PN claims Gozo Channel is set for privatisation

PN demands clear answers from the government and asks whether studies have been conducted • Gozo Ministry denies any privatisation plans exist

PN MPs Alex Borg (left) and Ivan Castillo (Photo: PN)
PN MPs Alex Borg (left) and Ivan Castillo (Photo: PN)

The Nationalist Party claimed that it is aware that the government is planning to privatise the Gozo Channel.

During a press conference on Saturday, PN Gozo spokesperson Alex Borg and PN Martime spokesperson Ivan Castillo said that this was worrying for all the Gozo Channel employees and those that used the ferry.

They asked whether any plans had been drawn up to modify the current business model and whether any studies or consultations had been carried out.

“Gozo Channel is the life link between Malta and Gozo, with Gozo residents and those who visit it and do business there depending completely on this essential service.”

“PN understands the importance of the Gozo Channel not only as a business but also as an essential service that sustains Gozitan families. That is why the people deserve to know both the long-term and the immediate plans for the Gozo Channel,” the MPs said.

They asked whether it was true that plans had been drafted to privatise the company and to modify the ports of Ċirkewwa and Mġarr.

“What will become of workers who are employed both directly and indirectly with Gozo Channel? Will Gozo Channel be included in the budget cuts planned by the Government?”

They also asked whether Gozo Channel was destined for the same fate as Air Malta and whether studies were carried out to establish whether this “essential service” needed to be privatised. 

They also asked whether there were any Gozo Channel full-time workers and workers employed through contractors who were doing the same work but were paid differently and had different working conditions.

The PN MPs stressed that in view of the uncertainties that existed in the sector, government had to provide clear answers.

“These answers should also provide assurances for the connectivity between the two islands.”

Gozo Ministry denies any privatisation plans exist

In a statement, the Gozo Ministry denied that any plans were being drawn up for the privatisation of Gozo Channel.

“The Government is committed to provide connectivity, service efficiency and accessibility between Malta and Gozo. This Government, in fact, is committed to continuing investing in the company, which has improved the service in recent years,” the ministry said.

It pointed out that the government had requested the European Commission to allow for more help to be granted to the fast ferry operators and that an application for a Rural Airfield in Gozo had been filed with the Planning Authority.