Bud­get 2017: Cauchi and Thake have their say on party lead­ers’ up­com­ing re­ac­tions

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Gabriel Schem­bri

Par­lia­men­tary ses­sions next week will be dom­i­nated by one thing, and one thing only: the Bud­get. One could be for­given for think­ing the sub­ject that has dom­i­nated the last week has been ex­hausted, fol­low­ing the 141-page doc­u­ment pre­sented by Min­is­ter Ed­ward Sci­cluna on Mon­day, but the cli­max will be reached the week af­ter.

To­mor­row, the Leader of the Op­po­si­tion will present his re­ac­tion to the bud­get and the Prime Min­is­ter will make his re­ply the next day, on Tues­day. From that ses­sion on­wards, prac­ti­cally tak­ing up the the rest of Oc­to­ber, Par­lia­ment will be dis­cussing bud­get pro­pos­als, one sec­tion af­ter another.

The Malta In­de­pen­dent on Sun­day asked the two par­ties what they ex­pect to hear from their po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents.

Labour Party CEO Gino Cauchi said that Dr Busut­til’s speech will con­firm the PN’s neg­a­tiv­ity, in­con­sis­tency and bit­ter­ness. On the other hand, PN Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Rosette Thake said the PN ex­pects Joseph Mus­cat to ex­plain what his vi­sion for the coun­try truly is.

What fol­lows are their replies.

Gino Cauchi - Labour Party Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer

“With­out a shred of doubt, we will wit­ness a speech that will once again prove that Dr Busu­till is a cham­pion of in­con­sis­tency, neg­a­tiv­ity and bit­ter­ness. It would be wish­ful think­ing to be­lieve oth­er­wise.

“Si­mon Busut­til has no plans, no ideas and his only nar­ra­tive is to be com­pletely neg­a­tive and ut­terly bit­ter. He has been all over the place on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions, shoot­ing from the hip. But he to­tally brushes off ques­tions re­gard­ing peo­ple around him, most re­cently in re­gard to Beppe Fenech Adami and To­nio Fenech. It is ironic to see him do this, es­pe­cially when one re­calls the tenac­ity he showed when speak­ing about Gov­ern­ment or Labour of­fi­cials where he acted as both judge and jury at the same time.

“It will be in­ter­est­ing to see Dr Busu­till call on the gov­ern­ment to fur­ther re­duce elec­tric­ity costs, when he him­self called the low­er­ing of costs a gim­mick whilst be­ing part and par­cel of the pre­vi­ous Na­tion­al­ist ad­min­is­tra­tion. In­con­sis­tent.

“His only idea is to keep gen­er­at­ing our elec­tric­ity by us­ing heavy fuel oil while keep­ing an en­tire coun­try hostage, at the mercy of fuel price fluc­tu­a­tions. In­con­sis­tent.

“The tanker. Marthese Portelli en­vi­sioned a dis­as­ter like Ch­er­nobyl. Now he can look it up the re­ports that this Gov­ern­ment, as promised, has pub­lished, un­like what used to be the norm be­fore, where noth­ing was ever pub­lished. The stark re­al­ity is that he is against gas con­ver­sion, against in­vest­ment and, ul­ti­mately, against the peo­ple, par­tic­u­larly those who live in the South: in­con­sis­tent and neg­a­tive.

“We will lis­ten to the Op­po­si­tion leader speak­ing about poverty, even though he made part of a gov­ern­ment that didn’t recog­nise the prob­lem to be­gin with, by call­ing this re­al­ity merely a ‘per­cep­tion’. In­con­sis­tent.

“It will be even more in­ter­est­ing to lis­ten to him speak about the low­er­ing of uni­ver­sal suf­frage, amongst other ideas, ideas he left out from the elec­toral man­i­festos he penned. In­con­sis­tent.

“We will look for­ward to his speech, a speech that will con­firm once more, that there is only one choice: this Gov­ern­ment’s roadmap and Joseph Mus­cat.”

Rosette Thake - Na­tion­al­ist Party Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral

"As a Mal­tese cit­i­zen, I ex­pect that, first of all, the Prime Min­is­ter is hon­est and gives a truth­ful pic­ture of the daily re­al­ity of Mal­tese fam­i­lies. As clearly ex­plained by the Leader of the Op­po­si­tion last Mon­day, the bud­get failed the Car­i­tas test, as fam­i­lies who have seen a huge in­crease in their ex­pen­di­ture in the past three years are to­day worse off than three years ago. There­fore, I hope that the Prime Min­is­ter, first of all, ad­mits this re­al­ity and finds a so­lu­tion to this grow­ing chal­lenge in our coun­try.

“Also, I ex­pect the Prime Min­is­ter to ex­plain why he is keep­ing en­ergy costs high, when civil so­ci­ety is con­stantly putting pres­sure for these to re­flect the de­crease in the in­ter­na­tional price of oil, and the sav­ings made via the in­ter­con­nec­tor and BWSC Power Sta­tion.

“The Prime Min­is­ter should ex­plain his vi­sion for the coun­try, some­thing which was com­pletely miss­ing in the bud­get pre­sented by Min­is­ter Sci­cluna last Mon­day. I also ex­pect the Prime Min­is­ter to ex­plain his con­crete pro­pos­als on how he, as the per­son lead­ing the coun­try, is to solve the grow­ing prob­lem of traf­fic con­ges­tion.

“The Prime Min­is­ter should not re­sort to per­sonal at­tacks on the Leader of the Op­po­si­tion, and other mem­bers of the Op­po­si­tion, as he has done dur­ing past bud­get speeches. This is un­be­com­ing of his po­si­tion.

“How­ever, hav­ing fol­lowed Mus­cat for the past eight years since he has been Party Leader, I am con­vinced, that once again, he will fail – both through his words and more so through his ac­tions – to ad­dress the daily chal­lenges faced by Mal­tese fam­i­lies.”

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