War of words in Malta

by Richard West-Soley 51 views

The war of words between the former and current head of the MaltaSong Board, responsible for selecting the island's Eurovision Song Contest entry each year, has spilt over into the public domain after Grace Borg sent an open letter to chairperson Robert Abela, responding to comments he had made on TV this Monday.

During the TV show Realta on Monday, Robert Abela allegedly suggested that former chairperson Borg had not conducted a proper handover when leaving the position. However, in her open letter Borg reacts "I would like to make it clear that the handover that Abela pretended me sic to give him should have been given to him by the other members of the board. Not only did he not want help or valid advice, but when we were in Greece, whenever I was in the press room, they used to walk out."

Detrimental to the singer
Additionally, Abela talked of the fact that Maltese record shops had not accepted copies of the Vertigo CD single for sale, and instead they were sold at outlets of the telephone company sponsoring the entry and Where's Everybody media branches. In reponse, Borg – who also owns the Exotique chain of record stores – claims that her branches, at least, were never asked to sell copies in the first place. "This is detrimental to the singer" she explains. "If the chairman is not aware of this situation, he should tell us whatever he knows."

Grace Borg headed the MaltaSong board until 2005, after which Robert Abela took over; his term has so far been characterised by shocked disappointment for the island with Fabrizio Faniello's last place at the Athens final, and Olivia Lewis' failure to qualify at the Helsinki semifinal. The relationship between Borg and Abela has appeared strained over the course of the last two years, and this is not the first occasion that the row has become public.

Comfort for Olivia
Meanwhile, Olivia Lewis' Eurovision blog at oliviavertigo.blogspot.com has gone strangely quiet after a final post days after touching back down in Malta. The harsh words being exchanged are no doubt of little comfort to her after what she admits was a very sad affair for the whole team this year. "The whole Maltese contingent was sad" she recounts. "There's no denying that. We had got to know that only 3 countries had voted for us. It felt bad, especially after all the pain we'd been through these past months." What does comfort her, however, is the ongoing support from the Maltese people, who were still represented by a huge crowd gathered at the airport to welcome her home. "Once again I felt so proud to be Maltese. We Maltese have such a warm and loving heart. Even though we had not managed to make it through to the final, people still came to the airport to welcome us back. And I really appreciate this…a lot. It took away any sour after taste which the Eurovision might have left me. Those few minutes at the airport made it all worth it." It seems that whatever the arguments of those above, ordinary islanders are more than happy with the show that star Olivia turned in on Thursday 10th May, 2007.

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Richard West-Soley

Senior Editor

Richard's ESC history began way back in 1992, when he discovered the contest could fuel his passion for music and languages. Since then, it's been there at every corner for him in some way or another. He joined the esctoday.com team back in 2006, and quickly developed a love for writing about the contest. In his other life, he heads the development team at the learning resources company Linguascope, and writes about all aspects of language learning on the site Polyglossic.com.