Robert Abela offers heavy criticism on PN's proposal to purchase Ħondoq area

The Prime Minister hit out against the Nationalist Party for promising to buy Ħondoq land back without knowing its price tag

Prime Minister Robert Abela was scathing in his evaluation of the Nationalist Party's proposal to buy back land in Ħondoq ir-Rummien, questioning how the party could promise to buy something without knowing its price tag.

"I can't understand how someone can say that they're willing to buy something they don't know the price of. It's unbelievable, yet this is the reality," he said in a brief phone interview on the Labour Party's radio station.

On Sunday, MaltaToday revealed that owners of the Ħondoq area have told government that they would be willing to relinquish their rights to the land, but only for a hefty €17 million compensation package.

"We're talking about millions of euro," Abela emphasised. "The Labour Party was always strongly against development in Ħondoq ir-Rummien, but I have to ask - who was the one who changed the local plans to open up the area for development?"

Ħondoq ir-Rummien's area status was changed in 2006 as a result of the local plans drafted by the Nationalist Party. It went from being an designated outside-development-zone (ODZ) to a zone where touristic and marine-related developments may be permitted.

Abela argued that the Labour Party's modus operandi was that of studying and calculating issues at hand, consulting with stakeholders, and eventually making promises for change. "That is why people know where they are with us," he said.

"We promised a fast ferry to Gozo, and last week we launched it. There were challenges, but we succeeded," he said. "We have the credibility to lead this country forward, because with us, you know where we are."

Abela went on to argue that the Nationalist Party faces two problems: that of being "too negative" with government, and a lack of credibility caused by this. "That's the biggest difference between government and ppposition [...] This government has the credibility to solve problems."

On a recent A+ credit rating from Fitch, the Prime Minister said that this offers confirmation that Malta is in good starting position. 

"At the heart of our strategy is that the economy is a tool. It is only a tool which must then serve to enhance quality of life."