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: http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20130131/local/ODZ-boundaries-won-t-be-touched-says-Muscat.455564
This was in January 2013:
Instead of tweaking and developing, I would have thought it an excellent plan for the Government to act on the compulsory purchase of the rotting empty houses in Malta and Gozo and refurbish them through strictly controlled sales to developers. Article 37 of the Constitution needs amending if it prevents this course of action.
Petra Caruana Dingli
and here is some more environmental doublespeak, on the amnesty for bird collections:
“Of course, the government has denied proposing such an amnesty but it is really only the use of the word that they object to, preferring to call it a ‘voluntary declaration of protected bird specimens’.”
See Steve Micklewright’s article in the Sunday Times: