The Malta Independent 27 September 2023, Wednesday
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Mepa chairmanship not a part-time job - NGO

Malta Independent Monday, 22 April 2013, 15:42 Last update: about 10 years ago


The news that Mepa chairman Vince Cassar is being allowed to undertake private work has been met with trepidation by two environmental NGOs.

Undertaking private work whilst serving on the Mepa board has already proven to be a recipe for disaster. Architect Catherine Galea was forced to resign the deputy chairperson post in 2008 over illegal construction carried out in Mellieha and accusations of conflicts of interest.

Much political mileage was made out of the pay cut taken by Mr Cassar over his predecessor, but the major difference is that the previous chairman Austin Walker was working on a full-time basis.  

The target of this disdain is not Mr Cassar himself, but rather the fact that the chairmanship of Mepa should not be a part-time job

A spokesperson for the Ramblers' Association pointed out that the workload of the Mepa chairman has remained unchanged.

“How can a part-timer be expected to carry out the workload associated with being chairman of Mepa. The work has not changed from the previous chairman. It is not possible for this all to be undertaken by Vince Cassar working part-time, unless his remit is redefined,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson pointed out that such a redefinition could well take place once the planning and environmental functions of Mepa have been separated.

The association made it clear that it has nothing against Mr Cassar, saying that he is the right person for the job, and has thus far been “open to listening and has not tried to impose himself on NGOs.”

Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar (FAA) coordinator Astrid Vella expressed herself to be displeased that an architect has been handed the chairmanship.

“In the recent past Mepa chairpersons have not been architects. The developers association are always harping on about not having a developer on the Mepa board. Mepa’s different boards have been dominated by architects representing the construction industry and hence the developers,” Ms Vella pointed out.

Acting AD chairperson Carmel Cacopardo pointed out that Mr Cassar is passed retirement age.

“Vince Cassar has been serving in the public sphere for 40 odd years, having always acted professionally and ethically. He has no record of private practice,” Mr Cacopardo said.

Mr Cacopardo did however concede that allowing the Mepa chairman to carry out part-time work is asking for trouble “on paper.”

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