F’Tal-Mirakli : theddid u twissija

rape

(ritratt ta’ Newsbook.com.mt)

 

Dalgħodu Alternattiva Demokratika indirizzat konferenza stampa dwar il-bini li beda fl-area tal-Mirakli ġewwa Ħ’Attard fuq art li sal-2006 kienet barra miż-żona tal-iżvilupp.

Il-krew tal-PBS x’ħin kienu fi triqithom għal din il-konferenza kienu mhedda minn persuni li kienu qed jaħdmu fuq is-sit ta’ kostruzzjoni li dwaru saret il-konferenza stampa. Ara r-rapport tal-PBS hawn.

L-istqarrija maħruġa minn Alternattiva Demokratika wara l-konferenza stampa intqal kif ġej :

Il-proprjeta’ vojta: sinjal ta’ twissija

L-ammont ta’ proprjetajiet residenzjali vojta hu sinjal ta’ twissija. Bi 72,150 unit residenzjali vojt ma nistgħux nibqgħu nibnu iżjed art li sa ftit ilu kienet barra miż-żona ta’ żvilupp. Hekk qal Carmel Cacopardo, Deputat Chairperson u kelliemi ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika għall-Iżvilupp Sostenibbli u l-Intern, fl-inħawi Tal-Mirakli f’Ħ’Attard huwa u jindirizza konferenza stampa dwar il-pjani lokali u r-razzjonalizzazzjoni tal-iskemi ta’ żvilupp.

Il-konferenza stampa saret quddiem medda art li saret skedata għall-bini bħala riżultat tal-proċess ta’ razzjonalizzazzjoni li l-Gvern immexxi mill-PN wettaq fl-2006. Din l-art sa dakinnhar kienet parti minn “green belt” . Fuq din l-art fit-18 ta’ Lulju 2013 il-MEPA ħarġet permess biex jinbnew 24 garage u store fil-basement u 19 il-unit residenzjali fil-ħames sulari l-oħra (6 maisonettes, 9 flats u 4 penthouses).

Cacopardo żied jgħid li “dan kollu qed isir minkejja li preżentement f’Malta hawn 72,150 unit residenzjali vojt. Żieda sostanzjali fuq it-53,136 proprjeta’ vojta fl-2005 u l-35,723 fl-1995.”

“Alternattiva Demokratika,” kompla jgħid Cacopardo “ma taqbilx li dawn l-artijiet jinbnew. Pajjiżna ma jistax jibqa’ jissagrifika iktar art biex fuqha jinbnew iktar residenzi meta fiċ-ċensiment ta’ sentejn ilu kienu identifikati 72,150 post residenzjali vojt. M’għandniex bżonn nibnu fuq skala kbira għal ħafna snin. Fil-kuntest tar-reviżjoni tal-pjani lokali Alternattiva Demokratika jidhrilha li għad baqa’ cans żgħir biex nirrimedjaw. Dan jista’jsir billi l-iskema tar-razzjonalizzazzjoni tispiċċa u l-art li kienet hekk identifikata ma tibqax tajba ghall-bini. Huwa importanti ukoll li nifhmu li ma jagħmilx sens li jkollna iktar proġetti massiċċi ta’ żvilupp residenzjali. Il-kwantita’ ta’ propjeta’ residenzjali vakanti għandha tkun fattur ewlieni u l-bażi ta’pjani lokali ġodda.”

Ralph Cassar, Segretarju Generali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika u Kunsillier fil-Lokalita ta’ Ħ’Attard qal li “l-bini bla rażan li għaddej kif ukoll il-fatt illi hawn numru kbir ta’ proprjetajiet vojta qed joħloq pressjoni żejda fuq l-infrastruttura tal-lokalitajiet. Ħ’Attard mhux eċċezzjoni għal dan. Il-flejjes li ser ikunu meħtiega għall-izvilupp u ż-żamma f’kundizzjoni tajba tal-infrastruttura li taqdi dawn it-72,150 post residenzjali vojt setgħu faċilment intużaw biex titjieb l-infrastruttura eżistenti. Iż-żieda fin-numru ta’ propjetajiet residenzjali vojta,” ikkonkluda Cassar, “barra milli toħloq impatti ambjentali inaċċettabbli, hi ukoll ħela ta’ fondi pubbliċi.”

