The Malta Independent 15 November 2018, Thursday

Gaia to receive same honour as Ira Losco

Malta Independent Wednesday, 4 December 2013, 08:59 Last update: about 5 years ago

The 11-year-old girl who on Saturday won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, Gaia Cauchi and her team will be nominated by the Prime Minister for the Midalja ghall-Qadi tar-Repubblika, a spokesman for the Office of the Prime Minister confirmed.

The young singer will not be getting the top honour after all, unlike what the public was led to believe when Prime Minister Joseph Muscat made the announcement.

The Gieh ir- Repubblika Act of 1975, sets to provide for the institution of a society of honour to make provision for the award of medals for courage and service to the Republic. Malta pays public tribute to Maltese citizens who have distinguished themselves in different walks of life and whose contribution and achievement enrich the general well-being of Maltese, as well as to foreign nationals who have distinguished themselves by their service in the promotion and fostering of international relations or who have earned the respect and gratitude of Maltese people.

A booklet on how Malta’s system of honours and awards works, made available by the Department of Information says: “The state bestows its honours on Republic Day through appointments to The National Order of Merit and the Gieh ir-Repubblika, or by the award of the Midalja ghall-Qlubija and the Midalja ghall-Qadi tar-Repubblika”.

Gaia and team will be receiving a Medal of the Republic, the same that singer Ira Losco was conferred with in 2008. Such medals, as well as appointments to The National order of Merit and to the Gieh ir-Repubblika, are made by the President on the written advice of the Prime Minister.

The National Order of Merit was established in 1990 to consolidate the Gieh ir-Repubblika Act. It pays tribute to Maltese citizens who distinguish themselves in different fields of endeavour under four grades: Companion of Honour, Companion, Officer and Member, which are designed to embrace a wide spectrum of achievement and service.

The Midalja ghall-Qadi tar- Repubblika may be awarded to individuals or a group of persons or a voluntary organisation in special circumstances as was recently the case when the efforts of the Armed Forces of Malta Maritime Squadron and the Intensive Therapy Unit were recognised.

 

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The announcement of the decision to confer Gaia with the medal was met with controversy as was the case when Ira Losco received the same honour in 2008. Many believe Gieh Ir-Repubblika medals should be given to people who work hard to help others and to those who have endeavoured at success at various stages in their life. Consequently, the argument that young people should not be honoured with such medals is made.

Also given similar recognition were conductor Brian Schembri and dancer Tanya Bayona in 2008. Broadcaster and singer Enzo Gusman was given the honour in 2011 and so were snooker players Alex Borg and Tony Drago in 2006 and 2003 respectively.

The names of Carmel Busuttil, Mary Spiteri, Vincent Farrugia, Josephine Zammit Cordina, Sue Abela, Gemma Portelli, Albert Rizzo and Charles Thake are on the same list.

Meanwhile, Joseph Calleja, Carmine Lauri, Miriam Gauci, Mgr Victor Grech, Chief Justice Silvio Camilleri, Prof. Oliver Friggieri, Alex Manche, Albert Fenech, Dr Katrine Camilleri, and Dr Victor Calvagna are all Members of the National Order of Merit. It can meanwhile be argued that the names of hydrologist Marco Cremona who climbed Mount Everest with Greg Attard, singer Chiara, actor Lino Grech, Malta Philharmonic Orchestra conductor Michael Laus and the NGO Lifecycle, should be on the list. 

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