Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Maltese gemgem

Is it because the forces that had grown comfortable till last elections are finding it hard to adjust or is this just another case of Maltese gemgem?

Apart from the false tears being shed about the IIP now we have two other cases where Maltese gemgems are venting their frustration.

MEPA's approval of the Mistra development may be atrocious and environmentally unfriendly.  I don't like it and would not buy property there.    But the fact remains that an Outline Development approval was issued by the previous government.

I don't understand what made the Planning Ombudsman argue that MEPA had the right to revoke the Outline Permit and refuse issuing the full development permit.   But just imagine if MEPA did just that.  Can you imagine what dangerous precedent would have been created?

Hate it or love this country needs a certain volume of building development going on to keep the economy going.   MEPA is there to ensure that such development follows certain environmental standards and is executed with taste.    If MEPA were presented today with an Outline Permit application for the Mistra development there would be a strong case for arguing against it as in my opinion the project is environmentally offensive and quite tasteless.

But MEPA did issue its Outline Permit under the previous administration and wonder of wonder those now shedding crocodile tears were relatively silent then.   

As normally happens once an Outline Permit is issued MEPA and the developer work together to generate the details needed for the issue of a full permit.   But the developer knows that in the end the full permit will be issued on the basis of the Outline Permit and substantial investment in planning and financing the project is incurred.    If MEPA were to use purely the change of administration or change of policies to refuse issuing the full permit it would be exposing itself to substantial claims and damages from the developer.

But worse than that the government would be accused as the hidden hand behind MEPA playing the big brother and disrespectful to the rule of law.     Just imagine if precedents are created where Outline Permits are not worth the paper they are written on and full development permits would be necessary for having a safe case to invest money in property development.   Entrepreneurial risks risks would multiply, banks will not consider any project financing before the full permit is in hand and investment will simply be scared away leading to economic under-performance.

Or is it a case where those who were comfortably quiet before last elections but have now discovered their long unused protest voices are merely putting spokes in the wheels in the hope of actually forcing economic under-performance?

Take the other case about the presidential award of Gieh ir-Repubblika given to GAIA the young singer that made us proud for winning the Junior Eurovision in style.

Even if hypothetically those who argue that the award was inappropriate, given the age of the awardee, are right, do they need to make such a mountain out of a molehill and in the process ruining the moment of glory for our young singer.

And if such Gemgems want something to complain about they should make an inventory of the many monuments and plaques paying homage to fully aged politicians who did pretty little for the country to earn recognition.   At least GAIA competed and won.

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