Prime Minister silent on specifics of Cabinet meeting
Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi refused to give the names of other people involved in relation to the oil procurement scandal revealed during the Cabinet meeting, which resulted in the pardon given to George Farrugia.
Dr Gonzi was speaking at a press conference at the PN Headquarters, where he said that with the current Government "nobody plays with fire," further explaining that the pardon was given on the recommendation of the Attorney General. He refused to delve deeper into the issue, only reiterating that he stands by Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Communication Austin Gatt's statement that he never spoke with George Farrugia on Enemalta and oil procurement..
The Prime Minister was speaking about the PN’s proposals on education, where he said that in the coming week, the PN will focus on this topic. He explained that education is the key to the country’s success, emphasising that without education, Malta would not be able to move forward.
The completion of the MCAST campus is a priority, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi announced. He also spoke about Ipads, emphasising that they will be a useful tool in education, adding that technology in all tertiary education facilities will be upgraded.
Dr Gonzi announced that 3,000 people will benefit from scholarships in the coming legislature. He stated that the childcare voucher will be given to parents who are studying as well working parents. He also mentioned the COLA inclusion in stipends.
A PN Government will continue to help private schools as well as church schools the PN Leader reiterated, specifically mentioning possible incentives for parents sending their children to private schools. A capital fund will be created for private schools to invest in facilities, resulting in school prices not needing to rise as they will be receiving Government funds, Dr Gonzi argued.
The Prime Minister spoke of the EU budget, emphasising that the funds which were brought back from Brussels will help build a programme that will help both future generations as well as the elderly live productive lives. He described how Malta, which is no longer classed as Objective 1, managed to receive more funds than before due to the success the country has had internally. The coming five years will be hard, he said, stating that Europe will still be embroiled in a financial storm.
The Prime Minister promised that a school will be built each year, adding that the Handaq school will be finished this year, and by 2014 the school in Hal-Kirkopp will be complete.
The PN Leader explained that when speaking with leaders of other nations, he was told that youth unemployment was on the rise making particular reference to Greece, where youth unemployment has hit 60%. “In countries around the EU there is a reduction in wages and pensions, whilst education is also suffering,” he stated. The Prime Minister described the rise in costs for education abroad, adding that universities abroad have become more expensive, whilst in Malta, "through careful decisions, the country has created enough jobs to prevent unemployment and allowed the islands education system to thrive".
Dr Gonzi spoke of the rapid investment the Government has made in the educational sector, adding that the youth of Malta are celebrating their success. He mentioned that Malta has an 83% rate of students undertaking tertiary education, emphasising that this record was made during a recession. He spoke about foreign investors, who the Prime Minister described as saying that the country produces workers who can help push their companies forward.
When asked about study leave for teachers, Dr Gonzi announced that he does not understand the PL's proposal, emphasising that a number of agreements already exist with teachers.