Marsaskala residents have raised concerns over an “unethical and illegal” local council sub-committee for the regeneration of the area that is riddled with conflict of interest issues.
In a statement, residents explained that Mayor Mario Calleja recently set up sub-committee which involves several businessmen in the area.
The sub-committee’s chairperson is Ray Abela, who they say has business interests in the main square of Marsaskala. The other members are Eric Abela, who is related to the chairperson; and Joseph Farrell; both of whom have their own stake in the square.
“The unfortunate news is that the way this sub-committee was set up leaves us wondering how this could be beneficial to the locality. The reason why we say this emanates from the fact that the people chosen on this sub-committee may have personal interests which will lead to proposals for Marsaskala being designed and planned to satisfy their needs rather than the needs of the community,” the residents said.
They maintained that this was not a fight against the individuals in the committee, but rather an attempt to ensure that such a crucial sub-committee is appointed in the correct manner.
“Our democracy is a representative one. This means that as a politician, one should represent the wishes of the people that would have voted for him/her. Sadly, in this situation, the basic wishes of the people are being ignored and the complete opposite is being pushed forward,” the residents continued.
The residents are insisting that discussions with the sub-committee members should be held on a consultative level, just like the other people in the area.
“It is unjust is that the residents, who are ultimately the stakeholders, are not allowed to be involved in the design and planning of crucial and vital projects such as the one of the square of Marsaskala and its surroundings, whilst the people on this sub-committee are.”
“We sincerely believe, and therefore insist, that the ownership of such projects and any negotiations with Government entities such as Infrastructure Malta, ought to be carried out by the Local Council directly and NOT by the people chosen for this sub-committee. This is what good governance would be like, given that it is the Local Council that has been democratically chosen by the people to represent them and therefore it is the Local Council that should be recognised as the official representative of Marsaskala Residents,” they explained.
The residents made it clear that they are in agreement that Marsaskala is in need of an overdue holistic plan which addresses the needs of the residents and local businesses.
“We strongly disagree with any rushed decisions that can only lead to the advantage of a few people that will benefit from public land and sea. This is unacceptable,” they said.
The sub-committee, residents said, should be made up of a team of professionals experienced in the design and planning field that would champion transparency in the process.
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