Ic-Chairperson ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika, il-Prof  Arnold Cassola, ikkonkluda  billi qal: “Bil-konċessjoni ta’ żieda ta’ żewg sulari lil-lukandi, bit-tiġdid awtomatiku sa Marzu 2014 tal-permessi ta’ żvilupp li l-MEPA ħarget minn Awwissu 2006 lil hawn, kif ukoll bil-ħrug ta’ diversi permessi għal żvilupp insostenibbli bħal dak ta’ Sqaq Żbibu f’San Gwann, il-MEPA għan-nom tal-gvern qed turi bil-fatti li ma jimpurtahiex mid-drittijiet tar-residenti. Jidher li issa huwa ż-żmien tal-ħlas lura ta’ dak dovut lill-industrija tal-bini talli għenet lill-partit illum fil-gvern qabel l-elezzjoni.”

Advertisements

Grazzi Sur Awditur Ġenerali

Awditur.AMifsud

Min segwa dak li ġara s’issa fil-Kumitat għall-Kontijiet Pubbliċi seta jara kif l-Opposizzjoni Nazzjonalista għal darba oħra fetħet il-kanuni fuq l-Uffiċċju tal-Awditur Ġenerali bit-tama li iċċaqlaq l-attenzjoni minn fuq l-imġieba tal-ex Ministru Austin Gatt.

Naħseb li l-iktar diskors importanti li intqal mill-Awditur Ġenerali Anthony Mifsud u d-Deputat Awditur Ġenerali Charles Deguara kien meta fissru d-differenza bejn li tifformola l-politika tal-Gvern u li tieħu ħsieb li din tkun implimentata.

Meta l-Gvern permezz tal-Ministri tiegħu mhux biss jifformolaw il-politika (policy) iżda jfittxu li jindaħlu fid-dettall ikunu qed jindaħlu fejn m’għandhomx.  Ma jagħmilx sens li taħtar tim ta’ esperti u mbagħad tindaħlilhom. Jew huma esperti jew m’humiex.

Il-konklużjoni ta’ dan kollu hi li spiċċa ż-żmien tal-Ministri “hands on”. Il-Ministru mhux il-Manager. Qiegħed hemm biex jifformola l-politika li għandha tkun segwita. Imbagħad m’għandux jindaħal.

Kif qal  l-Awditur Ġenerali meta Ministru jindaħal fl-implementazzjoni tal-policy din hi prattika ħażina (bad governance) anke jekk il-liġi dan tippermettieh.

Grazzi Sur Awditur Ġenerali.

Greening the Constitution

Chadwick Lakes 02

Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party –  is in agreement that 50 years after its adoption Malta’s Constitution needs to be updated.  However such an exercise, as emphasised in AD’s 2013 electoral manifesto, should be carried out with the direct involvement of civil society. The Constitution belongs to all of us.

There are a number of issues which require careful consideration. In AD’s 2013 electoral manifesto at least fourteen such issues are identified. They vary in scope from electoral reform to widening the issues in respect of which discrimination is prohibited, by including protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. AD also proposes the introduction of a Constitutional provision in favour of a balanced budget, thereby ensuring that government is forced to discard budget deficits and consequently to control the spiralling public debt.

One very important issue is the need to entrench environmental rights and duties in the Constitution. The proposed Constitutional Convention, supported by AD, should aim at Greening the Constitution. That is, it should aim at addressing environmental rights and duties such that they are spelled out in unequivocal terms.  Environmental rights and duties should as a minimum be spelled out as clearly as property rights in the Constitution. They are worthy of protection just as the rights of individual persons.

Article 9 of the Constitution very briefly states that “The State shall safeguard the landscape and the historical and artistic patrimony of the nation.”  Further, in article 21 of the Constitution we are informed that this (and other safeguards) “shall not be enforceable in a Court” but that this (safeguard) shall be “fundamental to the governance of the country” and that it shall be the aim of the State to apply it in making laws.

It is not conducive to good governance to first declare adherence to specifc safeguards, but then specifically excluding the Courts from ensuring that such safeguards are being observed.

The strategy of announcing principles but then not providing the legislative framework for their implementation was also taken up in environmental legislation. In fact articles 3 and 4 of the 2010 Environment and Development Planning Act  announce a whole list of sound environmental principles. However  in article 5 of the same Act it is then stated that these cannot be enforced in a Court of Law!

