Labour rendered Gozo Ministry ‘a local council’ – Chris Said

Opposition MPs lambast government for its ‘lack of interest’ in Gozo, say €3 million budget increase is related to recurrent expenditure.

Opposition MPs Giovanna Debono, Chris Said and Frederick Azzopardi lambasted the government for rendering the Ministry for Gozo "a local council" and for the "lack of interest" shown on Gozo in the budget.

Addressing parliament, former Gozo minister Giovanna Debono said that while the budget allocation for Gozo increased by €3 million, yet this increase was on the recurrent expenditure.

"In simple words, the increase will finance the salaries, allowances, overtime, bonuses and national insurances of workers employed by the ministry. This recurrent expenditure increased because the number of workers within the Minister's private secretariat increased," she said.

Debono said that the financial estimates tabled by the Finance Minister revealed the government had reduced the funds allocated for projects by over €200,000 while the Eco-Gozo budget was cut by €2 million.

"Funds for the Eco-Gozo now total €1.5 million, a reduction of €2 million from the previous year. This substantial reduction is shameful," she said.

Debono accused the government of being miserly with Gozo, reducing funds allocated for the environment, waste management, housing, general improvements, road construction and improvement of sports facilities.

"The government's attitude was disrespectful towards the Gozitans, insulting their intelligence. The finance minister came in parliament to speak about what he was giving us but in reality he has taken from us more than the government is giving," she said.

On his part, PN secretary-general Chris Said said the government had rendered the Ministry for Gozo a "local council" with the Prime Minister's decision to relieve the Ministry from its education and health responsibilities.

"The Prime Minister's first decision was to dismantle the ministry, removing the two most important sectors. Health and education are now being controlled from Malta and the minister has no say on what goes on in Gozo in these two sectors... a ministry reduced to a local council."

Chris, nisopera li l-hekk imsejjah minnhekk Kunsill Lokali ma jonfoqx €1,000 ghal kull metru biex tirranga triq, Bhal dik ta San Lawrenz. Ma jhallix il-hnizrojiet li kienu qedin isiru fil-Gozo Channel. Majhallix il-fabriki vojta bhal ma gara fi zmienkom. L-erbgha tal-qalba veru gawdew imma il kotra ta ghawdxin ma marrux tajjeb.
Chris, can you see the end of the tunnel? I will not ask Giovanna anything. She has well and truly made it big, but big.
...a local council jiehu hsieb ic-cimiterju ta fabriki li hallejtu intom ta SimonPN: barra id-dejn tal-Gozo Channel!