Former PN president Mark Anthony Sammut has unleashed a stunning tirade against the party’s leadership, warning that its internal data is extremely dubious and is controlled solely by the PN’s political coordinator, Jean Pierre Debono.
In an interview on Indepth, Sammut said that Debono has been in charge of the party member data for the past 11 years, a role that required him to constantly update the lists of the party’s committee members and card-carrying members (tesserati)
However, these lists were at the centre of much internal confusion in the leadership campaign leading up to the election of Adrian Delia in 2017.
“There were councillors who thought they had a vote but realised it had been given to someone else, committees who found out their member list hadn’t been updated, and tesserati who weren’t aware that they didn’t have a vote,” Sammut said. “This data issue was flagged to me so often throughout my campaign for the PN executive, that I promised to try and address it. I have a background in IT and wanted to take care of the data of our members, data which after all is crucial to winning elections in this day and age.”
Sammut said that he had proposed a centralised data system, with professional databases, access rights and tracking systems, in one of the first administrative meetings he had participated in, but that his call fell on deaf ears
“The system hasn’t changed for the past 11 years and we’ve been losing elections for the past 11 years,” he continued. “Perhaps now we can understand why the PN would rather have wrong data in the control of one person than arrange the situation to how it should be.”
Debono has been at the centre of a co-option controversy that erupted in the wake of the resignation of PN MP David Stellini
Debono beat Gozitan lawyer Kevin Cutajr by two votes at the PN executive but decided not to take up the parliamentary seat after party figures – including Sammut and the PN’s Gozo Regional Committee – cried foul over irregularities in the voting process.
Sammut warned that PN treasurer David Camilleri, who has since resigned, had lost his right to vote in the executive a year ago after he decided not to re-contest his previous post as the party’s representative for the 11th district.
“Jean Pierre Debono alone was responsible for checking the results of the representative elections,” Sammut said. “He checked the results, switched on his computer and updated the data for all the districts, but left David Camilleri’s name there while also adding another representative for the 11th district. If that wasn’t the case, then he must have added Camilleri’s name later on because he thought no one would have noticed. It’s either incompetence or deception.”
Cover photo: Left: Jean Pierre Debono, Right: Mark Anthony Sammut