A new petition has been submitted to the Parliamentary Petition Committee against the development of Manoel Island after its first attempt was not discussed in Parliament.
Members of grassroots group Inħobbu l-Gżira, including MP Dr Godfrey Farrugia, presented a second petition of 916 signatures to Parliament yesterday, in which they addressed the negligence of the Preliminary Petition Committee to address petitions against its approval.
This is the second attempt to file a petition this year, following from a similar one that was lodged back in February and attracted 7,571 signatures. The first petition closed on 16th April but still has not been brought up or discussed in Parliament.
This means that, as of today, 8, 487 signatures to save Manoel island have been silenced by the Petition Committee’s inaction to discuss them in Parliament.
“I hope that the Parliamentary Petition Committee will, this summer, resolve its impasse and establish the long overdue procedure so that the necessary measures are taken to process all pending petition applications,” said Dr Farrguia.
“It is a disgrace – and indeed unjust – that the good number of petitions presented by civil society has not been discussed and adjudicated in a timely manner by the Petition Committee.”
This confrontation also comes in light of an appeal with the Environment Planning Review Tribunal filed by Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar which was also ignored after Master Plans were approved on July 18th.
In a press release, Inħobbu l-Gżira noted their motivations for taking such action, including how the development will have a huge negative impact on the town of Gżira and neighbouring areas both during and after construction. It cited that “these excavation works are contentious due to the many cemeteries and artifacts and buildings of high heritage value found on and in the waters around Manoel Island,” including the Roman remains found on the seabed around Manoel Island.
The excavation project will also affect surrounding areas and increase the build-up of traffic in Gzira as excavation works are expected to last around 40 weeks and generate 80 trucks per week. Inħobbu l-Gżira brought up the fact that MIDI themselves have admitted that “during construction works, air quality can be adversely affected by particulates generation to air”.
In his visit to Parliament, Dr Farrugia appealed to the Speaker to intervene and see to it that the Petition Committee functions as has been established by Parliament.