The Malta Independent 26 April 2019, Friday

Guido De Marco passes away: A tribute to a great politician

Malta Independent Friday, 13 August 2010, 00:00 Last update: about 6 years ago

The Malta Independent sought the comments of a number of personalities and organisations who knew or worked with Prof. de Marco.

Former President

Ugo Mifsud Bonnici

Former President Ugo Mifsud Bonnici said he used to meet Prof. de Marco nearly every day since their university days. The two former Presidents read law together, practised in court, and served in parliament as well as in the government.

“Our lives were parallel,” he said.

Dr Mifsud Bonnici described Prof. de Marco as “a determined person who never gave up on anything and was always optimistic”.

“Malta has lost a patriot who had a great sense of moderation”.

Foreign Minister

Tonio Borg and Mrs Adele Borg

“Prof. de Marco was a patriot whom the country always found in times of need and when reconciliation was necessary,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Tonio Borg shortly after leaving hospital to personally express his condolences to the de Marco family. Dr Borg had carried out his practical studies in law at Prof. de Marco’s office.

He occupied all major posts in the country and the Nationalist Party, giving a great service. Although he was no longer active within the party, Prof. de Marco always took interest in what was going on in the party and even the foreign affairs scenario.

“He has left a void,” Dr Borg said, “He loved the island and the party,” he added explaining that both he personally and the PN always sought Prof. de Marco’s advice.

Adele Borg, Dr Borg’s wife, worked closely with Prof. De Marco for 10 years and met her husband through him.

“He was a second father to me,” she told us minutes after the news broke out. “They were the best 10 years of my life.”

Mrs Borg met her husband through Prof. De Marco at his legal office.

“A handsome student is coming and you will fall in love with him,” he used to tease her. The young Adele used to swear she will never marry a lawyer or politician but as a witness at their wedding he soon taunted her that she had married a lawyer and politician in one.

The Borg couple’s relationship with Prof. De Marco remained very good and they kept in touch.

“I will miss him a lot,” she said while noting that the news had not yet sunk in. Mrs Borg visited him in hospital over the past week and promised to visit him at his house when he got better because he did not want her to leave.

Former Prime Minister

Alfred Sant

“The first time I met Dr Guido de Marco was in 1966, when he took part in a debate which we had organised as University students during the election campaign of that year and in which I also participated. I was immediately impressed by his lively intelligence and the sentiment of personal sympathy he would project even while telling you he disagreed with what you said.

“Long years afterwards, when over time I got to know his way of doing things from a closer focus, I could appreciate much better the strong determination with which he acted, the sense of humour which rarely abandoned him and always that lively intelligence. I also appreciated the reports which people who knew him better and much longer than I did, would make of the tolerance and personal solidarity he showed at difficult moments of their life.

“Maltese politics and our national life have lost today a protagonist of the country’s modern history. I would like to express my deep condolences to his wife, his children and all his family.”

Historian

Henry Frendo

“Even internationally Guido de Marco caused a stir, he was a down to earth, passionate, charismatic and humble person… who always engaged the other person,” Professor Henry Frendo said.

“He was instrumental to turning the situation of EU membership around as Foreign Affairs Minister,” he said, adding that Prof. de Marco was a person who encouraged and appreciated others.

“He had a sense of history and of the link between the past and the present, which he expressed many times”. As UN President, he said, he took certain important positions, such as visiting Palestine.

Dr de Marco sympathised with the Palestinians, not because he did not believe in good relations with Israel, he said, but he understood what the Palestinians went through. “The Palestinians regard him as a defender of their cause,” he said.

“He was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but he was very much a self-made man.”

Prof. Frendo reminisced about the many encounters he had with the President Emeritus, such as when Dr de Marco wrote the introduction to one of his books, and when Dr de Marco first ran for election in 1962.

Former Labour Finance Minister

Lino Spiteri

“My memories of him are alive, doing what he did best, trying to persuade people of his point of view, but doing it with the utmost respect for the point of view of the person on the other side – his family, his party and Malta have lost a great human being.”

Former Labour Foreign Minister

George Vella

“The opportunity to work with a person of Guido de Marco’s calibre is something that one learns a lot from, even on the art of politics,” Labour MP George Vella said.

The former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister said: “Prof. de Marco had a unique character and a charm which it was impossible to remain immune to. He had a certain assiduity, and was also very intelligent.”

He will be remembered as a politician who made a name for himself, he said, and for always respecting, even his adversaries. “Even when we disagreed, he was always extremely courteous.”

“Prof. de Marco had a flair for putting people at ease, and even if you were angry when you spoke to him, he had a knack at calming you down”.

“I have good memories of him, even though we came from opposing sides”.

Dr Vella added that on one of the last occasions where the two had met; “Guido commented on how much we had fought through the years, but I pointed out that this had been crucial to strengthening parliamentary democracy, and he agreed with me.”

Malta has lost someone impressive, he said, adding that Prof. de Marco never let his illness hold him back, but he wanted to tackle it.

“He loved life and the finer things in life, but above all he loved his family, and I will cherish the good memories of a worthy political opponent”, Dr Vella said.

Former MP and lawyer

Joe Brincat

“We used to spend a lot of free time together when we were abroad for work within the Council of Europe. Although people think we were enemies in the political sphere, we used to look for each other in our free time abroad. His character and sense of humour used to stand out most when he was more relaxed, out of parliament and the law courts. In the past recent months I used to send my best regards with his grandson Gianluca Caruana Curran because I meet him frequently at court but I’m glad that I caught up Prof. de Marco personally when I met him on the Gozo ferry a few weeks ago. Obviously, the political tit for tat is part of political life. He had a phenomenal way of making an argument. After making a strong argument, he used to allow his opponent make an equally strong argument but then he would try to find a middle solution.”

CMTU

The Confederation of Malta Trade Unions (CMTU) and its affiliates yesterday released a statement, expressing its sadness once news filtered through that President Emeritus Guido de Marco had passed away.

“The Confederation salutes a unique Maltese statesman who throughout his political career distinguished himself as a fearless defender of democracy and human rights, a brilliant criminal law advocate and an excellent Head of State.

“CMTU always enjoyed excellent relations with Prof. de Marco since he had always shown great respect for the workers’ movement in general and for the welfare of workers and their families,” said the Confederation in its statement, before offering its condolences to the de Marco family in their mourning.

Nationalist MEP

David Casa

“I will mostly remember Prof. de Marco for when he submitted Malta’s application to join the European Union. He is the politician that taught me how to cherish the European, Maltese and Nationalist Party’s values. His demise is a big loss for Malta. Every politician he has worked with, coming from whichever political camp, should be proud of having worked with Dr de Marco”.

GWU

The General Workers’ Union was shocked with the sad news and expressed its condolences and solidarity to the de Marco family. The GWU described Prof. de Marco as one who will be remembered as a gentleman and a courageous politician who dedicated his career to fight in the best interest of Malta. The GWU cherishes the occasion when Prof. de Marco visited its Workers’ Memorial Building and when he addressed the union’s national congress. He had officially inaugurated the union’s museum and art gallery. The union will also remember him for his support to the union’s work. He maintained a good relationship with the union even after his term of President ended to monitor the employment trends in Malta.

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