When people hear the name Felix Busuttil, the first thing they think about is probably YADA Dance Company. However, there’s a lot more to me than dancing, and ahead of this year’s MEP elections, here are 22 things you didn’t know about me.
1. I was born and raised in Gozo
I have to admit I’m a Gozitan rebel who lives in Malta, but Gozo will always be part of who I am and who I will be. The sister island holds a special place in my heart and it is crucial that it’s given the exact same opportunities that Malta is experiencing.
2. I’m more than a dancer
Dancing has given me everything, both as a career and an undying passion. Dance has taught me perseverance and strength of character. It made me not be afraid of challenges, the learning from failure, the power of conviction and most of all, it taught me heart.
But I’m more than that. The 20 years I’ve spent nurturing YADA into becoming a household name has taught me everything, whether that’s realising and growing a project from inception to completion, or building deep relationships with the hundreds of people I’ve met in my work.
3. Politics is part of my DNA
I may have been dancing from my mother’s womb, but politics is part of my DNA. With my father, uncle and cousin all contesting in general elections, politics has always been a big part of my life.
4. I can speak six languages
My career has taken me all over the world and I’ve picked up quite a few languages on the way. Beyond Maltese and English, I’m also fluent in Italian, French, Spanish and German.
5. I recently got a master’s degree in Dance Studies at The University of Malta
6. Teaching children has made me a better listener
I love to teach. With thousands of students over the years, it’s let me use my knowledge to pass on real-life lessons to all of my students. I’ve learned to be a friend and that shoulder to lean on, but to also be tough when I need to be.
7. Being a politician isn’t solely reserved for a lawyer or a doctor
A lack of political experience is a criticism often levelled against me. I know politics isn’t a walk in the park; it is a vocation that requires commitment and a relentless work ethic to improve people’s lives. Politicians need to be determined, empathetic and of strong character… qualities which I believe I have.
8. That being said, I’ve got 11 years of banking experience, three years as artistic consultant with Festivals Malta under the umbrella of The Arts Council, Malta and have served as a member on the Mediterranean Conference Centre Board of Director for 14 years
9. I don’t want to be a typical politician
Admittedly, I love to stand out. I want to be a different MEP; openly gay and ready to speak out against any injustice, against any bully.
10. If we want to move forward, we need to start working together
From the moment I walked up on stage to proudly endorse Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, I knew I was exposing myself to criticism. I understand that Malta’s political climate has always been tense, but we need to use dialogue to listen, learn and treat everyone with respect. We are all Maltese and we need to have common goals.
11. I’m proud to be part of a country that recognises me and my husband
Malta’s come a long way. In 10 years, I’ve seen the country transform into a world leader in LGBTIQ rights into a nation that truly recognises my relationship with my husband. I’ve fought hard to see this dream become a reality and will continue to working to make sure that anyone can follow their own journey towards personal happiness.
12. Our animals deserve a voice
We need to be the voice that animals do not have. I would never impose a particular diet on any person, but animal cruelty in the way we source our food is something we need to talk about. They are living beings who deserve a dignified death with the least amount of suffering possible.
13. I believe there should be a free national vet clinic
I like to say that my dogs are my children. They are an extension of ourselves and our families, so we need to treat them as such. This means that all forms of animal cruelty must carry a harsh penalty. A free national pet clinic and a pet cemetery should also be introduced.
14. A state-of-the-art animal sanctuary must be introduced
It should be equipped with a national boarding and grooming centre run by animal lovers and professionals. We must also continuously promote education and genuine respect towards animals.
15. The planet is the only place we call home, and we need to start treating the environment like it
16. Wealth should reach every person in the country
A big part of me running on The Labour Party’s ticket was seeing the incredible work done when it came to addressing the vulnerable in our society. There’s still more to be done, and we need to ensure that the country’s wealth is being felt by every single person in Malta and Gozo.
17. My mother shows me how important it is to ensure our senior citizens are looked after
Every Tuesday, I visit my mother in Victoria. I’ll do everything for my mother, but she’s tough and independent. We need to take care of senior citizens by not only having stronger pensions, but also ensuring that they’re looked after and have the support they all deserve.
18. The EU does need to get closer to its citizens
We’ve all seen what is happening around Europe. People are angry and I can understand why when the EU isn’t listening to their problems. We need to work hard to bring the EU back to the people to start addressing real problems affecting people.
19. Arts and culture are the backbone to progression
The arts have given me everything. I’m proud of the doors it’s opened for me and the way it’s consistently able to shed different perspectives on the world around us. If we want this country to move forward, it’s absolutely crucial for the country to emphasise the importance of culture and the way it can bring us together in our children’s education.
20. We need to have a theatre that truly represents the cosmopolitan country we have become
Valletta has transformed into the gem it rightly deserves to be. Every European city has a great theatre, and our capital city needs an opera house that is a true symbol of far it has come. The Opera House needs to be returned to its grandeur with the latest technology in the interior.
21. I believe in the power of positive thinking, endless determination and perseverance
I’ve always tried my hardest to succeed at what I set my mind to. It helped me build YADA from the ground up and pushed me into jumping into politics feet first. I’ve been lucky enough to work with both parents and children to understand issues affecting everyone. I feel I can make a real difference in people lives.
22. I am confident I can be your voice in the European Parliament
All the challenges I have faced have prepared me to be a real representative of the people who truly listens to their problems and can find proper solutions that can change their daily lives.