L-IVF mhux kapriċċ: (3) Mill-friża għall-adozzjoni

Tkellimna fuq l-iffriżar.

Alternattiva Demokratika qed tgħid li min għal raġunijiet ta’ kuxjenza ma jaqbilx mal-iffriżar għandu jkollu d-dritt li juża l-IVF mingħajr iffriżar (opt-out etiku). Għandu jagħti struzzjonijiet lil konsulenti f’dan is-sens. Ovvjament il-konsulenti ser ikollhom diffikultá għax mhux trattament faċli.

Min jaċċetta l-iffriżar għandu ftit inqas diffikultajiet imma għandu ukoll responsabbiltá dwar x’ser jagħmel bl-embrijuni li eventwalment jiffurmaw. Li dawn jintużaw mill-koppja stess li tkun ipproduċiethom hi l-iktar soluzzjoni faċli. F’każ li jiġri hekk ma naħsibx li jkun hemm xi diffikultá. Anzi naħseb li tkun is-soluzzjoni idejali.

Il-problemi jibdew f’każ li l-embrijuni li qed jiffurmaw u li qegħdin fil-friża għal xi raġuni (tkun xi tkun) ma jintużawx. Il-Gvern fl-abbozz ta’ liġi qed jgħid li wara ħames snin dawn ikunu jistgħu jingħataw għall adozzjoni.

Il-proposta dwar l-adozzjoni tal-embrijuni mhiex proposta originali. Kienet saret f’rapport ta’ kumitat parlamentari li kien tmexxa mill-ħabib tiegħi t-Tabib Jean-Pierre Farrugia li kien mexxa kumitat parlamentari magħżul (Select Committee) dwar l-IVF fl-2010. Il-Membri Parlamentari l-ohra fil-kumitat kienu t-tobba Michael Farrugia (illum Ministru) u Frans Agius (MP minn Haż-Zabbar)

Din hi proposta li hi tajba fuq il-karta imma fil-prattika ftit tista’ taħdem għax min irid jaddotta m’hux qed jistenna l-IVF. Min imur għall-IVF jagħmel dan għax ikun jixtieq li l-wild ikun ġenetikament parti minnu. Naħseb li hi preferibbli addozzjoni normali milli addozzjoni mill-freezer tal-IVF għax tkun inqas problematika. Allura jkun iktar għaqli li l-koppji li jagħmlu użu mill-IVF jerfgħu huma stess ir-responsabbiltá sħiħa għall-embrijuni li qed jiffurmaw u li jitqegħdu fil-freezer. Dan minnu innifsu jnaqqas il-problema ta’ kumulu ta’ embrijuni li qed jiffurmaw fil-freezer.

Dan ovvjament ma jsolvix kull problema għax dejjem ser jibqa’ każi li dwarhom ma jkunx hemm qbil. Hu meħtieġ diskussjoni iktar fit-tul dwar x’jiġri mill-embrijuni qed jiffurmaw u li jitħallew fil-freezer.

Il-Gvern qed jgħaġġel iżżejjed. Hemm bżonn jieqaf ftit iktar u jisma’. L-abbozz jista’ jtejbu.

 

ikompli : (4) Surrogacy: sostituzzjoni tal-omm naturali

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Pensjoni għall-allat u oħra għall-bqija

 

Darba waħda, Evarist Bartolo kien qalilna li r-Rumani kienu jgħidu li hemm liġi għall-allat u oħra għall-annimali.

Ma kienx hemm għalfejn immorru lura sar Rumani biex insiru nafu dan, għax il-ġrajja ta’ dawn l-aħħar ġranet dwar il-pensjonijiet tpinġi b’mod ċar li anke lil hinn mir-Repubblika ta’ Ruma, ftit l-isfel, fir-Repubblika ta’ Malta għandna pensjonijiet għall-allat, pensjonijiet bla limitu, kif ukoll pensjonijiet għall-annimali, għall-bqija.

L-istorja tas-Sunday Times tal-bieraħ hi gravi, imma fiha żball.

L-ewwel nikkoreġi l-iżball.

Philip Sciberras kien Membru Parlamentari f’żewġ leġislaturi. Tela’ l-ewwel darba f’byelection fl-1979 meta kien irreżenja l-Ministru Ġuże Abela, dakinnhar Ministru tal-Finanzi. Reġa’ tela’ fl-elezzjoni ta’ Diċembru 1981. Total li jaqbez il-minimu ta 65 xahar servizz.

