Portelli's insistence to sign deal sounds arrogant - JPO
Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando said this morning it was ridiculous of Frank Portelli to suggest that he asked for the St Philip’s Hospital deal to be subjected to parliamentary scrutiny because of his close ties to Richard Cachia Caruana.
Dr Pullicino Orlando was referring to comments by Dr Portelli made in The Times today (see http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20121013/local/Hospital-owner-says-deal-is-valid.440790).
He said that Dr Portelli’s close ties with Mr Cachia Caruana, however, together with the fact that Dr Portelli used to be a Nationalist MP and the President of the party in government, made his insistence that government should plough ahead and sign the deal sound arrogant, to say the least.
Dr Pullicino Orlando said that he felt that the €12 million should be debated in Parliament for a number of reasons including that unless a related motion that was presented in Parliament was debated, government would not be treating the highest institution in the country with the respect due.
Moreover, many taxpayers, who were ultimately the ones footing the bill, were asking why the government was to spend millions on the rehabilitation of an abandoned private hospital when St Luke's, could be rehabilitated at a fraction of the price.
A number of related issues also required clarification, notably whether a proper study had been carried out in relation to the cost involved to rehabilitate a hospital which had been abandoned for years.
“The fact that Dr Portelli seems reluctant to allow journalists to see the state the hospital only serves to cast further doubts on this particular issue.
“Had an agreement been reached last Thursday, Parliament could have discussed the matter on Monday and all these issues could have been clarified prior to government formalising the deal.”