M’għandekx għalfejn tagħżel bejniethom

 

 

Meta tiġi biex tivvota, nhar is-Sibt, mgħandekx għalfejn tagħżel bejniethom.

Mhux importanti min hu l-iżjed jew l-inqas korrott.

Mhux importanti min hu l-iżjed jew l-inqas inkompetenti.

Mhux importanti min hu imċappas l-iktar jew l-inqas.

Mhux importanti min kellu jirreżenja, imma ma rreżenjax fuq iżżewġ naħat.

 

Il-każ tal-Panama Papers u l-kumpaniji ta Konrad Mizzi u Keith Schembri hu wieħed ta gravitá kbira. Daqskemm huma gravi l-allegazzjonijiet dwar is-sid ta Egrant Inc. u l-flus li waslu mingħand il-familja ta Aliyev fil-kontijiet fil-Bank Pilatus.

Mhux gravi ħafna ukoll il-fatt li Claudio Grech, l-Onorevoli tal-Partit Nazzjonalista nesa jekk qattx iltaqa ma George Farrugia, dak tal-iskandlu tażżejt?

Mhux gravi ukoll kif Beppe Fenech Adami spiċċa Direttur tal-Capital One Investment Limited u ma kien jaf xejn dwar it-taħwid li qed jirriżulta dwar din l-istess kumpanija?

U xi ngħidu għar-rapporti tal-Awditur Ġenerali dwar il-qaddis miexi fl-art Jason Azzopardi?

U l-villa ODZ li Toni Bezzina ried jibni fl-istess ħin li kien qed jikteb il-politika ambjentali tal-PN?

It-tnejn jgħidu kif għandhom qalbhom ġunġliena għall-ambjent.

Imma t-tnejn iridu l-mina bejn Malta u Għawdex.

It-tnejn iridu l-korsa tat-tlielaq tal-karozzi.

It-tnejn jilgħaqu l-kaċċaturi u n-nassaba.

It-tnejn jappoġġaw il-boathouses tal-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa (Armier, Little Armier u Torri l-Abjad).

Xhemm xtagħżel bejniethom?

Wara kollox mgħandekx għalfejn tagħżel bejniethom!

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Il-Partit Nazzjonalista u l-boathouses tal-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa

Armier ittra

 

Il-partiti politiċi fil-Parlament ħafna drabi ma jieħdux pjaċir jiftakru jew tfakkarhom fil-passat tagħhom. Jgħidulna biex il-passat inħalluh għax huma jridu jħarsu l-quddiem.

Hu obbligu tagħna li niftakru il-passat ukoll. Mhux biss għax il-passat hu l-mera tal-futur, imma, iktar minn hekk għax min il-bieraħ xejn ma ddejjaq jarmi l-prinċipji l-baħar, xejn m’hu ser jerġa’ jaħsibha biex għada (jekk ikollu l-opportunità) jerġa’ jagħmel l-istess.

Nhar il-Ġimgħa li għaddiet Simon Busuttil, il-Kap tal-Opposizzjoni, waqt id-diskussjoni organizzata mill-Kummissjoni Ambjent tal-Knisja offra l-kooperazzjoni tal-Partit Nazzjonalista lill-Gvern biex jitneħħew l-irregolaritajiet tal-boathouses tal-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa.

Dam jaħsibha 25 sena l-Partit Nazzjonalista. Kellu iċ-ċans kollu tad-dinja biex mhux biss jitkellem kontra l-irregolaritajiet tal-bini, imma seta ukoll ineħħihom. Imma sfortunatament fis-siegħa tal-prova il-PN beża’ milli jimxi sewwa. Fis-siegħa tal-prova, l-PN l-prinċipji rmiehom il-baħar, għax beża’ li jitlef il-voti.

Tista’ allura teħodhom bis-serjetà meta jitkellmu b’dan il-mod? Donnhom għadhom jaħsbu li jistgħu jibqgħu jgħaddu n-nies biż-żmien.

Kellna ex-Ministru li xi snin ilu kiteb fil-gazzetti li hu (fil-bidu tas-snin 90) kien ressaq quddiem il-Kabinett proposta biex il-boathouses illegali fl-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa jitneħħew. Imma l-Kabinett dakinnhar ma qabilx.

Huwa konvenjenti għall-PN li issa jitkellem kontra l-boathouses tal-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa. Meta seta mhux biss jitkellem imma seta ukoll jieħu passi wasal għal ftehim magħhom bħalma għamel lejlet l-elezzjoni tal-2003. Dakinnhar għall-PN il-voti kienu iktar importanti mill-prinċipju li jimxi sewwa.

