More Gozitans are expected to be put on the public payroll in the coming weeks after the Gozo Ministry issued a new tender, running at over half a million euro a year, for the manning of three dry-standing facilities that do not need much manning at all, sources have confirmed.
Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri’s latest employment initiative is in the fisheries sector – which is usually run by his arch-rival, former Gozo minister and current Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights Minister Anton Refalo.
The new tender invites private contractors to supply the ministry with full-time personnel to man the dry-standing facilities in Mġarr, Marsalforn and Xlendi.
The three facilities, which were upgraded with EU funds, are small areas on the seaside where fishermen can hoist their boats, usually for maintenance.
They require no real government services apart from the operation of an electrically powered winch that can easily be run by the fishermen themselves.
In addition to flipping a switch to start the winch when a boat needs to be hoisted, which is not a daily occurrence, the tender also obliges the 24/7 personnel to monitor the CCTV system.
For this, the government will pay the winning bidder around €600,000 a year, which will mainly go toward the wages of the new ‘tradesman operators’ and an additional management fee for the company awarded the contract to supply them.
The Gozo Minister has become synonymous with schemes to dish out favours to constituents, maintaining the lead over his political rival Anton Refalo, who is no stranger to deploying such tactics himself.
Dominated by a rivalry between Gozitan Labour ministers who are all vying for the favour of the same voter cohort, the Gozo Ministry has been turned into an unofficial job agency.
Thousands of Gozitan voters are now either employed directly with the government or with private companies contracted by the government.
Employers have complained of their inability to find skilled workers as an unprecedented number of Gozitan voters are now either employed directly with the government or with private companies given lucrative government contracts in security, health, elderly care, cleaning, or the Community Workers Scheme.
Often, most of these employees spend only a few hours at work while earning money through alternative private employment, regularly undocumented, to top up their earnings with a bonus from taxpayers.