Alternattiva Demokratika hi preokkupata bl-allegazzjoni gravi ħafna li qed tagħmel is-Sunday Times dwar indħil lit-Teżor fl-ipproċessar tal-applikazzjoni għall-pensjoni parlamentari ta’ Philip Sciberras. Jekk dan hu minnu, dan ikompli jżid l-isfiduċja enormi li bħalissa hawn f’dawk li jeżerċitaw il-poter politiku. Min-naħa l-oħra jekk din l-allegazzjoni hi biss qlajja huwa meħtieġ li jkunu ċċarati l-fatti malajr kemm jista’ jkun. Għax mhux sew li jintefa’ l-ħmieġ lejn ħadd.

Qegħdin fl-istat li kull ċaħda li tista’ issir mill-Gvern, ħadd ma hu ser jemmina u dan bħala riżultat tal-iskandli wieħed wara l-ieħor li qed ifaqqsu madwarna u qiesu ma ġara xejn.

F’dawn iċ-ċirkustanzi l-Awditur Ġenerali biss għandu l-kredibilitá u l-awtoritá morali li jitkellem. Għall-kelma tiegħu f’każ bħal dan inbaxxi rasi. Bħalma bla dubju jagħmlu bosta oħrajn.

Għalhekk għada fil-għodu f’isem Alternattiva Demokratika ser nitlob lill-Awditur Ġenerali biex jinvestiga bir-reqqa ċ-ċirkustanzi li fihom ġiet approvata l-pensjoni ta’ Philip Sciberras. Mhux biss jekk kienx intitolat għaliha, imma fuq kollox jekk saritx pressjoni fuq it-Teżor biex din il-pensjoni tingħata.

Nimmansaw is-suq tal-kera

Il-ġimgħa l-oħra 17-il għaqda, prinċipalment attivi fil-qasam soċjali, ippubblikaw dokument importanti intitolat “A Proposal for Rent Regulation in Malta” dwar dak li għandu jsir biex is-suq tal-kera jkun immansat. Dan id-dokument jipproponi li s-suq tal-kera jkun regulat u dan f’kuntest fejn dak kollu li għandu x’jaqsam mal-propjetá f’Malta tħalla jimxi għal riħu għal ħafna snin. Bosta approfittaw ruħhom minn dan u stagħnew inġustament, xi drabi minn fuq il-miżerja ta’ ħaddieħor.

Wasal iż-żmien għal ftit sens ta’ ġustizzja fis-suq tal-kera. Dawk vulnerabbli, bla ebda dubju l-iktar li ntlaqtu mir-rebus li ilu jiżviluppa prinċipalment mill-2008, ilhom jistennew li l-kuxjenza soċjali tal-pajjiż tagħti ftit kaz tas-suq tal-kera.

Il-ħolqien ta’ xibka soċjali, anke fil-qasam tal-kera, huwa prinċipalment responsabbilitá tal-Gvern. Il-Gvern jagħmel dan mhux biss billi jipprovdi oqsma residenzjali affordabbli għal dawk l-iktar vulnerabbli imma fuq kollox billi jiffaċilita l-aċċess għal suq tal-kera mmansat, jiġifieri suq relattivament ħieles imma suq li fl-istess ħin jkun wieħed ġust. Suq immansat hu wieħed li jopera f’parametri ġusti stabiliti mill-liġi: suq raġjonevoli għas-sidien imma ġust ma kull xorta ta’ inkwilin.

Il-mudell propost mill-koalizzjoni ta’ 17-il għaqda huwa bbażat fuq numru ta’ konsiderazzjonijiet bażiċi: id-dritt fundamentali għal post fejn toqgħod, id-distinzjoni ċara bejn id-drittijiet u d-doveri ta’ sid il-kera u l-inkwilin li t-tnejn għandhom dritt għal serħan il-moħħ, li jkun iffaċilitat is-suq tal-kera għall-kirjiet fit-tul, id-dritt tas-sidien li jistabilixxu l-kera inizzjali u l-mod kif din tkun varjata imma dejjem fil-qafas tal-parametri regolatorji intiżi biex jistabilixxu qafas ġust, kif ukoll li jkun iffaċilitat id-dħul fis-suq tal-kera ta’ propjetá presentement vojta għal diversi raġunijiet.

Id-dokument hu qasir ħafna, kull ma fih hu 12-il paġna. Imma hu mimli bi proposti li huma kemm validi kif ukoll li jħarsu fit-tul.

Hu pożittiv li s-Segretarju Parlamentari għad-Djar Roderick Galdes, li presentment qed jagħti l-aħħar irtokki għall- White Paper dwar is-suq tal-kera, meta kien qiegħed jiltaqa’ ma rapprezentanti ta’ dawn is-sbatax-il għaqda indika li, b’mod ġenerali, hu kien f’sintonija mal-għaqdiet fil-ħsieb tagħhom li jinbena mill-ġdid suq tal-kera li jkun jista’ jopera f’limiti ġusti u raġjonevoli.

Roderick Galdes, professjonist dwar l-ippjanar tal-użu tal-art, qiegħed f’posizzjoni unika bħala riżultat tal-esperjenzi inter-dixxiplinari tiegħu, li jassigura li l-politika dwar id-djar tidħol gradwalment fis-seklu wieħed u għoxrin wara li għal madwar tmenin sena kienet miżmuma milli tiżviluppa. Id-dikjarazzjoni tiegħu hi sors ta’ tama għal bosta li wara kollox hu possibli li suq tal-kera immansat jista’ jipprovdi kera ġusta.

Il-proposta fil-qalba tad-dokument tas-sbatax-il għaqda hi dwar il-ħtieġa li l-kirjiet ikunu kollha regolati minn ftehim li jsir bil-miktub. Dan il-ħsieb hu motivat mill-ħtieġa li d-drittijiet u l-obbligi kollha jkunu mfissra b’mod ċar u b’hekk jassigura l-kontroll tal-abbużi kontinwi, kemm mis-sidien kif ukoll mill-inkwilini. Fit-tfassil tal-proposti tagħhom il-koalizzjoni tal-għaqdiet għarblet l-esperjenzi ta’ diversi pajjiżi Ewropej, fejn (ġeneralment) jeżisti suq tal-kera b’saħħtu li hu ukoll wieħed ġust.

Alternattiva Demokratika ilha s-snin tħeġġeg dwar il-ħtieġa ta’ suq tal-kera b’saħħtu għax dan hu kemm ħtieġa soċjali kif ukoll ħtieġa ambjentali. Il-ħtieġijiet soċjali jkunu ndirizzati meta naqbdu t-triq li trid twassalna biex nassiguraw li d-dritt bażiku għal residenza diċenti jkun imnaqqax fil-liġijiet tagħna, kif ukoll applikata fil-prattika. Imma dan iwassal ukoll għal tnaqqis tal-impatti ambjentali tal-industrija tal-kostruzzjoni billi kemm-il darba jkun possibli li l-kera tkun waħda ġusta tonqos konsiderevolment il-pressjoni biex tkun żviluppata iktar art verġni, kif ukoll il-pressjoni fuq iż-żona ta’ konservazzjoni urbana u l-bini protett.

Alternattiva Demokratika taqbel b’mod ġenerali mal-proposta tal-għaqdiet. Sadanittant nistennew il-pubblikazzjoni tal-White Paper dwar ir-riforma tas-suq tal-kera u bla ebda dubju ser nieħdu sehem fid-dibattitu nazzjonali dwar is-suġġett. Għax wasal iż-żmien li s-suq tal-kera jkun immansat.

 

Ippubblikat fuq Illum : 4 ta’ Marzu 2018

 

Taming the Rental Market

The policy document entitled “A Proposal for Rent Regulation in Malta” published last week, has been endorsed by 17 NGOs that are mostly involved in the field of social action.

It is a proposal for rent regulation in a situation where everything concerned with property in Malta is spiralling out of control and has been in this state for a number of years. In the process, many have made lots of hay while the sun shone, frequently at the expense of vulnerable people.

It is about time that a sense of justice is restored in the rental market, and the sooner the better. The vulnerable – undoubtedly the hardest hit in the post 2008 free-for-all – have been patiently waiting for the country to listen to its social conscience regarding the rental market.

The creation of a social safety-net, even in rental matters, is primarily government’s responsibility. The government fulfils this not only through the direct provision of affordable housing to the most vulnerable, but also by facilitating access to a tamed rental market to the rest – a market which ought to be relatively free but fair at all times. A tamed market operates within reasonable and just limits: reasonable for landlords but also for a wide range of tenants.

The model proposed by the 17 NGO coalition is founded on a number of basic considerations: the fundamental right to a home, a clear demarcation of the rights and duties of landlords and tenants – both of which have the right to peace of mind, enhancing the long-let rental market, recognising the landlord’s right to establish the initial rent and its variation within a fair regulatory framework and incentivising entry into the rental market of property that is currently vacant for a variety of reasons.

The document is short and very brief, being just 12 pages long, yet it is brimming with far-reaching proposals.

