Tista’ taqra dan l-artiklu bil-Malti
As rising real estate prices, inflation and stagnating salaries continue to bite – particularly for youngsters who are still at the beginning of their careers and starting to climb the property ladder – one particular young couple has found their first home purchase to have been particularly easy, at least compared to their friends and colleagues.
The main reason for the couple’s privilege was not any help from their parents, as is usually the case, but, rather, help from taxpayers since they happen to be Labour Party employees with close connections to Cabinet members who have lots of remunerated positions to hand out.
A number of Labour Party employees are currently fuming over this ‘injustice’, since they are also young and trying to cope with property prices, and they have complained to The Shift about the state of affairs.
Their gripe is that while their deputy head of news at the party’s television station ONE, Trischia Falzon, and her boyfriend, Labour Party spokesman Ronald Vassallo, are being ‘showered’ with government funds through questionable public appointments, they are not receiving the same kind of treatment.
At just 26, Trischia Falzon has been working at the Labour Party television station since her father, Frank Zammit – former Nationalist minister John Dalli’s right-hand man – defected to Labour soon after disgraced Prime Minister Joseph Muscat took office in 2013.
Despite her limited experience, Falzon moved quickly up the ranks within Labour’s television station. This could also be explained by the fact that most of her colleagues were put on the State payroll with jobs at ministries, public agencies and the Office of the Prime Minister.
Falzon, however, did not really suffer the consequences for having remained on at the Labour Party’s television station.
In fact, in addition to her promotion to deputy head of news, she is also benefitting from significant bonuses that will certainly help her pay off her new mortgage.
Apart from being appointed to the board of directors of the Foundation for Social Welfare Services, serving as the secretary of the government’s Dwejra Steering Committee and an appeals board of the Residence Malta Agency – all with monthly remunerations – Falzon was earlier this year also given a contract to provide ‘social media services’ to the Active Aging Ministry in her free time.
Through this latter appointment, described by her colleagues as a ‘bogus contract’, Falzon will pocket an extra €10,000 a year.
It is not known what expertise the young reporter has in social media management or when she carries out her work for the ministry.
Falzon’s partner Ronald Vassallo, also a former ONE reporter, has meanwhile been named as the head of communications at the Labour Party since all his predecessors had migrated to the government’s payroll.
Apart from his job at the PL Headquarters, Vassallo was also appointed as a government director on two state entities: Malta Air Traffic Services and the Housing Maintenance and Embellishment Company Ltd.
The latter is the same company used by Keith Schembri, former chief of staff to disgraced prime minister Joseph Muscat, to hand out a phantom job to Melvyn Theuma, the middleman on the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
But since this was not enough for Vassallo, he has also appointed to the committee of the European Film Awards, in the process securing himself another healthy remuneration.
Vassallo’s colleagues from inside Labour have informed The Shift that he is also being remunerated from a ministry through a direct order contract. When asked to confirm, however, Vassallo declined to reply.