TM launches scheme to support EV purchases / Malta News Briefing – Tuesday 21 March 2023

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Updated 1705 – Afternoon Portal Review

TVM reports that Transport Malta has launched a new 15 million euro scheme for the purchase of new electric-powered vehicles, with the aim of continuing to convince the public to invest in more efficient means of transport that cause much less damage to the environment that petrol- or diesel-powered vehicles.

The Times of Malta says that according to Chamber of Architects president Andre Pizzuto, a court ruling that stopped a two-storey Santa Luċija house from being redeveloped into a five-floor apartment block despite the local plans allowing for the height, is “expected to shape future development applications”.

Maltatoday reports that Malta is home to 738 asylum seekers whose applications for protection have been rejected, according to information tabled in parliament.

The Malta Independent was told by MEP Cyrus Engerer that former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s legacy is a strong one, despite the shortcomings on certain issues, adding that these ‘shortcomings’ have been addressed, and the country is moving forward.

Updated 1300

I protected Malta, not Steward – PM Abela: Robert Abela insisted that since being elected prime minister more than three years ago, he has sought to safeguard Malta’s interests and not those of Vitals or Steward Healthcare. “If anyone stood up to Steward in the last three years it was me,” he said in comments to the media. The PM also argued that he took internal decisions when he suspected wrongdoing, indicated that he removed a Labour official in the process, possibly referring to former Health Minister Konrad Mizzi. (Maltatoday)

Keith Schembri instrumental in hospital concession agreement – Steward: According to emails made available by Steward Health Care, Keith Schembri was instrumental in obtaining the company’s acquisition of the contract to manage three state hospitals. The emails demonstrate that the company’s senior executive spoke with Schembri personally throughout talks. Steward filed the emails to the court as part of its appeal against a decision that invalidated the hospital concession contracts. (Times of Malta)

Brigadier Curmi removed from TM CEO: Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi has been removed from his position as Malta’s Transport Malta’s CEO. No details have yet emerged on the reason for the sudden termination of his role, which Curmi has assumed in June 2022, less than a year ago. Previously, he had been in charge of Malta’s armed forces since December 2013, after a series of quick succession promotions, which were the subject of public scrutiny.  (The Malta Independent)

Morning Briefing

Former police officer cleared of rape, guilty of harassment

A court found a former police constable not guilty of raping a female colleague at the Msida police station but guilty of sexually harassing a second woman, a teenage recruit. Consuelo Scerri Herrera compared the station to “brothel” but said that the lax and permissive behaviour there did not necessarily mean there was criminal wrongdoing. She said that the alleged rape victim’s version was not credible and cleared the officer of all charges in her regard. However, the defendant had overstepped the mark when it came to his behaviour towards the second woman, the judge ruled. The constable, whose name was not reported by court order, received a suspended sentence. (Times of Malta)

New Youth Forum to assess impact of new laws on adolescents

Prime Minister Robert Abela has announced the setting up of a youth advisory forum within the OPM. This will serve as a consultancy body for the cabinet when they are discussing topics which would eventually be voted into law. “We must find ways to keep youths not only at the discussion tables but also at the centre of decisions,” Abela said during a special cabinet meeting held at the MCAST main campus in Paola. The cabinet would debate various issues and how they will affect adolescents before making a decision, the PM added, and the forum will convene at least once a month. (Maltatoday)

Maltese will eventually need VISA for UK entry

A visa will eventually be necessary for Maltese nationals to enter the UK. A Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson said that Malta would participate in a plan including other member states that have previously been free from the obligation to obtain a visa in order to enter the UK. According to a report on the national broadcaster, the VISA scheme, which is comparable to the ESTA employed by the United States, will be implemented gradually rather than all at once. (TVM)

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