It is encouraging that, when meeting representatives of the 17 NGOs, Parliamentary Secretary for Housing, Roderick Galdes – who is currently applying the finishing touches to a long-awaited White Paper on the Rental Market – indicated that he was generally on the same wavelength in seeking to reconstruct a rental market which operates within acceptable and socially fair limits.

Thanks to his inter-disciplinary experiences Galdes, a land-use planner by profession, is in a unique position to ensure that housing policy moves gradually into the 21st century after having been restrained for the past 80 years or so. His declaration is a source of hope to many that affordable housing can co-exist with a tamed rental market.

The central proposal of the NGO’s document is the need to ensure that all leases are drawn up in writing. This proposal is motivated by the need to clearly spell out rights and duties of both landlords and tenants, thereby ensuring that any abuse (by either) is, if possible, nipped in the bud. In their proposals, the coalition of NGOs drew on the experience of a multitude of other European countries where a healthy and (generally) fair rental market has been in existence for years.

For years, the Greens in Malta have been advocating the need of a healthy rental market, as this is both a social and an environmental necessity. Addressing the social necessity will ensure that we embark on the road which will lead to ensuring that the basic human right to having a decent home is entrenched in our laws and, hopefully, meticulously applied. This will also lead to a reduced environmental impact of the part of the construction industry, as the adequate development of a fair rental market will eventually decrease development pressures on virgin land as well as on urban conservation areas and protected buildings.

Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party is generally in agreement with the NGO Coalition’s proposal. We look forward to the publication of the White Paper on the reform of the rental market and will definitely be actively participating in the ensuing national debate.

Taming the rental market is a long overdue objective that should be relentlessly pursued.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday – 4th March 2018

After Wednesday’s earthquake: civil defence

 

 

On Wednesday an earthquake of 4.4 magnitude on the Richter scale was reported in the Maltese islands. As far as we are aware no damage was caused, yet it would be appropriate to consider a number of relevant issues.

Are we prepared for the consequences of a much stronger earthquake which would cause considerable damage including the potential death of a substantial number of persons?

Around two years ago, the Civil Protection Department (CPD) in conjunction with the Sicilian counterparts carried out an earthquake simulation exercise in Gozo which, undoubtedly, provided CPD personnel with valuable experience. It is not known if the department has been involved in any subsequent exercises, either locally or abroad, nor is it known if any specific operational changes were implemented by the CPD as a result of the lessons learned in the 2015 exercise.

It is, however, pertinent to point out that it is not only the CPD, the Police, the AFM and the Health Authorities that need adequate and continuous training to cope with the aftermath of a strong earthquake in the Maltese Islands. In addition to the operators of the different sectors of the infrastructure (energy, water, transport) the civilian population should also receive training for this unlikely eventuality.

Simulation exercises involving the civilian population are necessary as they would develop at local level an ability to manage a disaster. We need to start from scratch in building up a civil defence corps worthy of the name, coordinated and trained by the CPD but based in each locality in Malta and Gozo.

It is a responsibility which, together with adequate resources, should be assigned to local councils under the watchful eye of the CPD.

This would be the appropriate way to build up an adequate general level of preparedness for disaster management. The involvement of the local councils would also ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable members of our communities are addressed. Specific protocols need to be developed and tested in conjunction with local councils regarding the assistance required by children and those who are bedridden or disabled. Catering for all disabilities is an indispensible prerequisite and this requires trained personnel to which the CPD currently has little if any access. It is an easily identifiable deficiency that needs to be addressed forthwith.

Those in charge of disaster management in time of need require the ability to communicate with people having impaired hearing. Is anyone at the CPD, the Police, the AFM or the Health Authorities able to communicate in sign language? Addressing this communication deficiency on the part of the authorities is required not just to ensure that Malta is adequately prepared for disaster management, it is also an everyday deficiency that every authority in Malta that offers a direct service to the population at large needs to address. With around 500 known Maltese with impaired hearing and a number of others who could have remained below the radar, this is an issue that is manageable primarily at local level.

The CPD is one of the youngest departments and to date it has given sterling service in fire-fighting, managing pollution and providing assistance required as a result of flooding after heavy storms. We look forward to the next step in its development: ensuring that training in disaster management is an integral part of the services of local authorities.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday – 27 August 2017

Id-demm ġdid tal-PN

Kemm ilhom ħerġin l-allegazzjonijiet dwar Dottor Adrian Delia, wieħed mill-erba’ kandidati għall-Kap tal-PN, uħud qieshom waqgħu fil-muta.

Meta tqis li t-tip ta’ “provi” li qed jiġu ppubblikati huma tal-istess kwalità ta’ dawk li rajna fl-iskandlu tal-Panama, malajr tintebaħ għalfejn dan is-skiet.

