The Malta Independent 12 May 2021, Wednesday

Lack of transparency at ERA needs to be addressed – PN

Jake Aquilina Monday, 19 April 2021, 16:16 Last update: about 22 days ago

Malta needs more transparency and more space for consultation to take place when it comes to the environmental authorities and NGOs, the PN said.

In a press conference, PN MPs Robert Cutajar and Kevin Cutajar voiced their concerns over the Labour Government's treatment of NGOs, most notably when it comes to environmental NGOs.

The PN MPs said that the party will introduce a Private Members' bill regarding the operations of the Environmental Resource Authority (ERA).

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Robert Cutajar mentioned that the PN is trying to tackle certain discrepancies which have emerged when it comes to dealing with NGOs and the ERA.

He pointed out that meetings when it comes to the ERA board, meetings should be open to the public. "This is not what is happening today, as no one except the members of the board are informed when what is being discussed," Robert Cutajar said. "The Agenda should be communicated beforehand regarding which items the ERA will be discussing. The NGOs rightly confirmed that they are not being seriously listened to."

The PN MPs noted certain irregularities happening under the Labour Government. "People are realising that everything seems to go within the environmental sphere. Today we have government entities which seems to be able to bypass laws by starting construction work without having any authorization," Robert Cutajar said. 

PN MP Kevin Cutajar remarked that this situation is showcasing that "the government is not calculating NGOs, which are a strong force in our democracy."

NGOs are appealing to the government to remove certain burdens which would "legally bind them and make it more difficult for them to operate", the MP said.

"Now is the time to see whether the Labour Government truly listens to the people," he said.

The MP remarked that the government is using the Moneyval test as an "excuse" to impose more pressure on NGOs, which would eventually struggle to continue operating.

"The government is imposing a lot of pressure and burden on NGOs... the government is making these organisations unjustly suspect," Kevin Cutajar said.

"Moneyval is not a good excuse. The NGOs should not carry the burden of corruption the Labour Government committed itself to," Kevin Cutajar said.

Answering questions from the media, Robert Cutajar did not indicate if the PN agrees with calls for the resignation of Victor Axiaq, but said that they are agreeing with NGOs that there is a lack of transparency within the ERA.

 


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