10 JULY 2002
The life and times of Mr Cutajar and Mr Mifsud
The news that Mario Cutajar, the former militant Deputy Secretary general of the GWU, had resigned and his subsequent appearance at an MLP Press conference on Sunday was naturally preyed upon by political journalists.
Mr Cutajar, a former PRO to Labour minister Joe Debono Grech in the early eighties, is not only a militant but is also a charismatic political warthog. He has featured in all the major industrial disputes and served as a worthy thorn in the side of the Government.
In contrast to Labour candidate Alfred Mifsud, who loves to be at the centre of things, Mr Mario Cutajar is less of an extrovert.
Unlike the former Super One chief, he is better known for his anti-European stance and his rigid outlook on union matters. He is also more to the left of centre than Mr Mifsud. Yet, like Mr Mifsud he is well versed in the art of political discourse.
His denials and no comments to our sister newspaper MaltaToday did not help clarify matters.
But other considerations have surfaced:
1. Tony Zarb has finally won Mario Cutajar over after the latter had consistently overshadowed the Secretary Generals actions.
2. The GWU will have the opportunity to distance itself from the Labour party insofar as the way in which it views industrial affairs.
3. Mario Cutajar was the link to the Labour party.
4. There is a danger, however remote, that the militant, unimpressive dockyard strong man Tony Coleiro may be the new replacement for Mario Cutajar effectively making things far worse.
Mario Cutajars resignation was greeted with a sigh of relief by GWU top heavies who found it difficult to work with Mr Cutajar.
Mr Cutajar, it is rumoured, may seek new pastures; he has denied that he will seek a political candidature with the Labour. Yet we are not convinced that we should believe him.
Could he, perhaps, be putting his talents to something more distinctively organisational at Labour party level?
Surely he is not going into exile, because the first thing he did after his resignation was to appear at a highly publicised Labour party conference.
In a different medium and ambience, another protagonist, Alfred Mifsud, was doing things that could be interpreted as making life difficult for the Labour party.
He vowed that he would not stand as a candidate if the party did not remove VAT from its political manifesto.
Apart from the apparent embarrassment, Mr Mifsud, an MLP leader in the waiting, chose to play a wild card.
He seems to believe that the party will say yes to VAT, if this does happen, then Alfred Mifsuds trump card would have worked wonders.
But, if by a strange twist of fate, the Labour party conference chooses
to retain the partys objection to VAT, the financial consultant
from Zebbug would have ruined his political future over a silly comment
to a newspaper.