[WATCH] Developers extend olive branch to PN: 'Let’s start rebuilding bridges'

Malta Developers Association president Sandro Chetcuti tells PN leader Adrian Delia it is for the PN to adopt a pro-business approach • Chetcuti says bridges with business were burnt under last PN government

MDA chairman Sandro Chetcuti on relationship with PN

All political parties should be pro-business and should not set their sights on businesses solely for political gain, the president of the Malta Developers Association said today. 

Sandro Chetcuti, in a meeting between the MDA and the Nationalist Party, said that if the government of the day was pro-business, other sectors, like pensions, employment and education also benefited. 

"We are here, and this is a state of fact [he quipped], open and willing to build bridges with the opposition and the PN and we believe in establishing a strong dialogue with you," Chetcuti told PN leader Adrian Delia.

The meeting took place at PN headquarters in Pieta. Speaking to the media aftrerwards, Chetcuti said that meeting Delia was a positive step towards rebuilding a constructive dialogue between the MDA and the PN.

He lamented the fact that the last PN government had turned its back on business and said he hoped the new leadership would once again realise the benefits that being pro business could mean to the country. 

"We as an association need to mend our public image but we also insist that our sector stop being used as a political tool when it suits political parties," Chetcuti said.

Chetcuti insisted the industry could flourish and be a bigger bonus for the economy than it already is if it were left to function within regulations.

"We have enough expert and responsible architects, designers and planners... We also have willing investors and developers ready to commit to the long term prosperity of the industry and the country," Chetcuti insisted.

Delia said that the recent decision by the PN to withdraw its support for an early pensions scheme for MPs was proof how, even from the Opposition, the party could influence decisions taken on a national level. 

Delia said that it was high time that a serious dialogue on the sector be launched for a long-term strategy to be agreed upon. 

"Our second focal point as a party is the need to safeguard public land, which is at a premium," he said. 

Delia said he did not agree that government compete with the private sector, whatever it may be. 

With regards to rent, and rising prices, he said that it was imperative that the reason for the skyrocketing prices be identified. 

"Any solution will need to safeguard the interests of the property owners but we must also provide good value for money," Delia said. 

He insisted the government, and not the industry, had the responsibility to assist those who could not afford fair rent prices. 

"We need to understand how we can start a dialogue with developers even from the Opposition," he said. 

Chetcuti said the association was open to a frank discussion with the Opposition, as it was with any interested party. 

"People seem to be under the misconception that development must necessarily be in conflict with the environment or that it is the cause of poverty," he said. 

Chetcuti said the MDA was open to discuss long-term strategic planning, as long as all regulations in place were also respected or renegotiated in the best interest of all parties involved. 

The country had, unfortunately, lacked serious long term planning for decades, and many people were still sceptical if this would work.

Video is unavailable at this time.

The meeting continued behind closed doors.