The architect responsible for illegal works carried out by the Gozo Ministry in Comino a few weeks ago is none other than the Labour Party’s Organising Secretary, William Lewis.
Lewis was commissioned through a direct order on the personal recommendation of Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri. It tops dozens of direct orders awarded to the governing Party’s organising secretary worth hundreds of thousands of euro.
The works were carried out between February and March and involved heavy trenching works across the dirt road leading to the popular Blue Lagoon. They were carried out without the Gozo Ministry first obtaining a permit despite the area being a protected Natura 2000 site.
The Environment and Resources Authority was also completely ignored as heavy machinery was shipped out from Mġarr harbour to the sister island and works hurriedly commenced.
The purpose was to build a culvert along the way and install utility services, particularly electricity. The Gozo Minister insisted the illegalities were necessary because “urgent works” were needed to improve the tourism product. Yet it seems the real reason was the provision of services to the kiosk owners that line the bay.
Following public outrage, the Ombudsman investigated the issue and concluded that the long service culvert was illegal and in breach of planning laws. He recommended the issue of a stop notice and said the site be reinstated while the Planning Authority should impose fines in favour of a fund for Comino’s environment.
A clan of kiosks
Every summer, a number of kiosks serving food and drinks are placed along a dirt road at the edge of the bay to serve the thousands of tourists who flock to the Blue Lagoon for the day.
Through these works, particularly the service culvert, these kiosks can now have electricity supplied directly through the national grid.
The Shift is informed that most of the kiosk owners, all Gozitans, are canvassers of Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri.
The kiosk owners have been putting pressure on the government to supply electricity even though their activity is unregulated.
Three different Ministers are competing for the Gozo district in the lead up to the general elections – Clint Camilleri, Anton Refalo and Justyne Caruana.
One of the three sitting Labour Ministers is at risk of a seat as the difference in the number of votes between the PL and the PN in the district may be down to a few hundred votes. Gozo is traditionally a PN district.
This is pushing the three Labour Ministers to use the power of incumbency by dishing out favours to constituents, while taxpayers foot the bill.
Featured image credit: Friends of the Earth.