For the first time in decades, the Foreign Ministry is moving out of its iconic Palazzo Parisio premises in Valletta to Palazzo Spinola in St Julian’s, in a move setting taxpayers back €300,000 in direct orders.
The Shift is informed that the move to St Julian’s is temporary and that the foreign ministry will be operating out of Palazzo Spinola while restoration works are being carried out at Palazzo Parisio. It is not known how long the temporary move will last.
But before Palazzo Parisio could be refurbished, Palazzo Spinola had to be refurbished first.
Although the palace was used by an international agency until a few years ago, around €300,000 in direct orders have already been spent by the Foreign Ministry on the palace’s upgrading.
These include €114,000 for power and lighting installations by Key Contractors Ltd, €100,000 on refurbishment works by Neil Camilleri Ltd and another €40,000 on light fittings from Elektra, among others, according to the latest list of direct orders the ministry has published.
Borg’s personal photographer back in overseas action
In the meantime, photographer Raymond Attard is once again back in action accompanying the minister overseas.
Following a brief pause in travel duties following The Shift’s reports that Attard had been given a full-time contract to act as the minister’s personal photographer – setting the public coffers back €3,200 a month plus tens of thousands of euros in travel expenses – Attard was back in action last October accompanying the minister for a week’s travel to Poland and Qatar.
For that trip, €10,000 was spent on flight tickets to Warsaw and Doha, a sum that does not include thousands more in accommodation, meals and transport expenses for the seven-day trip.
Given a one-year unorthodox contract as soon as Borg took the helm of the foreign office last April, Attard had accompanied the minister on trips to Brussels, London, Turin, Milan, New York and Brazil in just a few weeks.
No foreign minister before him ever felt the need to employ a full-time photographer for the ministry. In the past, only Department of Information photographers travelled abroad, and that was strictly for activities connected to official visits by the Prime Minister or the President of Malta.
The Shift revealed that apart from his official duties, Attard also accompanies the minister, in his free time, to catch his best side at social activities such as village feasts in the minister’s constituency.
Christopher Cutajar, the pompous Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should be held responsible for his actions. He pretends to know it all, whilst all at the Ministry talk freely about his lack of capabilities and knowledge. No Permanent Secretary ever at the Foreign Ministry tried to be in the limelight as much as Christopher Cutajar.
The Minister still thinks he is responsible for infrastructure and since a new James Bond is needed, he is preparing his image for the role, hence the personal photographer!!!
Noddy must have his own photographer surely? His face is always plastered all over the papers and attends every opening of a fridge door in case there is a camera there?
Quite interesting watching scum pretending they are not.
And what about the government funded Facebook page “Affarijiet Barranin”?
It has been turned into a propaganda page for Minister Borg, with one post after the other featuring photos of “Il-Ministru tal-Affarijiet Barranin Ian Borg” with some foreign dignitary.
Is that why the Minister engaged a personal photographer?
It reminds me of Kim Yong Il, the former Pyong Yang dictator, who once lived in Malta at the Ix-Xabbatur villa, in Mtahleb. The despotic dictator was regularly pictured looking at things. On his part, Borg is regularly pictured standing next to dictators, like the Qatari Sheikhs and former Brasilian President Bolsonaro.
It also reminds me of the minutes of the Dingli Local Council in the years when Dr. Borg was the Mayor there, where nearly every sentence in the minutes started with the text “Is-Sindku Ian Borg qal…”
iiiiiiii xi gmiel ta’ PQs jaghmlu l-“backbenchers” tal-Labour. Kollha manifatturati u messinxeni u fil-verità jkunu biss qed juzaw il-parlament ghall-propaganda
Ian Borg’s personal photographer is doing a good job at documenting the Foreign Minister’s growing number of white hairs around his ears, and the prominence of the expanding curves around his pelvis.
He is increasingly looking like Lorry Sant in every respect, from top to bottom, and from the inside and the outside.
Not to mention of course that the photos reveal the Minister’s bad sense of judgement, as in the case of his pictures with the disgraced former President of Brasil, Jair Bolsonaro, who allowed the butchering of the Amazon forest on his watch. The pictures were taken on the Minister’s way to the UN Security Council in NY where Malta would pledge that climate change would be a UNSC priority issue.
Well he has to make sure that we don’t forget him given that he was more popular than the PM when the he was in transport and featured every other day in the news and now sidelined to Foreign Affairs shaking hands with foreign dignitaries who have no votes. Just saying
He will spend and spend and spend just out of spite!