by Petra Caruana Dingli

Last week, Maltatoday reported that the development boundaries are going to be “tweaked,” as stated by Dr Michael Falzon, Parliamentary Secretary for Planning, in an interview.

‘Tweaked’ is an interesting choice of word, suggesting a small, benign and affable gesture. I don’t know whether the journalist translated this from Maltese, or whether Michael Falzon used it himself. In any case, he does not appear to have required any correction of it – as Roderick Galdes had done when the Times reported that he had found a “loophole” in the bird trapping regulations and he promptly had it corrected to the less ominous “crack” (xaqq in Maltese).

So Roderick Galdes is only looking at ‘cracks,’ and now Michael Falzon is only ‘tweaking’ ODZ boundaries. How reassuring.

‘Tweaking’ the boundaries actually means no less than a ‘rationalisation exercise’, reminiscent of that carried out in 2006 and which sent people marching down the streets of Valletta in protest. It means that more areas that are still undeveloped are going to be made available for construction.

Obviously the word ‘tweaking’ sounds much less negative than ‘rationalisation,’ but they mean the same thing in practice.

Just before the last election, Joseph Muscat as Opposition leader had said: “I want to make it clear that we will start off from the premise that the boundaries of the outside development zones will not be touched.” You can read it in this link to the Times article:

Promises, promises.


This was in January 2013: