Further measures needed for Gozo to improve connectivity – Zammit Dimech
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“The Government needs to build on big achievements made in the connectivity sector,” MEP Francis Zammit Dimech said.
The MEP was speaking ahead of the Gozo Carnival Weekend, when thousands are expected to cross between the islands
The MEP added that the news that the Maltese Government intends to re-start the helicopter service between the islands of Malta and Gozo is a positive step. “However the Government should take other measures with immediate effect,” he added.
These include the introduction of the fourth car passenger vessel, the introduction of a fast-ferry service and the reintroduction of the discontinued cargo service, he said.
Zammit Dimech explained how other islands in the Mediterranean with a smaller population than Gozo, had a higher pro-rata frequency of crossings between the bigger and smaller island.
He also pointed out that it was crucial for the frequency of crossings to increase, and to do so, such aforementioned measures were needed.
The former Minister for Transport and Tourism remarked that it was important for the Maltese Islands to have a long term connectivity strategy.
The MEP commented that “connectivity should not be an issue of supply and demand. It is an issue of ensuring accessibility.”
“The Labour in Government has wasted 6 years to take concrete steps to improve the connectivity of the islands,” he said.
Zammit Dimech spoke about how “between 2000 and 2002, Nationalist Party administrations had built three car passenger vessels: Ta’ Pinu (2000), Gaudos (2001), Malita (2002), and later in 2012 upgraded Ta’ Pinu to a double decker to facilitate the crossings between the two islands.” He also referred to the EU-funded terminals at Cirkewwa and Mgarr.
The MEP also referred to the digital telephony system he had introduced in the Maltese islands and which was “first introduced in Gozo.”
“This too improved the connectivity of the island. In this regard, he said, that it was crucial for Gozo to have the second fibre optic link without further delays to ensure that Gozo can ensure growth and attract new jobs which are sustainable and which leave little environmental impact on the island,” said Zammit Dimech.
Photograph by Alain Salvary