PN will vote against db Group project - Delia

Ahead of Thursday's PA vote, Opposition leader Adrian Delia said he was informed by the PN's representative on the PA Board Marthese Portelli that the project was not within regulations and that she would be voting against it

Adrian Delia said the PN would be voting against the db Group project
Adrian Delia said the PN would be voting against the db Group project

Speaking during an interview with MaltaToday online editor Kurt Sansone, Delia said that “from the information he has” there were aspects of the project that did not conform with the law and therefore that a permit should not be granted.

“From the information I have, which is primarily from Marthese Portelli—our representative on the board—unless the plans change drastically overnight and become according to the rules, I believe—I imagine—I’m almost sure she will vote against the project,” Delia said, when pressed on whether the PN would be voting against.

When asked about convincing the PN electorate on environmental issues, with Sansone comparing them to similar promises made in Joseph Muscat's electoral campaign, Delia replied that it wasn't about convincing but persuading. "The government has hundreds on the waiting list at the Housing Authority," he said, "and it has not built a single apartment." He spoke about the government lacking vision, a government that rode on the wave of what the PN had started. "But there is no fresh new sector in Malta that is sustainable."

Asked whether there would be a moratorium on these policies, Delia insisted that such decisions could only be taken in a dictatorship.  All future projects should be judged against proper regulation.  He said that progress and the environment were many times considered at loggerheads but it is time now to consider the natural environment as an economic motor in itself. 

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"I'm already playing with ideas for mass transportation. In the last five years, the government has not made a single capital investment in the transportation sector," Delia said. "It's the same thing on sustainable energy."

The PN leader pledged to present the country with plans for a mass transport system by the end of the legislature, and in time for the next election, saying that he was not in favour of taxing vehicles or introducing parking charges. 

With regards to Malta's cash-for-citizenship scheme, Delia said that he had personally campaigned to obtain signed petitions to help repeal the legislation. "Malta is not for sale, and, yes, I will remove the passport scheme if I get elected." He assured the audience that though there were people within the party who had made money from the scheme, he was not one of them. "I would never sell my country on principle. Money isn't everything."   

Delia criticised Finance Minister Edward Scicluna for not taking a committed stance despite the EU and the Central Bank sending damning reports about money laundering. 

He also made clear the party's position on the recreational use of marijuana. "I do not even agree with the term recreational. For medical purposes, sure, but not for recreation." Delia argued that this was another scheme on the part of the government to ride on a populist wave especially because the Vote 16 legislation had passed. 

"I visited drug rehabilitation centres," Delia said. "There were many people there who suffered terrible consequences. They hurt their loved ones with what they did. It is not recreational."

The PN leader dismissed concerns over divisions in the party when it was pointed out that a number of PN MPs, including his predecessor Simon Busuttil, appear to be openly denigrating him and his party. He said  he would always fight in favour of freedom of expression.

“That is exactly what we fought for, for one to have the freedom to say when they agree and when they don’t agree. That is exactly what Daphne Caruana Galizia died for, the freedom to criticise in a liberal and modern society, he said.