Minkejja dan kollu huwa ta’ sodisfazzjoni għal Alternattiva Demokratika li wara li ilha snin twal tikkampanja kontra l-bini illegali tal-boathouses fl-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa (Ramlet il-Qortin, l-Armier, Little Armier u t-Torri l-Abjad) issa anke l-Partit Nazzjonalista qed jgħid li kkonvinċa ruħu li ma jistax u m’ghandux jibqa’ jappoġġa dawn il-ħniżrijiet.

Ikun tajjeb, kieku l-Kap tal-Opposizzjoni Simon Busuttil jiddisassoċja ruħu mill-ftehim li kien għamel il-Partit Nazzjonalista qabel l-elezzjoni tal-2003 ma dawk li qegħdin fil-boathouses. Dak il-ftehim, tajjeb li niftakru, kien jipprovdi biex 26 ettaru (260,000 m2) ta’ art tal-Gvern fl-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa jgħaddu għand il-kumpanija Armier Developments Limited għal 65 sena (bi ħlas ta’ €366,000 fis-sena) biex ikunu żviluppati boathouses ġodda.

Hi ħasra li l-PN dam 25 sena biex fetaħ għajnjejh u ra d-dawl. Li fetaħom ftit snin ilu kien jagħmel ftit ġid. Issa sfortunatament il-ħsara laħaq għamilha.

Hu għalhekk li din il-konverżjoni ambjentali tal-Partit Nazzjonalista ma tikkonvinċi lil ħadd. Għax hi biss għal konvenjenza.

Kummentarju li xxandar fuq l-RTK it-Tnejn 7 ta’ Diċembru 2015

Fl-Armier la tisraqx l-elettriku, imma dwar l-art “jirranġawlek”

armier smart metres

 

Tajjeb għamlet il-Korporazzjoni Enemalta li ser tistalla smart meters fejn diġa’ hemm provista tal-elettriku fil-boathouses tal-Armier mibnija b’mod illegali. Il-Korporazzjoni Enemalta qed tagħti messaġġ qawwi lil kulħadd. Kemm li dawk li qed jużaw il-boathouses imma iktar u iktar lill-Gvern.

Il-Korporazzjoni Enemalta qed tgħid li mhux ser tittollera s-serq tal-elettriku. La tisraqx l-elettriku għax “bl-ismart meter ser naqbduk”, qed tgħid il-Korporazzjoni Enemalta.

Imma l-Gvern, kemm dak tal-lum immexxi minn Joseph Muscat (kif ukoll dawk tal-bieraħ immexxija minn Lawrence Gonzi u Eddie Fenech Adami) qed jagħti messaġġ differenti. Messaġġ imsaħħah b’diversi ftehim bejn l-Assoċjazzjoni tal-Boathouses tal-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa  u l-partiti l-kbar (jiġifieri l-Partit Nazzjonalista u l-Partit Laburista). Il-Gvern jgħinek billi jagħlaq għajnejh għas-serq ta’ art pubblika.

Mela : tisraqx l-elettriku, imma jekk trid tisraq l-art fl-Armier il-Gvern lest li jgħinek. Jekk sraqt l-art, qed jgħidlek, nirranġaw.

 

Jekk trid taqra iktar dwar dan is-suġġett f’dan il-blog aqra is-segwenti:

24 ta’ Ġunju 2008 : Il-Boathouses tal-Armier.

21 ta’ Jannar 2012: Parties in cahoots with squatters.

17 t’Awwissu 2012 :  Armier cowboys should not be rewarded.

23 t’Ottubru 2012: Pajjiż tal-cowboys: israq u tkun ippremjat.

24 t’Ottubru 2012: Il-boathouses tal-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa: meta l-Ministru riedhom jaqgħu.

8 ta’ Jannar 2013 : Malta tagħna lkoll.

2 ta’ Frar 2013 : Armier illegalities and amnesties.

29 ta’ Ġunju 2013 : Is-skiet tal-PN dwar l-Armier.

Is-skiet tal-PN dwar l-Armier

Armier shanty town

Wara d-deċiżjoni tal-Imħallef Ellul fuq l-abbużi fl-Armier il-PN għadu sieket.

Tajjeb li nfakkru li l-abbużi tollerati minn Gvern immexxi mill-PN m’humiex biss dawk li jitkellem fuqhom l-imħallef Ellul fis-sentenza tiegħu. Hemm ħafna iżjed.

