Prime Minister Robert Abela on Tuesday refused to give details on the arrangement which will see the American University of Malta return to the government land in Marascala which was controversially handed to it in 2015.

He promised, however, that the deal would be presented to parliament.

On Monday, Abela announced that the government was revising the land concession as part of a “new vision” for the university project.  The new deal will see AUM keep its Cospicua campus while dropping its plans to build a campus on Outside Development Land at Żonqor, Marsascala as well as plans to build a dormitory instead of a car park in Senglea.

He said AUM will be returning the land in exchange for a campus expansion at Smart City.

The prime minister speaking on Tuesday.

Asked for further details on Tuesday, Abela said he was about to present the draft agreement to the Cabinet and if it was agreed, it would be tabled in parliament.

"Everything will be public, the agreement will be moved for parliamentary scrutiny, there will be no side agreements, we believe in the principle of transparency," he said. 

He said the same applied for the site in Senglea where dorms were originally to be built by the AUM. One of the issues, he said, had been a parking problem.

He said he wanted to see an environmental project for the site, combined with new parking arrangements. 

The government, he said, was sensitive to the people's needs.

A victory for the PN - Bernard Grech

Meanwhile, Opposition leader Bernard Grech on Tuesday said the return of the Marsascala land from the American University of Malta was a victory for the PN and the people. 

“We are happy for the residents of Marsascala, and the population in general, and we hope that all of the land will be given back,” he said during a press conference in Marsascala.  

Grech called on the prime minister to publish the conditions of this new deal. 

He recalled that the Nationalist Party had opposed the handing over of the land from the outset, insisting that it should be left for the people to enjoy.   

"We are achieving results for the people while in opposition,  imagine what we could do once we are in government," he said. 

'Clear that Chris Fearne agrees with Nationalist Party against the marina project'

Reacting to the news that health minister Chris Fearne opposed the Marsascala marina project announced a few months ago, Grech said it was clear that Fearne agreed with the Nationalist Party.

“Welcome on board Chris Fearne, in your position of power, you have the opportunity to push the fight, and make sure the marina does not take place,” Grech said.

“On the other hand we have minister Ian Borg who still wants to continue the project and completely ignores everyone, the same thing Robert Abela does.”

Grech said Abela has two choices, to continue listening to Borg or listen to Fearne, his deputy leader.

“It is clear that there is division in the Labour Party, with U-turns on various decisions. Robert Abela says one thing, and then he changes what he says a few minutes later.”

"We are against the marina, our heart is with Marsascala. We are in favour of the Maltese population and we believe the bay should be enjoyed by everyone, and not just a few rich people," Grech said.

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