Last Updated on Thursday, 17 February, 2022 at 9:49 am by Andre Camilleri
Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Tuesday that the government will be transparent on the renegotiation of the AUM concession and there will be no “side deals.” On Monday, Abela announced that the government will be taking back land in Zonqor that was previously given to Sadeen Investments to build a campus for its American Univerisity of Malta.
It will also be taking back a tract of land in Cospicua that has not yet been developed by the company, but AUM will be given another site at Smart City to expand its campus.
“I will be presenting the draft agreement before Cabinet and whatever is approved will be tabled in Parliament for scrutiny. Everything we do will be made public. There will be no side agreements. We believe in the principle of transparency. This is our duty.” Asked whether the renegotiation proved that the Opposition and NGOs were right all alone, Abela said, “every agreement will be subject to parliamentary approval, but this is not some form of condemnation of the original agreement.”
“The university project was a good one. We did not want to scrap it. We asked ourselves how we can marry the concepts of education and environment together, and the country’s priorities change.
Abela said that when the deal was signed, the main priority was to boost the country’s economy. “Today, we have a different reality where the economy is strong despite the pandemic, and we also heard what the people were telling us. We might have sacrificed a bit on the environment when prioritising the economy in the past, but we have listened to the people and, in line with our vision, we want the environment to be a top priority.”
The Marsascala local council has welcomed the news that the Zonqor point land that was earmarked for the American University of Malta will be given back to the people. Speaking to The Malta Business Weekly, Marsascala mayor Mario Calleja, said “Naturally, this is very welcome news to the residents of Marsascala and Zonqor. As a council we have asked the government to invest in the former National Swimming Pool in Zonqor, and that the title be given back to the Marsascala Aquatic. “This would be changed and developed into a modern complex so that the Marsascala Aquatic can continue training the aquatic sport in the locality.”
In a general statement, the council said that while it “always understood the need for the country to attract investment and create jobs, the announced decision by the Prime Minister was also taken in light of the new environmental priorities for the country. Together with the Inwadar project that is taking place in the same zone, and with what was announced in the budget will be more than planned, the zone will be given new life with the planting of a large number of trees.”