PD promise no more gifting of public land to private sector

Speaking outside White Rocks, Partit Demokratiku (PD) candidate Godfrey Farrugia said the land could not be allowed to be handed to rich investors with the excuse that it will help the economy, but must be returned to the public. 

The White Rocks area of Pembroke has been earmarked for various developments
The White Rocks area of Pembroke has been earmarked for various developments

A Forza Nazzjonali government will enshrine the protection of natural resources in the Constitution, manage Malta's national resources intelligently and bring a halt to donations of public land to the private sector, the PN-PD alliance says.

Speaking at a press conference outside the White Rocks, Partit Demokratiku (PD) candidate Godfrey Farrugia made no dice about the issue.“This land must be returned to the public. It cannot be allowed to be given to rich investors with the excuse that it will help the economy. This is a natural resource with immeasurable value.”

The White Rocks area in Pembroke has been earmarked for various developments in the past.

“The system adopted by Projects Malta, although not illegal, simplifies the tender process to such a degree that the necessary scrutiny is eroded, thereby giving the opportunity to some people to gain an unfair advantage in expressions of interest. Once, twice, three times, we have seen Projects Malta being used to give away public land for free. This is something we condemn, especially when this land is ODZ.”

“Our country is a jewel that we should treasure...it is unfortunate that in the last years the natural capital has been devalued and was not protected enough. Today there is a new generation of people who,although progressive, should also protect these areas because they, too, have an economic value.”

PD candidate Monique Agius told reporters that the environment was lynchpin of the PD's electoral manifesto and if elected, the party would push for its protection to be enshrined in the Constitution.

After the fight against the gifting of Zonqor to private investors died down, the WhiteRocks problem began, she said. Agius objected to the overdevelopment of the area, arguing that it should be used for basic amenities at most.

“Therefore, the PD in a Forza Nazzjonali government is a guarantee that our ODZ would be protected at the Constitutional level and the eating away of our natural resources will stop.”

Dr. Anthony Buttigieg, who is also contesting the election on the PD ticket said White Rocks was the only place in the area suitable for family recreation. Buttigieg insisted the area should be conserved as an eco-park, showcasing indigenous flora and fauna. “A place where families can have fun and learn about Maltese ecosystem at the same time.”

The candidate argued for a holistic approach to environmentally-friendly planning, pointing to the Paceville Masterplan which had been suspended because of the election. “We want any future plan to not be only local, but national. Had it not been for the election, this land behind us would have suffered the same fate as ITS. It would have been given taken from the public and given to speculators for free.”

“Quality of life is not just money...if Malta becomes a concrete jungle, and it already is one to an extent, and we carry on building, our children will not be able to live well. We should use resources intelligently. Yes, we should strengthen the economy, but at the same time we should treasure what remains.”