Sunday, 13 July 2008

Letters to the Press Sunday 13th July 2008

Great expectations implode
by Alex Vella

As published in today's TMIS and Malta Today.

A sense of revulsion has gripped the Ramblers’ Association of Malta (RAM), as the full significance sinks in of the events that unfolded on the morning that the Mepa board met for the seemingly fake purpose of ruling on the Fort Cambridge application.

The general and obvious impression is that it was a foregone conclusion and it follows that the NGOs and other innocent parties involved continue to be taken for a ride. It appears that board members, paid out of taxpayers’ money, still willingly conspire to convene for a mock meeting, to carry on making a fool of those same taxpayers whose interests they are paid to protect.

RAM feels most aggrieved by the fact that the new chairman met with a delegation from the Association only one week before the meeting, when he drew a picture of integrity and declared that he saw allies in the NGOs, whose work to report illegalities to the authorities was invaluable and could never be achieved by government policing. In truth, as far as Government is concerned, NGOs continue to serve only one purpose – that of scapegoats.

It is hurtful and ironic that a person of his stature, who first declares himself still unacquainted with the complexities of his new post and technically incompetent regarding the specifics of the engineering profession, should suddenly appear to engineer such a frame-up, then spring up barefacedly to cover it with a fabrication that insults the intelligence of one and all. This is not permissible in a civilised society, where justice has to be seen to be done, crystal-clear.

RAM had other expectations from the new chairman. Following on from the fallout of the DCC board resignation, the Ramla l-Hamra permit revocation, the Mistra disco and Mistra Towers cases, and following the factual revelations from evidence by Astrid Vella in the case at the Gozo courts, he was expected to follow up with investigations of other debacles such as the Safi Supermarket and the Tas-Sellum development, as well as many others. He was likewise then expected to seek the revocation of permits on the grounds of irregular procedures and that so many sections of the law have been broken. That would have been a happy day for environmental justice. Contrary to expectations, it is not a new broom that has been brought in to sweep Mepa clean, and tricks of the trade remain stubbornly stuck. It proved an implosion, as matters get factually worse.

The silence of the Prime Minister on the matter cries out aloud, but is not surprising. One has only to consider the parallelism to the other infamous stance taken by the Prime Minister to overlook the illegal occupation of public land by daylight-robber citizens, making mockery here again of the upright and honest citizen. For is it not appalling that rights of access in the countryside are generally denied to common citizens – lawful constitutional rights just to walk, while possession illegally usurped by the few brazen-faced is condoned? This logic presumes an inferior IQ level for the upright citizens who are ready to accept the prevailing situation where illegal possession of public property is condoned and illegal construction and destruction is sanctioned, but legal lawful rights of way are denied.

One would be very mistaken to believe that ours is a democratic republic, where equal rights are constitutionally protected. It is a far cry from that! Rather, it is an oligarchy of environmental villains whose only knowledge of land use is based on personal profit and pleasure. This oligarchy uses votes and money to blackmail a democratically elected government, weakened by a relative majority election result and dependent upon land transfer revenue and relative tax as major sources of income.

RAM is disgusted at the way Government, which has the authority to govern by simply applying the existing rules of the land, abdicates its responsibility not only by turning a blind eye to the breaking of the law, but goes so far as to condone it. There is a dearth of political will to apply the law, but an abundance of political ingenuity to dodge it.

Alex Vella

Hon. Secretary

Ramblers Association

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