PM claims Muscat promising development permits
Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said today he had been informed that Opposition Leader Joseph Muscat was holding meetings with individuals and promising them development permits - even though, he said, there might be problems with Mepa.
Speaking on Radio 101, Dr Gonzi said an interview carried today in The Sunday Times confirmed his suspicion that Dr Muscat was holding these meetings and making these promises. (see interview at http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20120617/interview/-I-ve-no-problem-biting-the-bullet-.424564 )
Was Labour's environment policy influenced by these meetings? Labour, he said, had a bad record in the environment, with historic sites having been spoilt and a disco having even been built within Fort St Angelo.
Dr Gonzi said government policy to stop subsidising areas which did not yield returns to the country, such as the dockyard and Sea Malta, meant funds could be channelled for areas where such funds were better used, such as education and students' stipends.
Labour could not be trusted on issues such as students' stipends. This was not only because of the comments made by MEP Edward Scicluna but also because of the way how Evarist Bartolo - Labour's current education spokesman - converted stipends into loans, contradicting a Labour promise.
Another current Labour front-bencher, Leo Brincat in his only Budget as Finance Minister introduced a tax on medical prescriptions.
And one also remembered how Karmenu Vella, who is now writing Labour's electoral programme, presided over record unemployment in Malta.
Dr Gonzi criticised Labour over personal attacks, saying the latest one was the motion calling for Richard Cachia Caruana's resignation. The motion will be debated tomorrow.
Motions such as this, he said, reminded the people how Labour in the past sought to destroy people.
The Nationalist government, he said, would stand by students' stipends, viewing them as investment for the country's future. A Nationalist government would also continue to invest strongly in education as a whole, as well as health, the environment jobs and the roads.
Dr Gonzi also defended the investment being made in Valletta, including the extensive restoration of the bastions and the City Gate/new parliament project. The government wanted to see a vibrant city as well as a city worthy of being Europe's cultural capital in 2018. Malta should be proud of the work being done by Renzo Piano in association with Maltese architects. Criticism by Joseph Muscat, he said, was being made for reasons of partisan politics. For labour, quality was not important. It was back to mediocrity.
Yet the Valletta projects were not only creating jobs, but they would eventually also free up the Palace to be restored and become another gem of a tourist attraction.
In a reaction, the Labour Party said that what was being said about Dr Muscat's meetings was 'lies' and Dr Gonzi was only deviating attention from the promises which he had not kept.