Said insists on probe about Labour’s ‘work for votes’

Outgoing PN Secretary General Chris Said calls on police to investigate allegations that Gozo ministry carried out works in private properties; says Giovanna Debono’s work ‘should not be forgotten’

Outgoing PN secretary general Chris Said has called on the police to investigate allegations that the Gozo ministry carried out works in private properties on the ministerial budget for constituents.

On Sunday, PN news organ il-mument claimed that the police investigated several allegations that the Gozo ministry was carrying out private works using the public funds, this time under Labour’s watch. The new allegations include a concrete platform at a Marsalforn restaurant; work at a property owned by an Anton Refalo canvasser, as well as works in private properties in Ghasri, Xaghra, Ghajnsielem, Munxar and Victoria.

Said – who in the wake of Giovanna Debono’s resignation has been tasked with making “Gozo the PN’s natural home again” – insisted that the Gozo minister is not above the law.

“Just as the Nationalist Party expected the allegations made against Giovanna Debono’s husband to be investigated, we now expect the claims against Anton Refalo to be investigated also.”

“The law is equal to everyone and we will not allow anyone to escape justice. We also expect clear explanations on the declaration of assets and make sure that he [Refalo] is scrutinised,” he said.

Said’s remarks come in the wake of the resignation from the PN of former Gozo minister Giovanna Debono, who is now an independent MP following her husband’s arraignment over the Gozo ‘works-for-votes’ scheme.

Paying tribute to the former Gozo minister, Said insisted that Debono had taken the “most honourable decision,” arguing that her resignation ensured that no shadow would be cast on the party during her husband’s court proceedings.

“What Giovanna Debono did for Gozo and the Gozitans should not be forgotten,” he said.

Said also argued that following Debono’s resignation, someone had to fill her void, and this is why he accepted to focus his attention on Gozo. Said’s appointment as shadow minister for Gozo comes in the wake of the Nationalist Party registering a decrease in votes and is seen as a way to make Gozo the party’s “natural home again.”

Undeterred by the daunting task, Said insisted that this is a familiar feeling, as in 2013 he had become the party’s secretary general at a very difficult time following the PN’s electoral defeat.

“Just as being the PN’s secretary general was difficult, my new challenge is not easy either. The registered considerable decreases in voters and there are many reasons attributable to the result. The will analyse the reasons and will address them,” he underlined.

“The party was in dire straits, and it needed to be rebuilt. I knew what I was getting myself into, and that I had to take unpopular decisions, but we managed to rebuild the party. I spent many sleepless nights pondering about the decisions that had to be taken, but if no decisions were taken the repercussions would have been very serious,” he said.

More in National