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Opinion - Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando • 04 July 2007

Shades of Green

It was fascinating to see so many high-profile Labourites displaying their love for the environment during last week’s ‘Save Gozo’ protest march. Secretary General and MPs turned out in full force with carefully prepared banners and placards to spare. There were a number of genuine protesters as well. It would have been interesting had the latter grabbed the opportunity presented to them by the presence of so many born-again environmentalists from the Labour ranks to ask them a few pertinent questions.
This is one I’ve been asking them myself whenever the opportunity arises, but haven’t got an answer yet. How would the MLP have managed to finance the environmental projects which are under way at the moment without EU funding? Their “Switzerland in the Med” utopia would have meant us losing out on millions of euros in direct environmental aid. I’m sure they had some carefully thought-out plan as to how they were going to finance the rehabilitation of Maghtab, for instance, or the long awaited sewage treatment plants. And, no, helicopter jaunts by the Prime Minister don’t count. Massive eco-taxation perhaps? I’m sure that they must realise that money doesn’t grow on the trees they’ve so recently started to hug.
Alfred Sant recently declared that he was in favour of the establishment of two new golf courses in an effort to impress golfing enthusiasts he was speaking to. Could they please tell us where they plan on constructing them?
One of the projects which is going to be an essential ingredient of the boost the MLP plans on giving Gozo is the Hondoq ir-Rummien yacht marina. I noticed that a number of opponents to the proposed development of this picturesque bay were in the crowds. I too am against overdevelopment in what I can declare to be one of my favourite bathing holes. Does the MLP actually believe that a yacht marina can exist in isolation, without any ancillary structures such as bars, restaurants, hotels and apartments?
The MLP had opposed the modernisation of the Sant’ Antnin waste recycling plant, Dr Sant having declared that he is in favour of a number of plants in different parts of the island instead. Where do they plan on constructing these plants?
The MLP document which expounds the party’s vision for the environmental sphere states that ministerial intervention is vital to the efficient operation of MEPA. What form of political intervention are they considering?
Where were they when a Labour Government allowed Maghtab to be set up in a site known to have historical remains which have now been obliterated, when a Labour Government allowed rock blasting next to prehistoric temples, when a Labour Government tore through our bastions and fortifications in a series of misconceived projects, when a Labour Government allowed the construction of Ulysses Lodge?
Last but not least, can one of the Labourite ‘protesters’ in particular declare that he will at least acknowledge that environmental protests under future labour governments should not be subjected to the intimidation he was part of when the MLP was in government in the seventies and eighties? Bona fide protesters, amongst them students, would have been flabbergasted had they been told that prominent members of the forces that used scare tactics to intimidate them in those days would have the gall to don the garb of a green sheep in the not too distant future, and walk in protest along the very street that was the scene of so many forcibly disrupted demonstrations in the past.


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