Corinthia chairman tells his story
Perhaps the most well-known Maltese company in Libya, the Corinthia Group, recently celebrated its efforts during the crisis. In a December reception, Chairman Alfred Pisani paid tribute to his employees as well as the government.
He described the Libyan crisis as the Maltese government’s “finest hour”, thanks to the leadership of Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi who paid close attention to the company during the crisis.
“Had we shut down our business, like most others did, the Corinthia hotel and Palm City would have been ransacked and looted beyond any hope of recovery.”
He recounted how the company kept in constant touch with the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry, exchanging information almost on a daily basis throughout the protracted crisis.
“There were a number of hair-raising occasions when we could well have been targeted by NATO forces, but thanks to the speedy intervention of the Office of the Prime Minister we were spared the tragic consequences of an air strike.”
The crisis reached its climax in August when the anti-Gaddafi forces overran Tripoli and there was a total breakdown of law and order in the city which threatened the safety of the remaining nucleus of employees.
At this point, the Prime Minister contacted the National Transitional Council which dispatched forces to protect the company’s property.
Mr Pisani said that by remaining open over the eight-month crisis, Corinthia ensured it was respected by everyone in Libya, allowing it to carry out “tremendous expansion” in the months and years ahead.
However, only time will tell whether the revolution will truly bring about the much anticipated new era everyone has hoped for.