The Malta Independent 18 November 2018, Sunday

Quinton Scerri resignation: PL Zabbar committee had threatened to resign ‘en bloc’

Malta Independent Sunday, 13 July 2014, 09:30 Last update: about 5 years ago

The PL Zabbar committee, comprising 13 members, had threatened that it would resign en bloc in the event that a negative decision was taken by the Labour Party against now former mayor Quinton Scerri, according to correspondence seen by The Malta Independent on Sunday.

The letter was sent by the committee to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, deputy leader for party affairs Toni Abela (who is also responsible for PL councillors), PL president Daniel Micallef, president of the PL councillors’ section Mario Fava and executive head of the PL Gino Cauchi.

The committee’s stand was taken in January. Sources told this newspaper that a meeting was due to have been held between the committee and Labour Party representatives in the next few days but had been cancelled for the time being as it is believed that the committee was about to take the same stand as it took back in January. Sources also said that it had been suggested to the committee that this issue not be placed on the agenda.

The primary roles of such committees is to convey the message of the political party to residents of the locality the committee represents while also being responsible for the running of the political club in the locality.

The committee had taken its stand in January following allegations of irregularities on the part of Mr Scerri began to surface and were communicated to the Labour Party’s senior officials amid pressure from the PL Zabbar councillors for Mr Scerri to resign as mayor.

Mr Scerri resigned from his post as Zabbar mayor earlier this week following a report issued by the Board of Local Governance regarding the allegations.

Following his resignation, Mr Scerri told The Malta Independent online edition that he was seeking legal advice in a bid to clear his name and it was highly probable that he would be taking legal action against those who had attempted to “tarnish my reputation”.

The Malta Independent online edition also reported that a disagreement had ensued between Dr Abela and Labour stalwart Ronnie Pellegrini concerning the board’s decision regarding Mr Scerri following his resignation. Mr Pellegrini is a member of the board. Mr Scerri is insisting that Mr Pellegrini instigated the investigation but as yet no proof of this claim has emerged.

The Malta Independent print edition also reported yesterday (Saturday) that Zabbar local council could easily be dissolved after the five PL councillors had failed to attend three consecutive meetings, some even failing to attend as many as eight meetings, in the period of the six months stipulated. The investigation into Mr Scerri’s behaviour had come about following an internal feud which flared up between Mr Scerri and the other PL councillors and is also the reason why the councillors have not been attending the council’s meetings.

The meeting held earlier this week at PL headquarters between Dr Abela and the PL councillors, as was reported by our online edition, had not brought any resolution since no agreement on the issues that are at the centre of the controversy had been reached. The report also said that more resignations from Zabbar’s PL councillors may follow, and it highlighted the fact that the majority of councillors were fighting for the post of mayor, which is currently vacant due to Mr Scerri’s resignation. It is understood that one councillor had made it clear during the meeting that he is not interested in being appointed to the position.

The fact that the committee is sticking to its guns, as this newspaper has been told by sources, means that Mr Scerri’s resignation has not been taken lightly; on the contrary, it has sparked mixed feelings.

Residents across political divide want Scerri back as mayor

Zabbar residents across the political divide who spoke to this newspaper said they wanted Mr Scerri back as mayor due to the fact that various projects that had previously been delayed had been carried out in the area while he had headed the council, referring to the construction of new pavements in Labour Road, the installation of an electronic car charger and an EU-funded water catchment project in the old road leading to Marsascala.

 

Board of Local Governance report on Scerri

In a statement sent to all media houses, the Board of Local Governance said that Zabbar mayor Quinton Scerri is not a credible or reliable person and councillors should have used their right to call for a vote of no confidence in him.

The board also suggested that it should be given the power to suggest the dissolution of a council where it deemed fit. As the law currently stands, this is not within its remit.

In an 18-page report, the board presented its conclusions regarding allegations on the operation of the council, including irregularities committed by the mayor during the holding of the international food festival, the awarding of a contract to a company of which a relative of Mr Scerri is a director and an attempt by him to frame a councillor.

The board said it appeared that the large vote received by the mayor had gone to his head to the extent that he forgot what procedures he had to follow and “ran the council in an irresponsible and amateurish way”. 

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