MaltaToday, 20 Feb 2008 | AN deputy leader attacks MIDI, defends VISET

NEWS | Sunday, 20 February 2008

AN deputy leader attacks MIDI, defends VISET

Azzjoni Nazzjonali (AN) deputy leader Anglu Xuereb yesterday accused authorities of allowing the MIDI consortium to make “massive changes” to the original development plans for Tigné Point, as outlined in the site’s original tender brief.
In his attack, Xuereb also criticised MIDI by making a comparison with VISET the consortium responsible for the Valletta Cruise Liner Terminal project, partly owned by Xuereb himself.
“MIDI have completely ignored the specifications and conditions of their tender,” he said. “Now that the development is planned to be increased by more than ten-fold, the impact on infrastructure and the nearby residents is going to be much higher.”
Criticising the development for ignoring specifications that were originally earmarked to attract and service tourism, Xuereb said “the development of residential units is much more lucrative and bears a quicker return on investment when compared to tourism related projects or office blocks.”
Turning his guns to the Environment Minister, Xuereb said that, “he (George Pullicino) had the cheek to admit that MIDI is developing higher storeys because of the restoration of Fort Manoel. Is it possible that the Minister doesn’t know that the restoration of Fort Manoel was part of the development brief, together with Tigne’ Fort and five other Tigné barracks? The barracks were not even restored, but demolished and instead of a two storey building we now have a 14-storey high-density development.”
Referring to statement issued by MIDI in which they defend themselves by making a comparison with VISET, Xuereb said: “MIDI should know that there is a huge difference… If MIDI had to pay the same rent as VISET, then MIDI on a total of 500 apartments they should be paying something in the region of €35 million to the government. MIDI’s project is on a freehold title and a complete real estate with a quick return, while the VISET project is an infrastructural project on a temporary lease from which the whole Maltese economy is gaining,” adding that VISET forfeits 10% to 15% of its turnover to government.
Asked whether he was also speaking on behalf to other shareholders in the VISET consortium, Xuereb said “I am representing the interests of the Party here. I have only made a comparison because in a statement, MIDI mentioned VISET.”
He concluding by stating that he does not feel in conflict discussing the project, in spite of having submitted an application when the tender process for the development of Tigné point had opened. “I could have spoken about this before, when I submitted the tender,” he said. “We felt that it was a fair deal.”

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