Letters : 16 November 2014

Does the left hand know what the right is doing?

Malta’s obligation as a member of the European Union is to abide by Directives aimed at harmonising all member states forming part of a united Europe. Undoubtedly Directives are not tailor made to suit every country’s needs or specific circumstances and subsequently derogations are applied and granted whenever certain criteria are met. 

Derogations are a partial revocation of a law, as opposed to abrogation or the total abolition of a law. In terms of European Union legislation, a derogation can imply a delay by member states when implementing EU Regulations into their legal system or their opting not to enforce a specific provision in a treaty due to given circumstances. Such “specific circumstances”, in the case of spring hunting, were clearly defined by the European Court of Justice ruling as being the reason for there being no “satisfactory solution” to hunt turtle dove and quail during autumn.

The cardinal point permitting derogation from the Birds Directive during spring was undoubtedly met and the framework legislation permitting such practice whenever autumn hunted numbers are unsatisfactory shares the European Commission’s approval.

In theory, all EU laws should be binding on all member states. But states can sometimes negotiate to opt-out of a particular piece of legislation or derogate. The Nationalist Party confirmed this fact in two letters assuring all hunters and trappers dated March and April 2003 signed by its leader and Prime Minister at the time. Also the current PN leader Busuttil during his tenure as the head of the Malta EU Information Centre MIC informed the Maltese public that following pre accession negotiations on the Environment, “Malta will apply a derogation whereby Maltese hunters can continue hunting quail and turtledoves in spring” and most importantly is his confirming that, “the possibility to derogate forms part of EU law”.

The Opposition leader Simon Busuttil PN now argues that the “referendum would not go against the provisions of Malta’s EU Accession Treaty”. How after “sticking out his neck for hunters” and countless references and assurances regarding a negotiated position on spring hunting, he himself was involved in, Busuttil arrives at this conclusion solicits an explanation since the Nationalist Party has always maintained the exact opposite.

So much so, apart from derogation for spring hunting being a specific provision in a treaty forming part of EU and subsequently Maltese law , the words of Eddie Fenech Adami in one of the referred letters unquestionably confirm the Nationalist Party’s agreement on spring hunting as being an integral part of the provisions of Malta’s Accession Treaty :“Dak li il-gvern Nazzjonalista ftiehem ma’ l-Unjoni Ewropea  hu miktub iswed fuq l-abjad fit-Trattat ta’ Shubija Dan jassigura li l-kaccaturi u nassaba bhalhek se jkomplu jippratikaw id-delizzju taghhom fis-shih.” (‘What the Nationalist Party agreed with the European Union is written in black and white in the Accession Treaty. This assures hunters and trappers like yourself that they will remain practicing their pastime in its entirety.’)

Perhaps Busuttil might wish to explain this ambiguity if he cherishes his and the PN’s credibility.

Pierre Zammit, Kercem, Gozo

An open letter to the Siggiewi Local Council and MEPA

Way back some years ago, I wrote about the barbaric destruction of backyard gardens and orange orchards, much greater in size, which used to enrich the core of the beautiful village of Siggiewi.

These pockets of unbuilt spaces used to provide the villagers with the much-needed fresh air and the high quality of oxygen that the people who live there breathe.

Notwithstanding the effort to raise awareness, nothing was done to prevent the insensitive construction that was allowed to cover these air spaces. The result is that only a few of such spaces remain.

My renewed appeal is that the authorities should reject outright any further plans to build over spaces that our predecessors, much wiser than us, earmarked for back gardens.

A visit to a new construction site in Gate Avenue in Zebbug is a clear example.

What I am saying is that new development should remain sensitive to what our forefathers had done before us; additionally, that we should leave our children large open spaces to provide them with the clean air that they will need to be able to live healthily.

If there is a will, it should not be so difficult.

Nicola Zammit, Siggiewi

A made-up version of Simon Busuttil?

So according to media reports, Simon Busuttil has been having private lectures by a foreign consultant on how to improve the delivery of his speeches, body language and all that is needed to impress his audience much more than he has been able to do up to now.

So instead of seeing the real Simon Busuttil, we may be looking at a “made-up” version of the Opposition leader.  In my view, what Simon Busuttil needs is someone to teach him how to avoid trying to create mountains out of mole hills, or storms in a tea cup.

The scaremongering possibility of “50 atom-bombs” going off in Marsaxlokk Harbour just because there would be an LNG tanker moored there to supply gas to the new gas power station which is being built there, is perhaps the most glaring example of what I mean.

Eddy Privitera, Mosta

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