Government seeking public-private partnership for road maintenance, upgrading


The government is analysing methods on how the private sector would be involved in a public private partnership to carry out road maintenance works, upgrading of roads and cleanliness.

Taking part in a political activity at Qawra, Prime Minister and Labour leader Joseph Muscat said collaboration with the private would help with the necessary upgrade required for the Maltese roads.

“I experience potholes like every one of you does. I get stuck in traffic like you do. But we cannot work on a number of big projects at the same time, which would only result in more traffic jams,” he said.

St Paul’s Bay is one of the localities being heavily targeted by both parties. The PL only ever managed to win an election in this locality in 2012.

Muscat said the Labour Party was used to losing council elections at St Paul’s Bay and the 2012 win had come as a surprise. He said, that St Paul’s Bay – which includes Burmarrad, Bugibba and Qawra – offered different challenges to any local council due to the big area covered and the diversity in communities.

“Definitely it is not easiest locality to manage. I don’t think we were perfect but I believe that the mayor and the councillors did their best,” he said, adding that the a local council with a Labour majority would work hard.

On health, Muscat said the list of medicine out-of-stock was drastically cut while eliminating waiting lists with regard to MRI tests. Arguing that Mater Dei was smaller than St Luke’s Hospital, Muscat admitted that the persistent problem at the emergency department and patients placed in corridors – on beds as opposed to stretchers – was a challenge.

Tying the argument with the planned opening of Barts Medical School in Gozo, the Labour leader said a private investment would help the opening of St Luke’s Hospital which would alleviate the pressure from Mater Dei.

“With an ever increasing ageing population, Mater Dei simply cannot cope with today’s demands. A private investment would help us tackle shortage of beds while collaborating with the private to help us make free healthcare more sustainable,” he said.

The government today announced a one-time bonus of €35 which will be given to pensioners, students on stipends, persons on social benefits and full time workers who did not benefit from a tax reduction announced in this year’s budget.

The compensation was announced after widespread dissatisfaction at a 58c cost of living adjustment. The ex-gratia payment will be forked out by the government.

Perhaps a more impassioned intervention was made by Labour MP Joe Debono Grech, who urged Labour supporters to vote for the party’s candidates.

Addressing disgruntled voters, Debono Grech said they had to understand that simply not voting because they didn’t get what they wanted was “a thing children do”.

“If we really love our movement, we should stand behind our leader who is doing so much good for the benefit of all,” he said.