Standards Commissioner finds no wrong-doing in rental of Downtown Hotel as a home for the elderly
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The Commissioner for Standards in Public Life has concluded that the Government renting the Downtown Hotel in Rabat, Gozo to be used as a home for the elderly was neither an abuse of power nor a breach of ethics.
The hotel was rented in 2020 as a precautionary measure against the Covid pandemic.
The Commissioner reached this conclusion after considering a complaint forwarded by Professor Arnold Cassola against the Minister for Gozo, Clint Camilleri.
The complaint was based on allegations the hotel had been rented in an abusive manner because the Government already had suitable properties built on Government lands such as the Lourdes Home managed by the Dominican Sisters. It was alleged this was more adapted to be used as a home for the elderly and was less expensive than renting the Downtown Hotel.
The Commissioner concluded the decision had been taken by the Cabinet and that the Lourdes Home was actually the property of the Dominican Sisters and not the Government.
The Sisters said this Home was not adequate as a home for the elderly and they were not disposed to offer it ti be used thus.
The Commissioner concluded thus the Lourdes Home was not a suitable alternative to the Government’s decision to rent a hotel and there was no basis for an examination of a direct order having been made.
This is even more so when one particularly considers that ‘direct orders’ are permissible in certain circumstances and the country was in an emergency mode to safeguard public health and safety.