It seems that my legacy at the National Book Council is being dismantled at a much faster rate than I thought and with consequences much graver for the book industry. However, the Book Council is trying to conceal the wreckage by, yet, the same type of fraudulent Labour propaganda.
The Book Council is promoting the illusion that for this year, the Malta Book Festival has a record of participants. This is untrue because the new participants are self-published authors and entities which have got nothing to do with the book industry, such as the government’s Arts Council. What the National Book Council is not saying is that it has lost one of its most important Festival participants for the first time in many years. There is more to this latter story that I have come to know, recently. Merlin Publishers are not only withdrawing from the Book Festival, they are instead participating in this year’s Comicon. So, Merlin, one of Malta’s major book publishers, basically calculated that it was more worthwhile to participate in this year’s Comicon than to participate in the main national book event of the year. This is just how bad things are at the National Book Council at the moment.
The wreckage is very evident. For the first time since 2013, the National Book Council won’t be disseminating its programmer of events to every household in Malta. The reason apparently is that the National Book Council has had a 50% budget cut because the current chairman, couldn’t make use of the funds that I have left before I was dishonourably discharged. (Clyde Caruana, Minister of Finance had claimed that unused funds will be diverted to government subsidies). These budget cuts come despite the fact that the National Book Council decided to splurge around €200,000 on foreign guests. Keep in mind that the book industry is the only industry that the government has failed to help during the previous and current crises (the press received generous subsidies). Additionally, the National Book Council was the only government-cultural entity which had autonomy and indeed served as a voice for the book industry. This voice has also been totally suppressed and it should be seen in the context of the government’s drive to destroy the free press.
Prosit Ministru. It breaks my heart to see my eight years of work going down the drain like this, but I am no longer surprised by the parasitic activity of these scumbags.