Speaker of the House of Representatives Anglu Farrugia appears to be doing his utmost to set travelling records since he was placed in the position in 2013 by Joseph Muscat after a falling out over the Labour Party’s questionable business partnerships.
According to data supplied by Parliament following a Freedom of Information request, Farrugia globetrotted the world on 109 occasions in under nine years, and there is more to come after he was reconfirmed as Speaker last April by Prime Minister Robert Abela for an unprecedented third term.
Despite the two-year Covid-19 lull during which travelling was at a complete standstill, Farrugia clocked an average of 12 overseas trips per year – touring some of the world’s most exotic destinations from Argentina and El Salvador to Cuba, Kenya, Bali, Mauritius and Australia, while visiting Sicily regularly.
Farrugia owns property in Sicily, and parliamentary sources have told The Shift that his state-funded visits to the neighbouring island have often coincided with Farrugia’s holidays, particularly in summer and at the end of the year.
The data shows that while, in some cases, Farrugia’s travels could be justified, as they included his participation in conferences where EU parliaments were represented, in most cases the trips are considered in diplomatic circles as either fruitless or of no relevance to the Maltese Parliament.
‘Official visits’ to Sicilian towns such as Enna, Solarino, Modica, Ragusa and Palazzo Acreide are all a drive away from Farrugia’s personal Sicilian getaway.
Others, much further across the globe, included the observation of elections in Azerbaijan and Commonwealth conferences. The latter, a club of former British colonies that arguably lost its relevance many years ago, was well-used by Farrugia.
On Commonwealth trips, he visited Australia three times, as well as other destinations such as New Zealand, South Africa, Cameroon, Bangladesh, Seychelles, Mauritius, Kenya, Canada, Bermuda, Uganda, Scotland and Bali last March, even though Parliament had already been dissolved for the general elections.
The data also shows that conferences organised by the Inter-Parliamentary Union – an organisation of little relevance on the diplomatic stage – were also frequently visited by the Speaker.
He flew to Washington and New York some four times, to Argentina, St Petersburg and Doha for IPU appointments while he organised ‘official visits’ to Australia, Romania, Tunisia, Georgia, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, Israel and Palestine, Turkey, Ireland and even Havana.
On all these trips, the Speaker almost always made sure to be accompanied by MPs from both sides of the House. Although no figures were given, it is estimated that the Speaker’s delegations cost hundreds of thousands of euro.
Speaker Farrugia also flew to Sicily for “a meeting of the Norman Academy”, to Moscow for a conference on ‘Development of Parliamentarism’ organised by the Duma, to London to “observe Commonwealth Day” and to Prague for a forum called ‘Let My People Live’, among his many other international appointments.
Farrugia, who failed to win a seat in Parliament when he contested the general elections, went from a police officer accused of human rights abuses to a lawyer to Labour Party deputy leader and then Speaker of the House.
Another corrupt person wasting our moneu.
The going away tour?
Sqallija jghidu li jmur jonsob ukoll. Ghax dilettant.
There are some who join the Navy to see the world, while there are some others who find different means to do so.
Veru jhobb itir dan l- anglu!
EVERYTHING PL MEMBERS DO IS DISGRACEFUL.
REMINDS ME OF MARIE LOUISE COLEIRO PRECA WHO
WHEN PRESIDENT TRAVELLED SOME 89 TIMES.
NEVER, EVER, TRUST THE PL GOVERNMENT.
Veru jhobb itir dan l-anglu!
It shows that you can clearly take the ‘speaker’ out of the village, but we all know that you cannot take the village out of him.
Anglu, if you are reading this between flights, please take the barricades erected opposite the parliament away. Whoever decided to put those shabby barricades should have a police mentality. Please set a ‘taks’ force.
Id-dinja kollha dahra. Mhux cuc ukoll. U ahna l-gahan nittewbu.
Kienu jitkazaw bil-gvern l’iehor meta kienu fl’oposizjoni. Qas intom qarrieqa tal-poplu Malti. X’ma jkunx hemm dejn, 9 biljuni dejn. Qas jafu jisthu
Mejjet bil guh iehor.