Desperation. Dishonesty. Delusion. Denial. Delia.
Desperation: The man has no money. By his own declaration, Adrian Delia has no savings at all in local or foreign banks. Since his election to the leadership his bank balance is zero.
In addition, he faces €9,000 payments per month, mostly to cover repayments (€3,933 HSBC; €1,413 BNF; €835 BOV) for home and personal loans in excess of €700,000 and bank and credit card balances exceeding €104,000, spousal maintenance of €2,700, lease of luxury car of €629 and children’s school fees.
His only declared income is as opposition leader earning about €2,700 per month. In addition, Mġarr Developments Ltd, a property venture bought from Yorgen Fenech’s Tumas Group and in which Delia is involved, still owes millions. Losing his post of opposition leader would literally leave him without a roof on his head and without a couch to sleep on.
Deputy leader Robert Arrigo tried to defend Delia by stating that “he probably had 40 offers for free accommodation but he refused”.
The leader’s desperate financial situation not only exposes him to the ridicule and humiliation of having to abuse his own position as party leader by sleeping at the party headquarters, increasing energy and water bills for a bankrupt party, but also exposes him to the possibility of blackmail. While many of those 40 offers might have been genuine enough, others would expect their pound of flesh in some form or other.
His constitutional role as opposition leader also provides some protection from creditors, including Bank of Valletta. Twenty-five per cent of BOV’s equity is held by the Government of Malta which makes it less likely that the bank will chase after the leader of the opposition than it would common citizen Adrian Delia.
How Delia earns €2,700 per month and owes €9,000 per month has never been explained. Delia has vaguely claimed that the shortfall is coming from shares he sold in his law firm, being paid to him in monthly instalments. How much he is being paid and over what period of time remains a mystery. Who is really paying Delia to make ends meet?
As he tumbles into the abyss he sinks his claws into his party, ripping it to shreds
Dishonesty: Delia has lost the support of 19 out of 30 MPs (63.3 per cent). He used all the dirty tricks he could to prevent the vote and to intimidate his MPs. He insisted that the ballot should be open, not secret. He insisted that the whole parliamentary group submit itself to a vote of approval by the party’s members.
He insisted the executive council should meet first. He brought loyal supporters to harangue, insult and intimidate MPs outside party headquarters. He even asserted that the vote had nothing to do with his links to Yorgen Fenech. But even when the vote was taken and he was handed a devastating blow, his response was shocking but expected.
He held that since he was elected by party members he will cling on as party leader but also as opposition leader. So why had he repeatedly called for Joseph Muscat’s and Konrad Mizzi’s resignations? They still commanded the support of their loyal party members – indeed, much stronger support than he could ever dream of among his own members. They also commanded huge support among the people who voted them in – not something Delia can claim.
Yet even Muscat and Mizzi reluctantly left when even they realised that the support among their parliamentary colleagues was waning. Not Delia. When Brian Hansford in the press conference that followed the vote mentioned that 17 MPs had voted against him, Delia not only did not correct the journalist that, in fact, it was 19 MPs, but repeated the number 17 – a number ironically linked to Yorgen Fenech.
But Delia’s dishonesty has been evident from the very start – refusing to publish his declaration of assets until the eve of his election; denying he had held accounts in foreign jurisdictions despite documentary evidence; claiming he had settled his outstanding dues to the exchequer while still owing thousands; transferring €86,210 into his own account without authorisation; claiming the party had no outstanding water and electricity bills; claiming he had not had any communication with Yorgen Fenech; refusing to comment about serious allegations; and insisting journalists reveal their sources.
Delusion: Delia appears to be permanently detached from reality. As recently as May 2020 Delia stated: “I don’t think the PN will lose” the next election. He even challenged the charge that he was failing to make headway in the polls despite hitting the lowest ever rating of 13.5 per cent trust in February 2020. Among those aged 18 to 35, his rating was a meagre 9.4 per cent. At the same time he denied that he did not enjoy the support of the majority of MPs and that they wanted his resignation.
Denial: As the stark reality that 19 MPs had no faith in him as opposition leader hit him squarely in the face, Delia had another card up his sleeve – denial. “Tomorrow will be a normal working day and I will turn up both as opposition and party leader”.
When asked if the party was moving to a situation with two leaders, with a straight face he stated: “I can only speak on facts, not speculation”. And more: “The President cannot remove me”.
Delia: “Nothing and nobody can remove me”, the desperate screams of a flailing failure who has lost all connection with reality.
He now serves only as a convenient and comic distraction from the serious corruption of a Labour government that has mired the country in filth. His only priority remains his own self-preservation at all costs.
As he tumbles into the abyss he sinks his claws into his party, ripping it to shreds. The only question is will the party ever recover from the deep and festering wounds Delia has inflicted.
Kevin Cassar, Professor of Surgery, former PN candidate