NEWS | Sunday, 25 November 2007

Serracino Inglott, political but not a party man

Matthew Vella

Long-serving Nationalist Party ideologue Peter Serracino Inglott has denied being a member of the PN’s core strategy group, despite party sources confirming with MaltaToday that Serracino Inglott is indeed back at the heart of the PN’s strategy team.
He was answering to enquires by MaltaToday after writing last week to The Sunday Times of a disclaimer he sent to Labour organ KullHadd, stating he was not a member of the PN’s strategy team – which comprises Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, party secretary-general Joe Saliba, and the Permanent Representative to the EU Richard Cachia Caruana.
Serracino Inglott, 72, has admitted being an advisor to the prime minister, but denied any ties with the PN’s party strategy group.
In May 2007, he was reported in MaltaToday being seen entering the prime minister’s state summer residence at Girgenti, along with Cachia Caruana – with other members of the strategy group, namely Joe Saliba, information secretary Gordon Pisani, political editor John Zammit, and Cabinet members Austin Gatt and Louis Galea. “It is true I was at Girgenti with Richard then… but what KullHadd had reported, that I had been at the PN headquarters, was incorrect because on that day I was here eating with the people at the Dar il-Kleru,” Serracino Inglott told MaltaToday on Friday evening.
The former university rector, who served as advisor to prime minister Eddie Fenech Adami throughout the 1990s, said his role as advisor to Gonzi was not concerned with party politics.
“My role has nothing to do with party political affairs. Naturally I had accepted the role of advisor for the PM with the explicit permit of Mercieca, advising the PM on matters of education, science, technology and whatever may be required. Later I was an advisor on the European Constitution.
“Today I am no longer officially an advisor of the PM but when there is an issue in which I was involved before, or related to the European Constitution, he sends for me.”
He has claimed, in his letter to the Sunday Times, that his position is “very different from being a formal member of a political group or cog in a party machine” – a position that would otherwise put him at loggerheads with Canon Law, which forbids clerics to have an active role in political parties and in the direction of labour unions unless “the need to protect the rights of the Church or to promote the Common Good requires it in the judgement of the competent ecclesiastical authority”.
Rev. Prof. Peter Serracino Inglott was one of Eddie Fenech Adami’s prime political advisors, along with Cachia Caruana, and the originator of several Nationalist party electoral programmes apart from being a veteran of the strategy groups for six national elections, namely those of 1981, 1987, 1992, 1996, 1998 and 2003.
When Lawrence Gonzi was elected PN leader in 2004, the strategy group was loosely restructured and excluded Serracino Inglott and Cachia Caruana.


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