Din l-Art Helwa Press Release 10 March 2010

‘Rally is sadly flawed’ says the Din l-Art Helwa

In a statement issued to the press, Din l-Art Helwa declared that it is in full agreement with the need for better enforcement and the urgent challenge of ameliorating the poor state of Malta’s environment, all points being raised in the stand made by the environment rally of next Saturday 13th March.

This was reflected in the four resolutions approved by members during the recent annual general meeting of the Din l-Art Helwa which focused, in particular, on the island’s dwindling resources of water, limestone and fish stocks, as well as the toxic state of air pollution. Din l-Art Helwa has presented these four resolutions to the government.

However, said the NGO, Din l-Art Helwa is not in agreement with one of the major points being put forward by the forthcoming environment rally. This concerns the project for the entrance to Valletta which the organisation considers to be of fundamental importance to the nation. The rally poster claims that the Valletta project violates the Structure Plan, interpreting this to mean that all ministries and the parliament can never be sited anywhere except in an auberge or palace of Valletta.

Din l-Art Helwa states that it cannot agree, on grounds of common sense and practicality alone, that parliament and the ministries must necessarily be sited only in auberges or palaces. It was to be noted, continued the NGO, that at the same time and in seemingly contradictory statements, the idea was being advanced of housing parliament in a new construction over the Main Guard, or at Fort St Elmo, or in the Mediterranean Conference Centre, all of which are not auberges or palaces of Valletta.

Even if this interpretation of the Structure Plan were correct, a fact of which the NGO said it was not convinced, Din l-Art Helwa has campaigned incessantly for changes to environmental or heritage legislation which is inadequate or outdated to bring it into line with what the country’s interests require. This action is what Din l-Art Helwa would advise, given the importance of the Valletta plan, and not the abandonment of a project of this magnitude on such spurious grounds.

After the most careful consideration, therefore, Din l-Art Helwa has concluded that while it remains in full agreement with the other points on the environment being promoted by the event, it has declined to participate as organisers in a rally which is sadly flawed on an issue which the organization feels is of fundamental importance not only to Din l-Art Helwa, but also to the country as a whole.