime Minster Chris Fearne and Anton Refalo – Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights.

Chris Fearne

Chris Fearne

7. Chris Cardona, Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici, Kevin Cutajar – missed 11 sittings.

Former Economy Minister Chris Cardona was only an MP for 37 sittings in 2020, before stepping down from the House. He was later also asked to resign as PL deputy leader after he was repeatedly named in court by middleman Melvin Theuma, in relation to the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

PN’s Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici and Kevin Cutajar also missed 11. 

Chris Cardona

Chris Cardona

8. Evarist Bartolo, Mario Galea, Claudio Grech, Manuel Mallia – missed 10 sittings.

Our Minister for Foreign Affairs Evarist Bartolo was absent for 10 sessions, together with Opposition MP Mario Galea and PL backbenchers Manuel Mallia.

Evarist Bartolo in Parliament

Evarist Bartolo in Parliament

9. Justyne Caruana – missed 9 sittings.

Justyne Caruana skipped out on nine meetings. She had resigned from her position as Gozo Minister following revelations of her husband, ex-Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta, was suspected to have leaked crucial details on the investigation into Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder.

She is now Education Minister.

Justyne Caruana

Justyne Caruana

10. Michael Falzon, Therese Comidini Cachia– missed 8 sittings.

Falzon is Malta’s Minister for Social Justice and Solidarity, the Family and Children’s Rights, while Comidini Cachia is a PN MP. Both missed eight meetings.

11. Chris Agius, Ian Castaldi Paris, Rosianne Cutajar, Kristy Debono – missed 7 sittings.

Malta’s Parliamentary Secretary for Equality missed out on seven sessions in the House this year. She was joined by PN MPs Chris Agius, Ian Castaldi Paris and Kristy Debono.

Rosianne Cutajar

Rosianne Cutajar

12. Miriam Dalli, Silvio Grixti, Jean Claude Micallef, Bernard Grech, Chris Said – missed 6 sittings.

Miriam Dalli was co-opted into Parliament in October to take on a new super Ministry, combining Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development. Opposition leader Bernard Grech was also appointed around that time.

Still, Dalli and Grech missed six sessions, together with PL MP Jean Claude Micallef and PN MP Chris Said.

Miriam Dalli

Miriam Dalli

13. Anthony Decelis Aguis, Byron Camilleri, Roderick Galdes, Etienne Grech, David Thake – missed 5 sittings.

Two ministers, Byron Camilleri and Roderick Galdes, skived five sessions of Parliament. Former MP Etienne Grech and PL MP Anthony Decelis Aguis and PN MP David Thake also missed five.

Byron Camilleri

Byron Camilleri

14. Michael Farrugia, Silvio Parnis – missed 4 sittings.

Minister for the Elderly and Active Aging Michael Farrugia as well as PL MP Silvio Parnis didn’t show up for four sessions.

Michael Farrugia Photo: TVM

Michael Farrugia Photo: TVM

15. Alex Muscat, Ivan Bartolo, Ivan J Bartolo, Ryan Callus, Beppe Fenech Adami – missed 3 sittings.

From the government’s side, MP Alex Muscat was absent for three sessions in 2020 while PN MPs Ivan Bartolo, Ivan J Bartolo, Ryan Callus and Beppe Fenech Adami also missed three.

Ivan J Bartolo quit parliament in October, which set off the process that saw PN leader Bernard Grech become leader of the Opposition.

Alex Muscat

Alex Muscat

16. Glenn Bedingfield, Simon Busuttil, Maria Deguara, Clyde Puli – missed 2 sittings.

Labourite Glenn Bedingfield and PN MPs Maria Deguara and Clyde Puli missed out on two. Simon Busuttil left the House of Representatives in February to become the Secretary-General of the European People’s Party.

Simon Busuttil

Simon Busuttil

17. Julia Farrugia Portelli, Claudette Buttigieg, Karl Gouder, Marthese Portelli, Hermann Schiavone – missed 1 sitting.

Julia Farrugia Portelli only missed one session with no justified excuse. She was Tourism Minister for most of the year until a major Cabinet reshuffle saw her take on a new Minister for Inclusion and Social Wellbeing.

PN’s Claudette Buttigieg, Karl Gouder, Hermann Schiavone and Marthese Portelli also missed one. The latter resigned in February to take on a controversial post within the Malta Developers Association.

Julia Farrugia Portello

Julia Farrugia Portello

Bonus: There were 12 MPs with no absence at all

Ministers Carmelo Abela, Owen Bonnici, Deo Debattista and Clyde Caruana were squeaky clean, with no unjustified absences in 2020. Labour MPs Joe Mizzi and Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi were also included. 

From the Nationalist Party’s side, David Agius, Karol Aquilina, the late Frederick Azzopardi, Toni Bezzina, Robert Cutajar and Joseph Ellis all had no unexcused absences.

Clyde Caruana is still fresh in his role as an MP, having been co-opted into Parliament and made Finance Minister in October.

Not every no-show is equal in the House of Representatives.

In order to be marked excused and not absent, MPs must provide reasons which prevent them from attending Parliament. These can include being sick, parliamentary work, government business or party duties. 

You can see the full list of absentees in 2020 here.

Where does your MP rank in this list?

 

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Sam is an over-caffeinated artist fighting for a cooler and freer world, one article, song or impromptu protest at a time. Hit her up with thought-provoking ideas or dreams at [email protected] or @princess.wonderful on Instagram.

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