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Updated: No data protection breach in Siggiewi PL Club motion

Reaction from the PL, tje Lands Parliamentary Secreteriat and deputy mayor Karol Aquilina

(Adds PL's and Lands Parliamentary Secretariat's reactions)

No data protection legislation was breached when the Siggiewi deputy mayor moved a motion for the Labour Party Club in Siggiewi to be repossessed by the government.

In a statement, Dr Karol Aquilina and Dr Mark Vassallo, who signed the motion, said that they were informed of the decision today. A complaint that data protection had been breached had been lodged with the Data Protection Commissioner by Nicholas Cassar on behalf of the Labour Party.

The Siggiewi Club was leased to the PL on the eve of the 1981 general election for Lm200 (€465) a year.

In February 1987, three months before another general election, the government extended the lease for 24 years, backdated to July 1986.

The government decided to hand over the building in the heart of the village square to the Siggiewi council for use as a day centre for the elderly, after the council approved the motion spearheaded by Dr Aquilina.

PL's REACTION

The PL said that the Data Protection Commissioned had confirmed that the file had been passed on to Parliamentary Secretary Jason Azzopardi.

But the file's movements from when the department passed it on to Dr Azzopardi were not yet known.

It was also not known how the Siggiewi deputy mayor had obtained information which was only available in this file.

It was shameful how the Prime Minister and the Nationalist government persisted in dividing the Siggiewi community in spite of the Nationalist mayor's appeal for unity to reign once more in the locality.

LANDS PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIAT's REACTION

The Lands Parliamentary Secretariat welcomed the decision and said that the commissioner's report showed that it was normal for the Parliamentary Secretary to have the file.

This brought to nothing the allegations of abuse by the Labour media.

The report, the secreteriat said, also noted that the deaprtment provided all the information required and cooperated fully.

This was done by those who had nothing to hide, the secretariat said.

DEPUTY MAYOR's REACTION

Information on when the rent expired was given by an active member of the Labour Party, which never denied the date given, Dr Aquilina said.

On the contrary, labour councillors confirmed it in a letter they presented the council during a meeting on July 27, requesting the government to renew the rent.

This letter was a public document and could be accessed by everyone.

A serious political party which believed in a democracy should accept decisions such as that by the Data Protection Commissioner and shoulder its responsibilities rather than persist in its mistake.

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