The albatross around Leo Brincat’s neck

Brincat is due to appear before a European parliamentary committee and make his case as to why he is Malta’s ideal candidate for the European Court of Auditors, despite the albatross he hung round his neck when he voted against the confidence motion filed against minister Konrad Mizzi

12 August 2016, 10:44am
Leo Brincat
Leo Brincat
Some three weeks ago, Astrid Vella of Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar, during a protest rally against the proposed towers that are to shoot up some 40-plus storeys into the Sliema sky, made a very serious allegation against the Prime Minister.

An allegation that seems to have been taken lightly, if not totally ignored, by the media and more so by the PM himself. She said that he told her, in front of witnesses, that he doesn’t give a fig… it’s no big deal for him when NGOs raise their hackles at high-rise, for the people will in time come round to the idea and get used to them.

The press has published minutes of a private meeting of the Planning Authority showing that the government “instructed the PA to designate Mriehel as a high-rise area after the close of public consultation”.

For those not up to speed with the Mriehel towers’ controversy, this was a case of the government pulling a fast one on an unsuspecting public (uriena d-debba u qabbżilna l-ħmara).

The plans the public saw during the “consultation” process did not include those four towers, rising to around 20 storeys. The public was played for a dummy, as is the wont of this government.

Since more than two weeks have gone by since the weekly broke the story and no denial from either the PM or the PA has been forthcoming, one is inclined to go along with what the paper said.

If anything, this will give crushing weight to Astrid Vella’s allegation as to what the PM said to her with respect to his not giving a fig and how the average schmuck in the street will come round to accepting high-rises.

Enter former Environment Minister Leo Brincat into the fray.

He’s due to appear before a European parliamentary committee and make his case as to why he is Malta’s ideal candidate for the European Court of Auditors, despite the albatross he hung round his neck when he voted against the confidence motion filed against minister Konrad Mizzi.

That aside, for a moment, he has a lot to answer for during his tenure as Environment Minister. As Malta’s frontline defender of what remains of her environment, his support of the Zonqor project was nothing short of betrayal of his mission.

The weekend following the NGOs’ protest on the site of the proposed project, in tandem with the disgraced former parliamentary secretary for planning, he sang the project’s praises even when the initial plans were for 91,000 square metres of virgin land being up for grabs. Yes, that was nothing short of a downright betrayal of his mission.

As if that were not enough, we now have this scam about the Mriehel towers, a scam perpetrated during his tenure. Another act of betrayal.

So one question which should be put to Leo Brincat at his hearing for his candidature for the ECA, is this:

“The facts show that you betrayed your mission as your country’s front-line defender of the environment. What guarantees can you give this committee that should you accede to the ECA, there won’t be another betrayal?”

Things don’t look good at all for Leo. Along with the albatross around his neck, the man is in for getting his wings clipped.

Joe Genovese
Birkirkara