Monday, 9 March 2009

Eco-Gozo and Ta' Lambert - Xewkija

During an on-site visit to Ta' Lambert on Thursday 5th March, Dr Arnold Cassola, Chairperson for Alternattiva Demokratika (AD), accompanied by other Gozo Regional Committee members of the Green Party in Gozo, remarked, that it seems that either the Authorities are turning a blind eye to certain individuals who are above the law, or, that the Government, contrary to its much-vaunted eco-Gozo campaign, is hell-bent to irreparably harm the long term sustainability of Gozo as a quality tourist destination.

The Ta’ Lambert site, adjacent to the defunct Gozo Heliport in Xewkija, is now being turned into a bulky refuse area, where waste is being discarded by heavy vehicles that could easily be monitored and apprehended. On the one hand Government attempts to brand itself as being environmentally conscious, and then here at Ta’ Lambert we have visual proof of Government’s failure with regards to waste management.

Prof Cassola also remarked that it is futile for the Prime Minister to declare that his government will adopt Alternattiva Demokratika’s green policies to turn Gozo into an ecological island.

The Nationalist Party either did not fully comprehend AD’s green policies, or failed to weigh up the consequences of tourist complaints for the foul smells and country eyesores in areas like Ta’ Lambert in Xewkija. Tourists are encouraged to take country walks, and such embarrassing illegal smelly black spots are often encountered. The area is also turning into a parking space for construction and heavy plant machinery which are a huge eyesore to the marvellous countryside around.

The Xewkija Local Council, composed of a majority of Labour council members, pretends to be the victim of this sad state of affairs, but then it has not taken any action whatsoever. Alternattiva Demokratika is well informed that a number of upright public spirited individuals did approach the Xewkija Labour mayor, and that they did provide information on a named contractor who takes the law in his own hands discarding waste in this area. On the other hand, the nationalist-led Ghajnsielem local Concil in which Ta’ Lambert area also falls, is also dead silent on this issue. The person or authority that fails to take action is in law an accomplice to this crime.

During this press conference at Ta' Lambert, I remarked that “It is of utmost importance that the Gozo Ministry recognizes instantly and permanently that the protection of such areas in the Gozo countryside, and pertinent heritage sites help to enrich various tourist niches that embellish the Gozo product. It is a fact that tourists seek Gozo as a destination specifically for its natural environment”.

“This smelly garbage site at Ta’ Lambert growing daily in front of a blindfolded compliant authority is scandalous and a shame. We need to clean up this site and under the supervision of professional archaeologists restore this heritage to the nation”.

I would like to appeal to the Gozo Associations, especially, the Gozo Tourist Association (GTA) and the Gozo Business Chamber (GBC) to actively lead in all matters that benefit the island and to have the courage to shed off political alliances that may hinder Gozo’s development as a true European region.

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