Minister for Gozo, Anton Refalo, said he mistakenly gave information of a “commercially sensitive nature” in parliament in answer to a parliamentary question posed by the Shadow Minister for Gozo, Chris Said.
On 6 October 2015, Dr Said asked for the amount of fuel used by Gozo Channel in the first six months of 2015, as well as the total cost per month and where it was bought from. Minister Refalo provided the information with no qualms.
On 2 February 2016, Dr Said asked the same question, however rather than for six months, for the years 2012 – 2015. In answer, Minister Refalo replied that the parliamentary question asked was of a commercially sensitive nature and, as such, could not be answered. Dr Said put the same question in last night’s question time, and was again given the same answer for a third time.
Earlier in the day, The Malta Independent contacted the Ministry pointing out the discrepancy and asking what had changed from the time of the first question to the second, especially considering that Gozo Channel is a state-run company which has a complete monopoly on the ferrying industry between Malta and Gozo and, as such, information should be readily available to the public in the name of transparency.
Since it is the only company, it stands to reason that there is no competition which the company must hide its fuel acquisition from.
In response, the Ministry for Gozo simply said that the initial information given was given by mistake and it has still been deemed of a “commercially sensitive nature”.