Norman Hamilton, a staunch Labour Party militant and former boss of the state broadcaster during the 1980s when it was known as Xandir Malta, has come back as a government-appointed director on the board of its successor, PBS.
At the age of 82, Hamilton, until a few years ago a mainstay on Labour’s ONE TV before he was appointed High Commissioner to the UK, has been given a prominent position in the running of the media by Prime Minister Robert Abela after patching things up following a 2022 fallout.
Considered close to disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat, sources speculated Hamilton had made his dislike of Abela known and stopped his decades-long TV show on ONE soon after he became the country’s leader.
Tensions grew further between Hamilton and Abela’s Labour Party when, in mid-2022, Abela’s campaign organiser, Aaron Zahra was appointed chairman of Festivals Malta – a government agency – replacing Hamilton.
Hamilton then called for the return of Joseph Muscat in a Facebook comment.
PBS sources said Hamilton had long wanted to make some kind of comeback at the state broadcaster as he was unceremoniously removed in 1987 when the PN was elected to govern.
Hamilton was investigated over claimed mismanagement at Xandir Malta during the 1980s. However, no formal charges were ever brought against him.
While working on various ONE TV programmes during Labour’s years in opposition, the veteran broadcaster was given several government posts when Muscat became prime minister, including Malta’s High Commissioner in London, where he served for five years.
Upon returning to Malta, Muscat made him chairman of Festivals Malta, where millions of euro worth of direct orders were issued to companies supplying the Labour Party for its events.
A National Audit Office report described Festivals Malta agency’s running under Hamilton as “a village club”.
On the board of PBS, Hamilton joins many other directors including Albert Marshall, former CEO of ONE, Pablo Micallef, a former ONE presenter, Ray Calleja, also from ONE and Jeremy Camilleri, a former General Workers Union official.