Reference is made to your article regarding the processing of applications during MEPA shutdown (9 January, 2008 ‘Christmas shutdown serves as smokescreen for MEPA applications’).
Ever since its inception, the PA and subsequently MEPA has always followed the same procedure. For the applications which are advertised during the shutdown period, objections have always been received and filed. Persons wishing to view the plans would normally register an interest in principle, after seeing the notification either on the weekend papers, the site notices, through the websites or the local councils, and then follow it up with more details after they had formulated their position.
The table shows the number of applications published in the last three weeks of 2006, when no such issue arose, and those published last year.
During the shutdown period no applications were received. In fact, no applications are published on the first weekend of January. So, while the servicing of objections continues during the shutdown, that of processing applications is not.
It was not possible for the Authority to conclude the legislative procedures by the 4 January, which was the first date of publications of the government gazette. It was published on the next issue, that of the 8 January. The legal notice is retroactive from the 15 December.
Clearly, as has been the practice ever since the setting up of the authority, anyone wishing to send in objections had every chance to do so. Indeed, the Authority was again pro-active in its proposals.
Suspicion by innuendo
Reference is made to the article entitled “MEPA extends submissions period after objectors’ protests” which appeared on 09 January 2008, which unfortunately is full of innuendos intended to portray me in a dubious light.
It is puerile if not downright fantasy to allege that my architectural firm has resorted to any tactics to take advantage of the shutdown period, since 12 applications submitted by the undersigned were validated on 22 December, as purported in the same article. Should one verify matters with MEPA, he would have had a statistical confirmation that my firm has submitted development applications on a regular weekly basis throughout the entire year 2007.
It must also be stated that the undersigned bears no professional connection with Architect Marielouise Musumeci who is a MEPA Heritage Advisory Board Member, and who works in another independent architectural firm.
Moreover, your journalist can confirm through the MEPA website that Architect Marielouise Musumeci has, since her appointment on the said Board, consistently abstained from any participation in relation to development applications bearing the signature of the undersigned.
This can and should have been checked by your journalist in all minutes which are public of all my applications, prior to install suspicions by mere allegations.
Critics attacking critics
After reading Saviour Balzan’s column entitled ‘Listen to this one’ (3 October, 2007), I cannot help but think that you are a bit, to putting it mildly, flipping furious from the tone of your article and you must be open to valid criticism and play on it.
In my humble opinion, as a follower of the local media I find Silvio Debono’s analysis of the local papers as fair as you can get on the island. His analysis is of a rare intelligence and understood by the man in the street, who through Debono’s analysis manages to be given food for thought on the ways news gets reported on the island and who just pulls the strings.
I simply do not like the word you used “attack”, in the way you described Debono’s reporting; attack is a harsh word to be used on reporting and whilst one may just understand your feelings, after all it is your paper that was being analysed, and you too should be more tolerant at criticism to your opinion as you expect others to be.
Shame on NET TV
Last Saturday, my wife and I had the pleasure of attending the official celebration of the introduction of the Euro at the Mediterranean Conference Centre. The event included a host of political speeches but undoubtedly the highlight of the evening was the classical concert, with the shining performances of Joseph Calleja and Miriam Gauci, as well as our newly established Malta Philharmonic Orchestra.
At the end of the performance the singers and orchestra were given a standing ovation by parts of the audience. It is utterly shameful that when NET TV reported the evening they ‘doctored’ the video clips so as to give their viewers the impressions that the standing ovation was not given to the musicians but to Prime Minister Gonzi following his speech. Shame is too mild a word for such cheap behaviour.
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