L-ex Ministru Falzon kien spjega f’artiklu miktub minnu fil-Malta Today li hu kien resssaq proposta għat-twaqqiegħ tal-bini illegali fl-Armier iżda l-Kabinett ma appoġġaħx.

Sadanittant il-PN jibqa’ sieket, konxju li hu responsabbli għall-istat attwali tal-irregolaritajiet fl-Armier.

L-inqas li nistennew hi apoloġija. Minflok għandna skiet li jtarrax. Il-politika ġdida ta’ Simon Busuttil.

Fuq dan il-blog, dwar l-istess suġġett,  ara ukoll dawn il-posts :

24 ta’ Ġunju 2008 : Il-boathouses fl-Armier.

21 ta’ Jannar 2012 : Parties in Cahoots with squatters.

17 t’Awwissu 2012 : Armier cowboys should not be rewarded.

23 t’Ottubru 2012 : Pajjiż tal-cowboys : israq u tkun ippremjat.

24 t’Ottubru 2012: Il-boathouses tal-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa : meta l-Ministru riedhom jaqgħu

2 ta’ Frar 2013 : Armier illegalities and amnesties.

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

Malta tagħna lkoll

Malta taghna lkoll

 

Tal-Labour Party ħelwin.

Jgħidulna li Malta tagħna lkoll.

Iżda ma qalulniex għaliex lesti li jħallu lil min jisraq biċċa minn Malta li hi tagħna ilkoll iżomma għalih. Fil-fatt is-serq tal-art biex fuqu inbnew il-boathouses tal-Armier tal-Labour Party iberkuh. Għal-Labour Party l-Armier fejn insterqet l-art m’hiex tagħna ilkoll, iżda tagħhom biss!

Ma qalilniex kif tista’ tkun Malta tagħna ilkoll imbagħad il-Labour Party jivvota favur li Bertie Mizzi jieħu f’idejħ (b’tender s’intendi) Manoel Island.

Mal-ambjentalisti ħafna kliem ħelu dwar kemm taħraqhom qalbhom għall-ambjent. Imma meta jkunu ma’ dawk li jiżviluppaw l-art, jitkellmu b’mod differenti. Iktar jitkellmu dwar kemm il-MEPA qed iżżomm l-iżvilupp lura. Ħalluna naħdmu, qalilhom Sandro Chetcuti!

Malta tagħna lkoll. Bil-kliem iva. Iżda bil-fatti ħaġa oħra.

Magħna taf fejn int!

Magħna taf fejn qiegħed

new identity

 Il-ġimgħa d-dieħla nisimgħu s-suffara li ssejjaħ elezzjoni ġenerali.

Alternattiva Demokratika ser terġa tkun hemm fuq id-Distretti kollha. F’uħud b’kandidat wieħed, f’oħrajn b’iktar.

Il-programm elettorali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika bħal dejjem ser ikun ċar fuq issues li partiti oħra jevitaw. Hekk ġara fil-passat dwar id-divorzju u r-riforma tal-liġijiet tal-kera. Il-partiti l-oħra evitaw dawn is-suġġetti fil-kampanja elettorali imma mbagħad kellhom jiffaċċawhom fil-Parlament.

Alternattiva Demokratika m’hi ostaġġ ta’ ħadd, għalhekk titkellem ċar.

AD tkompli tkun l-akbar difensur ta’ dak li baqa’ mill-wirt ambjentali Malti, tistinka għal aktar spazji pubbliċi u infrastruttura aħjar. AD mħiex ostaġġ tal-kaċċaturi u n-nassaba, l-iffissati fil-logħob tan-nar, l-abitanti illegali tal-Armier, u spekulaturi u żviluppaturi bla rażan. Issejjaħ għal politika sostenibbli dwar l-art u l-ilma, għal politika ekonomika progressiva, bħal żieda fil-paga minima u taxxa mit-tielet proprjetà vojta lil hinn.

AD hi favur politika soċjali umana u drittijiet ugwali għal kulħadd, fosthom il-minoranzi fil-politika soċjali u tal-familja, bħall-persuni b’diżabilità, il-persuni LGBT u kull tip ta’ familja. AD hi favur ugwaljanza bejn is-sessi, id-dekriminalizzazzjoni tad-drogi għall-użu personali, u l-għajnuna għall-vittimi tad-droga minflok kriminalizzazzjoni.

AD lesta biex taħdem ma’ ħaddieħor, skont programm konġunt maqbul. Taħdem biex dak miftiehem jitwettaq meta nkunu fil-Parlament. Bħala sieħeb minuri, AD tistinka biex tkun żviluppata il-politika bil-kunsens u ma theddidx li tgħaddi tagħha akkost ta’ kollox, konxja mill-fatt li dan iġib l-instabilità.

