PN’s coalition partner ready to take up place on waste committee

Whilst the PN has so far turned down a government invitation on a waste management committee, the PD has stepped in, declaring that it would nominate Godfrey Farrugia 

Yannick Pace
19 September 2017, 11:33am
Last updated on 19 September 2017, 6:33pm
Partit Demokratiku MP Godfrey Farrugia
Partit Demokratiku MP Godfrey Farrugia
Environment minister Jose Herrera has confirmed with MaltaToday that government has asked the leader of the Opposition to nominate one person to “technical commitee for the proposed waste to energy plant”, which could include both Democratic Party MPs Marlene Farrugia and Godfrey Farrugia.

“It is my understanding that the invitation was not accepted however the government is still open to accepting a nomination by the leader of the Opposition if it chooses to reverse the decision,” said Herrera.

“The Opposition leader is at liberty to choose whoever he wants, including Hon Marlene Farrugia and Hon Godfrey Farrugia, who are both members of the opposition, in light of the decision by the constitutional court of 13 June 2017, that declared that the candidates of the so-called Orange Party were candidates on the Nationalist Party list,” added the minsiter.

He went on to say that, had the courts decision been different, the compisition of this legislature’s parliament would also have been different.

“Therefore the government will be acting according to the spirit of the court’s decision,” he said.

Earlier today, the Democratic Party (PD) wrote to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, asking for the party to be represented on the technical committee it will be setting up, adding that it would nominate MP Godfrey Farrugia.

"As representatives of the Democratic Party, and as a part of the parliamentary opposition, we are accepting your request and would like to inform you that we would like to be represented on the waste management committee," it said in a statement. 

PD’s request comes in light of the Nationalist Party’s refusal last week, to take up a seat on the committee, which in turn prompted Muscat to challenge newly-elected PN leader Adrian Delia to reverse the decision.  

Delia later insisted, that the government would not be dictating the opposition’s agenda, stressing that it would not accept a PN member acting as a token representative with no power to influence proceedings. 

The PD however said that as a small island nation with limited land space, waste management required careful planning as well as a "supervised and exact implementation of any such plan".

“Needless to say, any such plan would require a long-term vision but with defined short- and medium- term solutions which put the environment as its main objective,” the PD added

The PD reiterated that the Opposition was duty bound to “actively represent all those who entrusted it with the responsibility of scrutinising the government’s operations, while coming up with alternative solutions”.

“In parliamentary democracies, abstaining from participating in committees, such as this one, only encourages the Government to further alienate the people from the decision-making process,” it said.

The PD added that a lack of consultation with “those representing the people on both sides of the house”, could only lead to on-sided plans that benefit a segment rather than the entirety of the Maltese population.

Labour reiterates call for PN to reconsider its decision

The Labour Party, in a brief statement urged Delia to reverse its decision not to participate in the committee, adding that the fact that the new leader had "responded to the Prime Minister with partisan rhetoric did not augur well".

"Despite this, the Labour Party remains positive and again appeals to Adrian Delia to reconsider its decision and to decide in the interest of the country," adding that decisions taken today would impact the country in years to come. 

Government has given up on waste recycling – Alternattiva Demokratika

Alternattiva Demokratika, the green party, has said that the government’s decision to operate a waste incinerator as a potential solution to Malta’s landfills running out of space, was a declaration that its waste management strategy had filed.

“In particular, it has failed in the objective of reducing the generation of waste, as well as the objective of separating and recycling waste,” it said.

AD said that only 12% of the waste generated in Malta was recycled and that, “with an incinerator to burn 40% of waste the objective to reduce waste generation will be thwarted because of the amount of waste necessary to feed the incinerator”.

Moreover, it added that without a continuous stream of waste the incinerator proposed “cannot be operated” and that the “creation of business that recycle and extract resources from waste will be nipped in the bud”.

“This goes contrary to the concept of the circular economy,” it said. “The target of an incinerator that swallows 40% of waste is high and indicates that the government is not able to reach the targets achieved by other countries.”

Yannick joined MaltaToday as a journalist in 2016. His main areas of interest are politics...