‘Do not bow to pressure on LNG power station,’ Busuttil urges ERA

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil says minister Chris Cardona should resign over news that a delegation he led spent over €700 in alcohol in Dubai

Simon Busuttil: 'Corruption is the present government's rubber-stamp'
Simon Busuttil: 'Corruption is the present government's rubber-stamp'

The Environment Resources Authority should keep the interest of the public in focus on Monday when it decides whether to approve the development of the LNG power plant in Delimara, Opposition leader Simon Busuttil said today.

Busuttil, who was being interviewed on Radio 101 on Sunday, called on the ERA board members to base their decision on the interests of the public and not of prime minister Joseph Muscat, who appointed them.

“If ERA chairman Victor Asciak feels there is too much pressure being placed on them, he should step aside, but he should definitely act in the public’s best interest at all time,” he said.

Busuttil also called on Prof Alfred Vella, Rector of the University of Malta and a member on the ERA board, to do what was right on Monday.

Busuttil says the PN was awaiting Monday's decision before deciding what action to take
Busuttil says the PN was awaiting Monday's decision before deciding what action to take

He praised Engineer Arthur Ciantar for deciding to file a judicial protest against ERA, holding it responsible for any damages that may occur in case of an accident involving the LNG tanker.

“The government should be ashamed of using the Department of Information to attack a private individual who had the courage to stand up to be counted, and decided to act on his opposition to the government’s plans and actions,” Busuttil said.

The Nationalist Party was awaiting tomorrow’s decision before deciding what action to take, as it was hoping the ERA would act in the public’s interests, he said.

Busuttil said this week had been characterised by news that minister Chris Cardona and his entourage spent €756 on alcohol during a two-night delegation stay in Dubai.

“This is more than the minimum wage and the pension that thousands of people receive every month, and yet this minister, a deputy leader of the Labour Party, spent all this money on alcohol in only two days,” he said.

Corruption is the present government’s rubber-stamp and will be what people will remember the government of Joseph Muscat for, Busuttil said.

This was clearly another case that warranted the minister’s immediate resignation, and the prime minister should take immediate action, he added.

“I also expect a full investigation on all the trips Chris Cardona made to determine how much he spent on alcohol and other stuff,” he said. “This was, after all, only one random case investigated by the National Audit Office, which revealed such blatant abuse.”

In the case of education minister Evarist Bartolo, Busuttil said the Nationalist Party would not let the matter drop, or fade into the background, no matter how hard the minister tried to ignore the questions put to him on the behaviour of his canvasser, Edward Caruana.

“Bartolo had been the first to say Konrad Mizzi should have resigned, but is now choosing to do nothing, even after it has been revealed his canvasser is building a block of apartments in Gozo, and after he had been made aware of claims of corruption against Caruana,” Busuttil said.

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