PN accuses Labour of rehashing its initiatives for local councils manifesto

The ‘socialist party’s’ manifesto contains inconsistencies, proposals presented by the Opposition and proposals introduced under past PN administration

The Labour Party’s electoral manifesto for the upcoming local council elections contains several proposals that were put forward by the Nationalist Party (PN) but rejected by the government, the PN said on Tuesday.

Both parties yesterday launched their local manifestos ahead of the 25 May election, but according to PN deputy leader David Agius, the Labour Party can’t be credible because, above all, it is proposing more responsibilities for local councils, despite the fact that it had rejected the same proposals just a few months earlier.

The manifesto, he said, also includes proposals “have already existed and which removed by the socialist government over the last six years”, and showed that local councils were not Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s “super favourite” thing.

“Not only are local councils not in [the Labour Party’s] heart, but they don’t even know what is going on in this sector when they put forward these proposals,” Agius said.

The PN, he said, was the party that cared, and the one that was being positive and proactive in its campaign.

“Today, we will be focusing on this electoral manifesto by the socialist party, which contains a number of inconsistencies, proposals presented to the government by the Opposition, and initiatives introduced under past Nationalist administrations that were removed and are now trying to be reintroduced,” Agius said.

He added that both the PN and the country were expecting something from the government which might show that it “cares” about local councils. “In reality, when we saw this pamphlet, we truly saw that this government doesn’t believe in local councils,” Agius said. 

PN whip Robert Cutajar said the Labour Party’s manifesto was one that insulted people’s intelligence. He pointed to a proposal for community policing as an example, arguing that it had been proposed by the PN as part of the government’s local council’s reform, only for it to be rejected. 

“The government did not introduce it in the law, we tried to insert an amendment, and to our surprise minister Owen Bonnici and the government voted against this amendment only for it to now find itself into this manifesto,” Cutajar said. 

Another was the introduction of day and night shelters in localities that today don’t have time. Here again, he said the government had refused to include these shelters in their new law.

He questioned why these proposals were rejected by the government, if the Labour Party believed they were good enough to propose in its manifesto.

Cutajar said the manifesto also included proposals for initiatives that had been introduced by past Nationalist administrations and which were removed by the Labour government.

“On public transport, it is saying that it will introduce new routes,” Cutajar said. “Its worth remembering that when we had another operator, up until 2013, we had many routes that travelled to the periphery of our villages and towns.” 

Cutajar said that Malta’s “new” bus operator, Malta Public Transport, had reduced the number of routes upon taking over from Arriva in 2013.

“Does this government know what its doing?” Cutajar said, adding that the PN’s proposal to have a councilor responsible for hamlets was an insult to people living in these areas, given that the government has indefinitely postponed hamlet elections as part of its reform.  

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