Parties exchange arguments
Political attacks flew from both ends in tonight’s Broadcasting Authority electoral debate between the Nationalist Party and the Labour Party.
Representing the PN was deputy leader Simon Busuttil and Minister for Finance, the Economy and Investment Tonio Fenech, who faced off against Labour candidates Gavin Gulia and Adrian Meli.
The PN’s past electoral promises were key points of discussion which remained prominent throughout the debate. Gavin Gulia hinted at the lack of credibility of the PN, describing a number of budgets which have all proposed similar schemes which were never implemented, giving the White Rocks development as a prime example. Discussing the PN’s ‘leap in the quality of life’, he deliberated that the PN has proposed this before every election, but never acted upon it.
Minister for Finance, the Economy and Investment Tonio Fenech rebutted Gavin Gulia’s statement, explaining that Gavin Gulia sat side by side with Alfred Sant when he caused Malta’s economy to crash. “The people know our track record,” he explained, adding that the EU have said that Malta’s economy is doing well. He criticised Labour for not yet presenting their electoral programme half way through the campaign.
Minister Fenech accused the PL’s energy plan of raising energy costs rather than lowering them. Tonio Fenech decreed that the PL have attacked the PN’s projects, yet the PL only have four or five points in each sector. He addressed the tablet debate, indicating that this is part of a whole education programme, rather than a single point as Labour have proposed. “The Labour Party are copying our ideas and attempting to fool the nation into thinking they are their own”. Labours plans will run Malta into a wall, he declared.
Dr Gavin Gulia explained that the PL has been revealing its electoral programme since day one. He attacked the PN mentioning certain forced resignations due to accountability gone wrong and described Ministers as being incapable of accountability, accusing them of using scape goats. He spoke on tourism, arguing that records are only part of the story, stating that the operating costs for hotels are too high.
Healthcare was heavily debated, with PL candidate Adrian Meli assessing the PN’s pledge regarding waiting lists where he explained that the PN failed to keep their Electoral promise. “We have a state of the art hospital, which cannot be utilised due to terrible planning,” he described, posing a question to the PN side; "How much will the PN pay for medicines which are of a different brand to those bought by the Government?”
The PN has a health plan, Simon Busuttil held, stipulating that a Centre for Diabetes will be opened and will be of top EU standards. Responding to Adrian Meli’s argument, Dr Busuttil explained that €15 million are dedicated towards financing people’s medicines.
Adrian Meli quipped that the PN can talk a lot, but don’t listen to the people. He retold the story of a person from Zabbar, who was forced to turn off his water heater as the tariffs are too high. He proceeded to accuse the PN of outright lying. “The NSO shows 7,000 jobs having been created not 20,000”, he claimed, unable to understand where the PN are getting their numbers. Criticising the PN, he defined the PN’s projects as slow, arguing that everything the PN does takes an ludicrous amount of time.
Simon Busuttil said that the PN is a positive Party which will enforce social justice, reiterating that if a particular section of society needs more help, the PN will focus on that sector. He described parts of the PN Electoral programme and explained that there need to be 25,000 jobs created in the coming legislature.