Marsaxlokk mayor refutes residents’ anonymous accusations of ‘betrayal’

Marsaxlokk mayor Edric Micallef refutes accusations of betrayal, insisting that government option for floating gas terminal in harbour is best solution.

Marsaxlokk mayor Edric Micallef
Marsaxlokk mayor Edric Micallef

An anonymous letter sent to the Prime Minister and the energy minister, apparently signed by a group of Marsaxlokk residents, accused the Labour government of betraying them over the LNG-storage vessel which will be anchored inside the village's picturesque bay.

However in reply to the letter, published by the Malta Independent, Marsaxlokk mayor Edric Micallef refuted the letter's claims of betrayal, insisting that government has opted for the best solution.

In recent weeks, Micallef demanded the relocation of Delimara's LNG-storage vessel outside the Marsaxlokk harbour. The vessel is crucial to the new 200MW power station that will run on natural gas, serving as a floating gas terminal inside the harbour.

In an interview with MaltaToday, Micallef had explained that he was satisfied with the way public consultation is taking place, adding that the LNG vessel must be relocated further offshore to ensure greater peace of mind for Marsaxlokk people.

However, the anonymous residents told prime minister Joseph Muscat, "We want to make it clear that we do not share the mayor's views that this is an acceptable temporary solution." 

But in his reply to the letter, Micallef explained that the decision to have a floating storage, instead of two tanks the size of the Mosta church besides the plant, would not only reduce the visual impact but also reduce security risks.

"When the country will have other sources of gas, such as a gas pipeline, it would be easier to remove the vessel than dismantle tanks on land," he said.

Adding that the Marsaxlokk residents were not betrayed, the mayor said that the government was "listening" to the resident's demands for a better environment and called on them to "appreciate" government's efforts.

In clear reference to the Nationalist Party, he added that the reisidents should not fall for the "sudden" concerns the opposition has over the southern part of Malta, "after letting us inhale the pollution caused by the power station and proposing the construction of an incinerator in Marsaxlokk."

While welcoming the government's decision to construct a gas-powered plant, the anonymous letter said that residents "feel betrayed and used" and "have nowhere to take refuge."

Insisting that government was making the situation "worse," the anonymous letter added, "We do not want any more fuel storage facilities in Marsaxlokk. Every government should reduce risks, not increase them."

Echoing arguments brought forward by the Nationalist opposition, the anonymous residents explained that the project has had a negative impact on the value of property and asked why they were paying the price for government's "haste" and prime minister Joseph Muscat's promise that he would resign if the project was not completed in time.

When the Qajjenza gas terminal was closed down we thought that things would change for the better but now we are going to have another similar structure in Delimara. We do not want any more fuel storage facilities in Marsaxlokk. Every government should reduce risks, not increase them."