Fabian Demicoli

Saviour Balzan and Maltatoday leap far beyond what is decent and acceptable in journalism

 What Saviour Balzan is trying to inflict using his self assumed power, as owner of a media stable and as a journalist who pretends to be more professional than all others, is going beyond any acceptable limit. It is character assassination of the Director General of GRTU and pure vitriol against GRTU. GRTU has been around for 65 years and has in the past suffered much more than Saviour Balzan and Roger Degiorgio's business venture can ever foment. In spite of what Saviour Balzan invents.

 GRTU is a healthy and well geared national organisation with a National Executive of 18 entrepreneurs from a varied list of enterprise owners, traders, retailers, service providers and other entrepreneurial sectors and an extremely well organised national organisation which is the pride of most of its more than 7000 business owners members.

The hype that Saviour Balzan and Malta Today keep repeating is that GRTU is only a one man affair backed by a triumvirate. This is hilarious and smacks of sheer ignorance, if not more. This hype is believed only by the desolate who has never set foot in the GRTU headquarters. The truth, visible to anyone really well versed and following no hidden agenda,  is that  in Malta no other national organisation representing business is so active on a day to day basis and  handles so many issues at EU, national, localities, sectoral and individual enterprise level, as does GRTU. All visitors to GRTU headquarters know that GRTU is one hub of regular activities on a daily basis. The team working at GRTU behind the Director General is not only professional and well trained but today they manage issues that the likes of Saviour Balzan cannot even start to fathom. The truth is that for people like Saviour Balzan what matters is what appears to their blinkered vision and not what really goes on in the wider world of business. Like the confessor they only hear sinners and live in a world of make believe.   

GRTU under the direction of Vince Farrugia has been transformed over the years from an organisation that simply  pushes forward the complaints of its members and agitates for the authorities to seek solutions, a state in which other organisations unfortunately still reign, to a modern organisation that not only represents and hears the complaints of an ever growing membership spread among all of Malta's micro, small and medium enterprise sectors but succeeds to formulate policies and strategies and recommend solutions to the authorities that best improve the role of micro and small  and medium enterprises and help strengthen the overall performance of the Maltese economy within an EU economic and social framework. Saviour Balzan has a poor idea of GRTU. It is not the same judgement of the EU Commission, of our partners in UEAPME and Normapme and EuroCommerce, all leading Pan European organisation in which GRTU is very active. They consider GRTU as one of the national representative bodies amongst all the EU27 that is most highly well prepared on all issues effecting European SMEs whether from a commercial, fiscal, economic, employment or legislative point of view.

The volume of work and papers and opinions that GRTU produces give credit to a team of professionals at the GRTU head office. GRTU is recognised by all Ministers and Authorities in Malta as well organised and prepared and active with extremely well produced strategies and proposals. GRTU today, through the strong representation of Vince Farrugia as Maltese Employers representative at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the excellent work done at the EESC by his predecessor, ex-assistant to the Director General, Ms Sylvia Gauci, has a standing with the EU Commission, and with a wide cross section of leading organisations from the EU 27 represented at EESC, unmatched by any other civil society active organisation in Malta. The GRTU NewSTRING that every week succeeds to report only the essential points of what GRTU works on week in week out, shows to all who genuinely care, what GRTU does.

Of course however, for Saviour Balzan and Media Today, all this is not important. All that matters to Saviour Balzan is to keep repeating and exaggerating the conspiracy theory designed by the well paid criminal defence lawyer Dr Manuel Mallia in his defence of Sandro Chetcuti. What Sandro Chetcuti did on 11.03.09 is well documented. The report of the Police and of the Hospital Emergency personnel and other medical and eye witness reports establish clearly why the Attorney General decided to proceed with an attempted murder charge and a charge of grievous bodily harm against Sandro Chetcuti. What Dr Anthony Samuel, Malta's foremost expert on Imagery, produced in Court is objective, electronically registered bone scan evidence which is irrefutable as to the damage caused on Vince Farrugia by the savage attack of Sandro Chetcuti.

