The Gozo Ministry has dismissed concerns that a tender for Gozo Ferry workers is a smokescreen to provide jobs to voters in the hotly contested electoral district.
Speaking to Lovin Malta, a spokesperson said that the issuing of the tender is periodical and had nothing to do with an impending election.
The tender, which expires on 27th January, is looking for a third-party contractor to provide seamen for the State-owned enterprise.
The newsroom reported how many within the electoral district are concerned that the tender could be used to curry favours and votes ahead of this year’s general election.
This is not the first time that jobs for votes became the name of the game in Gozo, where the power of incumbency plays a crucial role in the election on the 13th district.
In 2017, there were claims that almost a thousand Gozitans were recruited to jobs with the government or subcontracted agencies in the months before the June election. Daphne Caruana Galizia suggested that hundreds were employed through the Gozo Channel.
Figures released by the NSO show that over the election season in 2017, between April and June 2017, public sector full-time employment increased by almost 500 jobs.
Meanwhile, the government’s own financial estimates reveal that Gozo’s public service wage bill shot up 40%, from €19 million in 2013 to €27 million in 2021.
By the latest September 2022, Prime Minister Robert Abela will need to call an election. Rumours have suggested that an election will take place between March and May of this year.
What do you think of the claims?