Għax jekk dwar Konrad Mizzi, Keith Schembri u Joseph Muscat ġustament intqal li dawn kellhom jirriżenjaw dwar il-kumpaniji sigrieti, Dottor Adrian Delia jmissu jmur jistaħba malajr kemm jista’ jkun meta tqis il-gravità ta’ dak li qiegħed jingħad dwaru.
Imma, bħal dejjem, f’Malta, kollox ta’ taħt fuq, naddattaw ruħna skond min ikollna quddiemna. L-attitudni hi: “tagħna tajjeb, imma ta’ ħaddieħor ħażin. Għax jekk għal ħadieħor xejn m’hu xejn, aħna mhux anqas.”

Xi tfisser, allura, it-tolleranza żero għan-nuqqas ta’ serjetà?

L-aqwa li Dr Delia bħal Konrad Mizzi talab verifika (jiġifieri audit). Bħal dak li qallu li l-verifika fiċ-ċirkustanzi ser tħassar id-dubji u t-tħassib.

Issa l-eżistenza ta’ kont bankarju, kemm f’Malta kif ukoll barra, qatt ma kienet il-problema. Hu l-użu li jsir minn dan il-kont bankarju li jista’ jkun il-problema. Dan hu l-każ tal-kont bankarju f’Jersey li fid-dokument ippubblikat iġib l-isem ta’ Adrian Delia, probabbilment meqjus bħala kont bankarju għan-nom ta’ klijenti (għalkemm dan xejn mhux ċar mid-dokument ippubblikat fejn jidher li hu kont personali).

Ma hemm xejn ħażin li professjonist jamministra fondi tal-klijenti tiegħu. Dan isir il-ħin kollu.

L-allegazzjoni gravi dwar Adrian Delia mhiex dwar l-eżistenza ta’ kont bankarju amministrat minn professjonist biex jamministra fondi ta’ klijenti, imma li dan il-kont kien qiegħed jintuża għal ħasil ta’ flus li jidher li kienu ġejjin mill-prostituzzjoni. L-istampa kollha għad mhiex magħrufa. Bħas-soltu toħroġ bis-sulluzzu. Nittama biss li tkun l-istampa kollha li toħroġ u mhux biss il-parti li jkun jaqbel.

Din l-allegazzjoni ġiet miċħuda minn Adrian Delia. Imma anke Konrad Mizzi, Keith Schembri u Joseph Muscat ċaħdu l-allegazzjonijiet dwarhom fl-iskandlu tal-Panama, u kif tafu dawn ftit twemmnu. Anzi intalbet inkjesta maġisterjali għal waħda tnejn u iktar.

M’għandi l-ebda dubju li l-Partit Nazzjonalista mhux ser jitlob lill-Kummissarju tal-Pulizija biex jinvestiga u dan għax ma hemmx fiduċja fih kif diġa ġie dikjarat minn Simon Busuttil diversi drabi.

Forsi ma tafx kif fis-siegħat li ġejjin, Simon Busuttil jitlob lill-Maġistrat tal-Għassa biex jiftaħ investigazzjoni dwar l-allegazzjoni gravi li saret fil-konfront ta’ Adrian Delia. Forsi jkollna purċissjoni bil-boxfiles mimlija dokumenti biex ikunu ppreżentati għall-konsiderazzjoni tal-Maġistrat. Imma Simon Busuttil, s’issa, għadu ma qal xejn. Forsi għadu qed jaħsibha, jiġbor u jeżamina d-dokumenti.

Għax jekk hu ġustifikabbli li titlob inkjesta u r-riżenja ta’ dawk involuti fl-iskandlu tal-kumpaniji sigrieti fil-Panama, li bir-raġun kollu kien hemm is-suspett li twaqqfu għal skop mhux leċtu, kemm iktar għandha tittieħed azzjoni biex jiġu stabiliti l-fatti vera dwar il-flejjes li qed jintqal li inħaslu f’dan il-kont bankarju?

Għal Joseph, Keith u Konrad nafu li xejn m’hu xejn. Imma nafu li Simon Busuttil li soltu jipprietka l-qdusija, waqa’ fil-muta. (Huwa propju issa waqt li qed nikteb li tħabbar li l-Kunsill Amministrattiv tal-PN ser jiltaqa’ nhar it-Tnejn biex jiddiskuti l-kaz. L-inizjattiva għal dan imma, ma ittieħditx mit-tmexxija imma minn wiehed mill-kunsilliera lokali tal-PN.)

