Monday, 28 July 2008

The Gozo feudal system

I would like to thank our local newspapers for publishing the press statement regarding Dwejra: an example of a political feudal system. Read original press Statement by clicking HERE.

Although all papers published this (with the exception of Il-Mument and in-Nazzjon); they all change the original title - as if it is not true that in Gozo we have a feudal system. Malta Today (Sunday edition) might not have published this press statement since this was sent to ALL media on Saturday. However Malta Today journalist James Debono published the names behind this madness. Read by clicking HERE.

The press on Sunday helped in creating awareness that people do care and what is wrong is wrong no matter who does it. Right?

For Example:
The Independent on Sunday changed the title to: Illegal structures at Dwejra. Click HERE to read it. The editor kindly choose to publish the link to this blog.

The Times of Malta (on-line) changed the tile to: Dwejra eyesore still there, AD complains. Click HERE and read the amazing amount of comments on-line by caring people like yourself. This features as the most e-mailed and most read item on the Times on-line.

The Sunday Times also changed the title to: Concrete monstrosity in Dwejra still standing. by clicking HERE you can also read the edited version.

L-Orizzont also featured this in its back page and called it: Id-Dwejra -ġerħa ta' żviluppi illegali. A very good account also referring to this blog, read HERE.

The media on-line also gave an account of this example or the rule of the jungle (as my colleague Carmel Cacopardo stated.

For instance:

The referred to this as 'Government called to act on concrete structure' read link HERE.

The called it, 'Large concrete building in Dwejra not yet removed' and they also published the photo sent with the press statement; watch HERE.

Even did publish an account related to this example of a political feudal system. They also however changed the title to: 'Monstrous concrete structure still there' Read this from the link HERE.

Surprise surprise... (PN run-website like in-Taghna and Mument) preferred not to mention anything related to what echoes in eco-gozo. As usual in their Gozo section they like to give prominence to the Gozo Curia and religious events organised by particular priests and other things like this one HERE.

All in all, I am satisfied with the start of knocking down this concrete monster by creating a national awareness regarding this eyesore.

Next step is for our 300 AD 1st count voters, the many hundreds of 2nd preference voters and thousands of AD sympathizers to give feedback regarding the eco-Ghawdex project.

All households in Gozo received a lovely recycled flyer where our Minister is asking for ideas related to the Eco-Ghawdex project.

I already filled mine and sent it. Please fill in your (unless you already threw it in the bin).

Please note that no postage stamp is necessary if posted in Malta or Gozo.

I wrote thus, and you can easily remember the tune from The Sound of Music. Click on the video clip below in order to remind you the tune (just in case):

"Hi Minister for ALL the affiars and anything one needs from the state of Gozo,

Let's start from the very beginning....
a very good way to start....
when you preach you can say what you did and can do....
knock it down and you loose just one vote,
but can win none but some credibility.

Thank you.

Victor Galea
from Gharb Ghawdex."


Steve Pollacco said...

I've just recommended a visit to Dwejra to two of my friends visiting Malta and Gozo.
Big mistake.
Anyone with any sense of intelligence and appreciation of natural beauty will only be disappointed by how those in authority allow this to happen.
Only a few miles down the road we were recently treated to an enforcement just feet away from evening diners.
Clearly too many people to upset and too many votes to be lost - and lets not forget that tourists don't vote. Unless it's with their feet.

D Cini said...

what else to expect of banana republic?!

L Galea said...

"Par idejn sodi"

Chris Borg said...

No wonder Malta is suffering a brain drain .... anyone with half a brain and the opportunity to leave the island won't think twice.

It's disgraceful the way Malta is being treated.

M Debono said...

It looks normal to me. It shelters tourists from the direct scorching sun during the day, whilst visiting Dwejra:)))

francois Spiteri said...

It seems Mepa is still toothless.... so much for the electoral promises!

M. Galea said...

So many enforcement notices in Dwejra alone...including the Chapel.

I'm sure these will remain 'notices'.

Too many votes to loose Govanna.

Forget about MEPA reform please.

We have 5 more years in POWER.

James A. Tyrrell said...

In a few months time I will be in Gozo for my annual holiday and I know already that it is going to feel so much different this year. This concrete eyesore has ruined the sight from the top of the hill leading down to the Inland Sea.

