Malta’s Planning Authority has stood by and defended Planning Commission Chairperson Simon Saliba after 11 NGOs called for his removal.
NGOs criticised Saliba for obstructing the right to a fair planning process. Only last week, Saliba allegedly muted an activist’s microphone during an intervention against the building of apartments on a site of archaeological importance in Kalkara.
Nonetheless, the Planning Authority referred to the calls for his removal as “unjust and undemocratic.”
“Although the Planning Commission/Board is not required by law to have members of the public speak during a meeting in public,” the Planning Authority said, “the practice is that the Chairpersons of the respective Board and Commissions always give the public present ample time and space to make their views known.”
With reference to the online meeting wherein Saliba allegedly muted the Moviment Graffitti activist’s microphone, the Planning Commission said that the chairperson “acted correctly and fairly”.
The Planning Commission went on to categorically deny claims that it disregarded submissions made by representees during meetings.
“The Commission, at the first hearing which took place last January,” the Planning Authority said, “ordered that an archaeological site investigation was to be carried out when a number of objectors and residents raised concerns that the site carried archaeological value due to the presence of cart ruts.”