On the anniversary of MEPA’s enforcement to stop further construction of a 2-storey concrete building in Dwejra, Gozo, Alternattiva Demokratika celebrated symbolically this “first anniversary of shame” when the Party’s two European Parliament candidates and members of the Gozo Regional Council visited this site.
Yvonne Ebejer Arqueros, AD candidate in the forthcoming elections for the European Parliament remarked: “It is truly shameful that the Prime Minister, responsible for the environment and its impact on the tourist sector, failed to take action to safeguard this unique site in the Maltese islands. On the pretext that the Authorities are investigating irregularities concerning its approved plan, he permits such a scandal to remain stark naked a year later to all the thousands of visitors in guided tours to the Inland Sea”.
The Party’s General Secretary and spokesperson for Gozo affairs, Victor Galea, said: “For one whole year a number of environmental organizations have been appealing to the Prime Minister to settle various issues regarding this officially heralded Heritage Park, intended to be the first of its kind for Gozo”.
“This project stuttered from its very beginning when MEPA took over one and a half years to sanction the Dwejra Action Plan. In March 2007 European Union funds for this project were no longer available. Since then no steps were taken for the continued protection of this site; consequently, we have today a glaring scandal of this advertised heritage zone, listing 80 irregularities ranging from illegal structures, unsanctioned extensions of stone quarries and illegal dumping of construction waste and other refuse on public pathways”.
Dr Arnold Cassola emphasized: “It is absolutely urgent that an illusory Management Board wakes up from its deep slumber, and that site managers are appointed according to the recent recommendations of the European Union which had provided adequate funds for the continued protection of this site. The Dwejra Management Board shoulders a grave responsibility and is urgently requested to settle the issue of this monstrous concrete structure already one year on since MEPA declared these works to be in contravention to its own approval plan.”
“It is unfair that whereas the ordinary citizen faces stiff fines, Government and its affiliate authorities carry on in their routine administrative tasks as if no illegalities did ever occur. The public silently stands to watch these injustices”.
Prof Cassola concluded by saying: “Alternattiva Demokratika again calls upon the Gozo Associations, especially the Gozo Tourist Association and the Gozo Chamber of Commerce to represent, as they are bound to do, the issues that interest Gozo best, to positively criticize where needed and not to prioritise their political alliances at the cost of delayed development of Gozo as a European region”.