[WATCH] Muscat ‘personally intervened’ to delay LNG tanker’s berthing, Busuttil claims

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil reiterates that LNG power station was not needed, claims government will announce lower electricity tariffs to disguise tanker’s negative impacts and deceive the country

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil • Photo: Ivan M. Consiglio
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil • Photo: Ivan M. Consiglio
Muscat 'personally intervened' to delay berthing of LNG tanker

The proposed permanent berthing of the LNG tanker in Marsaxlokk, due to have taken this afternoon, was postponed by the prime minister himself because he was ashamed of it and could not face nearby residents, Opposition leader Simon Busuttil claimed today.

Speaking at a PN activity in Marsaxlokk entitled ‘Your security threatened by corruption’, Busuttil said the prime minister’s decision was a last minute attempt to avoid the crowds present from seeing the tanker with their own eyes. Busuttil's comments were later dismissed by the Office of the Prime Minister which, in a statement, accused the PN leader of running a campaign of "lies and fear-mongering" because a project he had previously said was not feasible was being carried out.

Earlier, the PN leader said he would not be surprised if the government were to announce further cuts in electricity bills, arguing that the government would try and make people believe that the LNG tanker was yielding lower tariffs.

"We ask why this government is insisting on building a new power station when the country was already generating enough electricity to cover its needs," he said.

The PN leader claimed that the tanker was due to be permanently moored at Marsaxlokk later this afternoon but he had been informed that Muscat had “personally intervened” to delay this berthing.

Busuttil said it was not true that the new power station was necessary to lower emissions, as told by minister with portfolio Konrad Mizzi, since in that case it would be better to use the interconnector which generated no emissions whatsoever.

However, Busuttil insisted that the reduction in utility tariffs was not thanks to the LNG tanker, but thanks to the savings made from the interconnector, the BWSC plant, and the sharp drop in international oil prices.

“The electricity tariffs should have come down at least a year ago,” he underlined.

Busuttil promised that a new PN government would build the breakwater that the Labour government had promised but never delivered.

The Opposition leader said the PN was giving a voice to the people of Marsaxlokk, Birzebbugia and the south of Malta after they were “taken for a ride” by the government.

Busuttil said Salvu Mallia, present in the crowd, had been right when he had claimed that if the two candelabra were not silver, but fake, chances were really high that even the crucifix between them was fake.

Taking a swipe at former energy minister Konrad Mizzi, Busuttil said the minister was “lying” and “misleading the country”.

"It is not true that the new power station will mean a reduction in electricity bills, since the government had bound itself to buy electricity at 9c6 for 18 years, when he could have spent 3c or 4c off the interconnector."

Busuttil said it was unfathomable that the government had also committed itself to purchasing all the electricity generated by the new power station by Electrogas, whatever the volume.

He said fishermen were now also worried that they would be left stranded outside the port when the LNG tanker would be refueled by a secondary tanker, however long that took.

"My biggest concern is if the tanker poses a safety risk," Busuttil said. "These questions remain unanswered because the government has not yet published its reports. What is government hiding?" he said.

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