|Email a link to this item -||Print Story|
“A responsible decision – What’s the best choice for Gozo?” An election message from the Minister for Gozo, Giovanna Debono.
“The general elections do not simply imply a choice between two or more political parties. More importantly they represent a valid democratic tool through which our people elect their parliamentary representatives. However, what’s most important is that, this decision will determine the political fate of our islands for the next five years.
At this stage, it would perhaps be opportune to ask oneself, “Which Government is the best choice for our country?” Gozitans would also do well to ponder, “Under which Government would the island of Gozo fare best?”
The Nationalist Party’s electoral programme is based upon the results achieved up to now. These results gain added value when one considers them within the international economic scenario, which was characterised by a widespread economic crisis, that severely hit bigger and economically stronger countries.
Notwithstanding these extreme circumstances, our Government managed to sustain a strong economy through its wise and timely decisions. What has been achieved strengthens the credibility of our proposals.
In many European countries thousands of students were negatively hit by their respective governments’ drastic measures. Many more thousands, amongst whom pensioners and young couples, lost their dwellings because their incomes decreased and taxes increased.
Not only did we not increase taxes, but they continued to be decreased
The number of students furthering their tertiary and vocational studies was constantly on the increase
The number of Gozitan students at University doubled in the past 10 years
Ten years ago around 60 Gozitan students attended MCAST Centres in Malta and Gozo – today there are almost 500
80 more attend courses at the ITS in Gozo, built through an investment of €2 million
All our students continued to benefit from stipends and smart cards
Gozitan students attending University, MCAST and ITS in Malta had their special allowance increased from around €300 a year to €1,200 a year
These and many other factors compare considerably well within the prevailing international context.
And this does not only relate to education but it can also be said with regards to all socio-economic sectors that directly influence the quality of life of our people. The economic challenges our country faced during the past five years are still there, and might increase. It is thus significantly important that a wise decision is made by the Maltese and Gozitan voters on the 9th March.
The PN’s proposals continue to build upon what has been implemented and the positive results achieved by Government during this legislature. Results that continued to show the wise and able decisions of this government.
Even this time round, the PN is consistent in keeping Gozo at the centre of its political programme, giving particular attention to the smaller island’s challenges.
These proposals will continue to prioritise three main sectors that all have a direct influence on the quality of life of our people:
Employment – Health – Education.
During the past five years, employment in Gozo increased by 6%. This strongly strengthens the credibility of the PN’s proposals of continued job creation and economic growth on Gozo, that are also backed by other incentives, amongst which:
A €200,000 tax exemption over 3 years for all those who start up a business in Gozo
Business licences in Gozo will be decreased to 10% of those payable in Malta
Various advantageous schemes for the Gozitan tourism sector on a wide spectrum
The strengthening of small industry on the island
The establishment of a Business Park for SMEs
The establisment of a Business Centre that will foster new enterprise
Moreover a PN Government will continue with an intensive programme of infrastructural works that will generate more employment for Gozitan workers in Gozo
This latest initiative is also backed by the recent news that 10% of the hefty €1,128million EU allocation for Malta will be spent on projects in Gozo. This will mean more than €110 million or rather eleven times as much as the allocation for Gozo for the first programming period. All this economic activity will result in more projects as well as more jobs.
And this is not an electoral gimmick. It is all backed by factual arguments that are in their turn supported by projects that are there for all to see.
Five years ago they told us that ecoGozo was only an electoral vision. Today those same people are acknowledging that ecoGozo is a good concept and they will “keep working on it.” It’s only a good thing that we didn’t heed their advice, because today we would have been five years too late!
And in this we were not alone. Thanks to the participation of children, youngsters, families, NGOs, Local Councils together with civil society and many individuals who contributed wholeheartedly whilst also co-owning this ambitious project with Government.
Looking back we are satisfied with what we have delivered. A few examples include:
The restructuring of Villa Rundle Gardens
The restructuring of 20 km of new roads across the island – Mgarr – Victoria, Victoria – San Lawrenz, Ta’ Pinu Rd, Xlendi Rd
These roads and other public spaces are being embellished by works of art under the scheme ‘L-Arti fit-Toroq’
The new Civil Abattoir
Intensive works at the Gozo General Hospital resulting in increased health services in Gozo thus reducing the incidence of patients having to travel to Malta for these services
The new Radiology Department as well as the new Operating Theatres have shifted the quality of these services to excellent standards
The extensive refurbishment works in the hospital corridors are giving more than a facelift to the 40 year old building
The new Boys Secondary School has extended Governments ‘a school a year project’ to Gozo
More than €6million are being responsibly invested in the consolidation and restoration of the Citadel walls
We’ve also boosted sports facilities all around the island
We’ve strengthened Gozo’s tourism product working with stakeholders to improve on services and market destination Gozo’s unique characteristics
The Zewwieqa Waterfront is the latest in a series of projects that improve facilities for locals and tourists alike
Others include Three Hills Garden in Marsalforn, and an afforestation programme through which thousands of trees have already been planted, the cleaning of valleys and increase in rain water harvesting
Increased facilities for farmers at the Centre for Innovation in Agriculture and the Environment We’ve helped NGOs and Local Councils to implement various projects in their respective localities
We fostered job creation and other economic enterprise through various EU funded projects
And in the meantime we also made plans and started to implement other projects such as those at the Gozo General Hospital that will include a Mineral Bone Density Unit, a Chemotherapy Unit, a Child Development Centre and a ward for patients suffering from Dementia, apart from the ongoing Carbon Footprint Reduction project at the same hospital through an investment of €5 million.
What we have implemented strengthens the feasability of our proposals. What we are proposing continues to build upon that which we have delivered, notwithstanding the challenges.
A responsible decision on the 9th March will ensure that both our islands will continue to provide a better quality of life for all our people.”
Minister for Gozo.