The former deputy leader of the Nationalist Party delivered an emotional address to his party colleagues, opening up about the disappointments he faced over the years.
With a defeated tone, Robert Arrigo, one of the more popular PN officials by vote count, gave a speech as he exited his post to make way for his successor, Alex Perici Calascione. However, in his speech – and subsequent social media post – Arrigo didn’t hold back from sharing his thoughts.
Looking weary following his recent health complications, Arrigo was given a standing ovation when he took the podium in front of PN leader Bernard Grech and an assortment of PN brass.
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Arrigo couldn’t help but speak about two incidents that had left him hurt, where PN officials had refused to allow him to enter certain areas. “Besides these, there are other incredible stories. Never judge a book by its cover.”
“These things should never happen,” he continued. “Never again. We can’t accept those things if we want to bring the party back on its feet.”
“And don’t blame the people that went on Facebook to say similar things. They are right,” he said in reference to backlash against those who spoke out about the party’s problems.
Arrigo pointed out that though he served five years with the party – he was elected in 2017 – he was only given five minutes in his final address, saying: “I was given five minutes, one minute for every year I served as Viċi Kap – a befitting prize.”
He made it clear that he felt that the party had used him as a human fundraiser, noting that he was about to minimise the PN’s media arms haemorrhaging costs from €1.5 million down to €500,000.
“I had to take on everything. Deputy leader, treasurer, MediaLink Chairman – and I always accepted, as long as it was unpaid so the money can remain with the party. There was even a moment in 2021 when the party stopped its payments to the VAT department. I ended up receiving a VAT bill for €206,000, in my name. And I’m not alone in all this.”
He ended his speech by addressing Perici Calascione directly. “We will not succeed if we don’t accept that we have made mistakes. Some things have taken a turn for the worst. We need to see to it and fix things – do it as fast as you can Alex.”
His departure saw several PN members take to social media to share their thoughts – including former PN leader Adrian Delia, who praised Arrigo for his honesty and values.
What do you make of Arrigo’s analysis of his time within the PN?