The Malta Independent 18 September 2019, Wednesday

Marlene, Godfrey Farrugia take aim at award given to former PL MP Joe Debono Grech

Helena Grech Friday, 15 December 2017, 10:38 Last update: about 3 years ago

Marlene and Godfrey Farrugia have taken exception at former Labour Party (PL) minister and MP Joe Debono Grech being awarded the National Order of Merit (Gieh ir-Republika) after the latter had levelled threatening remarks towards Marlene Farrugia in Parliament.

The incident took place on 20 November 2015, when Parliament was debating whether to split the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) into two entities: the Planning Authority and the Environment and Resources Authority, which was ultimately approved.

Marlene Farrugia had just two days earlier resigned from the Labour Party citing issues of transparency and concerns about environmental policy. On the Parliamentary session of 20 November, an argument had broken out between Farrugia and Debono Grech.

In the midst of the argument, where Farrugia reportedly called him a “simpleton” and “corrupt”, Debono Grech hit back by saying I will come for you and beat you (nigi ghalik u nifqak).

A contested ruling by the Speaker ordered both Farrugia and Debono Grech to withdraw their remarks, while former Opposition leader Simon Busuttil contested this by saying that the Speaker treated the pair as equals, when one was the aggressor and the other the victim. Debono Grech had issued an apology.

During this year’s Republic Day celebrated on 13 December, Joe Debono Grech was among the people given the National Order of Merit (Gieh ir-Republika).

Godfrey Farrugia took to Facebook to take aim at this, directing his message to President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca who gives out the award. He wrote:

“To Her Excellency Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, Good day. However much good one does in their life, when a member of Parliament disparages a fellow MP in the lowest and most sexist way, the integrity of that person vanishes (I am referring to Joe Debono Grech).”

He continued to say that he is disappointed to note that the President fell for accepting his nomination when she speaks in favour of dignity so often.

Later, Marlene Farrugia also took to social media to express her disappointment in a more sarcastic way however:

“If there is anybody among you who wishes to receive the National Order of Merit, all one must do is tell Marlene Farrugia that you will come to beat her and other things.

“In order to acquire a promotion and be part of the inner circle of thieves who lead Malta, all one must do is insult me here like usual.

“It is the best time for Malta to reach the bottom”.

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