The Ramblers’ Association of Malta (RAM) was vindicated in its decision not to participate in Friday’s edition of Xarabank ‘Rizenji politici’. Peppi Azzopardi was informed that the Association is apolitical and will not be led into political issues. However RAM is disappointed that Peppi Azzopardi did not explain clearly the reasons why RAM did not participate. He failed to make any reference to our last letter dated 30 November. Nor was this letter uploaded on the Xarabank site as Mr Azzopardi announced. At best this is unprofessional journalism, at worst downright dishonesty.
As expected, Dr Scerri and Mr Musumeci immediately hijacked the Xarabank discussion to a political debate arena, with a selected audience put on to boot. The environment does not belong to any party and should stand aloof from politics. How pathetic to see people clapping on hearing statements by Dr Scerri of the type “With my land I do what I want.” Such programmes do not make for serious discussions on environmental themes. The high protection afforded to the site at Bahrija by Mepa itself, and the environmental outrage being committed there, were hardly ever mentioned.
What came out loud and clear from the programme is the immoral fibre of the protagonist, Dr Victor Scerri. His personal insinuations against Mr Lino Bugeja, the RAM president, were as dishonest and deceitful as his infamous Bahrija application, in the name of his wife, “to reconstruct the existing structures with very minor alterations to facilitate use.”
Dr Scerri was equally dishonest in stating half-truths: He states that Lino Bugeja owns a parcel of land, but leaves out the fact that Lino Bugeja owns only one quarter of it measuring half a tumolo. He states that Lino Bugeja purchased the land in ODZ but leaves out the fact that the land was purchased over 40 years ago. Dr Scerri was malicious not to say that in all these years Lino Bugeja never ever put in a development application with Mepa because he accepted, and still accepts, that his land was ODZ. Being an honest citizen Lino Bugeja abided by the laws of the land.
Not so Dr Scerri, who wittingly purchased land with an uninhabitable structure in a protected area only 10 years ago; his sole purpose was to erect a villa in ODZ, in scheduled and protected ODZ; he commissioned fellow Nationalist architect to work round the laws of the land, flouting them professionally; he then went about with works without respect for the protected ambience of the place and with flagrant disregard to the Method Statement that Mepa imposed on the site. It must be added that the Mepa boards were always ever so kind and obliging.
There is much more to be said. To rebut all the incorrect statements and half truths made during the programme would take more space than this paper can afford, so RAM leaves it with readers to determine who is being dishonest.
RAM invites those who wish to learn more of the whole truth on this and other issues concerning Malta’s built and natural environment, to attend the Public Forum being organised by five NGOs at the Ballroom of the Hotel Phoenicia next Saturday, 12th December at 10.00am.