PN non-committal on resignation of environmental regulator chief

There were calls over the weekend from environmental NGOs for ERA chief Victor Axiak to resign, but the Opposition is yet to take a stand on this position

Nationalist MP Robert Cutajar
Nationalist MP Robert Cutajar

The Nationalist Party wants the Environmental and Resources Authority to operate with increased transparency, but will not take a position on whether Victor Axiak should resign as head of the authority.

During a press conference on Monday, Opposition Whip Robert Cutajar said that ERA board meetings should be open to the public, with NGOs and interested third-parties able to submit representations on the matters being discussed.

In addition to this, Cutajar suggested that votes taken during the meetings should not be kept secret.

The party would be presenting these suggestions in a private member's bill to amend the law that regulates the authority.

The PN's suggestions closely align those put forward by environmental NGOs last Saturday, in a letter that called for the removal of Victor Axiak from his post as head of ERA.

The NGOs accused Axiak of "repeatedly and unashamedly during the last few years, acted and voted against the environmental wellbeing of this country".

READ ALSO: Axiak on NGOs’ call for his removal: ‘I always voted according to my conscience and ERA reports’

When asked whether the Nationalist Party will join in this call for Axiak's resignation, Cutajar avoided taking a stance and insisted on the need for more transparency in ERA's operations.

Government must revise voluntary sector regulations

Opposition spokesperson Kevin Cutajar reacted to recent regulations governing NGO fundraising activities, appealing to government to listen to stakeholders and revise the legislations adopted last September surrounding public collections and charity shops.

He said that these activities are a primary source of funding for most NGOs, and the new regulations consistute a burden on volunteers and voluntary organisations.

"Moneyval isn't an excuse for these rules. Government knows that if it wants to pass Moneyval it needs to see that those accused of corruption and money-laundering are brought to justice," he said.