Obli­ga­tions of dis­clo­sure

On Mon­day, the much talked-about LNG tanker moored at its quay in the bay of Marsaxlokk.

Malta Independent - - DEBATE & ANALYSIS - Caro­line Galea info@car­o­line­galea.com Ms Galea is a PN Gen­eral Elec­tion can­di­date in the Fourth Dis­trict

Af­ter in­ter­minable post­pone­ments and de­lays, the un­war­ranted Elec­trogas power sta­tion will hope­fully be sup­ply­ing its first power to Malta’s elec­tric­ity grid.

Whilst self- con­grat­u­lat­ing him­self on ‘a splen­did job well done’ Min­is­ter Mizzi em­barked on a damage lim­i­ta­tion ex­er­cise in the hope of quelling some of the seething anger of the res­i­dents of Marsaxlokk and the sur­round­ing ar­eas who have been un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously fooled by this un­nec­es­sary project. The ‘Min­is­ter with­out a port­fo­lio’s lat­est mantra is that the gi­gan­tic gas tanker’s pres­ence in the bay is a ‘tem­po­rary’ mea­sure un­til the pipe­line pops up from the sea, hint­ing that it will be pop­ping up shortly. Al­though, as al­ways, no guar­an­tees or solid in­for­ma­tion were avail­able. And any way it’s the nasty Na­tion­al­ists’ fault that no pipe­line ex­ists!

Now the ur­gent ques­tion most level headed Mal­tese are ask­ing is, now that all the bits of the Elec­trogas power sta­tion are in place, what is keep­ing the gov­ern­ment from pub­lish­ing the ar­range­ments and con­tracts signed in our name? Even more omi­nous is the dearth of facts re­gard­ing safety and health risks and haz­ards sur­round­ing this en­ter­prise.

Last Sun­day, Si­mon Busut­til asked a num­ber of per­ti­nent ques­tions in this re­gard. As is now ex­pected from an ar­ro­gant Labour ad­min­is­tra­tion we now en­joy, no an­swers were forth­com­ing. Some of the most im­por­tant ques­tions that have re­mained unan­swered are the fol­low­ing:

What hap­pens to the ves­sel if it crashes into the De­li­mara rocks dur­ing a freak storm?

Who is re­spon­si­ble for the moor­ing and proper an­chor­ing of the ves­sel?

What hap­pens in case the gas tanker proves too un­wieldy and blocks the turn­ing space of a ves­sel in the Freeport?

What hap­pens if there is a col­li­sion be­tween a ves­sel and the gas tanker? How will gas leaks be man­aged? What are the safe­guards if this takes place?

What hap­pens in case of an ex­plo­sion?

What are the safety pro­to­cols in case of emer­gency?

Are any fire en­gines per­ma­nently sta­tioned at the plant?

Are any fire en­gine tug boats avail­able?

Have the res­i­dents of Marsaxlokk been ad­vised on how to re­act in case of an emer­gency?

It is ev­i­dent that this Labour gov­ern­ment will not be an­swer­ing any of these ques­tions any time soon. This ar­ro­gant and cock­sure gov­ern­ment has dis­pensed with the niceties of open gov­ern­ment on many oc­ca­sions. It has hood­winked us over and over again in fi­nan­cial mat­ters and shady deals. This has prompted many to sus­pect the worst and in some cases the sus­pi­cions have been proved cor­rect. Yet it still re­mains a mys­tery why this gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to be cir­cum­spect in this re­gard.

Who are Mus­cat and Mizzi pro­tect­ing? Why is it nec­es­sary to con­tinue re­fus­ing to elab­o­rate and re­veal the ar­range­ments signed and sealed in the name of the Mal­tese peo­ple? It is the duty of a se­ri­ous and demo­crat­i­cally-elected gov­ern­ment to ad­dress these real con­cerns as quickly as pos­si­ble. Any­thing less will be a de­lib­er­ate in­sult to our in­tel­li­gence and dig­nity.

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