During a press conference this morning at the Citadel in Gozo, Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil said that the PN is the first party in history to issue a special electoral programme for Gozo.
He added that the intention of the Nationalist Party is that Gozo is no longer only the last chapter of the electoral manifesto, but given the attention it really deserves.
The Opposition Leader said that he was bound to these proposals and will ensure that they are initiated in the first hundred days of a new Nationalist Government.
Busuttil stated that last January, when nobody had any idea that an early election would be called, the Nationalist Party had already begun a broad process of Consultation for Gozo, with the suggestions made by Gozitans themselves.
He said that he would forward an amendment in the Constitution in Parliament for Gozo to be given constitutional recognition as an Island Region. He .also said that, with this, a White Paper would be published to create the Gozo Regional Council so that the law passes this year, enabling the Council to start operating by the 1st of January next year.
Dr Busuttil said having the status of a region allows the Gozo Regional Council to apply for a special funding package from the European Union.which could be worth up to € 250 million.
Another proposal mentioned by the Opposition Leader is that the Gozo General Hospital should again be returned to Gozo. He said that the Nationalist Party does not agree with the privatisation of the only state hospital in Gozo.
Dr Busuttil spoke about the fact that a major problem in Gozo is its ageing population, with the increasing risk of it becoming an island for the elderly. He said that the vision of the PN is that Gozo is an island with young people as well and that is why it proposes a scheme to help families to start their new life in Gozo.
This incentive will be launched in the first quarter, with a grant of up to € 10,000 and applies both to those who already live in Gozo as well as those living in Malta, said Simon Busuttil.
“A new Nationalist Government, in the first hundred days, would bring back a maritime service from Sa Maison,” Simon Busuttil said. “Not only that, the Nationalist Government has already started actively working on a fast ferry service between the two islands, so it is working by the end of this year.”
Simon Busuttil said that said that the project of a permanent link between the two islands is not only one for Gozitans but also for the Maltese. “In the first hundred days of a new Nationalist Government, preliminary work will start on this project of national importance.”