A motion reeking of political opportunism

The motion recently presented by the opposition, calling for the resignation of ministers Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi, Silvio Schembri and Miriam Dalli, was both unjust and reeked of political opportunism when, previously, 81 people had died in tragic accidents at their place of work. 

Not once had a Nationalist government ordered an independent public inquiry and never even bothered to implement reform in the construction sector despite the court’s appeal to do this.

Minister Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi. Photo: Matthew MirabelliMinister Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

But once minister Zrinzo Azzopardi was the one mostly targeted for criticism, as he was the minister responsible for the sector when the tragic death of Jean Paul Sofia happened, I decided to spend time researching the work done by Zrinzo Azzopardi and his team. 

This is what I found:

1. Seventy out of 77 recommendations found in the ‘Quintano’ Report, following Miriam Pace’s tragic death, have been implemented or are in the implementation stage.

2. A new law has been introduced giving the Chamber of Architects new powers.

3. Responsibilities for construction sites were transferred from the PA to the BCA, thus giving the BCA all the power to protect people living in the vicinity of construction sites.

4. Work on the licensing of building contractors had started eight months prior to Sofia’s tragic death.

5. Any project submitted for clearance by the BCA must now include an insurance, otherwise the work cannot start.

6. In collaboration with the Faculty of Law, all the existing laws regarding construction were compiled together, making it possible to identify loopholes which needed to be corrected.

7. From November 1, 2023 no contractor who had failed to apply for a licence for demolition, excavation and construction could continue working in the sector.

8. The regulatory framework for the licensing reform for masons – which dates back 100 years – was completed.

Due to space limitation, I have to leave out more important work which has been done under Zrinzo Azzopardi’s leadership and his hard-working team in just 21 months. Alas, all this work cannot bring back Sofia. But we all hope similar tragic fatalities may not happen ever again.

May I, finally, appeal to the PN opposition to stop using such tragic deaths as a golden opportunity not to be missed, to fish for votes. After all, their past record in the construction sector is something they should be ashamed of, as a number of similar tragic deaths which happened under their watch prove, details of which have already been reported in the media. 

Eddy Privitera – Naxxar

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