PM ‘amazed’ at Opposition’s vote against Sadeen campus

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat claims Opposition and PN leader Simon Busuttil have a lot to answer after its vote against the development of a campus in Cospicua

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has claimed that the Opposition has “a lot to answer for” after its representative on the board of the Planning Authority voted against the development of a campus in Cospicua.

Speaking on One Radio, the prime minister said the vote by Ryan Callus – who along with the NGO representative voted against an application by Sadeen Construction Group for the development of a campus on the site of the British building in Dock 1 – was “puzzling” as it meant that the Nationalist Party was against the regeneration of Cospicua and investment in the south.

“I fail to understand how the Opposition reasons. I am amazed how it could vote against the regeneration of a historical heritage and how it voted against investment in the south. The Opposition has a lot to answer for and it must now face the people of the south who have longed for investment in the area,” he said.

Muscat’s remarks came in the wake of the Planning Authority’s approval of an application by Sadeen Construction Group – the Jordanian developers behind the contentious American University of Malta at Zonqor Point - for the development of a campus on the site of the British Building in Dock 1 in Cospicua.

The application was approved before the presentation of a master plan for the whole site and before the approval of the planned development on the rest of the Dock 1 site, given to Sadeen by government, leading to the Opposition’s representative, Ryan Callus, to question the “preferential treatment” shown to Sadeen Group.

Nevertheless, in his comments, the prime minister today insisted that Callus’s vote meant that the Nationalist Party was against the regeneration of Cospicua which had been promised by successive PN governments for years, only for it to be constantly shelved.

The Prime Minister also said that the investment by the Sadeen Group came about because the government was not afraid to take decisions. He explained that foreign investment in Malta has increased by €680 million in this legislature, which in turn led to Malta registering a drop in deficit without having to increase taxes.

Defending the introduction of a new planning  amnesty which foresees the regularisation of illegalities against the payment of a fee, Muscat said this measure was based on “common sense” and aimed to help families who could not dispose of their property because of minor infringements.

He also underlined that this amnesty would not be extended to illegalities in ODZ land.

The PL leader also said that the European Commission’s approval of a Development Bank in Malta,  a government-owned bank which will finance small businesses and infrastructure project, will be a legacy of the government.

Earlier, the prime minister expressed solidarity with the victims of the Italian earthquake and his pride in the Maltese volunteers assisting in the rescue efforts.

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