Minister Michael Farrugia closes an eye on Alfred Grixti’s ‘eye for an eye’ rant on Facebook
Minister for Family and Social Solidarity, Michael Farrugia yesterday completely ignored questions related to Social Welfare CEO Alfred Grixti’s Facebook rant in which he pledged an eye-for-an-eye approach following Leo Brincat’s failed nomination.
Alfred Grixti, a former Labour Party official and former mayor of Zebbug, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation for Social Welfare Services, a public entity which falls directly under Minister Farrugia’s remit. This newsroom spoke to Mr Grixti who had provided a reply in which he justified his Facebook post by saying it was posted ‘after office hours’.
The Malta Independent sent questions to the ministry where it asked if the ministry approves of such comments and if any action would be taken over the matter. Although pressed with a gentle reminder, questions remained unanswered.
In comments which this newsroom managed to get yesterday following a press conference in which the minister launched the National Children’s Policy, the minister was asked the same questions regarding Mr Grixti but he completely avoided making any reference to the case in his reply.
“When I am abroad, I always defend the name of my country and the persons who are representing it,” he said as a reply to our question whether he believes any action should be taken over Grixti’s comments on Facebook.
“Some time ago, I was abroad and someone tried to ridicule a person who sits in Opposition. I still defended him,” he added.
Pressed to answer the question on the one specific case, Dr Farrugia said that it is the public
who should take action against those who worked against Malta’s interest.
“I believe that the most disgusting thing we saw in recent days was the PN MEPs working against Malta,” he insisted.
Last week, former Labour Party official Alfred Grixti, who is now chief executive officer of the Foundation for Social Welfare Services, pledged ‘an eye for an eye’ approach after Nationalist Party MEPs joined the European People’s Party in declaring a ‘no’ vote to Leo Brincat’s nomination on the European Court of Auditors.
When asked to react and explain further what he meant by his comment, Mr Grixti said that “the phrase ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ is a biblical one and is no longer taken literally... translated into contemporary parlance it would translate into something on the lines of ‘If you want to do hard ball then we can do hard ball.”
Mr Grixti, who works in a public entity that deals with people with social issues from both sides of the political spectrum, further wished to clarify that by his phrase “the people will pay back the PN for this action,” meant that the public will show their disapproval in the polls. He further defended his Facebook rant by arguing that he had posted the comment “after hours”.
Later, in an interview carried out with this newspaper, Mr Grixti said that if he were in the Opposition’s place, he would also make ‘a song and dance’ about someone posting such a statement.
Mr Grixti insists that all of this is a song and dance, and is all part of the political game. While stressing that he distinguishes between his personal political beliefs and his job, and while arguing that he has never discriminated against his workers and those who require services from the agencies which fall beneath him, he said “in reality I sleep comfortably at night because my conscience is clear”.
You can watch Michael Farrugia’s comment on www.independent.com.mt