When I had the opportunity of discussing the Environment and Development Planning Bill with Mario de Marco (then Parliamentary Secretary responsible for Tourism and the Environment) I had proposed on behalf of the Greens that the declarations  in articles 3 and 4 of the Bill should not be just guiding principles. They ought to be made enforceable by our Courts subject to the introduction of  a suitable transition. Unfortunately Dr de Marco did not take up the Greens proposal.

As things stand today, article 3 of the Environment and Development Planning Act announces very pompously that the government,  as well as every person in Malta, has the duty to protect the environment. Furthermore it is announced that we are duty bound to assist in the taking of preventive and remedial measures to protect the environment and manage resources in a sustainable manner.

Article 4 goes further:  it  states that government is responsible towards present and future generations.  It then goes on to list ten principles which should guide government in its endeavours.  Integrating environmental concerns in decisions on socio-economic and other policies is first on the list. Addressing pollution and environmental degradation through the implementation of the polluter pays principle and the precautionary principle follows immediately after.  Cooperation with other governments and entities enshrines the maxim of “think global, act local” as Malta both affects and is affected by environmental impacts wherever they occur.  The fourth guiding principle is the need to disseminate environmental information whilst the fifth one underlines the need of research as a basic requirement of sound environment policy.  The waste management hierarchy is referred to in the sixth principle followed immediately by underlining the requirement to safeguard biological diversity and combatting all forms of pollution.  Article 4 ends by emphasising that the environment is the common heritage and common concern of mankind and underlines the need to provide incentives leading to a higher level of environmental protection.

Proclaiming guiding principles in our Constitution and environmental legislation is not enough. Our Courts should be empowered in order that they are able to ensure that these principles are actually translated into concrete action.   Government should be compelled to act on the basis of Maltese legislation as otherwise it will only act on environmental issues when and if forced to by the European Union as was evidenced in the past nine years.

Greening the Constitution by extending existing environmental provisions and ensuring that they can be implemented will certainly be one of the objectives of the Greens in the forthcoming Constitutional Convention.

published in the Times of Malta 18 May 2013

ILLUM : nuqqas ta’ spazju ?

illum

Fil-gazzetta Illum, ippubblikata illum il-Ħadd 12 ta’ Mejju 2013 ippubblikat kummenti għal mistoqsijiet li staqsiet lil diversi persuni dwar Joseph Muscat u Simon Busuttil.

Il-mistoqsijiet kienu dawn:

  1. Kif tħares lejn l-ewwel 50 jum ta’ Joseph Muscat?
  2. X’taħseb fuq l-għażla ta’ Simon Busuttil?

Jiena ġejt mitlub il-kummenti tiegħi li tajthom imma ma ġewx ippubblikati kif ippreżentajthom jiena.

Ma nafx jekk hux minħabba nuqqas ta’ spazju.

For the record il-kummenti tiegħi huma dawk riprodotti hawn taħt. Il-parti bl-aħmar tħalliet barra mill-pubblikazzjoni:

Dwar l-għażla ta’ Simon Busuttil bħala Kap tal-PN:

“Huwa biss iż-żmien li jagħtina parir dwar jekk l-elezzjoni ta’ Dr Simon Busuttil bħala Kap tal-PN iġibx bidla, kif ukoll x’tip ta’ bidla, fil-PN. Il-bidliet fil-PN għadhom għaddejjin u mhux magħruf x’ser tkun il-forma finali tagħhom.

Alternattiva Demokratika m’hiex ser toqgħod tispekula dwar x’jista’ jiġri.”

Dwar l-ewwel ħamsin jum tal-Gvern immexxi minn Joseph Muscat :

Fl-ewwel ħamsin jum il-Gvern ta’ Muscat għadu qiegħed jipprova jaġixxi ta’ Gvern, diversi drabi aġixxa ta’ partit politiku. F’ ta’ l-inqas erba’ sitwazzjonijiet aġixxa b’mod diviżiv meta kellu soluzzjonijiet alternattivi li long term kienu jagħtuh riżultati aħjar.

