Published on March 1st, 2013 | by Ivan Martin0
KSU Deputy Leaders’ Debate Closes Off Campus Electoral Activities
KSU hosted the final instalment in a series of political debates held on campus in what has been an informative, if at times repetitive, string of political activities held for the University of Malta alumni.
A jam-packed common room saw all but one deputy leader attend The KSU Deputy Leaders’ Debate- PN Deputy Leader Simon Busuttil expressed his disappointment at the absence of both PL deputy leaders.
“PL has two acting deputy leaders in Louis Grech and Tony Abela, and I can’t believe neither of them are here.” He said.
KSU president, Mario Cachia told insiteronline, “KSU was very disappointed that the PL did not send Mr. Grech or Dr. Toni Abela for the debate.” Adding, “It was quite disappointing that the PL informed us just the day before, that neither Deputy Leader could attend, and they would once again be sending Dr. Owen Bonnici.”
Dr. Owen Bonnici (PL) joined Busuttil (PN) and Cacopardo(AD) for his fourth visit to the common room in two weeks having represented the PL at each campus debate with the exception of the insite Leaders’ Debate. (watch debate here)
Cacopardo discussed the government’s failure to address key issues, which he described as “intrinsic to good governance”.
“In 2008 they (PN) told us they would address public tenders and they didn’t, and now they are avoiding both the whistle blower and party financing issues” , He said.
Cacopardo poked fun at the PN’s recent involvement with local business magnate Zaren Vassallo, “ Now they’re borrowing money from the bank of Vassallo” he said referring to a €250,000 loan from a company owned by contractor Zaren Vassallo to the PN’s company media.link communications, eliciting laughter from the audience and no response from Dr. Busuttil.
Dr. Busuttil discussed the PN’s ‘track record on decision making’ insisting, “It was sound judgment that saw growth in the local tourism industry and allowed for students to enjoy a free university.” Dr. Busuttil went to draw comparison between dire economic conditions in countries such as Spain Italy and Cyprus and that of Malta.
Dr. Busuttil made reference to opposition leader Joseph Muscat’s view of the Cypriot economic model as an ideal, asking the audience “Muscat wanted to do it their way, and we didn’t, now it’s up to you to decide who you think was right?”
Answering a question posed by insiteronline on whether the PL consulted the Malta Chamber of pharmacists on the sustainability of its proposal to deliver medication to elderly, Dr. Bonnici said, “ We already spoke about this proposal to individuals in the medical profession, particularly ex-infirmary staff who are no longer working in this area, and are ready to start re training in order to undertake this kind of work.”
Mr. Cacopardo was the only party representative to take a clear stand on pensions, insisting second pillar pensions are “the only responsible decision”, while Dr Busuttil discussed the PN’s proposal to cover students’ National Insurance contributions towards their pensions.
Cacopardo went on to discuss female participation in the local work force, taking the government to task for particularly low participation rates in women aged over 40: “The employability of women aged over 40 is the direct result of a PL socialist government” was Dr Busuttil’s response.
In a debate organized earlier this week by The Times Dr. Muscat and Dr. Gonzi both catagorically denied the possibility of a discussion on euthanasia.
Insiteronline asked Dr Bonnici whether this position taken by Dr. Muscat is reflective of the PL’s progressive movement, to which he replied, “This is an issue of human dignity. We have always let these things be decided by the people themselves… Look at our position during the divorce debate, same with IVF. I am convinced that Dr. Muscat is a politician who believes in civil rights and has always made his positions very clear.”
Questions from the floor touched upon issues raised by students in previous debates and mostly focused on criticisms leveled by Malta Employers’ Association Director General Joe Farrugia on ‘the political bickering’ over job creation figures.