Labour should be given another mandate to run the country – Sant
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The Labour Government should be given another mandate to run the country, MEP Alfred Sant said today.
He added that since he started to follow economic developments in Malta “very rarely did we attain the current momentum.”
The Maltese MEP said he always believed that if Malta were to make radical reforms in its economic and social management, it needed to reach and sustain real growth in the range of 3 to 5 per cent per annum. “That has happened in the recent past. In coming years, we need to maintain this growth rate,” he said.
Dr Sant remarked that, “naturally, the question that dominates the thinking of one and all during an election campaign is: who’s going to be the winner? In today’s race, my conviction is that the Labour Government should be given another mandate to run the country.”
He went on to say that “another important question remains: What is going to happen at the end of the campaign as a new government is being constituted? There will still be three weeks to go before the end of the Maltese presidency of the European Union. They’ll be over in an instant. After that, the challenge will remain of how to sustain the current economic upsurge. Since I started to follow economic developments in Malta… and really, I wouldn’t like to count all the years I’ve been doing this… very rarely did we attain the current momentum.”
The two parties are proposing substantial investment programmes in infrastructure, chiefly transport. The Maltese MEP continued, “that is as it should be, though one would perhaps have expected a greater emphasis on education, where we still lag, compared to other European countries.”
“It is probable however, that there will be less European funds available for Malta to implement the projects being envisaged,” Dr Sant said. “The economic improvement of the last few years has upped our status among countries which are doing well.”
“So, we will lose a proportion of the funds allocated out of the “cake” of “cheap” EU monies. One other reason is that with the departure of the UK from the EU, the general flow of financial contributions at the disposal of the Union will diminish. The British are (or were) the second most important contributors to the European budget,” added Dr Sant.
He went on to say that the ironies of political life almost never cease. “The PN is proposing that for the stricter control of corruption, a special investigative magistrate is appointed with greater powers of inquiry and if I understood well the proposal, with his/her own resources to look into matters.”
D Sant stated, “this is the same project which the then Labour administration was guiding forward between 1996 and 1998. A draft law had been prepared. Personally, I always considered there is no better way by which to organise with some success, the fight against corruption and the abuse of state power.”
The Maltese MEP said that at the time, “the PN was totally against. Confidentially, I got to know that it had sent “envoys” to ensure that a wide ranging resistance to the proposal would be mobilised. And curiously, almost on cue, the message came back from the judiciary that it was not in agreement with the idea, which caused it discomfort. Likewise from representatives of lawyers. They all wanted the idea dead and buried.”
The excuse, Dr Sant said, “was that the proposal was not consonant with the structures that regulate the administration of justice and the judiciary in our country – and with the inter-relationship between prosecution and defence.”
“The PN has now itself come up with the same proposal.” Dr Sant asked, “what has changed structurally since 1997?”