L-ewwel: il-grad ta’ Segretarju Permanenti fil-Ministeri jeżisti biex jassigura kontinwita’ b’mod partikolari meta jkun hemm bidla tal-Gvern. It-tneħħija tal-parti l-kbira tas-Segretarji Permanenti kien żball fl-ewwel ġranet tal-Gvern li seta ġie evitat. Il-parti l-kbira minnhom kienu ser jispiċċaw xorta matul it-18-il xahar li ġejjin, bl-eta. Li stenna ftit kienu jinbidlu xorta bil-kwiet probabilment fi żmien sena.

It-tieni : id-diskors li l-Gvern ħejja għall-President tar-Repubblika kien wieħed partiġġjan u ma għamel l-ebda ġid lill-kariga.

It-tielet: inevitabilment f’dawn il-ħamsin ġurnata saru ħafna ħatriet. Kien hemm diversi minnhom li kienu ta’ natura partiġjana, fl-istess stil tal-gvernijiet immexxija mill-PN.

Ir-raba’: il-ħatra ta’ Franco Debono bħala koordinatur tal-Konvenzjoni Kostituzzjonali kienet waħda diviżiva. Tali ħatra kella issir b’konsultazzjoni mas-socjeta ċivili.

Fost il-miżuri posittivi tal-Gvern hemm il-bidu tal-implementazzjoni tal-proposti elettorali dwar id-drittijiet tal-persuni LGBT  kif ukoll il-ftehim dwar il-kawża fil-Qorti Ewropea tad-Drittijiet tal-Bniedem minn Joanne Cassar liema ftehim ser iwassal għat-dritt ta’ persuna transgender li tiżżewweġ.  AD giet mistiedna u aċċettat li tipparteċipa fil-Kumitat Konsultattiv li qed iħejji l-proposti konkreti għad-drittijiet tal-persuni LGBT. Ġew nominati u diġa qed jieħdu sehem Angele Deguara u Collette Farrugia Bennett biex jirrapprezentaw lill-AD.

Fost il-miżuri negattivi hemm l-inkoraġġiment tal-kaċċa fir-rebbiegħa  u issa jidher li l-Gvern qed jikkunsidra li jesperimenta ukoll bl-insib minkejja li din hu pprojibit mid-Direttivi tal-Unjoni Ewropea kif ukoll skada il-perjodu transitorju stabilit mit-trattat ta’ adezjoni.

Id-dilemma tal-Professur Edward Scicluna

scicluna + muscat

Waqt il-kampanja elettorali l-kelliema tal-Partit Nazzjonalista spiss ftaħru li l-finanzi tal-pajjiż kienu fis-sod. Kellhom ċertifikat, qalulna, mill-Unjoni Ewropeja li l-iżbilanċ finanzjarju kien taħt kontroll skond ir-regoli tal-EU (Il-Patt tat-Tkabbir u Stabilita’). B’ċertifikat li l-żbilanċ finanzjarju kien taħt it-3%, kienu repetutament jgħidulna, l-pajjiż kien finanzjarjament qabad it-triq it-tajba.

It-tweġiba ta’ Alternattiva Demorkatika dejjem kienet li aħna konna nieħdu pjaċir kieku l-finanzi tal-pajjiż kienu amministrati sewwa. Imma kollox kien jindika li l-affarijiet kienu differenti milli kienu qed jgħidu l-kelliema tal-Gvern: iċ-ċifri finanzjarja għal Diċembru 2012 kienu għadhom mhux pubblikati. Kollox kien jindika li meta dawn iċ-ċifri jkunu ippubblikati l-żbilanċ ser jerġa’ jisplodi.

Rapport  dal-għodu fl-Independent on Sunday jagħtina raġuna.

F’artiklu fl-ewwel paġna intitolat : Figures show 2012 public deficit redlining at 5.4% of GDP hu ċar li s-sena 2012 kienet sena oħra disżastruża għall-amministrazzjonji finanzjarja tal-pajjiż.

Waħda mill-kionsegwenzi loġiċi ta’ din l-aħbar hi li kienet irresponsabbilta’ għal Partit Nazzjonalista (li kellu iktar minn ħjiel ta’ din l-aħbar) li jwiegħed tnaqqis fit-taxxa tad-dħul. Alternattiva Demokratika biss qalitu dan waqt il-kampanja elettorali. Għax il-Partit Laburista ukoll ma kellux il-kuraġġ li jiffaċċa ir-realta.

