Despite being the minister responsible for hunting, Clint Camilleri has yet to weigh in on a dispute between the nation’s leading hunting lobby group and the Environment Minister over the fate of Qawra Point.
Last week, Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia reacted to the killing of four greater flamingos at Qawra Point by declaring the entire area a hunting-free zone.
He said the area given to BirdLife Malta to manage in a guardianship deed that will be signed in the coming weeks, a decision that was praised by the environmental NGO.
“Beyond words of condemnation and justice eventually taking its course against, immediate action needs to be taken,” Farrugia said.
Hunting lobby group FKNK immediately reacted by accusing Farrugia of breaking a law which obliged him to consult with the Ornis Committee, a government committee, prior to taking this decision and said it’s considering taking legal action against the government.
Indeed, they recounted how BirdLife Malta’s 2016 proposal to turn Qawra Point into a no-hunting zone had ben shot down by the Ornis Committee.
Although hunting has traditionally fallen under the responsibility of the Environment Ministry, Prime Minister Robert Abela decided to shake things up last year, shifting the sector to Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri.
A hunter himself, Camilleri has often spoken passionately about the activity and recently dined with FKNK officials at a restaurant in Budapest.
However, he has yet to weigh in on this issue and questions sent to him by Lovin Malta have been left unanswered.
Former Ornis chairperson Mark Anthony Falzon has said that while he agrees with turning Qawra Point into a no-hunting zone, the manner in which Farrugia went about it showed he wanted to feed off public outrage at the shooting of flamingos.
“The way to go about it is not to be deceitful, creating a backdoor to legislate on the Birds Directive. Negotiations should be done in the proper fora. If it boils down to the Prime Minister’s decision, today he’ll be in your favour and tomorrow he won’t. That’s not conservation,” Falzon told TheShiftNews.
Cover photo: Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri (left) with Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia
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