A heated debate ensued in parliament on Monday between Sports Minister Clifton Grima and Nationalist Party MP Graham Bencini over multiple missed project deadlines, revealed by The Shift, which Grima said were untrue.
The Shift has reported on the Sports Ministry’s failure to adhere to budgets and deadlines for various projects which were supposed to be completed before June’s Games of the Small States of Europe (GSSE).
The projects included an incomplete €16 million pool in Victoria, Gozo, a €3 million tennis complex in Pembroke, a €9 million indoor squash and weightlifting complex in Marsa, and a recently finalised €14 million Cottonera pool complex.
Replying to Bencini, Grima claimed that it was never the plan for the pool in Gozo to be used in the GSSE, failing to address the project’s missed deadlines and ballooning costs, while ignoring all concerns related to other projects.
Bencini called on Grima to “correct” the articles if they were, in fact, untrue.
The new facilities, with construction managed by Sport Malta, were to be used for local athletes’ training ahead of the games and in the GSSEs themselves. Many of the facilities were initially meant to be completed by 2021, leaving ample time for them to be used in training by local athletes, but not one of them met the deadline.
Construction on the pool in Victoria, Gozo, started more than six years ago in 2017 and it is still not completed. Replying to a parliamentary question in 2021, Grima had claimed it would be completed by October 2022.
The projects for the Pembroke tennis complex, Marsa squash and weightlifting complex, and Cottonera pool complex were packaged in a €37.3 million investment by the ministry.
All missed their completion deadlines.
In September, The Shift reported how the Chairman of SportMalta, Prof. Andrew Decelis, resigned just 12 months after taking the helm.
SportMalta officials and CEO Mark Cutajar remained silent on his resignation or who will take his place, fuelling claims of internal conflicts at the government agency.