People need to know what LNG tanker risks are - Simon Busuttil
“Any risk-assessment reports and studies on the LNG Tanker need to be public.” This was PN leader Simon Busuttil’s call during a political event at a PN club in Luqa. The tanker, which is currently entering Maltese waters, will be anchored in Marsaxlokk Bay and, according to Dr Busutill, this is a “monument to the corruption, lies and deceit” of the current administration.
The publication of any report is necessary because the biggest problem the project faces is the substantial risk to the Maltese population, in particular to the residents of Marsaxlokk and Birgu. He stressed that the risks of anchoring the LNG tanker, no matter how big or small, could cause incalculable consequences.
Dr Busuttil said that any person could assess the risks without a study or report, and that by ignoring the risks, both the Prime Minister and No Portfolio Minister Konrad Mizzi, are behaving “irresponsibly.” Busuttil went on to say that the population could never trust Mizzi, a man who “lied about a secret company he owned in Panama,” to ensure that the tanker is safe. He made it clear that if “they are aware of the risks and continue to be stubborn, he and the Maltese people will hold them responsible.”
The Leader of the Opposition also called for everyone to examine the current situation before the gas-powered station begins operating. He spoke of the BWSC power station in Delimara, a PN project which opened in 2012, and which immediately began to save money and that was able to provide a more efficient service and reduce pollution by 20%.
Busuttil also spoke of the interconnector, which also began under the PN administration, and which was completed last year. He made reference to statistics provided by the NSO showing that since its introduction, air pollution has been reduced by almost 60%.
International oil prices have also fallen by two-thirds since the previous government, the Opposition leader said. Considering this – along with the interconnector and BWSC power station – one can only come to the conclusion that the current reduction in price should be much greater, and that any drop is attributed to the work the Nationalist party had done, he said.
This, he said, raises questions as to why the government would commit itself to purchasing electricity from Electrogas for a period of 18 years at a higher price than electricity generated by the interconnector. The price of electricity is 9c per unit from Electrogas, whereas with the interconnector, the price is 6c per unit, sometimes as low as 3c. He said that the PN will be committed, in future budgets, to buying electricity from where it is cheapest, for the benefit of the entire population.
He said that the government is trying to divert attention away from itself by making a number of allegations against PN deputy leader Dr Beppe Fenech Adami. The Leader of the Opposition categorically denied any allegations and said that if the government really knew of any indiscretions, then that meant it had chosen not to act in the past three and a half years.
The second diversion, Dr Busuttil said, will be in the budget next week, when the government will announce further reductions in electricity and water bills. The government, he believes, will try to attribute such a decrease to the tanker. This, he said, is fundamentally false, and the government should thank the Nationalist Party for their policies which have helped.
“Dr Simon Busuttil is simply being negative again,” a PL statement said in a reaction to Dr Busuttil’s speech. The Labour Party said that the Leader of the Opposition is being “bitter” and is looking to “divide people” on a budget that has not even been introduced.
The Labour Party said that Dr Busuttil is “closed in his own political establishment and does not know the important issues in people’s lives, which will be addressed in the next budget.”