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Watch: Miriam Dalli Clashes With Graffitti Activist After Saying ‘Extremities Get You Nowhere’

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In a tense exchange with Movement Graffitti activist Andre Callus about the state of the environment and the construction industry, Environment Minister Miriam Dalli claimed that “extremism gets you nowhere”.

Dalli and Callus, along with PN MP Janice Chetcuti and Malta Developers Association president Michael Stivala, were on a panel discussion yesterday as part of the President’s State of the Nation annual conference.

At one point, Dalli turned to Stivala, telling him to “call a spade a spade” and admit that the fact some buildings “haven’t been built in the best way possible” has dented public perception in the construction industry.

Stivala agreed with her, but Callus interjected to remind Dalli that the buildings she was referring to couldn’t have been built unless the authorities had allowed them to be built in the first place.

Iva, Andre,” a clearly frustrated Dalli retorted. “Honestly, the truth is that extremities aren’t good and extremities will get you nowhere.”

Callus then asked what extremities she was referring to and what “extremity” she thinks he represents but the minister dodged the question, instead calling for dialogue-based solutions.

“We are discussing,” Callus responded. “We prepared an entire document on what policies need to change and yet nothing has changed, while planning permits are still being issued.”

However, Dalli insisted that some of their proposals, such as on the setting up of public ‘pocket parks’ and the use of soil-cement, have actually been taken on board. 

“Without discussion, you wouldn’t have been able to speak to us about certain proposals and we wouldn’t have been in a situation to address these proposals,” the minister said. 

“Discussion paves the way forward and while we obviously won’t always agree, compromises can be reached. There exists goodwill to fix things and we cannot say that there doesn’t, we all have families and we can all feel what people feel.” 

Ending the debate, Callus said that Graffitti activists often accompany residents to Planning Authority meetings to help them object to major proposed developments in their hometowns.

“These residents would be in tears sometimes, but they are ignored if not mocked,” he said. “I don’t think this is an extreme position but the position of hundreds of thousands of people who can see their open spaces ruined.”

What do you make of this exchange? 

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Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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