The Minister for Gozo Dr Justyne Caruana has launched an open consultation exercise in respect of the Gozo Regional Development Authority, which she said, is fulfilling an electoral promise by this Government.
The Authority will be responsible for the implementation and upgrading of the regional development strategy for Gozo and will include representations from various local stakeholders.
Minister Caruana explained that over the years every government, both before and after Independence, created instruments of governance to give more attention to health and the regional aspect of Gozo.
Dr Caruana said that, key among them were the Gozo Civic Council, and later, the Ministry for Gozo. Apart from these, Justyne Caruana recognised that Gozo also benefited from the devolution of certain authorities in several areas within the central government, and the Regional Committee within the MCESD.
“However, we have now we reached a point where we must go a step further,” stated the Minister for Gozo.
The Minister said that through the Gozo Regional Development Authority, the institutional framework of Gozo will be strengthened.
“Again, the Ministry for Gozo will focus on the political direction within the framework of national policies, but with focus on the special needs of Gozo. This will allow the Authority to institutionalise various roles,” explained the Minister.
Justyne Caruana said that the Authority will ensure that Gozo has a regional development strategy to be reviewed every three years, for the economic and social framework as well as the environmental aspect of Gozo, so that they are constantly updated to changing circumstances and opportunities created.
The Minister spoke about how in the past Gozo had several strategic plans, such as in 2005, the Ministry for Gozo launched a socio-economic development plan of five years, and in 2010 also launched an eco-Gozo strategy, but they have little meaning now, because the people who shaped these policies changed, and priorities also changed, which led to these documents eventually being forgotten.
Dr Caruana said that the main role of this Authority will ensure that this does not happen, “and will offer continuity and coherence in the planning of strategic development.”
The Authority will be responsible for implementing the regional development strategy of Gozo under clear targets linked to predetermined dates, she said.
Interventions were also made by consultants David Spiteri Gingell, Dr. Vanni Bruno and Dr. Gordon Cordina, who all spoke about this Authority from different perspectives, with the aim of conveying the clear message of the importance of this Authority.
During the launch a number of social partners also participated in the discussion, all agreeing unanimously with the concept of establishing this Authority.
The Public Consultation is open until the 3rd of September, details of how to send in submissions can be found here.
Photograph: MGOZ/George Scerri