PRESS STATEMENT - AD -06.06.2007
Another Environmental Disaster for Gozo - AD
Source:AD Gozo Regional Committee On:Wed 06/06/2007

Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party (AD) expressed its utmost disapproval at the decision taken by the Mepa board to grant its permission to the Ramla l-Hamra development. Dr Harry Vassallo, the chairperson of AD said that “this scandalous decision taken by the Mepa board will continue to undermine Mepa’s credibility as the environmental regulator”. “This continues to prove that Mepa is weak with the strong and strong with the weak” added Dr. Vassallo.

Dr. Vassallo added that “it is even more evident that the decision taken by the government to scrap the Xaghra il-Hamra golf course was a ploy intended solely to greenwash the government’s and Minister Pullicino’s, dismal track record in environmental protection”. Dr Vassallo continued by saying that, “It is unacceptable that an EU Member State approves of such a development on such a site, without even conducting the required environmental impact assessment - EIA”. What is even more shameful is that the EIA was waived because the developer’s architect decided to change the descriptor of the project from residential dwellings into tourist complex at the eleventh hour, during a DCC meeting, with resubmitting the project description statement and the application”, continued Dr Vassallo. “These are the antics you’d expect from a ‘banana republic' and not from a modern, European, democratic state”, added Dr Vassallo. “We shall be flagging this issue with the commission, just as we did
for the proposed amendments to the development zones”, continued Dr Vassallo.

“Sources close to the Commission have informed us that Malta, is already facing infringement procedures for the waiving of the EIA requirement for the Fort Cambridge development and it seems that MEPA and the government are hell bent on dragging Malta into the Commision’s list of shame”, continued Dr Vassallo.

AD general secretary and spokesperson for Gozo, Mr. Victor Galea said that “It is ironic that while Minister Pullicino pontificates about putting the environment on top of the country’s agenda, and celebarating environmental week by cheap propaganda, it did not dawn upon him that the rape of Ramla il-Hmara’s, geomorphologic features, archaeological remains and habitats which support particular fauna and flora, is being given the green light.”

“AD will continue to support in all ways possible the residents of Xaghra and all those concerned”, added Mr Galea. Victor Galea also said that, “AD would also like to thank the Xaghra Local Council and the a number of environmental NGOs, for their support in the battle to protect Gozo’s beauty and natural heritage.”

“It is also unacceptable that the management agreement running from 2000 to 2003, between the Environment protection department (Mepa is the legal successor of the latter) and the Gaia Foundation for the conservation, beach management, landscaping, sustainable agriculture, research and dissemination of information, has been scrapped in order to acquiesce to the greed of the speculators responsible for this project”, concluded Mr Galea.

Dr Vassallo concluded by saying that “The electors will have the power to stop this and similar charades in the coming general elections, by electing Alternattiva Demokratika – the Green Party to Parliament. No other party will guarantee that Mepa is reformed in such a way that similar scandalous decisions are no longer the order of the day, e.g. by separating Mepa into two distinct authorities one responsible for environmental protection and one responsible for development control and by putting the latter under the responsibility and control of the Parliament’s permanent committee for development control”.

Victor Fiorini
PRO - Alternattiva Demokratika
mob: 79278275
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12 Jun 2007 by