L-anqas il-Kamra tal-Avukati għadha ma qalet xejn. Soltu tkun pronta tgħidilna x’taħseb.

F’pajjiż demokratiku ieħor, wara r-rivelazzjonijiet dwaru, Adrian Delia kien jisparixxi u jirtira l-kandidatura tiegħu minn jeddu ta’ l-inqas biex jipproteġi r-reputazzjoni tal-partit politiku li jappartjeni għalih.

Imma f’Malta ma jsirx hekk: anzi jibqa’ jinsisti bil-konsegwenza li iktar ma tikber l-istorja iktar issir ħsara mhux biss lilu imma fuq kollox lil dawk ta’ madwaru li probabbilment m’għandhomx l-iċken idea la ta’ x’ġara u l-anqas ta’ x’jista’ jkun żvelat iktar il-quddiem dwar il-kaz.

Hu ovvju li l-informazzjoni ppubblikata ħarġet għax hemm min għandu interess li toħroġ f’dan il-mument partikolari. Dan ma jnaqqasx mill-gravità tal-informazzjoni ppubblikata. Probabbilment li hemm ukoll stejjer oħra dwar it-tlett kandidati l-oħra li f’dan il-mument partikolari m’hemm l-ebda interess fihom.

Imma meta tqis kollox hu ċar li dan hu eżempju ieħor għal min irid jifhem li m’hemmx x’tagħżel bejn il-PN u l-PL. It-tnejn iħaddnu politika ta’ xejn m’hu xejn. Politika li tipprova tiġġustifika kważi kollox.

Jekk dan hu d-demm ġdid tal-PN, il-problemi ser jimmultiplikaw. Bla dubju pajjiżna jixraqlu aħjar.

Għall-Awtoritá tal-Ippjanar il-profitti tal-ispekulatur huma prijoritá

Id-deċiżjoni li ħa l-Bord tal-Awtoritá tal-Ippjanar nhar il-Ħamis b’għaxar voti kontra tlieta biex 4,748 metru kwadru ta’ art barra miż-żona tal-iżvilupp (ODZ) ikunu żviluppati f’Dar għall-Anzjani fin-Naxxar hi preċedent ikrah li l-Awtoritá għad jiddispjaċiha li ħaditu.

L-applikazzjoni bin-numru PA 3592/16 ġiet ippreżentata biex jitwaqqa’ bini li tela’ qabel l-1978 u floku tinbena faċilitá għall-kura tal-anzjani fuq art “ġa disturbata”.

L-ewwel punt ta’ interess hu dan il-bini ta’ qabel l-1978 li hemm fuq is-sit. Ir-rapport dwar l-applikazzjoni ta’ żvilupp jiddeskrivi din l-art bħala “razzett mitluq u fi stat ta’ abbandun”. Meta inbena, dan ir-razzett kien meħtieġ fl-interess ta’ l-agrikultura. Issa li dan ir-razzett hu abbandunat kien ikun iktar għaqli kieku l-art ġiet irrestawrata għall-istat oriġinali tagħha biex tieħu lura postha bħala parti mill-pajsaġġ rurali. Minflok qed tintuża bħala għodda biex twaqqa’ għar-redikolu l-politika dwar l-ippjanar tal-użu tal-art.

L-Awtoritá tal-Ippjanar skont dak li jipprovdi l-Pjan Strateġiku għall-Ambjent u l-Iżvilupp (SPED: Strategic Plan for Environment and Development) talbet lill-applikant biex jikkummissjona studju ħalli jiġi stabilit jekk fiż-żona ta’ żvilupp, fil-viċinanzi, kienx hemm art tajba għall-iżvilupp li setgħet tintuża għall-iskop mixtieq u ċioe biex tinbena dar għall-anzjani.

Dan ir-rapport (site selection report), datat Mejju 2016, fil-fatt identifika żewġ siti li t-tnejn kienu ikbar milli meħtieġ. Ir-rapport jgħid li s-siti identifikati kellhom “potenzjal kbir” bħala siti alternattivi għall-proġett taħt konsiderazzjoni. L-ewwel sit kellu qies ta’ 11,287 metru kwadru fil-waqt li t-tieni sit kellu qies ta’ 6,844 metru kwadru. It-tnejn kienu fin-Naxxar viċin tas-sit taħt konsiderazzjoni.

Wara, l-Awtoritá tal-Ippjanar talbet lill-applikant biex jipproduċi studju dwar l-impatti finanzjarji tal-proġett. Dan l-istudju kien lest fi ftit żmien tant li hu datat 30 ta’ Mejju 2016. Fi ftit kliem dan ir-rapport ta’ sitt paġni, miktub minn accountant, jikkonkludi li billi l-art tajba għall-iżvilupp tiswa’ ferm iktar minn art ODZ (li m’hiex normalment ikkunsidrata għall-iżvilupp) il-proġett seta jrendi biss jekk tkun użata art ODZ!

Fid-diskussjoni waqt is-seduta pubblika ta’ nhar il-Ħamis tal-Bord tal-Awtoritá tal-Ippjanar, iċ-Ċhairman Eżekuttiv tal-istess Awtoritá qal li l-istudju dwar l-impatt finanzjarju tal-proġett kien ivverifikat mill-konsulenti tal- Awtoritá li wara aċċettatu u talbet lill-applikant biex jibda jikkunsidra art fl-ODZ.

Din id-deċiżjoni tal- Awtoritá tal-Ippjanar taqleb ta’ taħt fuq il-politika dwar l-użu tal-art u prattikament tfisser li minn issa l-quddiem proġetti kbar barra miż-żona tal-iżvilupp mhu ser ikollhom l-ebda diffikulta biex ikunu approvati. M’hemmx ħtieġa li tkun professor biex tifhem li minn issa l-quddiem kull żvilupp ODZ jista’ jkun iġġustifikat mill- Awtoritá tal-Ippjanar a bażi tal-fatt li l-art ODZ tiswa’ ferm inqas mill-art tajba għall-iżvilupp.

Jekk inħarsu ftit sewwa lejn ir-rapport tal-accountant insiru nafu li l-art ODZ kellha l-prezz ta’ €1,200,000 fil-waqt li l-art l-oħra tal-qies meħtieġ għall-proġett kellha prezz ta’ madwar €5 miljuni u nofs f’kull każ. Differenza ta’ madwar 4 darbiet!

Bħala riżultat ta’ din id-deċiżjoni, fl-opinjoni tiegħi, l- Awtoritá tal-Ippjanar irmiet ix-xogħol utli li numru kbir ta’ professjonisti tal-ambjent u tal-ippjanar tal-użu tal-art għamlu tul dawn l-aħħar ħamsa u għoxrin sena. Hi deċiżjoni li tmur kontra l-emfasi kontinwa dwar il-ħtieġa li l-art limitata li għandu l-pajjiż tintuża b’mod sostenibbli. L- Awtoritá tal-Ippjanar għal darba oħra baxxiet rasha: il-kilba għall-profitti reġgħet rebħet fuq il-ħtieġa tal-ħarsien ambjentali. Il-bilanċ fil-kont tal-bank tal-ispekulatur hu iktar importanti għall- Awtoritá tal-Ippjanar mill-użu sostenibbli tal-art f’pajjiżna.

Meta ttieħed il-vot finali, tlieta biss kienu l-membri tal-Bord tal- Awtoritá tal-Ippjanar li ivvutaw kontra: is-Sindku tan-Naxxar Anne Marie Muscat Fenech Adami, iċ-Chairman tal- Awtoritá tal-Ambjent w ir-Riżorsi Victor Axiaq kif ukoll r-rapprezentanta tal-għaqdiet ambjentali – Annick Bonello It-tlieta li huma mmotivaw id-deċiżjoni tagħhom li jivvutaw kontra l-proposta ta’ żvilupp minħabba li mhux aċċettabbli li tkun użata art ODZ għal dan l-iskop.

Ippubblikat fuq Illum : Il-Ħadd 23 ta’ Lulju 2017

Planning Authority says: develop ODZ, it is cheaper!

The decision taken by the Board of the Planning Authority last Thursday, with ten votes in favour and three votes against the development of 4,748 square metres of land Outside the Development Zone (ODZ) for a home for the elderly in Naxxar, will come back to haunt it in the very near future.

Application number PA 3592/16  was submitted in order to demolish a pre-1978 existing building and construct a facility for the care of the elderly and nursing home on disturbed land.

The first point of interest is the existing pre-1978 building on site. The Development Permit Application report describes this as an unoccupied derelict farm. When it  was constructed, this building was necessary in the interests of agriculture. Now that it is in a derelict state, the land should have been returned to its former state, rehabilitated as part of the rural landscape. Instead it is being used as a tool through which to ridicule land use planning policy.

Applying the provisions of the Strategic Plan for Environment and Development (SPED) policy document, the Planning Authority requested the applicant to commission a site selection exercise in order to ascertain whether, within the development zone, there existed land in the vicinity that could be developed for the desired purpose – a home for the elderly. 

