Cassola asks Standards Commissioner to investigate Gozo direct order

    Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

    Former Alternattiva Demokratika chairman and independent candidate, Arnold Cassola, has written to the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life George Hyzler requesting an investigation into the direct order given by the Gozo Ministry to Downtown hotel. Elderly residents from Dar Sant’Anna at the Gozo General Hospital were transferred to the hotel after an emergency license to operate as a residential care home.

    The transferring of patients allowed the freeing up of beds at the Gozo General Hospital for potential coronavirus patients.

    In his letter to the Standards Commissioner, Cassola referred to reports which indicated that the hotel was awarded a one-year direct order. The government had said that the move was urgent and that the hotel was contracted by “negotiated procedure” rather than a call for tenders. The government is paying more than €54 per bed, per day, a price which includes hospital bed installation and new wiring but not staffing, food and other requirements.

    Cassola noted that the government will be paying around €1.6 million.

    The Social Care Standards Authority found that the premises are adequate to serve as an old people’s home following an investigation.

    Cassola said that the government owned property over which Lourdes Home had been built. The building was given in emphyteusis to the Dominican nuns for a ground rent of €500 annually. The independent candidate noted that the premises had been used as an orphanage in the past and that it had more rooms which were more spacious than the rooms at the Downtown hotel. He explained that the Lourdes Home was better equipped to welcome the elderly.

    The Dominican nuns rent out rooms for €45 per person which includes boarding. Cassola pointed out that the price asked by the nuns per room which includes boarding was cheaper than that negotiated with the hotel.

    Cassola asked the Standards Commissioner to investigate whether Minister for Gozo Clint Camilleri was ethical and correct when choosing Downtown hotel over government-owned property. He remarked that the Lourdes Home satisfied the Ministry’s requisites.