Monday, 4 August 2008

Tourists…rubbish…throw them out…burn them…send them away

Aleander Balzan is another journalist who I feel is very promising in investigative journalism. Besides, his style of writing shows that he has, what in the books it is referred to as the ‘Maltese heritage’, close to his heart.

Aleander is a journalist with il-Kulhadd, and last Sunday he wrote an interesting episode which he named: “An archaeological treasure is transformed into a rubbish dump”. I suggest that you read this report of Aleander by accessing this link and understanding why I am mentioning this entry in the blog entitled ‘Tourists…rubbish etc., etc.’

I need to thank the AD local councillor for Sannat John Mizzi who took photographs in the area of Ta’ Lambert in Xewkija, more specifically, on the other side of Ta’ Cenc – right in the location of the heliport and where a couple of individuals closely connected to politics are saying that tourism in Gozo needs an airstrip in order to survive… see blog of gozoairstrip here.

This time John Mizzi has not been arrested for taking pictures in this despicable location. Do you remember when the police who reign Gozo deleted all John’s photographs which he snapped in Wied l-Infern while the people at MEPA came to clean the disaster made by the Zebbug mayor? If you forgot, you can read here.

But you would surely agree that while looking at these pictures you feel infuriated!

This is more so when the Superintendent in charge of the cultural heritage has just published his annual report and appealed to MEPA so that all the areas in Ta’ Cenc are protected (scheduled).

Furthermore, in his report, the Superintendent urged that in the other side of Mgarr ix-Xini,
that is, the side of the heliport known as Ta’ Lambert, there remain archaeological sites that are not yet so discovered and hence also need to be protected.

This is exactly what you can see in the picture, my friend!

But if you study these pictures closely you will start to confirm that this report, like numerous other appeals from various sources, the Gozo Authorities seem to be protecting those who go and destroy these locations in pure daylight.

And this is despite the fact that the government of a relative majority (not absolute) says (before election) that he is going to adopt Alternattiva Demokratika’s vision to transform Gozo into an ecological island.

And so as I commented in the report of the young journalist Aleander, I think that I am right in saying that “either the Prime Minister was not aware of what he was trying to copy or else the environmental pole has deteriorated.”

When you see these pictures you really feel like crying. You need to be uneducated, as they say, or couldn’t care less, not feel ashamed.

When will the Minister for Gozo start to understand that the protection of the environment and historical sites are of an enormous value and help in the development of another niche for tourism from which Gozo can greatly benefit?

Is it possible that she is not yet aware that Gozo is also frequented by tourists who come specifically for the island’s natural beauty?

In fact, I know friends from Malta who tell me that they like to visit Gozo specifically because they appreciate its peace and natural beauty!

I met tourists who visit Gozo for its historical riches.

I also know people who came to Gozo (and left money) specifically because they like to walk in our countryside and enjoy the flora and fauna that make the island as beautiful as God intended.

But look at this picture of the crucifix in the rubbish dump of Ta’ Lambert!

Those who followed us before election may remember that we issued an electoral manifesto specifically for Gozo and among a lot of proposals, we proposed the development of different niches of tourism. (See here). We mentioned, amongst other proposals, the need for Religious Tourism to be developed. Apparently they got us wrong even here because this poor crucifix ended up being placed here in this rubbish dump of Ta’ Lambert, close to the government bore hole. Could this also be part of the Gozo echo?

As my friend John Mizzi said, who took these photographs, “it is a shame. This place need to be cared for and cleaned under the supervision of experts so that no more historical structures are lost.”

And if I form part of the Xewkija local council, I would definitely react to this!

Is it possible that from five local councillors (nationalists and labourites) nobody even stirs? How come the major did not mention this disaster when she attended the famous ‘consultation’ regarding the echo in Gozo in Lunzjata Valley. I was there and listened to every word that was uttered.

Do you want me to believe what they say, that is “Don’t we know who?” … oh come on!

Or is this a question of instilling fear by means of votes in those who should take care of and protect their locality?

If this is so, I have many ideas of what I can do!

So no wonder that those people who couldn’t care less, do not really care neither for the tourists. Rubbish…throw them out… burn them. In other words, send them away.

So excuse me but I cannot not criticise what they call Gozo Association of Tourism (GTA). Those of the GTA that straight after every budget they come on Net tv praising its merits.

I believe that there are a couple of genuine individuals in GTA, but like every association in Gozo that is controlled by a medieval system or perhaps even more recent … a system of feudal politics; these few need to keep their mouths shut.

Don't worry, I will not.



GGantijaforever said...

Dear Victor,
I pestered the present mayor so many times about the dumping of rubbish at Ta' Lambert. I even mentioned a contractor's name. But to no avail. She ignored my protestations.

Anonymous said...

If there is no enforcement, which there is NOT in many areas, then any protestations are useless. The PN wants suggestions. These are real suggestions. Let us see these accepted and actuated first. Then we will believe in the request for opinions!!!!!

Juliann Buttigieg said...

Start to educate our children, and make them aware their own heritage. Appealing to the likes of Giovanna and her 'merry men' is very, very, obviously a complete waste of time!
What worries me even more, is the next bunch of uneducated idiots, who are campaigning to take over Gozo.
Is there anybody else out there who feels as depressed as I do at the future of Gozo?
As a licensed guide, I joined the 'GTA' a couple of years ago, and all I ever received from them was a bill for my subscription, and an invitation to a christmas dinner (obviously to celebrate how efficient they are at sending out subscription requests, for the privelage of being invited to dine with the rest of the 'GTA') Nothing else came out of my being a member of the 'GTA'.
I would love to be guiding tourists around Gozo,promoting all of the important sites, but sadly I still see too many 'bucket shop' tours being conducted, where the driver of the mini bus has one hand on the wheel and the other on the microphone!?
What are we creating for our children's future? Instead of 'fobbing them off' with fast cars, mobile phones, and designer clothes, why can't we besstow upon them the real treasures that they deserve?
I find it very hard to look my kids in the eye these days and say 'think about your future' because what I'm actually saying to them is, 'think about the pile of crap your elders are creating for you.'
We have enough wardens here 'hiding' on the roads, ready to jump out and fine people for not wearing seat belts, or faulty lights and so on, so why can't they carry out such active duties with contractors, and their illegal dumping?
I could go on, and on, and on....but then I might end up sounding like the politicians, full of words, and no positive action.