Busuttil challenges government to publish power plant contract

PN leader challenges Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to publish contract signed over new Delimara power plant before European elections 


Nationalist leader Simon Busuttil
Nationalist leader Simon Busuttil

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil today challenged Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to publish the deal signed last week by his government over the new Delimara power plant.

Addressing a PN activity in Kalkara, Busuttil said the PN “wants to know the whole truth” in regards to the Delimara power plant which will tie down the country for 18 years.

Despite the prime minister's initial denial, the government signed the first tranche of the Delimara gas plant contract on Friday last week. The consortium ElectroGas has so far entered into a share purchase agreement to acquire a 30% stake in Enemalta’s special purpose vehicle Malta Power & Gas Ltd (MPGL).

Gasol, the West African power company that forms part of the ElectroGas consortium, announced that it had purchased the 30% stake in MPGL, to own and operate the LNG-to-power project.

Explaining that the country will be purchasing half of its energy from the same company for 18 years, Busuttil asked why the government signed a deal behind closed doors.

“I expect government to be transparent. I challenge government to publish the contract immediately before the 24 May elections. When things are not transparent it raises questions and doubts,” he said.

On the LNG storage vessel which government originally sought to anchor inside the Marsaxlokk harbour, Busuttil asked “why is the government pondering whether to berth the LNG tanker outside the harbour? Why did the government sign a secret deal to have the tanker anchored inside the harbour when it is now considering having an offshore terminal?”

He added that this exposed the government’s attempts to “fool” the electorate in the run up to the European elections, warning that the Labour government “uses and disposes” of people according to its political expediencies.

Echoing one the opposition’s main themes in the European elections campaign, Busuttil said “these elections are an opportunity to send a message to this arrogant government. Send a message by not voting for Joseph Muscat.”

In reaction to government’s refusal to table the whole contract it signed with Henley and Partners in Parliament, Busuttil reminded that the international company, which administers the controversial citizenship for cash programme, had bank rolled political; parties abroad and asked  “how can government claim to be transparent, serious and honest? If government refuses to publish this contract it could well mean that government has something to hide.”

Hours after the latest tragic incident in which asylum seekers lost their lives while attempting to reach Europe by sea, Busuttil said that “everyone expects Europe to help Malta” however he said that Muscat’s government had done nothing since taking office on the matter.

Admitting that previous Nationalist government’s “could have done more” on migration, Busuttil stressed that the PN would never resort to bullying tactics. Referring to Muscat’s failed attempt to push back migrants to Libya in June 2013, Busuttil asked “does Joseph Muscat believe that push backs are the solution?”

Pointing out that Muscat was “more concerned with image rather than substance” he called on government to address migration seriously, adding that the opposition was prepared to cooperate on finding a lasting solution.

Turning to the civil union bill, on which the opposition abstained because it disagreed with the introduction of adoptions by same-sex couples through the civil unions law, Busuttil asked why prime minister Joseph Muscat did not grant his parliamentary group a free vote.

“Did anyone within Labour’s parliamentary group disagree with Joseph Muscat? Was anyone scared of voting against the bill?” Busuttil asked, while explaining that the opposition abstained because it disagreed with lumping civil unions and adoptions in the same law.