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St Paul’s Bay school works halted

Everyone here is trying to guess what is actually going on - parent

Excavated area of new school, FTS billboard and same place with billboard removed.

Excavated area of new school, FTS billboard and same place with billboard removed.

Primary school students from the St Paul’s Bay and Qawra areas who were promised they would start attending a brand new government school later this year will have to wait much longer as the embattled Foundation for Tomorrow’s Schools (FTS) has delayed the project, the Times of Malta is informed.

Although excavation works were completed last year in a stretch of land in Qawra where the new school is expected to be built, work has been halted and left at a complete standstill since last October.

Residents and parents from the area complained to this newspaper that no one knows what is going on and why the large parcel of land “has been abandoned”.

“They (FTS) have now even removed a billboard which said that the new school will be completed by the end of 2017. Everyone here is trying to guess what is actually going on,” a 35-year-old parent of two young children said.

The new St Paul’s Bay primary is one of three new primary schools promised by Education Minister Evarist Bartolo in 2015 and planned to be inaugurated this year.

Government sources told this newspaper that none of the three schools will be completed on schedule.

“The three schools promised by Minister Bartolo in St Paul’s Bay, Marsascala and Victoria in Gozo will definitely not be ready this year,” government officials said.

“Actually, construction work has still to begin on all three schools,” the official said.

Asked on the state of play of the St Paul’s Bay project, a spokesman for the FTS admitted that the school is not on target. However, he blamed tendering procedures for the delay.

“The project has neither been discontinued nor put on hold. The school is planned to be ready in 2018. Time frames depend on when the adjudication process (of the tender) will be concluded and also on whether there will be an appeal or not,” the spokesman said.

Education Ministry sources said that the current situation of the FTS, which has been hit by major scandals in the past months over alleged corruption and fraud by Minister’s Bartolo’s canvasser Edward Caruana, has not helped the situation.

“The sudden departure of Mr (Philip) Rizzo and the claims of corruption was a big setback. Many other officials resigned since last summer and the organisations is almost paralysed,” the sources said.

The building of the three new primary schools, with a budget of €20 million, was announced during the 2015 budget speech.

 

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