It is very true that the General Election is nowhere near. You can tell by the reaction to the Budget 2009 by the two 'main' Gozitan entities called:
1) Gozo Business Chamber
2) Gozo Tourism Association
What did these two organisations have to say about this buget? NOTHING! At least up to now: NOTHING.
Did you ever hear about the phrase fart catchers? Well here you have an example!
Usually in the past two years we read a lot of appluads to the Gozo Minister. This time, these businessmen seem not to be effected by the increase of the price of the diesel and petrol. Nor are they showing concern about the massive increase in the water and electricity bills.
well well.... Much can be said about respect and self respect! How can we gozitans expect other to respect us if we do not respect ourselves in the first place?
BUDGET MEASURES EFFECTING GOZITANS: AD'S REACTIONS
At a Press Conference held in Gozo, Arnold Cassola, Chairperson Alternattiva Demokratika, stated that, once again, the measures planned for Gozo lacked precise time frames to indicate the start and expected completion dates of the projected reforms.
Government's declared intention to embark on a reform of the public transport service as a first priority is praiseworthy. However, it is not known when this exercise is due to be finalised nor has any reference been made to the Gozo Channel monopoly which is supposed to end by this year.
I commended the Government on its commitment to develop Gozo's economic activities based on the principle of sustainability and specifically aimed at substantially improving the tourist product. I also praised Government's plans to consolidate the fishing and agricultural sector and the promotion of organic farming. However, against this overall positive background, Government needs to explain why it has not yet put an end to all the speculation about the Ta' Cenc and Ramla l-Hamra projects by declaring its firm and unequivocal rejection of both projects which run counter to any sound agricultural policy. Furthermore, Government has failed to declare its position on the proposed marina and tourist village projects at Hondoq ir-Rummien which surely prejudice any attempt to promote sustainable tourism. Moreover, the new water and electricity bills are going to affect the few manufacture industries left in Gozo as well as the tourist industry.
With reference to Gozo's natural resources, Ireiterated that the Government should do all that is possible to distribute second class water, produced from the sewage treatment plant, to farmers, instead of wasting it by throwing it into the sea. I also referred to the fact that, despite the expenditure of over 6 million euro on Capital Projects, the Ministry did not manage to find the necessary funds to complete the two important roads from Dwejra to San Lawrenz and the main road from the Heliport to Rabat. I augured that Government will not only keep its word to finalise these road projects but also ensure that all the funds allocated are spent with due diligence and will not repeat situations where projects are stopped soon after inception due to lack of funds, as happened in the case of the Mgarr Terminal (from LM4 Million the expenses went up to Lm15Million!).
The Green Party has also noted that, while Government recognises the need for the creation of new jobs in Gozo, it has failed to announce any concrete measures. All that was mentioned for 2009 was a joint action plan between the Ministry for Gozo and Malta Enterprise.
Prof. Arnold Cassola stressed that the only way to create jobs in Gozo is by putting an end, once and for all, to the existing culture of clientelism and by giving due encouragement and assistance to all those, irrespective of their political leanings, who are ready to help in the sustainable development of existing jobs and in the creation of new ones.
Arnold Cassola commented on the effects of the petrol and diesel price hikes and explained how these “will adversely affect Gozitan Workers twicefold”. “Owing to the inefficient public transport service in Malta and Gozo, workers have no alternative but to use their own cars to go to work in Malta at considerable expense”.
Prof. Cassola concluded by strongly recommending that the frequency of the public transport service from Cirkewwa to the University should, at least, be doubled and that the operating hours should be better adjusted. These measures would go a long way in helping to reduce the hassle and stress currently being faced by the over 900 Gozitan students commuting to Malta.