My usual trips to Hondoq will be spoiled by the thought of an impending marina development hanging over it like the Sword of Damocles. And these are only two examples of how little Malta appreciates its tourist trade.

All this is made worse when we remember that all these crazy decisions are being made by Mepa, one of who's primary objectives is to protect the environment. In every other country I've been to they go out of their way to protect their tourist assets. Because of Mepa, which is obviously, either corrupt or totally inept, Malta's assets are being sold off to the highest bidder.

Dr Lawrence Gonzi promised to make big changes to Mepa if he got back into office. Well sir you are there so it's time to put those changes into action whilst you still have what could be loosely described as a holiday destination.

Alex Cortis said...

When are the Maltese going to wake up and see how ugly their Islands have become?

Isn't it about time they protested a bit more, so that monstrosities of this nature are no longer built and those that are be removed even through compulsory purchase?

I fail to understand how the Authorities can pretend nothing is wrong! The banana republic mentioned earlier seems to gain more credibility with each monstrous project that gets approved!

elsie coucom said...

I simply cannot believe that nothing has been done about this monstrosity, especially considering all the letters and complaints!

It is now the middle of the tourist season and I just wonder what visitors must think.

What excuse does MEPA have this time? Can't the Gozo Tourist Association do anything about it?

It is very, very sad to see Gozo going to the dogs! Although I live there several months of the year, I am afraid I cannot recommend it to anyone anymore.

It is about time the Government (PM) made good the promise to reorganize and clean-up MEPA and to stop ODZ development once and for all!

Carmel Cacopardo said...

Not taking action for so ong means a stamp of approval by the authorities for all the irregularities that have taken place.

Sharyn Chamberlain said...

Dwejra is a place of outstanding beauty and a place we recommend holidaymakers to visit.

It is shameful, that this structure has been allowed to stand when MEPA stopped the project- in March.

Why is this being allowed to happen?

I believe that all the building and destruction of Gozo's places of beauty will eventually drive tourists away.

Henrik Piski said...

I wonder why there is no enforcement on this site when for example coffee shops and restaurants have their chairs and tables removed from authorities while on this protected touristic site, law and order is still not existent.

How can Gozo be advertised as eco-island when concrete jungle is growing everywhere, eyesores are rising like mushrooms?

It is a shame that we citizens can not take any legal actions against MEPA employees for their responsibility in deteriorating our living conditions and the heritage of the Maltese. All MEPA can do is just destroy everything which exist to satisfy the greed of a few.

I think it is great time that we citizens become responsible, discover the persons, groups, companies responsible for the rape of our unique environment and just boycott their services, products to make them aware that they also need us to have their business running and that they can not keep on continuing like that.

Samiro Bartolo said...

I have to agree with Mr Pollacco that anyone with any sense of intelligence and appreciation of the island will only be disappointed with how Gozo " tries " to take care of itself.
It is time for the authorities to come to terms with what is happening to Dwejra, to Gozo. More action,less talk please!

Mark Causon said...

This is a typical example of the state our country is in, we ruin the environment, we destroy our tourism, we take no action on the excuse that this monster was part of an environmental project funded by EU money to make Dwejra a nature/ecological park.

But though if I am not mistaken what do we expect when we have partners in this project such as a local council, an environmental NGO , the ministry of Gozo, MEPA and they all agree that for a nature park to function properly.

THEY need a visitors centre, and my oh my what a centre they came up with, a huge building which renders the whole idea of the project as a big farce.

Jo Said said...

The present Minister for Waste used to also monitor the notorious MEPA in the previous administration. He made a mess of it and was dismissed by Dr Gonzi. I do not intend to bore you with his gaffes, but this one at Dwejra is the epitome of the man's total disregard to and for the environment.

Enter Lawrence Gonzi, come in. Not that he was out, mind you. He used to sanction the Authority's environmental blotches, anyway, at each Cabinet meeting and as it's head. The excuse was that Pullicino was incompetent to handle the monster.

So Gonzi apologised to the nation, lest his party would be shown the door at the then upcoming elections.

March, April, May, June and July have gone and passed since then. Five months of GonziMEPA later, and the hideous concrete structure at Dwejra is still upright and annoyingly so.

It only takes a day to knock this eyesore down. That is, of course, if one is honest and if one does his work with vigour.

Come on Lawrence, show us that you are in charge. Please do not try to explain your lethargy and why. Just clean the mess up without further ado.

Simon Mizzi said...

