Justyne Caruana accuses Opposition leader of shunning democratic process on Gozo tunnel

The Gozo Minister said Adrian Delia was going back on his word a few weeks after Parliament unanimously voted in favour of a tunnel between Malta and Gozo

Justyne Caruana , Ian Borg and Felix Busuttil
Justyne Caruana , Ian Borg and Felix Busuttil

Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana accused PN leader Adrian Delia on Monday of turning his back on a democratic exercise by appearing to cast doubts about whether the Nationalist Party was behind plans for a tunnel between Malta and Gozo.  

Caruana was referring to Delia’s insistence during last week’s debate on Xtra, that all relevant studies needed to be published before he committed to a final decision on the Malta-Gozo tunnel.

The Opposition leader’s statements followed the unanimous approval of a parliamentary motion in support of the ambitious and controversial project.

Despite the majority of PN MPs referring to the importance of the feasibility studies on the Gozo tunnel during the parliamentary debate, the government, including the Prime Minister have accused the Nationalist Party of turning their back on their own approval.

“Adrian Delia is going back on his word and also going back on a democratic exercise in the highest institution in the country where he agreed, along with all PN MPs, with the tunnel. Gozitans do not want this inconsistency.

“We put forward the motion in Parliament to see bipartisan commitment, to get the approval of everyone involved so the electorate would know where we stand,” she said, adding that Labour would never take Gozitans for granted.

Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg echoed her sentiments, saying that many global investors were looking at the project.

“We held meetings with some of these investors and told them that there is political consensus on the tunnel. Investors feel at ease when they were told this because it means that no matter who’s in government, the project will be implemented,” he said, adding that the PN’s inconsistency would scare investors away.

Borg confirmed that geological and seismic studies have already been carried out and that they will be published in the coming days. Studies for the Environmental Impact Assessment, he said, were currently being carried out.

“The tunnel now has become a question of credibility. The tunnel will happen—the electorate had taken this decision when it voted for Labour. It is now time for the implementation stage,” Borg said.

Labour MEP candidate Felix Busuttil said that the PN was employing scare tactics.

“Scandinavia, for example, is riddled with tunnels between the islands. The Malta government will no doubt carry out serious studies so the tunnel will be seen to have a transparent and sincere impact,” Busuttil said, adding that Gozitans like himself desperately needed the tunnel.