U xi ngħidu għall-ħafna wegħdiet elettorali li jiswew flejjes kbar? Minn fejn ġejjin il-flus? Id-deficit li reġa’ kiber (fil-fatt kważi irdoppja) jfisser li mhux tnaqqis ta’ taxxi ser ikollna! Jew żieda ta’ taxxi inkella tnaqqis fl-infieq!

Issa?

X’ser jagħmel il-Professur Edward Scicluna l-Ministru tal-Finanzi?

Għandu l-kuraġġ jgħid li kemm il-PN kif ukoll il-PL għaddew lill-votanti biż-żmien?

Cross-voting

7 days

 

Well over 66% of AD voters in the 2008 general elections did not vote just for an AD candidate. Thereafter they voted for candidates of other parties as well.

Most AD voters already practice cross-party voting in general elections. They already cross over from one party to another when voting.

It is not only AD voters which practice cross-party voting. Even PN and PL voters do so although not as often as one would wish.

Our electoral system is specifically designed so that cross-party voting is possible. Voting across party lines can ensure that you select the best candidates in the different political parties. It is a very healthy political tool at your disposal.

After giving your number 1 to an AD candidate you can then proceed with giving your 2nd preference to any other candidate, irrespective whether he or she is on the PN or the PL list.

Similarly if your giving your number 1 vote to a PN or a PL candidate you may proceed with giving your 2nd preference to an AD candidate. It is a very useful way of voting. It has in fact been in use since 1921 when the present system of voting was introduced in Malta.

Cross party voting is a right. Use it well.

A loan for the Nationalist Party

PN. arma imkisra

It is normal for a commercial company to take up a loan from a commercial bank for the purposes of its  activities.

But is a commercial company owned by a political party “a normal commercial operation”?  In my opinion it is not.

Hence the declaration that business tycoon Nazzareno Vassallo has loaned the sum of €250,000 to a media company belonging to the PN is bad news. It is an additional exercise in the financing of a major political party in Malta by a major player in local business activity.

The terms and conditons of the loan have not been disclosed.

The very existence of this loan proves, if any proof was needed, of how close the Nationalist Party is to the major players in the construction industry.

The Prime Minister and Leader of the Nationalist Party has assured one and all that this did not give rise to any sort of obligation of the Nationalist Party towards Mr Vassallo and his companies. This loan will be paid he said, and very shortly.

I do not know whether and how the loan will be paid. What I know is that public confirmation of this loan has sealed the view of many that business and politics are too close for comfort.

It was known by all that Dr Lawrence Gonzi and his PN have done a great disservice to politics in Malta by promising legislation on regulating the financing of political parties and not keeping to his word. The approval of this loan explains clearly what the Leader of the PN really thinks on the regulation of the financing of political parties.

Alternattiva Demokratika in Parliament after the March 9 elections will be submitting proposals for legislation to ensure that the finances of political parties are transparent and regulated by law.

PN and the PL Members of Parliament, in the outgoing legislature, had for their consideration a Private Member’s Bill on regulating the financing of political parties. They ignored it.

Alternattiva Demokratika will improve that draft and present it for discussion in the new Parliament.

originally published in di-ve.com on Friday March 1, 2013

Armier illegalities and amnesties

Armier shanty town

In its electoral manifesto, the Nationalist Party is proposing an amnesty relative to land use planning irregularities. It is the second amnesty in six months because, in August 2012, the Government published the rules for another amnesty: relaxed rules in respect of properties that did not follow sanitary regulations.

Existing sanitary regulations already provide the health authorities with discretionary authority when there are minor variations in the sanitary requirements of buildings. The August 2012 amnesty sought to address the gross violations of the law by addressing primarily cases where the dimensions of backyards varied by up to 33 per cent from the permissible dimensions. Now the size of backyards in properties is a requirement based on two considerations: the need for ventilation and access to natural light.

The reasons brought forward to justify this sanitary amnesty were that owners/developers were encountering difficulties to sell properties that do not conform to legal requirements.

The PN in government applied an ‘innovative’ solution: when facing difficulties, lower standards. Rules and standards are considered by the PN to be red tape and unnecessary bureaucracy, which could be dispensed with. Instead of ensuring the rule of law on such basic and elementary matters, the PN in government rewarded those who ignored the basic rules.

