Min­is­ter Michael Far­ru­gia closes an eye on Al­fred Grixti’s ‘eye for an eye’ rant on Face­book

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE - Gabriel Schem­bri

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

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