Prime Minster Robert Abela has hit out at Opposition leader Bernard Grech for pledging to buy the land at Ħondoq ir-Rummien, Gozo without knowing how much it will cost.
“A newspaper [The Malta Independent] asked Bernard Grech about Ħondoq and he said he’ll buy it if elected to government, but he was then asked how much it will cost and he said he doesn’t know,” Abela said during an interview on ONE Radio this morning.
“Is this seriousness? Can you imagine a regular person saying he’ll buy something without knowing how much it will cost? With Ħondoq, we’re talking about several millions.”
“How can you make promises without analysis and calculations of their impact?”
The local plans, passed by Parliament in 2006, envisage the quaint area as a place where “tourism and marine-related development” will be considered. The landowners, who bought the land in 2002, have since proposed developing the area into a luxury village, complete with a hotel and a yacht marina.
MaltaToday reported today that it will cost the government around €17 million to purchase the land.
In his interview today, Abela said the Labour Party is against the development of Ħondoq but didn’t pledge to buy the land or change the local plans.
“It’s my job to fix mistakes that were made in the past but you need a plan or else you’ll create a basis for failure. I don’t want to take a decision that is destined to fail.”
The Prime Minister also took a dig at Grech’s political advisor Ray Bezzina, noting that he used to be chief of staff to former Resources Minister George Pullicino, who had piloted the local plans.
“One of the people who was involved in the 2006 local plans is now advising Bernard Grech,” he said, without mentioning Bezzina by name. “Is there an ulterior motive why he’s giving this advice?”