Arnold Cassola has asked the Standards Commissioner to launch an investigation on the illegalities carried out in Comino based on an article published by The Shift that revealed further details on the works already condemned by the Ombudsman.
Cassola has requested George Hyzler to investigate Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri’s abusive behaviour, who was responsible for the work commissioned using William Lewis, the Labour Party’s Organising Secretary, The Shift revealed.
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 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.
Cassola asked Hyzler to look into the fact that Camilleri commissioned works in a protected area without a permit, and that the minister lied when he said the “urgent works” were necessary to improve the tourism product.
The Shift is informed that the works will benefit the kiosk owners that line the bay during summer, selling food and drinks to tourists who visit the Blue Lagoon for the day. As a result of the work done, the kiosks – mostly owned by canvassers of Camilleri – would be able to get electricity from the grid.
In his letter to the Standards Commissioner, Cassola referred to the abuse of a direct order through which he engaged a top Labour Party official without a public call. This, Cassola added, showed nepotism.
The Ombudsman investigated the issue following public outrage 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.
Featured photo credit: Friends of the Earth.