PN wants more autonomy for Gozo

Bernard Grech tells Gozitan stakeholders that autonomy for Gozo will ensure key decisions on development will be taken by representatives of the community

PN leader Bernard Grech in Gozo
PN leader Bernard Grech in Gozo

A more autonomous Gozo will ensure decisions linked to planning and development on the island will be taken by Gozitans, Bernard Grech told stakeholders on Tuesday.

The Nationalist Party wants Gozo to be recognised in the Constitution as a distinct region with a governing council elected by Gozitans.

Grech was speaking at a PN business breakfast for Gozitan stakeholders and social partners.

He said that a new PN government will terminate the hospitals privatisation deal with Steward Healthcare and build a new state of the art hospital in Gozo. He insisted a new hospital was a necessity.

The Gozo General Hospital was one of three state hospitals that were given on concession to the obscure Vitals Global Healthcare in a bid to develop the concept of health tourism. However, the company ran into the ground and Steward stepped in to acquire the concession, which it wants to renegotiate with government.

One of the conditions of the concession agreement was the construction of a new Gozo hospital to compliment the Bart’s medical school campus that has been built. However, as yet, no such development has taken place.

Grech said a PN government will commit itself to strengthen the connections between Gozo and Malta by investing in two new Gozo Channel ships – one for passengers and one for cargo – and carrying out all the necessary studies on a road tunnel for an eventual decision that will be taken by Gozitans in a referendum.

The PN leader said Gozitan workers giving a service to the government but employed by contractors will be absorbed into the public sector and the €300 that is today paid to the contractor will be added on to their wage.

Grech underscored the importance of sustainable development in Gozo and said the 10 new economic sectors the PN will target are ideal because they create quality jobs with no impact on the environment.

The PN leader said the important thing was to ensure a future government will have a plan that can be executed because the right investment is dedicated to it.

“Gozitans have to choose between leaving the health sector in foreign hands, an environment that keeps getting destroyed, no plan for traffic management, no serious investment in job creation and no level playing field; and peace of mind that these issues will be addressed by a PN government,” Grech said.

The PN leader will be addressing a rally in Gozo’s main town, Rabat, at 6pm on Tuesday.