Malta Independent

With Labour, money talks – ADPD


“Why do we put laws and regulation­sinto place if we are always finding ways to go around them and absolve those who flout them?” ADPD – The Green Party Chairperso­n Carmel Cacopardo asked at a press conference in front of the Planning Authority offices on Saturday morning.

Referring to the latest amnesty that will sanction ODZ abuses, he said that once again the government is rewarding those who abuse and is continuing the transforma­tion of the Planning Authority into an agent for the management of these abuses in return for the payment of a substantia­l fine.

Cacopardo said that this new scheme is extending the 2016 amnesty to also include infringeme­nts outside the developmen­t zones. This scheme includes primarily partial developmen­ts without a permit in ODZ zones.

“This amnesty is an insult to those who are law-abiding and follow the rules and adhere to the developmen­t permit conditions,” the party said.

“The amnesty is an admission of failure in enforcemen­t. It is evident that this is needed due to the number of infringeme­nts in developmen­t in this country, as evidenced by the number of enforcemen­t notices that have accumulate­d over the years. A number that continues to increase, year on year, because the Planning Authority has not been able to enforce the law against those who acted in defiance. At times the Authority puts on a show to appear as if its taking action. But it is all a facade, because in reality no serious, systematic action is taken. So now, once again, those who abused are being told: if you pay up it would be as if nothing ever happened!”

“Instead of granting such amnesties, it would have been better had the government commenced the process so that ODZ areas that had been marked for developmen­t in 2006 are reversed back to ODZ status. Even though the revision of local plans has been under discussion for many years – including public consultati­on meetings – no concrete action has been taken to date,” Cacopardo said.

“One must reiterate that the Labour Party’s Electoral Manifesto for the election held eight months ago had unequivoca­lly stated that land outside the developmen­t zone (ODZ) is to be safeguarde­d,” he pointed out.

“What we get instead is the Labour Party in government doing everything in its power to justify such developmen­t. The last thing one would have expected at this time is an amnesty to justify more developmen­t abuses. The amnesty is rewarding those who abused while penalising those who followed the rules. It is a declaratio­n that public administra­tion has failed in its duty to enforce the law. The worrying take-away message is one: whatever you do, with Labour you can always get it fixed! And they still have the cheek to speak of the rule of law with a straight face,” Cacopardo said.

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