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Labour will not fail to deliver, says Muscat

Fresh pledge to close Delimara power station

The Labour Party was offering hope for a better country and would bring about the change the people wanted, especially in Gozo, Joseph Muscat said yesterday.

I swore that under my watch I will close this cancer and asthma factory. We have to save these people

Pledging to create jobs in Gozo for Gozitan residents, the PL leader again promised to close the Delimara power station, which he called “the cancer and asthma factory”.

He gave a passionate speech during Labour’s first mass meeting in Victoria, stressing that he did not want anyone’s sickness or death on his conscience, especially young children.

It rained during part of the speech but the crowd that packed the square and adjacent roads was undeterred.

He referred to a grandmother of nine who spoke in Marsaxlokk on Friday evening, saying eight of her grandchildren had asth-ma and a three-year-old grandchild had lung cancer.

“After listening to this woman, I swore that under my watch I will close this cancer and asthma factory. We have to save these people. I don’t want to hear of one child who gets sick because of the power station.

“I don’t want these deaths on my conscience. If I can make a difference, I will make it. This is my vision,” he said.

He spoke about his party’s vision of change.

“We know people in Gozo want a change in direction but not everyone has the liberty to be open about it. There are thousands of others who were scared to show their faces.

“Don’t worry, while you’re voting you’ll be alone and you can easily choose the change in direction for this country,” he said.

Referring to Labour’s energy plan which, he said, was “credible and doable”, he said 27,000 families would save up to 35 per cent “because this is the social justice we believe in”.

Two out of every three families will see a 30 per cent reduction.

“We are injecting €77 million a year into the economy and people’s pockets. This is how we will start eradicating poverty and will help middle class families who were finding it difficult to make ends meet. This is our new middle class.”

Dr Muscat spoke about Labour’s pledge to create employment opportunities in Gozo for Gozitans, saying these would be sustainable and spread in various sectors of the economy.

On the idea of having a permanent link between Malta and Gozo, such as a tunnel, he promised to continue the studies started by the Government on the viability of the project and committed himself to involve Gozitan residents in the decision-making process.

PN is a ‘clique that has lost its direction’

Dr Muscat said the first week of electioneering showed how the PL believed in the potential of the private sector and was ready to work hand in hand with interested companies.

The Government’s reaction to Labour’s proposal was typical of a “clique that lost its sense of direction”.

“I am so convinced that it will be a success that I am taking ­personal responsibility. I got involved in politics to bring about change. I will not do as someone else did, promising a tax reduction but then failing to deliver,” he said, referring to the PN’s 2008 pledge, a measure that was included in the Budget for 2013, staggered over three years.

I am so convinced that it will be a success that I am taking ­personal responsibility

He spoke about the changes he said he brought about through his work at the European ­Parliament, including the removal of tax on satellite TV and VAT on car ­registration.

He again promised to refund the money paid by motorists for this VAT, estimated to amount to about €50 million.

Between chants of “Joseph, Joseph” and the occasional chants of “Viva l-Labour”, Dr Muscat referred to his party’s latest proposal of introducing civil unions for same-sex couples.

He said he was aware that people, especially in Gozo, did not agree with this and he appealed for people to be tolerant. “We should not interfere with people’s choices,” he said.

He used the argument as a cue for the theme of unity that Labour has been driving since the beginning of the campaign.

“This is the time for unity,” he said. “We look forward to a day when Labourites celebrate Independence Day with Nationalists and Nationalists celebrate Freedom Day with Labourites. We listened to you and changed (our party). Now let’s all work together to change this country,” he said, concluding his 30-minute speech under a rainbow.

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