MaltaToday | 13 April 2008 | Farcical spring cleaning at MEPA before Gonzi’s visit

NEWS | Sunday, 13 April 2008

Farcical spring cleaning at MEPA before Gonzi’s visit

On the eve of the Prime Minister’s uplifting address to MEPA’s demoralised employees in the foyer, workers were busy setting the house in order for the Dr Gonzi’s first visit since taking over the beleaguered institution from former Minister George Pullicino.
As from Tuesday morning a number of foreign workers were seen cleaning windows and doors. Other workers were busy painting the corridors and rooms which were visited by the PM on the next day. Landscaping works were undertaken on a patch of soil next to MEPA’s entrance, and a number of palm trees were planted, among other vegetation.
On Wednesday morning the corridors were adorned with frames and pictures. A number of banners depicting MEPA’s various conservation initiatives were also displayed in the foyer.
The most striking poster was very apt, for it depicted a blood transfusion with the caption “New Blood” – a motto fitting the occasion.
Employees were told not to park their cars in their usual car park, so as not to occupy this open space. The PM’s public relations officer was also seen roaming around MEPA hours before Lawrence Gonzi’s entry.
Upon arrival, journalists were given a press pack which included the PM’s draft code of ethics, as well as information on MEPA’s noble work to protect the Pinna nobilis –the largest mollusc in the Mediterranean Sea – and the Discoglossus pictus pictus: the Maltese painted frog.
During the visit, journalists assisted to MEPA’s top brass giving the Prime Minister an orientation tour in which he was shown what one official described as “a sample” of MEPA’s hard work.
In one of the offices the PM was given a graphic display of how MEPA processed and amended plans for the Golden Sands Hotel, with the Prime Minister describing the whole process as “worthwhile.” Surely a presentation on the evolving mass of blocks at Tigne’ would have been more thought-provoking.
The PM rightly commended MEPA’s website, nodding at the announcement that plans will soon be made available to architects. Pity the general public still has to pay to see case officer reports, though.
In his address to the employees the Prime Minister heralded a new era of transparency and openness in the beleaguered institution. Minutes later his PRO announced that no questions were allowed and that journalists should send any queries by email.

MEPA farce >>

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