Silvio Parnis: A Life in Maltese Politics
Silvio Parnis (19 October 1965 – 3 January 2023) was a prominent figure in Maltese politics, known for his dedication to the Labour Party and his service as a Member of Parliament for many years.
Early Life and Education
Born in Paola, Malta, to Michael and Doris Caruana, Silvio Parnis spent his formative years in this vibrant town. He received his primary education at Paola Primary School and pursued his secondary education at St. Elias College in Santa Venera.
In 2007, Parnis embarked on a new chapter in his life by marrying Dorianne Cauchi. Their union was blessed with a son named Jacob.
Parnis’s professional journey led him to work as a health supervisor and assistant social worker, focusing on the care of elderly residents at the St. Vincent De Paul Residence.
Media and Politics
While maintaining his career in healthcare, Silvio Parnis was also active in the media. He became a well-known television and radio presenter, engaging in discussions about current events and social issues. Parnis hosted several programs, including “Problemi tal-Qalb” (Problems of the Heart) on PL-owned One Radio, “M’Intix Waħdek” (You are not alone), “Kliem u Fatti” (Words and Facts), and “Forum” on Smash Television.
However, his media commitments shifted when the Party decided that election candidates should not host media shows.
Parnis’s political journey began in 1994 when he assumed the role of mayor in Paola. He went on to become a member of the Maltese Parliament, serving in various terms from 1998 to 2022. His political influence extended to the 4th electoral district, encompassing areas like Gudja, Paola, Għaxaq, Marsa, Santa Luċija, Fgura, and Tarxien.
During his tenure from 2013 to 2017, Parnis advocated for significant projects, including the Paola Square Project, an environmental study on Wied Blandun, university buildings in Bormla (lent out to the Sadeen Group’s private American University of Malta), and Inwadar Park. He also chaired the Committee on Bills.
In the later part of his political career, Parnis held the role of parliamentary secretary for local government and communities under Joseph Muscat’s cabinet. He later served as parliamentary secretary for active aging and persons with disabilities in the first Abela cabinet.
However, Parnis faced challenges in November 2020 when he was excluded from the government following criticism of his response to the COVID-19 crisis’s impact on public elderly homes. Malta recorded one of the highest rates of mortality in care homes in Europe during that period. Parnis made headlines when he gifted a jam roly-poly slice to all elderly residents, bearing the word “courage” on its plastic wrapping.
In a significant decision, Parnis announced that he would not contest the 2022 election. Instead, he expressed his intention to devote more time to religious pursuits and advocate against abortion. Subsequently, he joined Infrastructure Malta.
Throughout his political career, Parnis made valuable contributions to the Maltese political landscape and the communities he served.
Legacy and Passing
Silvio Parnis’s legacy in Maltese politics remains as a testament to his dedication and commitment. He passed away on 3 January 2023, at the age of 57, after battling cancer. His contributions to healthcare, media, and politics will be remembered by the people of Malta.