Vot għal Alternattiva Demokratika jkun vot għall-bidla fil-mod ta’ tmexxija u favur stabbilità.

Jekk temmen li għandhom jkunu fuq quddiem il-ġustizzja soċjali, id-drittijiet ċivili, il-ġustizzja ambjentali, l-iżvilupp sostenibbli, il-modernizzazzjoni ekoloġika u, fuq kollox, ir-riforma tal-istituzzjonijiet għat-tisħiħ tad-demokrazija, mela taf fejn qiegħed mal-Alternattiva Demokratika. Vot għall-PN jew għall-PL ifisser vot għas-sistema staġnata taż-żewġ partiti.

Jekk vera trid il-bidla, ivvota Alternattiva. Magħna taf fejn qiegħed.

Pajjiż tal-cowboys : israq u tkun ippremjat

Kemm il-Partit Nazzjonalista kif ukoll il-Labour iridu jagħtu premju lil min seraq art fl-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa biex fuqha għandu dik li tissejjaħ boathouse.

Fil-fatt dawk li għandhom boathouse fl-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa (fl-Armier, Little Armier u t-Torri l-Abjad) isejħu lilhom infushom is-sidien tal-boathouses, meta fil-fatt ma għandhom xejn li hu tagħhom għax l-art li fuqha huma mibnija l-boathouse hi tal-Gvern.

Ilhom snin twal jokkupaw din l-art u qiesu ma ġara xejn.

Aqraw ftit il-magazine Mill-Bajja li jippubblikaw dawn is-sidien tal-boathouses u issiru taf bi “ftehim” li għamlu mal-Gvern li jagħtihom l-art biex il-boathouses li għandhom illum ikunu jistgħu jibnuhom aħjar. Il-Gvern permezz ta’ ittra iffirmata mill-Viċi Prim Ministru Tonio Borg nhar it-3 t’April 2003 wiegħed lil dawn is-“sidien tal-boathouses” 230 tomna art (jiġifieri 26,000 metru kwadru) li għaliha jħallsu €366,000 fis-sena!

Il-Labour wegħdu li huma jirrispettaw dan il-ftehim.

Il-PN u l-Labour għamlu dan il-pajjiż wieħed tal-cowboys.  Qed jgħidu “aħtaf li tista’, u mbagħad b’xi mod nirranġaw” !

F’Alternattiva Demokratiku ma naqblux ma dan. Meħtieġ li l-iktar kmieni possibli li l-art ħdejn il-baħar ikun jista’ jgawwdiha kulħadd, u mhux dawk li ħatfuha f’idejhom bil-barka tal-PN u tal-Labour.

Min ma jridx jagħti premju lil min seraq l-art fl-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa għaldaqstant għandu biss għażla waħda x’jagħmel:  Alternattiva Demokratika.

Armier cowboys should not be rewarded

The unauthorised campers at Marsaxlokk were in the news during the last weekend not just  for their illegal camping but more for the violence they used.

It seems that the lack of action of government in respect of the Armier (and other) illegal boathouses has conveyed the message that at the end of the day they may strike a deal! Their vote for public land.

We have been through this before. That is in fact what’s on the books at Armier even though government has been very slow to implement what it has agreed to.

Agreements were entered into with the squatters at Armier  represented through their company Armier Developments Limited. Officially government is awaiting the approval of the Marfa Action Plan which was issued by MEPA for public consultation in 2002. It is government which will eventually approve the Marfa Action Plan after “careful consideration” of MEPA’s recommendations.

The Marfa Action Plan is the result of a detailed exercise through which the various activities in the l-Aħrax peninsula  were identified.

Through  the Marfa Action Plan, still in draft form , the authorities seek to compromise with the squatters by identifying five areas where they can construct alternatives to their present illegal boathouses.

Alternattiva Demokratika is opposed to arriving at any form of agreement with the squatters. They should be evicted the soonest.

The area should be rehabilitated with its cultural and natural features conserved. All boathouses illegally constructed, both pre and post 1992 should be demolished forthwith.

In its reactions to the draft Marfa Action Plan way back in 2002 Alternattiva Demokratika-The Green Party had stated that :

“The establishment of footpaths, picnic areas, proper camping sites coupled with a conservation of historical buildings and the prevention of further devastation of garigue areas through the dumping of rubble are all valuable features of the plan. AD is concerned about the effectivity of the administrative structures which will oversee the operation and maintenance of the proposed investment in such matters as the cleaning of picnic areas and the control of campsites. Enforcement structures from MEPA would be welcome”.

