Opposition MP Marthese Portelli has resigned from the planning board with immediate effect, warning she doesn’t want to form part of an institution which disrespects the people.
“The more time goes by, the clearer it is that the Planning Authority has been taken over by forces and people who are completely ignoring the common good and are only working in the interests of a few,” Portelli said in a letter to Infrastructure and Transport Minister Ian Borg.
“The PA has been taken over by forces and people who only care about their own political convenience, obligations and personal friendships. I’m not ready to form part of an entity which doesn’t show respect to the people.”
“We are facing a set of circumstances, facts and situations which are only leading to a systemised institutional breakdown, and this is why I’m tendering my resignation.”
Portelli added that she is staying true to the oath of allegiance she took after her election and that her resignation enjoys the full support of Opposition leader Adrian Delia.
Her resignation comes a few days after the Planning Board approved plans by Gozitan developer Joseph Portelli to convert a dilapidated ruin in the Qala countryside into a massive villa. Marthese Portelli was one of three people on the planning board who voted against the project, but they were overruled by the majority.
Following the public outcry, including from high-ranking Labour officials, Joseph Portelli announced he was voluntarily retracting the planning application. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat also described the PA’s approval of the permit as “insensitive” and called for a revision of planning regulation.
“It shouldn’t just be about ticking all the boxes but also about being sensitive to people’s complaints,” he said.