When Vince Farrugia's medical consultant, who is also his daughter, stated that a scan is good for the Court case, she said so because a scan is irrefutable, scientific and not opinionated evidence, something on which the court can rely.  She was stating the obvious – a scan shows whether any damage was inflicted, good for the prosecution, or not inflicted, good for the defence. Any consultant would have recommended the same whether the patient was her/his father or not. and in this case it was obviously necessary as contrary to what the defence in court is trying to insinuate and what Saviour Balzan appears to take as fact, Vince Farrugia had never before of 11.03.09 reported or exhibited any pains in the ribs or suffered any accident that could have cause breakages to the ribs as VF himself confirmed under ought in Court. The scan became a necessity after Vince Farrugia was released from Hospital still suffering the same severe pains in his ribs that he felt, as witness by all at GRTU on 11.03.09, immediately after the assault by Sandro Chetcuti. The cause of the pains did not show up on X-ray and any consultant would have given the same advice to any patient in similar circumstances. Any Consultant would also have contacted the Head of the Imagery Department at Mater Dei to see if an early appointment was possible. Anyone of the hospital staff would have sought to send a message, one way or another, if an appointed slot was possible. Whether the message went direct to the patient or indirectly through his son is really irrelevant.

Of Course the Defence in search of a way out of the concrete evidence of all who witness the assault and who heard Sandro Chetcuti scream "noqtlok, noqtlok" – ("I'll kill you, I'll kill you") and, again after he was pulled off Vince Farrugia as he punched and kicked in clear intent to perform what he intended to execute, he screamed, as evidenced in Court "I'll be back with my brother (a night club bouncer) to finish you off". Any serious and well intended journalist would have seen all the evidence and sought to be objective in any comments and not pretend to be gullible enough to accept what the defence of the accused tries to project irrespective of the added harm to the victim of the assault. He is free to swallow the conspiracy theory line, hook and sinker but at least he should have also referred to the other stated sworn evidence by witnesses and scene of crime Police. Saviour Balzan should have also noted what one of the witnesses said in Court. That Sandro Chetcuti told this witness, before he Sandro Chetcuti even went to meet Vince Farrugia at his Office, "Today I'll do him in", referring most clearly to the Director General. That's for intent.

The Defence lawyer has a duty to seek to defend Sandro Chetcuti from an accusation that could land his client many years in prison. It is however strange indeed that Saviour Balzan and Media Today is defending an aggressor with a history of violence on persons (at least one recorded at Rabat and another at the MEPA buildings) and who publicises himself as a land speculator and who is a self-confessed and registered heavy tax evader and who in the not so distant past has been shown by Malta Today itself as a person very scarce on business ethics as a property dealer. All this in a pathetic campaign to denigrate the Director General of GRTU, GRTU as an organisation and to character assassinate not only Vince Farrugia but also Malta's most qualified professional in his field of medical speciality, consultant Dr Anthony Samuel. Anyone at GRTU has the right to ask why Saviour Balzan and Media Today have appointed themselves as super defenders of the accused and are in the field to denigrate the victim of the violent attack even before a Court Judgement is delivered.

The good news today for all of us who hold GRTU in great esteem is that Vince Farrugia is in good health and GRTU members are proud to have him back in full vigour.  The good news also for GRTU is that as a result of  the tremendous work, enthusiasm  and energy that Vince Farrugia places in all that he does for micro, small and medium Maltese enterprises with  the full and constant support of the elected President, Officers and National Executive of GRTU, as well as the work and support of the more than 60 Section and Special Committees active in GRTU, and above all with the professional and hard work of the excellent team employed by GRTU, Malta's National Chamber of SMEs, GRTU, in 2011 had the best year since 1995.

DURING 2011 GRTU RECRUITED 1400 NEW MEMBERS. SINCE 2009 MORE THAN 2000 NEW MEMBERS JOINED GRTU. AND GRTU LOOKS TOWARDS 2012 WITH INCREASED VIGOUR.

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