Gozo Ministry ‘rendered a glorified local council’ - PN

Shadow Gozo minister Chris Said says Labour government ‘cannot be taken seriously’ over pledges to improve connectivity

PN MPs Chris Said and Frederick Azzopardi
PN MPs Chris Said and Frederick Azzopardi

The Ministry for Gozo has been rendered “a glorified local council”, doing patching works and other works  usually tackled by local councils, according to shadow Gozo minister Chris Said and MP Frederick Azzopardi.

Said and Azzopardi were addressing a press conference following the budgetary vote on the Ministry for Gozo.

"It is a miserly budget for Gozo and Gozitans," the shadow Gozo minister said, adding that the Gozo Minister had "no plans for EU funds in Gozo".

Said said only two pages in the budget speech were dedicated to Gozo, referring to "recycled measures" with the exception of one measure to carry works on the sidewalk in San Frangisk Square.

Said said that while the government had cut the ministry’s capital vote by €10.2 million, the Ministry had still found the money to dish out to consultants and advisors.

“The ministry has between three to four external consultants on Gozo Channel alone,” Said said, adding that other consultants were on the ministry’s payroll and yet never set foot on the sister island.

The Gozitan MP also said that the government “could not be taken seriously” on promise to improve connectivity and accessibility between the two islands.

“The fast ferry service and the air link have disappeared from the budget speeches and looks like the government has scrapped the idea. Budget 2015 gave the impression that an air link would take place, ‘connecting Gozo to other countries’. This year it however said that it would need to take up virgin land.

Wasn’t that obvious from the beginning?”

Said added he hoped that talks of an underground tunnel “weren’t just gimmick or buying time because the government has not other projects on improving accessibility”.

He insisted that the feasibility study carried out by economist Gordon Cordina had been commissioned by the Gozo Business Chamber and Transport Malta “had absolutely nothing to do with it”.