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