What's this malarkey about Gozo being slated as an Eco-Island ?

Dwejra, Hondoq I-Rummien, Ta Cenc, Ramla l-Hamra and no official comment to stop all this proposed development?

You're having a laugh...

Liz Harris said...

As regular visitors to Gozo we have been horrified by this eyesore. Dwejra is one of the most beautiful parts of Gozo and this construction site is impossible to ignore.

Tourists will vote with their feet and choose not to return to an island that does so little to preserve its history and charm by allowing a monstrosity such as this to remain.

The Azure Window is featured on the side of London buses. What a let down a visit will be for tourists expecting to see a beautiful natural park.

Anne Marie Kissaun said...

MEPA will never learn.

No matter how much people are complaining nowadays, all this seems to fall on deaf ears. We talk a lot about the product that Malta is/should be affording to the tourist, what a joke. We are the laughing stock.

SHAME on the government that has not done much up to this point in time to take a hold of MEPA as we were promised during electioneering time.

I am sure that if Heritage Malta, Din l'Art Helwa and FAA will take over MEPA, they will definitely make a good job of it and we would be able to put our minds at rest. Shall we try?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mario Agius said...

It must belong/have belonged to somebody. is it that difficult to find this somebody?

Or is it a fact that this somebody has rendered himself untouchable? AD should also come out with names and not just a picture of a building.

The common man in the street has been seeing the building but HE can do nothing about it. If names are known bring them public, if not, get them and AD like all other important entities should know how to do it.

Debono said...

Mario Agius commented that AD should bring out names.


Is it not so obvious?

Who does not know the name of Giovanna Debono (Minister for Gozo)
Noel Formosa (Mayor of San Lawrenz)
Joseph Cassar (applicant)
Said Construction Ltd (the poor workers)

Any connections?
Oh come on!

People need to go back to their history lessons and learn about the dark ages or better still the feudal systems of yesteryear Malta.

Roger Flett said...

The whole idea of a conservation area seems to have gone right over the head of the Mayor, the Tourist board, the Ministry and Mepa.

The story boards proudly announce a fish and bird conservation area but fishing boats and shore fishermen continue to cast their lines and pots, and trapping sites abound.

The car park is not built of natural materials as was muted in the plan, unless asphalt is indigenous to Gozo.

To make way for the easy parking of the Hawkers a number of beautiful Tamarisk trees were simply chopped down.

This area has three of the highest profile attractions on Gozo, the Inland Sea, Fungus Rock and the Azure window.

Will no one step up and preserve them?

I despair.

Margaret Richards said...

There's just one comment i can do when I see these things.....................WHAT'S NEW!!!!

Irregularities, creating hideous buildings, obviously with or without permission, no legal enforcements and the increase in all types of allergies have been the order of the day in Malta for years and years.

May I ask..........
is this type of building, if one can call it that, part of the project of eco-Gozo???

An answer would be very much appreciated!!!

Andrew Sanders said...

Once again MEPA shows itself to be a "toothless tiger".

It is little wonder that it is held in contempt by many people. The failure by the Government to put any backbone in the system damages the reputation of the Government and Malta's standing in the eyes of the rest of the world.

Mary Anne Zammit said...

It seems to me that this continous recklessnes of natural resources is being reflected everywhere and there is no effort to stop this.

On one side of the coin the island is promoted as a haven of natural beauty and at the same time leaving this monster welcoming our tourists.

Sooner before we think this country will end up a deserted concrete island.

And where is MEPA, anyway?

Bernard J Schranz said...

Driving down to Dwejra from San Lawrenz one is regaled with an outstandingly beautiful scene until they get to the bottom of the road to witness this monstrosity which is only making mockery of us as a national unfortunately.

Seems to me that Gozo has a government of its own with such atrocities taking place and nobody high up batting an eyelid.

This horrendous skeleton should be torn down and replaced with a more aesthetically pleasing structure that befits the place. And whilst you are at it, tear down the illegal boathouse which have mushroomed all over the place and are used as summer residences please.

This concrete structure is making a laughing stock of whoever applied for EU funds to build it in the first place. Do these people perhaps feel that we should be grateful for their scandalous project simply because it is co funded by the EU.... frankly I doubt how much the EU truly knows about this actually.

Have not enough Gozitans traveled far and wide enough to know that such monstrosities are a shame to their homeland! Wake up before its too late.

