[WATCH] Abela digs his heels in, insists Steward carried out investments

The Prime Minister said the Opposition's behaviour in Parliament was undignified and appealed to PL supporters to show composure in face of provocation

Prime Minister Robert Abela said the Opposition's behaviour was typical of their arrogance over the last 10 years (Photo: PL)
Prime Minister Robert Abela said the Opposition's behaviour was typical of their arrogance over the last 10 years (Photo: PL)

Prime Minister Robert Abela insisted that Steward Healthcare carried out several investments into the three state hospitals but promised that if excess money was paid, this would have to be refunded.

During an interview on One Radio on Saturday, Abela said that the behaviour of the Opposition during Thursday's heated parliamentary debate on the concession of the three state hospitals to Steward Healthcare was undignified.

“This was the typical arrogance of the Nationalist Party of the last 10 years, despite the many messages that the electorate continuously sent them,” Abela said.

On Thursday, the Opposition stormed out of parliament and boycotted the vote on a motion it proposed to condemn the Steward hospitals deal, after the Speaker allowed the government to put forward an amendment outside its allotted time.

The PM said this was an antithesis of a debate and that the PN’s behaviour was not worthy of the highest institution in the country. “I appeal for composure in the face of the provocation displayed by the Opposition in parliament and outside.”

The PM said that the three priorities for the government would be to provide the best healthcare service, build a new government-led hospital in Gozo, and that acute healthcare services would be provided by government.

Abela turned his guns on Steward and said that if it results that services for payments made to VGH and Steward were not provided, the government will go through the legal means to recover them.

He also mentioned that he wrote to the Auditor General, requesting an investigation into the PN’s allegation that the government paid €400 million to Steward Healthcare and received nothing in return.

Abela promised peace of mind to patients and medical workers and that the transition from Steward back to state services would be “seamless” and that the services would not be interrupted.

“Despite Steward’s abandonment, we are committed to preserving and safeguarding the national interest,” Abela said. “If any promised services were not provided and if excess money was paid, they [Steward] would have to refund it,”

Abela said that the PL government did not act like the PN government, which according to him, gave a waiver to Swedish company Skanska for the building of Mater Dei hospital with substandard concrete.

He also called out former PN leader and victor of the hospitals' concession saga, Adrian Delia, for acting as a legal consultant to the company during the 10 years during which they were building Mater Dei.

“At the time, he abandoned the national interest and only safeguarded the interest of a company that gave us a sub-standard hospital,” Abela said.