Sunday, 11 July 2010

Armier squatters

Armier squatters have had it 'obscenely good for far too long'

An aerial photo of Armier. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

Rampant abusive land seizures must be terminated, four environmental NGOs said yesterday, as they voiced objections to the Armier squatters' demands.

Public land being offered to the developers was worth millions of euros, the Ramblers' Association, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Friends of the Earth and Nature Trust said in a statement.

"Their ferocity in bargaining, their electoral arm-twisting, and their initiative in organising themselves is better understood when the millions of real estate value at stake on this public land is revealed," the NGOs said referring to the Armier boathouse owners.

"The Armier tract of land is thought to be much larger in size than that of the White Rocks project, and is also seafront public real estate. Worth millions of euros, it is about to be written off for a pittance due to political blackmail."

In addition to the illegal shacks, caravaners were now "insolently" demanding alternative sites in locations convenient to them in order to move off the land they illegally occupy, the statement said.

"It beggars belief that the leaders of Malta's main political parties should pander to land-grabbers by offering them property that rightfully belongs to the nation. Such an agreement would legitimise these squatters' claim to the value of the land they have squatted on. This property is already being speculated and will continue to be bartered for clean and legal real estate."

The NGOs referred to the squatters' claims that they have paid €93,000 in expenses, which works out to €4,650 per year for a minimum of 20 years of illegal possession. Divided between some 800 illegal households, this was less than €5.81 per year, the NGOs said.

"If that is not theft, we don't know what is. Not only have the squatters had it obscenely good enough for far too long but they have made outrageous claims also for the future."

Presented in 2004, the applications submitted by Armier Developments, the squatters' company, proposes the development of 1,589 rooms, five playing fields and a bowls pitch, a mini market, three restaurants, a two-storey garage, three community centres and a clinic in an area spanning Ramlet il-Qortin, Ta' Maċċa u l-Armier, the Barriera tal-Aħrax quarry, Little Armier and the Torri l-Abjad zone.

The NGOs added that the Malta Environment and Planning Authority chairman had now said part of the development proposed was unacceptable because of environmental, agricultural and land ownership issues. However, no refusal of the squatters' basic claims was forthcoming from either political party in Parliament or Mepa.

"The abuse of partisan politics, the clear source of these illegalities, is corroding the public's faith in Maltese politicians' ability to embrace the 21st century and rise above vote-catching tactics to build a political career built on sound ideology and practice," the NGOs said.


c. camilleri (1 day, 5 hours ago)
These abusive squatters should be made to leave immediately and pay for the period they made use illegally of public property. They had it too good for too long. Now its time to return the land to the public In this regard Dr. J. Azzopardi is doing an excellent job.
J S Borg(1 day, 8 hours ago)
Whenever somebody makes a genuine and honest mistake when completing the IT or VAT return this somebody will be penalised heavily by the very honest and law abiding department.
But if you hijack public property or make a profit of hundreds of thousand euro then it is OK.

There is a very solution to the armier problem. Give them the property for free by a public deed, then when it is sold or inherited their should be a minimum tax of Euro 500 000.

Silv.Cutajar(1 day, 10 hours ago)
Dr Gonzi / Dr Muscat,

The most honourable way which is expected from you is to unilaterally you jointly declare your position AGAINST these robbers. We, the silent majority are still waiting for the start of a massive bulldozing exercise of all these ghettos scattered around Malta. There can be no compromise with land squatters, pre- and after MEPA, no excuses. The silent BIG MAJORITY (I mean all the law abiding citizens from both political parties and non-voters) are still waiting for the BIG DECISION from both of you.

That political party that wants to be judged by its green credentials in this country has to start a massive clean-up of these shanty towns. No cheap slogans can ever restore or recoup back the lost votes. Immediate action is needed. No alternatives should be given to these squatters - they are only required to foot the bill!!!
Paul Saliba(1 day, 10 hours ago)
I suggest that they be removed, holiday apartments built by the Government and then sold at a profit to Maltese citizens. They will still have a decent vacation home with all amenities near the sea and not some shanty town room or caravan while the Government will increase its income from the profit made on selling the apartments.

Peter Murray(1 day, 11 hours ago)
What a parallel universe those in authority inhabit in Malta.This incongrous situation is beyond a rational comprehension and regrettably an endemic example of surreptitous dealings and vote-lobbying masquerading as good governance.Is there any hope for us or is that a rhetorical question?
G.Debono(1 day, 11 hours ago)
Dr. Gonzi, Dr. Muscat,

It is time to stop blaming your predecessors about the position on Armier. It is time to stand up and broom off this shanty town. It can only be done if both of you come out in a common front that the stolen land can never be regularised.

If it was made legal in the past, then pay compensation and expropriate the land back to the people. If your opinion is that the money is best used for other things, think again, the people of Malta are united, they don't want land robbers. This is the time, bulldoze the illegal ones, compensate those that were abusively regularised during previous leaders (Eddie, Mintoff, Karmenu, etc..)
There should be no buildings there, pre or post MEPA is irrelavent. Theft is theft irrispective of when it was done. Unless ALL the hut are removed, then my dear leaders, this is complicity to theft and do not come harping out for votes or calling your party as environment shields.

There can be no compromise with land squatters, they ALL have to go, irrispective of cost or previous decisions. No alternatives should be given otherwise it will be unfair to all!
J. Schembri(1 day, 11 hours ago)
Armier Developments? Squatters company? What cheek!
For us poor law abiding plebeians there is one solution: No MEPA permits?Not on the 1967 map? Than bulldoze and sue this official squatters company.This coastal area is just as big and beautiful as the White Rocks complex , it costs Millions of euro . How can I have a plot please?

To get a ten metre squared room built in one's own property one has to overcome many hurdles and abide to many conditions for which one has to pay considerable amounts of money for the procedures.Those are the rules, and law abiding citizens do follow this three year long MEPA process. Short cuts should not be tolerated after the MEPA reform.
If Mepa is truly autonomous it should freeze this companies assets ,clear this ODZ area , bring it back to its original condition and hold the directors of this squatters company personally responsible for all the financial obligations .

1 comment:

John said...

If these were build on a private land and with a legal conveju and contract, I will not find any objections. Although I would make some enforcement to make the area look a bit orginized. But these were build on public land for free and without any legal contracts. So there is nothing to discuss about. The discussion starts with buildings build after 1967 (refer to mepa official aerial maps????)
The recent enforcement regulations with huge fines (Jan 2011) must be only in force for those buildings erected after Jan 2011. Since 1967 onwards only God knows how many private building was sold and change hands every day. All taxes were paid accoriding to the Goverment civil architects inspection estimates. So a cut off date should be Jan 2011. I don't think that Mepa should go way back to the 1967 aerial photos. Mepa should have taken the photos by 2011 and strat from there. Again I am against persons who take public land.
That's my oppinion.