The Malta Independent 25 October 2020, Sunday

FKNK agreements could have been explained better to the public before signing - Farrugia

Giulia Magri Wednesday, 14 October 2020, 15:52 Last update: about 11 days ago

The government could have given the public a better explanation of the agreements entered into with the hunting lobby before they were signed, Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia has conceded.

Farrugia was commenting on the manner in which the government and FKNK handled the agreement signing over the management of Mizieb and L-Ahrax. The agreements handed the FNKK control of the two sites to the FKNK, while imposing a number of conditions on cleanliness and upkeep.

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No press call was issued for the signing, which was originally set to take place on Sunday. A protest was held at Ahrax on Sunday.

Since then, the government and FKNK have faced serious backlash from NGOs and the general public.

“I believe we could have published this information in a better manner,” Farrugia told The Malta Independent.

“Back when we signed this agreement, we could have published this information properly. I accept and agree that we could have informed the public properly what we were signing.”

On Monday, Farrugia, who was present at the signing on Friday, said that the criticism of the deal was ‘justified’. This newsroom spoke to Farrugia for his own comments on the public outcry.

“I received criticism from individuals who wish for more open green spaces, and I can completely understand them. There are people who are saying we need more open spaces, and that they do not agree with this signing.”

Farrugia said that he understood why people were annoyed, and that he spoke to a number of individuals and has begun working on this issue. “I am already working on ways in which we can provide our communities with more open green spaces and in the upcoming weeks more will be announced on these plans.”

Farrugia explained that the agreement which has been signed will continue the practice which has been taking place over the past 34 years. “The public pathways, picnic areas and camping sites, will all remain and we are working on introducing more green spaces in our country.”

Since the signing itself, there has been a lot of speculation over when the public can access Mizieb and Ahrax. When this newsroom asked for clarification on this matter, Farrugia explained that the questions must be directed to the relevant Ministry. “There were two agreements signed. The first one is between the Lands Authority and FKNK over the management and access. The second one is for the federation respecting the obligations of the Environment Protection Act”

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