Business owners and members of the GRTU who accepted to answer our questions professed their support for GRTU Director-General Vince Farrugia’s possible candidature for forthcoming European Parliament elections in June. Others have declined to comment.
Business owners were asked whether, as GRTU members, they agreed with the view that Farrugia’s candidature would affect negatively the GRTU as an organisation that has to keep away from political controversy.
Big Bon Group director Mario Gauci, who has several business interests in the retail and entertainment sectors, was first to declare his support for Farrugia.
“I feel that if he will be elected, he would automatically resign from GRTU. I don’t think this (Farrugia’s possible candidature) will have an effect now,” Gauci told Business Today.
“As a Director-General he is a very reliable person and I think if he will not be elected, he can keep his position, as he performed quite well and independent from politics,” Gauci insisted.
On his part, AX Holdings Chairperson Angelo Xuereb, a former politician himself until the last general elections with right-wing party AN, defended Farrugia’s candidature.
“My opinion is that everybody has a right for his inclinations. If he wants to enter the political fray, then it’s up to him,” Xuereb told Business Today.
Questioned specifically whether he was worried about the fact that with his candidature, Farrugia will get tainted with a partisan tinge, Xuereb reiterated his support for Farrugia.
“Personally, I do not find any objection in that. Everybody has his ambitions,” the Naxxar businessman told this newspaper.
The proprietor of the Artisans Centre in Valletta at first said that the candidature of Vince Farrugia for the PN in the EP elections “does not make absolutely any difference to me” as a GRTU member.
However questioned specifically whether he was worried about the fact that with his candidature, Farrugia will get tainted with a partisan tinge, the proprietor suddenly withdrew.
“I do not wish to give my comments over the phone about the matter,” he said curtly. “I do not wish to comment in public in any newspaper.”
Likewise, John Cordina, proprietor of Café Cordina in Valletta also refused to comment on Vince Farrugia’s candidature for the EP elections in the PN fold when asked by this newspaper about the matter.
“I don’t want to comment about it,” Cordina said in reply to our questions on his views as a GRTU member.
The only businessman who dared to venture out his opinion into the open doubting Farrugia’s candidature was Sergio Zampa, proprietor of Sergio Zampa jewellers in Valletta.
“I agree with the Director-General’s decision to contest, but I have my doubts about that,” Zampa said when asked to comment about Farrugia’s decision to contest the EP elections on the PN ticket in June 2009.
Asked whether the fact that Vince Farrugia had entered the political fray would affect negatively the GRTU, Zampa said: “Definitely. I see it very difficult that Farrugia will achieve what we want.
“The fact that in the past he worked with different types of people with different political affiliations will work against him too, once he is going to contest with a political party,” Zampa told Business Today.
Asked to elaborate more on the matter, Zampa did not mince his words. “He has been working with people since the Mintoff era, and I’m worried about this,” the jewellery shop owner said.
“I can tell you straight and plain: he has absolutely no chance of getting my vote!” Zampa insisted with this newspaper.
Finally, Claudio Muscat, proprietor of Clamus Centre, a major stationer in Valletta, said that Farrugia’s candidature for the EP elections on the PN ticket “would not change anything” in the general perception of the GRTU.
Questioned about whether he agreed with those who said that Farrugia’s candidature with a political party was controversial, Muscat explained that “although the political parties do comment on various issues, this (Europe) is an issue that both political parties agree about it now.
“Both parties have agreed on EU membership now, therefore I do not see his candidature as controversial. The two political parties are working in the national interest on the EU,” Muscat told Business Today.