Nadur farmers lose legal battle with parish priest over new cemetery
A group of Nadur farmers yesterday lost their legal battle against the parish priest of the locality and the administrator of the Gozo Cathedral for the damages suffered by them following the construction of a new cemetery.
The case involved lands on the clay slopes near Nadur owned by two families, Cassar and Camilleri. The applicants claimed that the area, known as Ta’ Ghajn Qasab, used to benefit from a continuous spring water supply from the natural aquifier, which was collected in two reservoirs which supplied their fields.
In January 2004, MEPA approved the development of a new cemetery above the fields despite of the protests of environmental NGOs and local farmers.
The development meant that the concrete would contaminate and interrupt the water supply and in turn the crops.
Magistrate Joanne Vella Cuschieri told the court that the farmers did not have the declaration of ownership of the land over which the cemetery was built.
The court also noted that the work permits had been issued by the former parish priest Mgr Saviour Muscat. In fact, Fr Jimmy Xerri had become the parish priest of the locality after 75% of the works had already been completed.
The court ruled that Fr Jimmy Xerri was not personally responsible for the damage caused by the development of the new cemetery since there had been insufficient evidence to prove this.
The court rejected the claims of the applicants and ordered them to pay the cost of the suit.