The site selection report, dated May 2016, identified two sites – both of which were larger than required.  Specifically, the report states that the identified sites offered very good potential as alternative sites for the project under consideration.  The first site had an area of 11,287 square metres, while the second had an area of 6,844 square metres. Both sites are in Naxxar, very close to the site that is the subject of the application.

The Planning Authority next proceeded to request the applicant to produce a financial feasibility study. This study was produced days after the site selection exercise was completed. In fact, it is dated 30 May 2016. Briefly, the six page study – drawn up by a certified public accountant – concludes that, due to the fact that land within the development scheme costs substantially more than ODZ land, the project would only be financially feasible if ODZ land were used.

During last Thursdays Planning Authority Board public hearing, the Authority’s Executive Chairman stated that the PA’s own consultants had check this feasibility study before accepting it and instructing the applicant to proceed with considering ODZ sites.

This PA decision turns land use planning policy on its head and practically gives the green light to large-scale ODZ development in the future. It does not require rocket science to arrive at a conclusion that this specific decision signifies that practically any ODZ development can be justified on the basis that ODZ land is cheaper than land in the development zone. Perusal of the feasibility study submitted by applicant to the Planning Authority indicates that the ODZ land to be developed for this project has been priced at 1,200,000. The alternative sites, of equal area to the ODZ site under consideration, were each priced at approximately 5,500,000 : a four-fold difference.

In my opinion, the result of this decision is that the Planning Authority has thrown into the dustbin the hard work of a large number of planning and environmental professionals over the last 25 years.   This decision contradicts the continuous policy emphasis on the need to use land in a sustainable manner. The Planning Authority has once more bowed its head when faced with gluttonous greed. Profit has once more carried the day, to the detriment of environmental protection. The speculators bottom line is more important to the Planning Authority than sustainable use of land resources.

When the final vote was taken, only three members of the Planning Authority Board voted against, namely the Mayor of Naxxar Anne Marie Muscat Fenech Adami, the Chairman of the Environment and Resources Authority Victor Axiaq and the environmental NGOs’ representative Annick Bonello. All three were motivated in their decision to vote against the proposal because they deemed it unacceptable to have the development in ODZ land.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday – 23 July 2017

Meta l-kuxjenza ta’ Edwin Vassallo kienet bil-vaganzi

 

Meta smajt uħud mid-diskorsi fil-Parlament dwar l-emendi fil-liġijiet diversi li ser jintroduċu l-ugwaljanza fiż-żwieg ma kontx sorpriż. La b’dak li intqal u l-anqas bil-lingwaġġ magħżul.

Il-linġwaġġ konċiljattiv ta’ Claudette Buttigieg, Carm Mifsud Bonnici u Mario de Marco kien ta’ ġid avolja ma tantx jidher li jista’ jwassal ghal-soluzzjoni għad-differenzi dwar il-lingwaġġ tal-liġi proposta.

Imma imbagħad dak li qalu Herman Schiavone, David Agius u Clyde Puli diffiċli biex tifhmu meta akkumpanjat b’dikjarazzjoni li wara kollox qalu li ser jivvutaw favur.

Bla dubju dak li qal Edwin Vassallo kien l-iktar diskors li jistona. Għax kif tista’ tgħid dak il-kliem wara li tkun ikkontestajt elezzjoni bħala kandidat f’isem partit politiku li ukoll wiegħed l-ugwaljanza fiż-żwieġ?

Imma donnu l-kuxjenza ta’ Vassallo mhux dejjem taħdem! Qabel l-elezzjoni ma nigżitux meta l-Kap tieghu Simon Busuttil kien qed jitkellem dwar żwieġ bejn persuni tal-istess sess.

Forsi kienet bil-vaganzi!

Minn tolleranza għal aċċettazzjoni

 

Fid-dibattitu li presentement għaddej fil-Parlament dwar l-ugwaljanza bejn il-ġeneri u kif din għandha tkun manfestata fid-diversi liġijiet Maltin qed tintuża kontinwament il-kelma tolleranza.

Imma li tittollera jfisser li taċċetta għax ma tistax tagħmel mod ieħor.

Li tittollera, safejn naf jiena jfisser li tissaporti affarijiet li ma taqbilx magħhom.

Għalkemm hu dejjem pass il-quddiem li tittollera dak li ma taqbilx miegħu mhuwiex biżżejjed li l-ugwaljanza tkun tollerata.

Hemm bżonn nimxu l-quddiem mit-tolleranza għal aċċettazzjoni tad-diversita.

Aħna ugwali għax aħna lkoll bnedmin. Kull wieħed minna jixraqlu li jkun rispettat għax hu persuna umana.