Alex Vella said...

What are we saying here?

Once the irreversible step has been taken to sanction the illegal scruffy dirty ugly boat houses (sic) on the site the new concrete structure presents such a contrast that it shocks your brains as to how such an aesthetic achievement can take the attention from the beauty of the site. Is it not perhaps repeated in Malta?

Take the cage-rack Midi development on Tigne Point next to a characterless tower and ugly square buildings that manages to take all the attention of beautiful baroque Valletta.

Is it not another aesthetic masterpiece in the annals of MEPA.

That is the mentality - take it or die.

c galea said...

Want to hear the joke of the year?

GOZO is being promoted as ECO ISLAND!!!

With Hondoq ir-Rummien, Ta' Cenc, Ramla, Dwejra, and the 100 tumoli of orchards and fertile land just below the proposed Nadur cemetery all ear marked for destruction.

What is going to be left?

The concrete jungle of Marsalforn, Xlendi and Mgarr!!!.

mario borg said...

why complain?!

...Gozo was declared an eco-island a few days ago by the minister for Gozo, everyone is happy especially the major of san lawrenz and his fellow pn voters, and the sun shines brighty over the maltese islands...please hand me that banana over there!

Gerald Fenech said...

Yet another example of the total state of inertia under a Nationalist government. The incredible thing is that one of the most beautiful of all tourist attractions has to be ruined by this horrifying montrosity and then we speak of making the island an ecological one. What a joke, what a tragedy. One has to give up in this country.

Itamar said...

As a professional in tourism development and a senior academic consultant, I can say that I am getting fed up with Malta.

It simply beggars believe that a place so steeped in historical importance (that all of you seem to be proud of) and natural beauty, is being regarded as a short term money maker for native property owners and ego tripping politicians, who probably plan to retire abroad anyway.

Your own young people relayed to me, during the various classes and lectures I have given around the country, that they see no future on Malta and just want to get out as soon as they finished their free, but low quality, study. Their intellectual input is not appreciated or utilized by a generation of power mongering semi-literates.

Malta can thank its blatantly corrupt ruling class for becoming an Arab-style dictatorship (it really is a one-party system, with the same people running both parties behind the screens) that is an embarrassment to the western world. You once again voted for them and think that you are not to blame for any of their decisions after that.

As history often revealed: 'people get the leadership they deserve'.

Robert Callus said...

When the (Gonzi?)PN came with the idea of eco-Gozo, at AD people were stunned since when the Green Party proposed the same thing 2 years ago there was almost no reaction.

However, humbly, the Greens said nothing, hoping that at least the idea is taken and Gozo will be saved.

Again voters were deceived once again. Eco-Gozo is just a scam, a pre-election farce and examples like this (together with many others) prove it.

Elsa Meyland-Smith said...

I am a permanent resident and love the Maltese islands. But - I am very upset that the building trade continues to get away with the despoiling of my new home. Even if the Maltese islands were huge, and the damage could somehow be accommodated, it would be wicked to so harm our heritage.

It is wrong for many reasons - not least economical reasons. Who is going to use or buy these wretched buildings when not only visitors and tourists but also locals turn away in disgust from what will soon be a totally barren landscape?

The builders are 'shitting in their (our!) own nest' - and our minority Government is letting them get away with it.

Charles Sammut said...

Is this what Giovanna Debono have in mind when she is referring to ECO-GOZO?

To quote Ronald Reagan and his famous Berlin speech in 1982 .. "Honorevoli Tear down that gross structure. Can't you see that it does not belong at Dwejra?"

Unfortunately it is not blocking her driver's view so what's the urgency?

Joseph Caruana said...

The simplicity of the necessary action is the prove that its not inability but the unwillingness to do something about it by the nationalist government.

The answer being to take it down.

What did they hope for?
...that the seas calm down and that the project was restarted in a year or two?

There is no point of debate the building is illegal and unwanted.

It must be demolished

D Camilleri said...

They're just waiting for the ''deviations from the plan'' to be approved, somehow, .. just bend the rules slightly and make everything fit.

But then again we all knew the developers rule the country.

Richard Schranz said...

Gozo, our charming and enchanted sister isle, is being continously and sytematically ravaged by semi-illiterate, insensitive and unscrupulous developers, who seem bent on making quick and easy money, even at the cost of eliminating, at one fell swoop, one of the island's most scenic natural attractions, seemingly forgetful of the fact that Gozo's heritage goes back hundreds of thousands of years. if not millions! Time for action! Stop this devastation and destruction. Remove this monstrosity and do it fast!

