Gozo Minister employs Labour stalwart to support campaign, paid by taxpayers

Guza Cassar, 66, could not be found at her office as she is busy campaigning for Clint Camilleri, leaving Anton Refalo fuming as he vies to win the Gozo Ministry

 

A move by Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri to put a 66-year old pensioner, Guza Cassar, considered to be the Labour Party’s factotum in Gozo, on his ministry’s payroll has left Agriculture Minister Anton Refalo fuming as the ‘battle for Gozo’ among Labour voters is reaching boiling point.

The two main Labour rivals are trying hard to outdo each other in Saturday’s general elections, with both Refalo and Camilleri trying hard to get the most possible Labour votes to ‘claim’  the Gozo Ministry in the new legislature. But incumbent Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri made a crucial move by employing Guza Cassar in his private secretariat, paid for by taxpayers.

Cassar, a Gozitan Labour stalwart and member of the Labour Executive since the days of Dom Mintoff, is openly canvassing for Camilleri and for new candidate Jo Etienne Abela, a successful consultant surgeon being pushed by Prime Minister Robert Abela, who may appoint him as the next health minister.

Gozitan Labour sources told The Shift that Cassar’s ‘job’ at the Gozo Ministry is the last of many attempts made by Camilleri, supported by Prime Minister Abela, to try and cut Refalo down to size, in order to end his long political career.

“Guza Cassar has been Labour’s factotum in Gozo for decades and her open support for Clint (Camilleri) and Joe Etienne is harming Refalo immensely,” sources close to the Labour Party told The Shift. “Refalo has protested with the prime minister over the latest move but he was not very successful as Abela is clearly backing Clint to retain the Gozo Ministry and oust Refalo from his Cabinet.”

While canvassing round the clock for Camilleri and Abela, Guza Cassar is receiving a salary from the ministry as she was given the designation of a secretariat officer. Cassar’s is seen as the latest in a string of ‘phantom jobs’ dished out by the Party in government as she does not seem to ever have set foot inside the ministry while drawing a government salary.

The Shift has made various attempts to contact Guza Cassar at the ministry during office hours. The reply from the ministry’s receptionist was that “she is on meetings outside the ministry and no one knows when she will actually be at the office”.

Guza Cassar switched to canvass for Clint Camilleri after ‘her minister’ Justyne Caruana, was forced to resign after the scandalous employment of her boyfriend.

Anton Refalo, the longest-serving Labour MP still in parliament, is vying for the number one spot on the 13th district, to push the prime minister to give him back the Gozo Ministry, taken away from him by disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat in 2017, despite getting thousands of first preference votes. On the other hand, Camilleri is telling constituents that if he gets the most votes, he will remain at the helm in Gozo.

The Gozo Ministry has always been seen as ‘a government within a government’ as Malta’s sister island is practically controlled by the ministry’s incumbent.

During the past two years, both candidates have been bending over backwards to dish out as many favours as possible, with hundreds of Gozitan voters ending up on the government payroll, mainly in various departments and agencies. While Refalo, appointed agriculture and fisheries minister by Prime Minister Abela, filled ‘his’ agriculture and fisheries departments with Gozitan voters, Clint Camilleri used all possible avenues, including a scheme for the unemployed, to outdo his former political ‘mentor’.

Prime Minister Abela boasted during the campaign that Gozo has the lowest unemployment record ever, but private sector entrepreneurs complained that their staff was being lured to public sector employment, keeping their private sector employment on a part-time basis.

It is an open secret among Gozitans that most of those being employed with the government through ministerial intervention spend only a few hours at their main place of work and then continue with their part-time employment in the private sector.

                           
                               
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Evelyn
Evelyn
1 month ago

Wiehed irid ikompli jisraq xi gebla jew xi kwadru l’hawn u l’hemm u l-iehor irid ikompli jizvojta l-kaxxa ta Malta biex jibqa jghamel li jrid u ma min irid. Mhux tajjeb jew?????

Joe Debrincat
Joe Debrincat
1 month ago
Reply to  Evelyn

Ara x’inti tghid bli qed jisraq

M.Galea
M.Galea
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe Debrincat

Mela x ghamel??

Michael Mifsud
Michael Mifsud
1 month ago

If I am not mistaken the government is not able to directly employ retired citizens. This should be checked.

Maryanne
Maryanne
1 month ago

66 she supposed to be retired at home. Mhix mejts bil guh ukoll tkompli tisloh kemm tiflah. Din mhux li anda l kazin tal labour ukoll? Halli lira josephineeeeeeee. Robert Abela wake up. We are fed up of this crap.

David
David
1 month ago
Reply to  Maryanne

Barra minnhekk ir ragel taghha kien pensjonant u rega dahal jahdem mal gvern. Ghandu l pensjoni u paga tal gvern. Xogholu ma jafx fejn hu u jmur jonsob ghal ghasafar tal passa mit Tnejn sal Hadd. Gharukaza kbira. Oxxenita. Abbuzz. Poplu Gahan. Tahwid jridd.

M.Galea
M.Galea
1 month ago
Reply to  David

U le.le. x.ma iridux l labour fil gvern!!

Lawrence Mifsud
Lawrence Mifsud
1 month ago

If it’s what Gozitans want…so be it!

Toni Borg
Toni Borg
1 month ago

That’s how labour keeps low rate of unemployment!!!

ma tafux tisthu!!!

SHAME ON YOU!!!!

David
David
1 month ago

Guza hija l magma tal partit tal labour gewwa Ghawdex. Fl elezzjoni ta hames snin ilu rnexxiela ttella lil Clint kif ried Il partit. Ghanda Poter aktar mil ministru. Untouchable.

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