NGOs demand meeting with Robert Abela over Mizieb, l-Ahrax and hunters' demands

The NGOs are concerned that the general public will be unable to enjoy these areas for at least nine out of twelve months every year 

The hunting lobby wants exclusive access during open seasons to hunt quail, turtle dove and also rabbits
The hunting lobby wants exclusive access during open seasons to hunt quail, turtle dove and also rabbits

A group of NGOs is demanding a meeting with the Prime Minister, asking that the government immediately publish the full terms of any agreement regarding the transfer of the Miżieb and Aħrax open spaces to the FKNK, which was revealed earlier this week through the media. 

The NGOs, representing different spheres and public interests, especially those in the preservation of natural environment, say they are concerned that through this agreement, the general public will be unable to enjoy these areas for at least nine out of twelve months every year, considering that the hunting lobby wants exclusive access during open seasons to hunt quail, turtle dove and also rabbits.

In its statement, the coalition of NGOs is questioning why the cordoning off of these two popular recreational spots and their transfer to one of the two hunters’ organisations was only made public through the media. 

“In his proposal to the Cabinet, the Prime Minister not only bypassed the Lands Authority but also ignored the sentiments of the general public, which presently enjoys access to these areas for walks, picnics and camping,” reads the statement.

The NGOs decried the fact that no details about the deal have been made public. "This is definitely not the way to dispose of open spaces and we fully believe that the general public, and not a single lobby, should be given priority when it comes to open recreational spaces. In this particular moment, when most of the country is self-isolating at home, we find it appalling that a lobby can be given two large open spaces such as these, without proper consultation and in total secrecy. This is not the lobbying transparency we have been promised. Moreover, the government does not have an electoral mandate to hand over open spaces to lobbies,” said the NGOs.

They strongly opposed what they said were the limitations on the appropriate public access to places of natural amenity, "particularly to suit a small part of a minority group,  the continuation of this way of governing public assets and the way in which Cabinet treats public assets as its own.”

The NGOs are also demanding an urgent meeting with the Prime Minister and the Environment Minister, “in view of the apparent lack of opposition to this project from within Cabinet itself.” They argued that the decision should be postponed until a public consultation process is held.  The NGOs affirmed their intention to contest any decision taken on this matter “in every way possible.”

The NGOs involved are: the Archaeological Society of Malta, Bicycle Advocacy Group,BirdLife Malta, Din L-Art Ħelwa, Extinction Rebellion Malta, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Friends of the Earth Malta, Futur Ambjent Wieħed, Għaqda Siġar Maltin, Isles of the Left, Moviment Graffitti, Nature Trust Malta, Outdoor Recreation and Camping Association Malta, the  Ramblers Association Malta, Noise Abatement Society Malta and the Kamra tal-Periti.

 

 

 

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