The PN proposal for a 2013 amnesty on land use planning irregularities is carefully worded. It says a lot and says nothing at the same time. It speaks of pre-Mepa reform (2010) and states that this amnesty will apply to irregularities in place before that date.

At the time of writing, Labour has announced its proposals on Mepa. Labour too wants an amnesty to consider the sanctioning of building irregularities.

What the PN manifesto does not say is that the Nationalist government is being consistent as it never had the political will to enforce planning regulations. The fact that pending enforcement actions have accumulated to thousands, a number pre-dating 1992, is clear testimony to this. Available data is scarce but in 2009, in reply to parliamentary question 10,537, the Prime Minister had stated that there were 7,373 pending enforcement actions. The number has since increased.

This accumulated backlog of enforcement action is proof of the incompetence of those whom the PN in government entrusted with the implementation of land use planning policy. It also spells out the achievements of a number of ministers responsible for Mepa in the past years, Lawrence Gonzi included.

Mepa needs adequate resources and a clear policy direction, which the PN in government has failed to identify and which the PL, being in cahoots with developers, is incapable of ensuring.

The Greens’ manifesto outlines a number of measures that need to be taken to bring environmental governance back on track.

Not compromising with illegalities and the political will to act heads the list. The clearest example being the commitment to demolish the shanty town at Armier. Both the PN and the PL are committed to assist the squatters at Armier who have taken over public land and illegally built over 900 boathouses on the Mellieħa peninsula.

Way back in 2003, on the eve of another election, the PN-led government had agreed to transfer to Armier Developments Limited, the squatters’ holding company, 26 hectares of public property. The agreement between the Government and the squatters’ holding company indicates a lease for 65 years against payment of €366,000 per annum.

The newsletter Mill-Bajja, published by the squatters, in October 2007 had referred to a meeting with the then Leader of the Opposition, Alfred Sant. It said that he had promised to honour an earlier agreement with the squatters, which was entered into way back in 2002. Labour’s spokesmen have, time and again, emphasised that they are in sympathy with the squatters

It is clear that both the PN and the PL openly and unashamedly support the illegalities at Armier.

The PN in government had the opportunity to tackle the issue during the past 25 years. When faced with a proposal to act, it refused. Former Minister Michael Falzon is on record (MaltaToday, February 15, 2009) as stating that he had submitted a proposal, to pull down the Armier shanty town, for Cabinet’s endorsement in the early 1990s. It was shot down.

The only way that we can get some sense in land use planning in Malta is through the election of Green MPs. The others have repeatedly proven that their quest for votes surpasses their commitments to act in the public interest.

It is indeed no coincidence that AD chairman Michael Briguglio was threatened by means of an anonymous letter received earlier this week. The threats were directly linked to AD’s commitment to act and sweep away the Armier illegalities. The status quo is under threat.

The basic message is getting through: with AD you know where we stand.

published in The Times, February 2, 2013

Financing politics in Malta in 2013

euros-loads-of-money

Dr Lawrence Gonzi, some days ago complained that the Labour Party was spending quite a lot on its electoral campaign.

Last Sunday a local newspaper reported on replies it received from poltical parties on the manner in which they are financing their electoral campaign.

Ralph Cassar Secretary General of Alternattiva Demokratika said that the Greens  had a maximum budget of €20,000 for this electoral campaign. It was financed from small donations received from supporters. The largest donation in 2013 was €250.

Then there was deafening silence from the Nationalist Party and the Labour Party.  They have not supplied any information on the manner in which their electoral campaign has been financed nor as to how much it is expected to cost.

It is clear to one and all that the PN and the PL are sparing no costs in this electoral campaign. They are spending millions of euros.

The question remains: who is financing the PN and the PL?  How will the PN and the PL pay back their sponsors?

Malta as yet does not regulate the financing of political parties. Lawrence Gonzi in his years as Prime Minister has spoken a lot on the subject. But his deeds did not match his words.

A Private Member’s motion was presented in Parliament last year by maverick MP Franco Debono. Yet none supported him.

A Green MP after the March 2013 elections will champion the need to regulate the financing of political parties.

The others are not interested.

First published on di-ve.com on January 25, 2013