The Nationalist Party’s manifesto is best seen as a running commentary, a form of blog where the PN throw in ideas and amend policies after they get some feedback.
The sections on Gozo are particularly weak, just like the list of candidates on the 13th district.
By now everyone has heard of proposal 332 of the manifesto that initially started as a pledge to open a branch of Malta Enterprise in Gozo. When it was pointed out that this office has been open since 1996, they amended it to say that the existing office is ineffective, and they would be making it effective.
But maybe few have heard of proposal 102 which promises the establishment of a GU clinic in Gozo.
A lovely idea! Pity that like the Malta Enterprise office in Gozo, this already exists. It has been in operation since May 2021. The clinic was opened with quite some fanfare and was covered by all news portals. The LGBTIQ+ community in Gozo had also issued a news release.
The clinic was opened with quite some fanfare and was covered by all news portals.
The PN however remain as unaware of this clinic as they were of the ME enterprise. It is a safe bet that they will now quickly amend the manifesto to say that the existing clinic is ineffective and will be strengthened.
Financial assistance for Gozitan students?
It is not so sure what they will do about another proposal about Gozo.
Proposal 327 states that a PN administration will introduce financial assistance for Gozitan students who pursue full-time studies in Malta.
Interesting this one. How does it differ from the already existing “Grant payable to Gozitan Resident Students following Full-time courses in Malta”? This is a subsidy of €500 paid every quarter during each academic year. A total of €1,500 every academic year. This amounts to €1.6 million annual assistance, benefitting nearly 1,100.
Or maybe from the “Additional benefit for Gozitan students to assist with rental costs associated with living in Malta during their period of study”? The benefit is the difference between the rent paid and €900 (per student up to a maximum of three students per apartment) per school year. There is also a lease capping of €600 per month for an apartment that accommodates three adults; €500 per month in the case of an apartment accommodating two adults; €400 for an apartment accommodating one adult.
So, for Gozitans living by themselves in an apartment, the subsidy would be of €1,200 every academic year.
It seems that the drafters of the PN manifesto did not even bother to do a simple Google search to see if what it was proposing already exists. This could either be interpreted as a sign of amateurism in the policymaking process, or a disinterest in the welfare of Gozitans.
Gozitans do not care whether Bernard Grech likes Gozo cheese, like he said he did during his rally in Xaghra. What they care about is who will be there to help the island prosper, and who will give them the opportunity to enjoy the best quality of life possible.