The Malta Independent 22 February 2020, Saturday

BA debate: PL and PN candidates question each other’s credibility on environment

Monday, 6 May 2019, 23:00 Last update: about 11 months ago

Labour Party, Nationalist Party, Moviment Patrijotti Maltin, and Alleanza Bidla candidates all sparred over environmental issues during a Broadcasting Authority debate, with Labour and the Nationalists both questioning each other’s credibility about the topic at hand.

PN MEP candidate Michael Mercieca said that Malta’s environmental performance had decreased drastically across the board since the Labour party took power six years ago, citing Malta’s performance in the recycling sector – where the country is miles short of the EU stipulated target of 50% - as an example.

PL MEP candidate Joseph Sammut however disputed this claim, saying that the Labour government had inherited the problems that the PN had left it.  Sammut spoke of various measures that the government had implemented or was in the process of implementing, such as free public transport for students, waste separation schemes, and a commitment to turn Malta into an electric car island, citing them as examples of the government’s credentials in this sector.

Asked by moderator Mario Xuereb about the latter proposal, and what would happen once the government would lose the €150 million revenue that it gains from taxes on fuel, Sammut said that this was why the government had a surplus.

Sammut also noted that the Labour government had closed the Marsa ‘cancer factory’, an assertion to which Mercieca replied that the pollution removed by closing this factory was being put back into the country’s air through more traffic.

A number of other subjects were discussed, including agriculture, which Mercieca said had been forgotten and thrown by the wayside by the government, fisheries, the effect of population, and hunting as well, wherein Sammut said that the then PN government had gone behind the backs of hunters and trappers and that the Labour government had secured a “victory” in obtaining a derogation for the trapping of Song Thrush and Plover.


Patriots blame over-population for environmental problems

Moviment Patrijotti Maltin candidate Simon Borg was vocal in blaming the country’s over-population for its environmental problems, saying that the “invasion of the country” is pushing us to build a concrete jungle everywhere you look and to continue eating away at the little open space that the country has, aside from also resulting in the explosion of waste and traffic problems.

Many people hold the belief that the Patriot’s movement is something of a one-issue party, but Borg rebutted this saying that they had a manifest with proposals including an insistence on a European living wage, that every foreign criminal should be deported and that the Maltese agricultural and fisheries sectors should not be allowed to die a “natural death”.

This being said, the negative effects of over-population remained the crux of Borg’s arguments, saying that the party would work to convince Europe that Malta is “full-up”.

“An economy based on the number of foreigners is suicide; it needs to cater for 400,000 Maltese first – that’s what Malta F’Qalbna and Flimkien Ghal-Pajjizna should mean”, he said.


Alleanza Bidla with four priorities

Alleanza Bidla’s candidate Rebecca Dalli Gonzi said that the party had four priorities going into this election that they wanted the people to keep in mind; health, the future generation, quality of life, and money in people’s pockets.

She reiterated these four points throughout the debate, whilst also noting that the over development that is taking over the Maltese islands is affecting the everyday lives of people.

She assured that the party will fight for EU funds to be used on decent housing, and proposed an EU funded fish farm set up which is away from tourist areas.

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