Mepa's 'boycott' (letters) -
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Sylvana DeBono, public relations officer, Malta Environment and Planning Authority, Floriana

The Malta Environment and Planning Authority notes with satisfaction that amid the declarations made in public, an appreciation was shown of the fact that the authority had given a wide space for public participation. It is indeed unfortunate that this space is now being misused, for motives which are not always entirely clear, with lies and distortions. The means which the authority has at its disposal to use in its defence are not as plentiful as one might imagine. This is a case in point.

When Mepa decided not to accede to requests for meetings outside the normal course of duty with a particular NGO, this NGO was portrayed as a martyr. Mepa has made it clear that the action taken did not refute any of the rights the NGO had but was reserving Mepa's right to apportion its time as it saw fit. The authority, because it is an authority, is in a much more difficult position than the NGO. All too frequently, the facts which Mepa puts forward are interpreted according to convenience.

While the use of the term "boycott" was unfortunate, the fact remains that Mepa has every right to choose to limit its contact with this NGO to what is absolutely essential until such time as this NGO sees it fit to substantiate or retract its allegations and rectify the distortions which it is passing for truths. In spite of the repeated and substantiated explanations about the nature of the actions envisaged by the authority's use of the term, it appears that there may have been elements who had a motive to see that the chairman is misinterpreted. A boycott in real terms, as everyone knows, is a total exclusion. During the press conference, the chairman immediately made clear the very limited way in which this term was being used. Ostracism was never on the cards as was made amply clear. So much so, that since then, the NGO has made use of Mepa's services and the authority will continue to render these services as dictated by law.

Mepa agrees that dialogue built on truth is the best way to reach an understanding for the common good. It is for this reason that Mepa places the facts at the public's disposal as it is obliged to do according to the laws governing it. That is why Mepa makes available the services of its professional staff to help explain facts to those not technically oriented. That is why Mepa feels so short changed when, in spite of all its efforts to come across with information, it is depicted as a liar.

Mepa has no interest in lies and distortions. The truth is difficult enough to understand and beyond some to accept. That is why, for those interested in seeing the facts on this case, they should log on to the front page of
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19 Jun 2007 by