From a Reader of this site
From the various articles that have appeared in the local media about “Gozo Land Grab”, the following points and incidentals emerge that appear close to a miracle. But where there is the involvement of his Illustrious Grace, all is possible…
A foundation was set up for charitable and religious works by Gusmana Navarra in 1675, more than a hundred years before Napoleon’s arrival in Malta.
In 1992, Berrachimp Properties Ltd in which involved were Magistrate Dennis Montebello together with lawyer Carmelo Galea and some others, were given land on lease from this foundation by Richard Stagno Navarra who had introduced himself as a descendant of Gusmana Navarra. However, the Archbishop, at the time, the now deceased and mourned Mgr. Joseph Mercieca would have none of this and went to court to annul this agreement (vide the Newspaper Alternattiva no, 61 dated 14-28 August 1992). In fact, this case ended in Appeal, and in 2013, it was declared that Archbishop Mercieca was in the right.
Fast forward 5 years later… On 20th February 2017, Archbishop Charles Scicluna decreed and appointed lawyer Patrick Valentino as rector of this foundation which has vast pasture lands in Qala and Nadur in Gozo. Over the years, often the rector would be a priest (the last rector was Fr. Saverin Banco, former parish priest of Baħrija).
As constrained by the foundation deed, the archbishop is the only person responsible to appoint a rector (manager) on the recommendation of the descendants. Archbishop Scicluna was handed two nominations for the post of rector. He could have refused both but his illustrious excellency was pleased to appoint lawyer Patrick Valentino and refused to nominate the other nominee Fr Jesmond Grech.
For reasons best known only to himself, the archbishop chose to appoint one who was neither a descendant nor is he even a clergyman as bound by the foundation deed. (Vide various articles entitled Gozo Grab on Shift News and Lovein Malta). In this agreement, the Curia was given 200,000 euro to look after the charitable obligations of the foundation i.e. Masses, candles, bell-ringing etc… as a one-off settlement to fulfill these obligations ad aeterum. This money was forked out by 6 (six) Stagno Navarra siblings [who claim they are collateral descendants of the foundress] each giving 20,000 euro (total 120,000 euro) and in order to round off the full amount, former magistrate Dennis Montebello and lawyer Carmelo Galea each gave 40,000 euro (perhaps these last two were distantly related to Gusmana Navarra and hence paid their share… ha…ha…).
While testifying in the court in Gozo, regarding the 200,000 euro, Archbishop Scicluna stated that he does particularly care about the provenance of this money, as long as 200,000 euro were donated to the Curia in order for it to take care of the charitable works of the foundation. Is it possible that he did not know who lawyer Carmelo Galea and the former magistrate Montebello are? The same who in 1992 had taken on lease the lands of this same foundation in order to develop it.
Archbishop Scicluna said he did not know that the lands of the foundation were going to be developed, but I believe that he imagined that these lands were going to the farmers. We can put Mgr. the Archbishop’s mind at rest that the lands he passed on to the lawyers are not being used to cultivate cannabis. There, flats are going up and costing thousands, my friend. And the millions are rolling in.
Was any clause or proviso included in the agreement when Patrick Valentino became rector which bound him to keep these intangible assets and if he failed to do so the agreement between the two parties would become null and void?
After the appointment of Dr. Valentino as rector, many of these lands were given in perpetual lease to the company Carravan Limited. The shareholders of this company are Dei Conti Holdings (the siblings Stagno Navarra), Carrac Ltd belonging to former Magistrate Dennis Montebello and his daughters, Carol and Rachel Montebello, the latter incidentally happens to be Dr. Patrick Valentino’s partner and the other shareholder is the Gozitan lawyer Carmelo Galea. Nevertheless, it is always the same names that are embroiled in this story.
Today, on one of the land areas called Ta’ Boffa in Qala a monstrous development is taking place of approximately 160 apartments, pools etc. with a permit and without permits of a company of developers like super developer Joseph Portelli who according to his crystal ball maintains that Malta can sustain and has another 100 years left of development. (Very disturbing news for those who are inhaling dust and smoke beside the noise emanating from construction contraptions from dawn to dusk as well as the destruction of the environment). Understandably, everyone is going to benefit, in small or in large, from the blessing given to this development during the forthcoming 100 years (one wants to puke when one hears of such goings-on).
In his testimony in the Gozo Court lately, the Curia’s Property Manager, Mr. Ray Bonnici admitted that there are matters which are not clear regarding the obligations of this foundation but the archbishop, nonetheless, appointed whosoever he wanted as rector. Bonnici said; (quote) “We took a shortcut, we did what was in the best interest of the Curia” (unquote) and they did not give two hoots about all those persons in the Gozitan villages who were going to be adversely hit by such a decision.
Such behaviour is one of a great act of charity on the part of the archbishop and his cronies who teach us to have mercy and to remember our neighbour. Is it possible that they are not realizing that this behaviour is not doing the Church any good?
To sum it all up. The Church in Malta does not deserve to have spiritual leaders of this kind. Let’s hope that the Vatican is aware of what is going on!