Massive PL poll lead over PN 'completely anomalous' - Joseph Muscat

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said Egrant inquiry major conclusion was that documents were falsified, signatures not only evidence of this

The massive lead enjoyed by the Labour Party, as shown in a recent MaltaToday poll, was a consequence of former Opposition leader Simon Busuttil's behaviour, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said
The massive lead enjoyed by the Labour Party, as shown in a recent MaltaToday poll, was a consequence of former Opposition leader Simon Busuttil's behaviour, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said

Joseph Muscat said the significant increase in the gap between the percentage of people who said, in surveys, including the latest MaltaToday poll, that they would be voting for the Labour Party, as opposed to voting for the Nationalists, presented a “completely anomalous” situation brought about by Simon Busuttil.

Speaking during an interview on One Radio Sunday morning, the Prime Minister said the former Opposition leader’s behaviour had led to the staggering advantage for Labour shown by the survey, which had indicated that, were an election to be held tomorrow, 52% would vote PL, while 27% would vote PN, giving Labour a massive 25-point, or 90,000 vote lead.

Despite this, Muscat said his party remained “the underdog”.

“If you see what happened with the inquiry and so on, had it been the Labour Party who had made [the untrue] accusations about Egrant, there would have been protests in the street. But, because it was the other party doing this, it seems it’s been somehow accepted as having been a mistake,” he said, “This shows we remain the underdog, despite the numbers.”

“The next European Parliament elections will come in the middle of our governmental term, and they are always difficult elections… I will keep working, and, in my opinion, when I am in the electoral playground, the score starts out at nil-nil,” he underlined.

Egrant inquiry major conclusion is ownership evidence was faked

The most important conclusion of the Egrant inquiry was not simply that there was no proof that the Panama company was owned by the Prime Minister, but that any supposed evidence to back this allegation up was falsified, Muscat said.

“The Magistrate didn’t just say there was no evidence that I or my wife owned Egrant. The crucial finding, in my view, was that there were documents which somebody went to substantial lengths to falsify, and this was detected by experts. This is the primary conclusion,” he said, in reference to the declarations of trust which the inquiry conducted by Magistrate Aaron Bugeja found to have contained fake signatures.

Muscat said the signatures were one amongst other indications of forgery, suggesting that the full inquiry contains more evidence that the documents were forged.

“People, on an international level, whom I talk to, tell me of their surprise at the falsification of the documents. This completely exonerates Joseph Muscat and Malta,” he said.

Muscat reiterated that he was “committed to publishing the inquiry”, but he appealed for the police to be “allowed to do their jobs.”

Asked by the presenter regarding the doubts which some people in the Nationalist Party were trying to inject into the validity of the inquiry’s findings, Muscat said this was the “reaction of desperate people - I expected it from day one.”

Gozo Hospital will be on par with Mater Dei

The Prime Minister said he was “very pleased” with the forward strides being made when it came to Barts Medical School in Gozo, underscoring that works at Gozo General Hospital should be ready by the end of September.

“Some of the best medical facilities in the Mediterranean will now be in Gozo,” he said, “I consider the Barts project one which will positively transform Gozo - its effect will be exceptional, and will lead to more people and students living on the island throughout the year. The by-product of this is that the Gozo hospital will be at par with Mater Dei Hospital in Malta.”

“The truth is that, under every administration, the Gozo hospital was left to fall back, but there will now be a quantum leap, and it will be brought up to the same level as Mater Dei. This will also have the effect of lessening the burden on the hospital in Malta, as patients will have the option of undergoing certain procedures in Gozo, if they wish to have less of a waiting time,” Muscat noted.

The Prime Minister also touched upon the expansion, announced this week, in SR Technics’ Malta operation, saying this will entail an investment of €35 million and will lead to the company employing a total of over 500 people.

“The challenge remains finding enough skilled workers, which highlights MCAST’s role in training people,” he added, “You can’t expect to work with SR or Lufthansa if you haven’t attended certain courses, which you can follow at MCAST.”

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