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MW 14 June 2017

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WWW.MALTATODAY.COM.MT WEDNESDAY EDITION €1.00 Newspaper post PAGE 9 • Editorial WEDNESDAY • 14 JUNE 2017 • ISSUE 542 • PUBLISHED EVERY WEDNESDAY AND SUNDAY Arrigo forced to vacate 10th district seat despite objections PAUL COCKS MIRIAM DALLI WITH 55 votes to 21, the executive council of the Nationalist Party voted to ignore a request by its third most-voted candidate – Robert Arrigo – and vacated the seat he won on the 10th district and not the one on the ninth. Arrigo was elected to the 10th dis- trict (Sliema, St Julian's, Gzira and parts of Naxxar) with 4,793 first-count votes, and on the ninth (Swieqi, Gharghur, San Gwann, Ta' Xbiex and Msida) with 2,099 votes. The PN MP told MaltaToday that – like all candidates who were elected on more than one district – he addressed the ex- ecutive on Monday evening and told them clearly he would prefer to vacate his ninth district seat. "But with 55 votes to 22, the executive de- cided otherwise – that I vacate my seat on the tenth district," he said. "This was obvi- ously part of an overall strategy the party has." Arrigo said he had asked that his ninth district seat be vacated because he had been elected on the first count on the 10th with a wide margin and because in the past two elections – when he was also elected on the two districts – he had always vacat- ed the seat won on the ninth district. "I have no animosity and no hard feel- ings, but I must reassure all those people who chose me on the tenth district that I am not going to abandon them or the dis- trict," he said. "In fact, my office in the dis- trict was already open last week and will remain so." Arrigo told MaltaToday that, even as the PN candidate with the third highest num- ber of votes registered in the elec- tion, he still had no say and no vote in the party's decision on which seats to vacate for the casual elec- tions. He would not comment as to why he thought the executive had ignored his request, or if all the candidates who had to give up a seat were treated equally. Prior to Monday's executive council meeting, rumours were circulat- ing that deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami was lobby- ing to retain his seat on the eighth district and vacate the one on the seventh, on the grounds that his family was synonymous with the eighth district. The decision by the PN executive council to vacate the seat won by Robert Arrigo on the 10th district must have been part of the party's 'strategy', the MP claimed, especially since he had asked to concede the seat won on the ninth district PAGE 4 Gozo Business Chamber confirms MaltaToday claims Employee exodus leaves Gozo businesses short of staff YANNICK PACE THE president of the Gozo Business Chamber, Joe Grech, has said that the chamber had been inundated with complaints from business owners who had lost their employees over the past weeks. "We absolutely don't agree with this," he said. "What happened was that the private sector was function- ing and all of a sudden it found itself without employees." Grech was speaking on current af- fairs programme FOCUS on TVM, where he insisted that the government must have a holistic vision for Gozo, with clear targets and "everyone pull- ing the same rope". His comments came in the wake of revelations by MaltaToday, that over 1,000 Gozitans of voting age were recruited to jobs with the govern- ment or subcontracted agencies in Gozo, weeks before the election, leav- ing many major and small businesses short of staff. The employment spree hit compa- nies were mostly involved in manu- facturing, furniture factories and the construction industry, apart from many small enterprises. Just under 150 workers joined the Gozo Channel Company, while a number of others were engaged as la- bourers, security guards, carers and cleaners, working mainly with com- panies subcontracted by government agencies. In some cases, the staff comple- ment trebled in size. A large num- ber, around 200, joined the General Workers Union's jobs scheme while 180 entered the JobsPlus job schemes, with recruitments to the GWU jobs scheme still ongoing on election day. Over 100 new employees from the Gozo ministry were stationed at the Cittadella in Victoria. Their attend- ance was noted by a palm-reader ma- chine, but this was removed after the employees complained about the read- er. Eight full-time employees from the Gozo ministry were also based at the Dwejra heritage site. The government has however denied the allegations. In a short statement on Sunday, it said that it rejected the report completely and that "national statistics, as well as Eurostat statistics will be confirming that the story is in- correct, once the statistics for the first half of 2017 are published".

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