As no part of the island is more than 20 minutes away from the coast AD considers that the MEPA proposal for the construction of beach rooms is an unnecessary development which will only serve to reward squatters and undermine the rule of law.

Cowboys should be punished not rewarded.

My conclusion is identical to that of Dr Harry Vassallo former AD Chairman in 2002 who commenting on the Marfa Action Plan had stated: “When one considers the lack of accessible coastland and the uncontrollable sprawl of development, one realises that there can be no room for compromise in the defence of what we have left. The quality of life of the entire population should be given a priority over the privileges of boat house residents”.

Original of this post was published on Friday 17 August 2012 at di-ve.com.

On the same subject in this blog you may view:  Parties in Cahoots with Squatters

Parties in cahoots with squatters

Earlier this month, the Malta Environment and Planning Authority’s environment and planning commission, which deals with applications outside the development zone, turned down an application by Enemalta Corporation for the construction of a substation at L-Aħrax in the limits of Mellieħa. The planning directorate itself had recommended the refusal of this application.

This substation aimed at reinforcing the supply of electricity in L-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa with Enemalta effectively posting the message that the crime of taking over public property does pay.

While Alternattiva Demokratika and seven environmental NGOs opposed this application, both the Labour Party and the Nationalist Party have not uttered one single word on Enemalta’s attempt at ensuring that the squatters are adequately supplied with electricity. Clearly, the PN and the PL think that being silent is essential in view of their commitments to purchase votes through squatters taking over public property.

The PL and the PN have not taken up the challenge spelt out by the greens to go public on their position relative to the illegal development of boathouses at L-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa, that is at Armier, Little Armier and It-Torri l-Abjad.

During the Mepa reform exercise, the Prime Minister repeatedly emphasised that “ODZ is ODZ”, meaning that no development will be authorised or permitted outside the development zone unless really necessary.

Dr Gonzi tried to convey the message that his safe pair of hands would ensure that abusive development would now grind to a halt. Yet, on the eve of the 2008 general election, Dr Gonzi participated in secret meetings with the illegal boathouse lobby which considers that its members have some god-given right over the public land that they have taken hold of. The result of those meetings was a PN commitment to protect illegal development carried out before 1992 on public land.

At stake are 230 tumoli of land (26 hectares), which, since way back in 2003, on the eve of another election, the PN-led government had agreed to transfer to the squatters’ holding company, Armier Developments Limited. The agreement between the government and the squatters’ holding company indicates a lease for 65 years against payment of €366,000 per annum. To date, this agreement has not been submitted for Parliament’s approval in terms of the Disposal of Government Land Act.

The squatters also expected the PL to protect their illegal constructions, which agreement was forthcoming. The newsletter Il-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.

As far as is known, Joseph Muscat has not repudiated Labour’s agreement with the squatters.

During this legislature, Minister Jason Azzopardi has embarked on a crusade of evicting squatters from public property including clearing squares and pavements of encroachments by restaurants and open air cafés. His staff members were meticulous in ensuring that an extra chair or table not covered by a permit was removed forthwith.

While noting and acting on the odd chair or table, Dr Azzopardi has turned the Nelson’s eye to the large-scale use of public land by the squatters at L-Aħrax tal-Mellieha. In so doing, he has applied the policy of being strong with the weak and weak with the strong.

Former Minister Michael Falzon wrote in an article entitled They Never Heard Of Jason Azzopardi (Malta Today, February 15, 2009) that he (Mr Falzon) was not supported by his Cabinet colleagues when, as the minister responsible for land use planning, he tried to clean up the Mellieħa boathouse mess. He was left “to burn my fingers alone, nay, my palms, arms and body. The lack of support from my then Cabinet colleagues – let alone the then backbench – was overwhelming. I could almost hear them chant: ‘Burn, Michael, burn!’”

It is clear that the PN is committed to supporting the illegal development on public land. By being silent on the issue, Labour too supports the PN’s stand without any reservations.

This is the new politics of Labour and the PN: being in cahoots with the squatters in order to exchange votes for public land, which they have occupied illegally for years. It is an issue on which PL and PN policies converge!

The environmental NGOs campaigning for a resolution of the illegal development at L-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa undoubtedly understand that there is only one way through which the land used by the squatters is restored and returned to public ownership and use. This can only be achieved through the election of green members of Parliament. The others are committed to supporting the squatters as they have been doing throughout the years.

There is no other way. If you seek real change, voting green is the only option. The others are compromised.

published in The Times on Saturday January 21, 2012