[WATCH] Gozo permanent link sparks fiery debate between Clint Camilleri and Chris Said

Xtra on TVM | Minister Clint Camilleri and Shadow Minister Chris Said opened fire against each other in a discussion centred around Gozo

Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri (left) and Opposition spokesperson Chris Said (right)
Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri (left) and Opposition spokesperson Chris Said (right)

Thursday’s episode of Xtra saw Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri and Shadow Minister Chris Said go head-to-head on several issues pertaining to the sister island.

Discussions kicked off with Camilleri praising the new fast ferry services connected Mġarr in Gozo to the Valletta Harbour. He said that thanks to the new service, Gozitans currently residing in Malta due to university and work commitments are now considering moving back to Gozo, with plans to use the ferry as a regular mode of transport.

From the Opposition’s part, Said said that the fast ferry is a positive measure, but warned that the Gozo Channel should not be abandoned entirely, emphasising that it still offers an essential service to Gozitans travelling to Malta.

When the discussion shifted to a permanent link between Malta and Gozo, Nationalist MP Chris Said explained that the PN is in favour of a Malta-Gozo tunnel, but believes that a public consultation must be carried out on the project, with the consultation culminating in a referendum on the issue.

Clint Camilleri ridiculed this position, accusing the PN of taking a major U-turn on the issue.

The Gozo tunnel project had received backing from the Nationalist Party, with Parliament approving a motion put forward in 2019 seeking support for the major infrastructural endeavour.

Another hot topic that saw the two MPs butt heads was the crowding out of the private sector in Gozo through increased recruitment of Gozitans in the public service.

Said accused the three Gozitan ministers, namely Clint Camilleri, Justyne Caruana, Anton Refalo, of purposely trying to recruit as many Gozitans as possible into their ministries.

He said that the work being offered in Gozo is precarious, at minimum wage, and is often under the watch of contractors employed by government to outsource public sector work.

“In 2012 the wage difference between Malta and Gozo was €300. Nowadays, it’s €3,500,” Said claimed.

The Nationalist MP also fiercely argued that the Gozo General Hospital should be made public again, after having been sold off to Vitals Global Healthcare and then privatised by Steward Healthcare. 

As part of the privatisation deal, a second hospital was supposed to be built in Gozo.

"We already paid for a second hospital, and they haven't laid a single stone. They haven't even secured the permits to build the hospital," he said.