Muscat: Government energy plan to implement reform, ‘not blame others’

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat says Monday's parliamentary debate will serve as platform to highlight government’s fulfilment on its electoral promise • Calls on next Archbishop to walk down the same path and keep the Church out of partisan politics

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has this morning argued that tomorrow’s parliamentary debate on Malta’s energy plan would serve as the perfect platform to highlight the government’s fulfilment on its electoral promises.

Addressing the party faithful at Mgarr, Gozo, the prime minister argued that despite missing the March 2015 deadline for the new gas-fired power station in Delimara, the government will “implement reforms, and not blame others.”

Following Muscat’s admission of the delay, the Opposition insisted that the prime minister must give an explanation on what has been described as a “dragging saga,” and consequently demanded a parliamentary debate.

Undeterred by Monday’s parliamentary debate on the delay of the new power station, the prime minister argued that even though the government will miss its deadline, it would nevertheless deliver on its electoral pledges.

“This was the government that reduced energy tariffs for private consumers, and in March, it would do the same for businesses,” Muscat insisted while reassuring the crowd.

“Everyone knew of Enemalta’s dire situation, including [former finance minister] Tonio Fenech who was prepared to sell it for €1. However, we are not here to blame others, but to tell the country that we have a solution, and implementing reforms,” he said.

Taking a swipe at the Opposition, Muscat said the PN is failing to understand that utility tariffs were reduced, and that this government will still make headway in its energy plan. 

“The government is committed on implementing what it pledged, and the forthcoming budget is the next step to making sure that these promises would be fulfilled,” he said.

Moreover, Muscat denied that the Petroleum Division had been transferred off Enemalta in secret, insisting that the announcement were made in Parliament by Energy minister Konrad Mizzi.

Praising outgoing Archbishop Paul Cremona for “keeping the Church out of partisan politics,” the prime minister insisted that Cremona’s successor should follow suit.

“While the Church under Cremona intervened in important public debates, he always kept out of partisan politics.”

“This type of leadership augured well in such a crucial moment for the church, and I hope that the next leader will walk down this same path because the effect of the Church’s interference in politics are still being felt today,” Muscat said.

Gozo will be a priority, and will no longer play second fiddle - Muscat

Turning his attention on Gozo, the prime minister stated that Malta’s sister island “will no longer play second fiddle, but will instead be a priority.”

Highlighting the government’s short-term and long-term measures for Gozo, Muscat argued that 2015 will be “one of the best years for Gozo’s tourism.

“Gozo should be a priority. This year, visitors would have spent a million bednights in Gozo and new businesses were being attracted. Had it not been for the government, it was likely that the film-making would have taken place in Malta.”

“We will use these films as a platform to highlight Malta and Gozo, and the government will in turn strive to enhance the Gozitan product,” Muscat said.

He said the government would now evaluate plans for a cruise liner terminal in Gozo, while studies would be carried out on the feasibility of an airstrip in Gozo.