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Parliament House project delayed, Speaker says MPs have no choice but to continue to meet in old chamber

'I do not think one can even consider a new date before December'

Last updated 7.55 p.m.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Anglu Farrugia, said this evening that in view of delays in the completion of the new Parliament House, MPs had no choice but to meet in the old chamber when the House reconvened on October 13.

Dr Farrugia said he had been officially informed by Infrastructure Minister Joe Mizzi  that the contractor had not honoured his obligations to complete the works by the end of September. As a result the contractor was being fined every day. 
 
Dr Farrugia said his immediate reaction was that once the new building was not ready, migration could not take place and parliament should continue to meet in the old chamber in the Palace.

"We have no choice but to resume our work here (at the palace) and then decide on the migration date in the future following an assessment of progress,” he said. 

Both sides agreed, but Deputy Opposition Leader Mario de Marco regretted that the committee was not being given a detailed explanation today on how and why the project was delayed. A government statement had indicated that such an explanation was to be given today, he said. He asked how long the delay was expected to be.

Dr Farrugia said he had inspected the site several times and, for example, furniture for the new chamber was still not in place and furniture for halls in the third floor had not arrived. He did not think one could even consider a new completion date before December

Carmelo Abela (PL) said furniture did not just mean desks and chairs but also incorporated recording and IT equipment which had to be installed and tested.

Amid heated exchanges, David Agius (PN) said the Infrastructure Ministry had been supervising the works. The minister had claimed in July that the project was on track. Today the ministry was the one which issued the statement saying that the committee was to be briefed this evening on the state of the project. Why had that not happened? All this showed lack of respect for the House.

Deputy Prime Minister Louis Grech said it was the committee which summoned people before it. There might have been a misunderstanding with regard to today's statement.  He agreed, however, that a representative of the contractor and the Grand Harbour Regeneration Corporation should be summoned at the next committee meeting to explain.

He pointed out that the project was originally meant to be completed in November 2012.

The committee agreed that the Infrastructure Minister and the chairman of ofthe Grand Harbour Regeneration Corporation would brief the committee on October 13.

Videos above show the state of the building as seen from the outside.

Earlier today the government announced it had started imposing fines  on contractors over project delays.

In a statement, the government said the contractors had to reach a number of milestones by September 30 so that Parliament could convene in the new building after the summer recess.

But the contractors failed to meet the deadlines. 

The government said the project had fallen behind because of a lack of serious planning under the former administration. 

A copy of the letter where contractors had committed themselves to conclude works by September 30 as well as the formal notification of the GHRC of the fines according to contract can be read in the pdf link below.

Attached files

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