The Malta Independent 11 August 2022, Thursday

‘Politics of exclusion for fear of losing the high chair never pays’ – Robert Arrigo

Albert Galea Monday, 1 August 2022, 10:56 Last update: about 10 days ago

Robert Arrigo has hinted that he was victim to the “politics of exclusion” as his time as the Nationalist Party’s deputy leader came to an end last weekend.

In his last speech as deputy leader on Saturday, a visibly emotional Arrigo had already said that he felt he had been sidelined by the party.

He added more to his speech in a Facebook post on Monday, detailing specific examples from when he was deputy leader which showed his commitment to the party.

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“Last Saturday saw me passing the baton to Alex Perici Calascione. I was given five minutes, one minute for every year I served as Deputy Leader - a befitting prize,” Arrigo wrote.

“I found Medialink [the PN’s media arm] losing €1.5 million and managed to bring it down to €500,000,” he said.

“Some spark will now say "ara kemm jien kbir", "ara fejn wasalt" [look how good I am, look where I’ve arrived],” he said.

“You didn’t arrive anywhere,” he added.

He said that he had to do everything while he was in his post, ranging from Deputy leader, Treasurer, and Medialink chairman, roles which he says he always accepted to do as long as they were without any payment so that the money can stay in the party’s coffers.

“There was a time in 2021 that the party stopped payments to the VAT department.  I ended up receiving a VAT bill of 206,000 myself – in my name.  I’m not alone in all of this, there are genuine but old people as well,” he said.

“Politics of exclusion for fear of losing the high chair never pays!,” he added before saying that there was more to come.

Speaking on Saturday, Arrigo said: “They told me I was only capable of fundraising. Well I did fundraise a lot of money and I have done so till the very last day.”

Expressing how hurt he felt, Arrigo recounted instances when he said he was not allowed on the main stage during the last election campaign.

“These things should never happen. Never again. We can’t accept those things if we want to bring the party back on its feet […] Don’t blame the people that went on Facebook to say similar things. They are right.”

Arrigo said it had been a privilege to serve as the party's deputy leader. “I wanted to thank you all personally. It was a pleasant experience – an honour that I never thought I would have,” Arrigo said.

He said that only Dom Mintoff and Evarist Bartolo had ever managed to be elected from two districts in subsequent elections more than him.

He addressed the newly elected Deputy Leader, Alex Perici Calascione. “Please be your own man, you don’t need to be other people’s man.”

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