ADPD want clear lobbying rules to combat overdevelopment

Malta’s green party refers to Clyde Caruana’s statement that the economy should shift away from construction

Clear lobbying rules are needed to combat government’s closeness to the development and construction industry, ADPD Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo said on Sunday.

Cacopardo issued a statement on the topic following a declaration by Finance Minister Clyde Caruana that Malta’s economy should shift away from construction.

“Minister Caruana’s declaration is welcome. It signifies that, at long last, someone has realised that the large parliamentary parties have caused great harm as a result of their closeness to the development and construction industry,” the statement reads.

Cacopardo added that the excessive closeness between political parties and the construction lobby has resulted in a dilution of the regulatory effectiveness of development, leading to substantial and at times irreversible environmental damage.

“If Minister Caruana wishes to be credible he should ensure that Government takes the necessary steps so that the authorities dealing with land use planning and the protection of the environment honour their brief.”

He added that the issue is not exclusive to the Labour Party. Instead, it has been developing over a longer time period, with both the Labour and Nationalist Party operating closely with the construction industry.

Cacopardo said that the only difference since the Labour Party entered government in 2013 is that this closeness was made more apparent.

“In the absence of clear lobbying rules no one knows exactly what has been going on,” he continued.

He warned that for Caruana to be taken seriously, the party awaits the conclusion of a consultation exercise on the lobbying rules prepared by the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life in April 2020.

“Throughout the years the construction/development industry made hay while the sun was shining in the absence of lobbying rules. If all this changes it would be a good step forward.”

The Office of the Standards Commissioner announced in September that it will be working with the OECD on a vairety of new initatives to improve integrity standards.

One of these initiatives will be a new policy framework to regulate political lobbying.

READ ALSODevelopers lobby sounds warning on making enemy out of construction