Labour leader Joseph Muscat has referred to the government’s appeal for public trust over the contract with St. Philip’s hospital. Muscat said that, similarly, Lawrence Gonzi had asked for blind trust over the power station contract with BWSC, and everyone knows how that turned out. Muscat declared that the Opposition would be ready to support this contract, but only after the government succeeds in showing that this was indeed the best alternative for the country.
During a political activity in Mtarfa on Sunday morning, Joseph Muscat warned that the BWSC saga would not be forgotten after the next election. Those who had pocketed commissions in order to make it possible for BWSC to be awarded the Delimara power station contract against all odds, will be held responsible. “This will not end here”, reiterated Muscat.
Outlining a few of the many faults with the BWSC contract, Muscat explained that the power station had been paid for before it had even been switched on, and now we are being told that it will not be able to operate for some time. Twenty years ago the Delimara plant had been built because the PN government had said that the country could not depend solely on an old power station. Now we are back to depending on the Marsa power station, which could fail at any moment. This would endanger businesses, investment and jobs.
Moreover, the government had even changed the country’s laws on emission in order to award the contract to BWSC, which would operate the new power station on HFO. For years the Opposition had pushed for a national plan for energy, and now it would seem that GonziPN was about to announce the drawing up of such a plan, after having spent millions on a polluting power station.
Similarly, the proposed contract with St. Philips was so surreal that it almost seemed like a movie script. The Nationalist government had spent millions to build a ‘state of the art’ hospital and pushed for the closing down of St. Luke’s. After leaving St. Luke’s in a dilapidated state, the government now wanted to award millions for the rehabilitation of a private hospital, instead of rehabilitating government property.
Labour was not interested who was the owner of St. Philip’s. Labour’s issue was solely with the government. It was the St. Philip’s owner who was trying to politicize the issue. Labour only wanted to make sure that this contract was really the best choice. Apart from the obvious question on the rehabilitation of a private hospital, there were other pertinent questions, such as whether patients will end up for years in a construction site, and how the current parking lot would cater for such an influx.
On the health sector, Muscat also referred to all those medical students who had sat for their interviews and exams in March and June, and who were still unemployed because the government said that he had no funds to employ them, even though the health sector was in dire need of such professionals. Muscat asked, therefore, how at the beginning of this year the government was able to find an ‘extra’ 8 million Euros in the health sector.
Dr. Muscat said that the country was also facing serious instability with the start of another year without an approved budget. The Maltese and Gozitan people wanted justice in a European sense. They were tired of lies and politicians constantly trying to take them for a ride. This was why the country needed a change which would bring about certainty, and a certainty that such a change will occur.