PL activist made cabinet secretary, as former spokesman calls shots at Castille

A young Labour Party activist close to Prime Minister Robert Abela has been given the sensitive role of cabinet secretary, in an unprecedented move by the Office of the Prime Minister.

Ryan Spagnol, 32, from Zabbar, has been selected by the OPM to take over the government’s cabinet office, which until now has always been led by either the Principal Permanent Secretary (PPS) or a seasoned veteran civil service official with years of experience.

Spagnol, a former activist in Labour’s student organisation Pulse, was in 2015 recruited as a senior manager at Identity Malta upon his graduation, amid various scandals rocking the agency’s administration concerning corruption involving visas and work permits to third-country nationals.

During the last elections, under the direction of PL deputy leader Daniel Micallef, Spagnol was tasked to work with a small team of party activists, devising Labour’s electoral programme.

His appointment as cabinet secretary has been on the cards since the last elections when Spagnol was transferred as a ‘person of trust’ to work alongside the prime minister as a policy coordinator.

Sources at the OPM told The Shift that Spagnol, who has little experience in the workings of public administration, forms part of a new ‘clique’ in the Labour Party that switched loyalty from disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat to Robert Abela during his leadership contest in 2020 against Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne.

It seems to be led by Aleander Balzan, the former head of Labour’s TV station One, who is now based at Castille full-time as a policy consultant.

“The former Labour journalist is the one calling the shots at Castille and is placing all his friends in important positions within the government,” the sources said.

Although it is Glenn Micallef, another former Pulse member, who is the official Head of the OPM’s secretariat, the sources described Aleander Balzan as the real ‘kingmaker’, who works behind the scenes and has an enormous influence on the prime minister.

The sources said that since Robert Abela’s presence at Castille is not as regular as his predecessor’s – he just spent a month on holiday – Balzan is finding fertile ground to impose his decisions on the workings of the OPM.

As cabinet secretary, Spagnol will be attending cabinet meetings, and apart from keeping a record of decisions taken by the government, he is also tasked with making sure that what is decided is implemented through the various government departments and ministries.

A specific cabinet office, which forms an integral part of the public service operated from Castille, is manned by senior civil servants, including a director general.

The appointment of a political appointee to run the cabinet office may prove difficult for the functions of the same office as civil servants are not bound to receive and obey orders from political appointees, according to the Constitution.

Apart from his partisan activism in the Labour Party, Spagnol was also involved in a sub-committee of Zabbar’s Labour local council.

                           
                               
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Fred the Red
Fred the Red
29 days ago

The public administration has really reached the pits now. This is a ridiculous appointment. The position of Cabinet Secretary is an extremely prestigious and sensitive one carrying huge responsibility. I shudder to imagine what Cabinet minutes will look like. Not that it really matters with all the morons and semi literates sitting around the Cabinet table in Castille.

Mick
Mick
29 days ago
Reply to  Fred the Red

The creme de la creme of the Ghanan’s, thick, colour blind, totally incompetent, on the gravy train, it’s the only way with the Mafia psyche, see who he gives jobs to. And they walk amongst us.

Francis Said
Francis Said
29 days ago

Is it possible that our Civil Service has nobody with the necessary experience and qualifications to occupy the post of Cabinet Secretary?
It seems that the only qualifications necessary is being a PL activist to achieve high positions in our Banana Republic.
What a blow to good and transparent governance and the lowest depths of democracy our Country has reached.
SHAME.

KLAUS
KLAUS
29 days ago

My personal impression is that PL corruption has evolved into a Ponzi scheme.
This means that the collapse is inevitable.
The faster, the better for the future of our children and for Malta.

D. Borg
D. Borg
29 days ago
Reply to  KLAUS

In a Ponzi scheme the naive participants recycle their own funds.
Here the greedy lackeys are gobbling our taxes and assets.
But then – the majority apparently voted to be shafted for some breadcrumbs.

Out of Curiosity
Out of Curiosity
29 days ago

l-ghazla ta dawn in-nies minn naha tal-PM u l-korruzzjoni bla razan li hawn fil-pajjiz qed ihasseb hafna laburisti genwini.
Fuq nota ohra, ic-civil spicca, u l-aqwa nies li kellu mxew lejn il-privat. Gone are those days when civil servants felt proud to be part of the civil service. Illum kwazi tisthi tghid ghax jahsbuk xi korrott.

N Scerri
N Scerri
29 days ago

Kontinwita.Aghar minn Muscat jekk hu possibli

carlos
29 days ago

U l’onest jittewweb u l-korrotti jisirqu l-haddiem onest. Ifrah haddiem ghaliex min ghalik ghandek gvern li jaqbezghalik. Trid tkun veru gifa biex tibqa tibla l- gideb u taccetta l- korruzzjoni.

makjavel
makjavel
29 days ago

It is obvious that they want a subservient scribe in the Cabinet. There will be NO Cabinet Minutes . This guy should understand that it is HE that will end being prosecuted for messing up the Cabinet Documents NOT Abela who tells him what to do or not to do. Abela will be licking his icecream while Spagnol will be licking his wounds, methaphorically speaking.

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