The Malta Independent 9 December 2018, Sunday

Does Ambjent Malta have any real powers, PD asks

Friday, 10 August 2018, 10:41 Last update: about 5 months ago

Partit Demokratiku welcomed the appointment of Gzira Mayor Conrad Borg Manché to lead the newly established Ambjent Malta. However, Partit Demokratiku said in a statement it would have preferred to have Ambjent Malta's responsibilities entrenched with the necessary constitutional changes needed to safeguard our environment because as matters stand, the final word will remain the Minister’s.

Ambjent Malta must address some of the gaping holes in policy, including the need for plans for (1) aquifer regeneration, (2) watershed management, (3) Urban Land Reclamation and Harmonization, (4) a national agriculture strategic plan, and (5) Soil preservation.

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The following questions need to be answered:

(a) Why wasn’t Ambjent Malta set up at the beginning of the year as planned? Is there some ulterior motive why it has been set up at the eleventh hour just before another budget is due?

(b) Why do we have yet another Authority without the power to implement necessary changes since it is entirely beholden to the Minister? Malta needs institutions which can function independently in the interests of the Republic, rather than being blocked whenever the winds of political convenience change.

(c) Has the civil service become toothless? Is it the fault of the Directorate that we have reached the pitiful state that no public entity seems to function without Ministerial blessing?

Partit Demokratiku said that while it is necessary and important to take proactive environmental steps, we must not settle for cosmetic improvements. Our ODZ is under assault, roads in Malta are being widened because trees and bushes are being chopped down and the soil cemented over resulting in a lot of soil being wasted, and overdevelopment remains a dire problem.

Partit Demokratiku said it has full confidence in the person entrusted with our natural patrimony. Yet, it appears that he does not have a free hand.  PD will hold Ambjent Malta to account, while supporting its positive and potentially proactive policies. It is hoped Ambjent Malta will not be sabotaged by business-beholden interests in government.

 

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