The Malta Independent 2 February 2023, Thursday
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With Labour, money talks - ADPD

Saturday, 12 November 2022, 12:22 Last update: about 4 months ago

“Why do we enact laws and regulations are put in place if we are always finding ways how to go around these and absolving those who flout them?” ADPD – The Green Party Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo said at a press conference in front of the Planning Authority offices this morning.

Referring to the latest amnesty that will sanction ODZ abuses, he said that once again the government is rewarding those who abuse and is continuing the transformation of the Planning Authority into an agent for the management of these abuses in return for the payment of a substantial fine.

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Cacopardo said this new scheme is extending the 2016 amnesty to also include infringements outside the development zones. This scheme includes primarily partial developments without a permit in ODZ zones.

This amnesty is an insult to those who are law-abiding and follow the rules and adhere to the development permit conditions. The amnesty is an admission of failure in enforcement. It is evident that this is needed due to the number of infringements in development in this country as evidenced by the number of enforcement notices that have accumulated over the years. A number that continues to increase, year-on-year, because the Planning Authority has not been able to enforce the law against those who acted in defiance. At times the Authority puts on a show to appear as if its taking action. But it is all a facade, because in reality no serious, systematic action is taken. So now, once again, those who abused are being told: if you pay up it would be as if nothing ever happened!

Instead of granting such amnesties, it would have been better had the government commenced the process so that ODZ areas that had been marked for development in 2006 are reversed back to ODZ status. Even though the revision of local plans has been under discussion for many years – including public consultation meetings – no concrete action has been taken to date.

One must reiterate that the Labour Party’s Electoral Manifesto for the election held eight months ago had unequivocally stated that land outside the development zone (ODZ) is to be safeguarded. What we get instead is that the Labour Party in government is doing everything in its power to justify such development. The last thing one would have expected at this time is an amnesty to justify more development abuses. The amnesty is rewarding those who abused while penalising those who followed the rules. It is a declaration that public administration has failed in its duty to enforce the law. The worrying take-away message is one: whatever you do with Labour you can always get it fixed! And they still have the cheek to speak of the rule of law with a straight face, Cacopardo said.

 

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