Veronica Farrugia said...

The same old story.

If you have enough money and you have the right connections you can do what you want on this island!

Isn't it enough that most of our beautiful island is being taken up by buildings. Was there a need of another eyesore in Dwejra. Film makers chose the breathtaking view of the 'window' as the place where Neptune spoke to Ulysess a few years back....

It's time we start appreciating the natural beauty of our islands. So please wake up everyone before it's too late.

Together we can make a difference.

D. Mangion said...

Had such an article appeared during election fever time, this page would have been filled with PN apologists uttering all sorts of praise to their "pro-active" government and poking fun at the dream laden AD arguments.

Now they are so silent.

They know that AD speaks about the issues all the time, everytime. AD does not do it to fish for votes. AD uses all of its (limited) energy to improve the future of these islands.

Yet...come election time...most people will again be suffering from mass amnesia. Malta's string pullers will again help their puppet parties to yet another victory. AD's limited energy will still not be enough. The youths will again go the huge mass meetings in search for a drink and a partner but nothing else. Nothing will change.

Itamar is right all the way.
Yet...although one day he might really get fed up, and give up, AD will not give up. AD is becoming notorious for its ability to live-on and rise from the ashes, no matter how many times it was considered as being dead and buried.

Long live AD.

Michelle Attard Tonna said...

I wonder ... with the new strategic plan of Gozo being an ecological island coming into force ... where do such blunders fit in?

It is a shame that we are being fed so much nonesense like the environment being a priority and that the island's heritage will be protected, yet such monstrosity (and several others) never seems to disappear.

Muscat Peter said...

The million euro question is: who is really behind this development?

Ramona Sargent said...



Joe Aveline said...

The continuing existence of the monstrosity must surely be down to the lack of clarity and joined up thinking within the framework of the law. It is no easier in Malta than anywhere else. The law should state which bodies have the powers to enter private properties and under what circumstances.

E.g. a couple may have an argument, which is private, but if one harms the other it becomes a crime scene and the Police have a right to be there.

The Local Councils should have a mandatory role in all planning matters. That role should extend to monitoring the construction. Their final sanction would be the right to enter the property to rectify any anomalies with what had been agreed. The costs incurred to be borne by the owner of the property.

By ignoring the democratic presence of the Councils in planning you get situation where nobody can be seen to be blameworthy or suffer at the hands of the citizens for their misdeeds.
I was glad to see another corespondent naming names! Great.

Clearer laws, and more democracy will take time but an early start would send the right message.

P. Agius said...

I believe that the Ministry of Gozo and San Lawrenz local Council should work together and be at the lead of enforcing seriously the demolition on the concrete construction and the preservation of the natural beauty (and not thinking of how to preserve the votes) not only of Dwejra but of the whole island of Gozo, we have already lost most of the natural beauty of Malta.

Those who really love to visit Gozo would like to admire the natural beauty of the island.



S. Sammut said...

I keep on asking myself what on earth attracts tourists to visit this jungle of concrete land? The more 'development' is permitted the less remains of natural beauty areas.

There will come a time when those who chose to come over here for a week or two will understand that some over here in their money greed euphoria have managed to kill the last remaining of natural beauty spots.

It would be too late to turn back the clock and many of us would have to contend with the guilt of having sat impassively and watched the ruin take place. But Mepa is reformed, or so we hear the oracles of the regime dictate. Long live gonzipn.

Claire Farrugia said...

As usual....any removal of any illegal building or any other law enforcement, depends on WHO is the owner or responsable.

Next to my house, a site is being built, it has 2 facades on 2 streets. As far as I know, the law tells us to put a wall of at least 8 running rows. Here there are only 4 rows built from one street and 6 from the other.

I phoned MEPA approx 2 months ago and was told that the owner was contacted, yet nothing has been done. I phoned the police and again MEPA (no answer)

I too often see children playing by the wall, looking over to see the level dug. They innocently try to push bricks over and they also pretent to tip over each other from the legs while the other is looking down. These sites are truly horifying.

As usual actions are only taken when too late. Well.... my door wount be open for questions or Xarabank if any accident should happen....I think I have done my part. Respect the children please.