Lands Authority CEO admits to no enforcement unit in Gozo

The state of complete lawlessness in Gozo, particularly regarding the continuous abuse of public property and land, has been officially recognised by the government-appointed CEO of the Lands Authority Robert Vella.

During a meeting held at the Victoria Police Station last May, in the presence of Victoria’s mayor, the superintendent of the police responsible for the island and other senior government officials, Vella told officials that the Lands Authority does not have an enforcement unit in Gozo, according to minutes of the meeting seen by The Shift.

Some of those present at the meeting informed The Shift that Vella repeated his stance that the Authority responsible for protecting public land “cannot do anything”. They also said they were under the impression that this was not a coincidence but rather an unofficial policy by design.

The scope of the meeting held at the police station was to discuss how dozens of tables and chairs placed illegally by restaurant and bar owners in Victoria’s St George’s Square were to be cleared due to the impending feast of one of the island’s capital’s patron saints, St George.

However, in a declaration that left all others present dumbfounded, the Lands CEO told the meeting that there was little the Lands Authority could do as he had no enforcement officers in Gozo.

The Shift is also informed that shortly after this meeting, a lawyer wrote to the Victoria Local Council, on behalf of residents of the same square, asking for action to remove the illegalities since “even an ambulance in case of emergency” could not pass through.

Yet no action was taken, with the local council telling the residents that “enforcement does not fall within the Council’s remit”.

While Gozo is peppered with overstaffed government offices representing their Maltese headquarters – from the Malta Tourism Authority to a branch of the government’s EU funds agency – it is unclear why the Lands Authority has never opened its own representative office in Gozo.

On the other hand, the Planning Authority, which is also responsible for taking action against such abuse, is merely present on the island with one officer responsible for all the infringements in Gozo.

According to the law, the Lands Authority and its officials are obliged to enforce and act against any abuse of public land and to prosecute anyone who is found to be making use of public land illegally.

While enforcement of the rule of law has always been lax in Gozo, the Lands Authority has practically abandoned its obligations on the island despite abuse evident across the island.

The abuse by restaurants and other catering establishments – particularly in Mġarr, Rabat, Xlendi and Marsalforn – has reached unprecedented levels.

Despite reports filed for the authorities to act on the abuse, it seems that looking the other way is the only effort being made.

One stark example is the operation of an illegal concrete batching plant in Kercem, built illegally by Gozitan construction magnate Joseph Portelli and his partners Mark Agius of Ta’ Dirjanu and Daniel Refalo, a Comino beach concessionaire turned developer.

Although the illegal batching plant was built and left operating day and night in a quarry owned by the Lands Authority for years, CEO Robert Vella and Chairman John Vassallo have never proceeded with any legal action. Meanwhile, the Gozo Ministry procures concrete from Prax Ltd, the illegal plant’s owner.

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Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
17 hours ago

Enforcement Units in Gozo?

What are you dreaming of?

Offices and sub-offices aplenty. But enforcement? They don’t even know what it means over there.

I would not raise any hopes of the present illegalities abounding all over the sister Island ever being reined, halted or, even less, perpetually eradicated.

17 hours ago

Don’t worry Gozo here on Malta we have enforcement officers but they are as much good as an ashtray on a motorbike and enforcement almost nothing.

16 hours ago

Enforcement Unit.
@ The Shift
Tajtuhom idea…
Issa jifthu ufficcju u jkomplu jdahhlu nies Laboristi.
Lands Authority Malta mekka ta nies Laboristi BISS.
Laboristi tal Partit biex inkun preciz.
Nies li qedin hemm biss biex jiehdu l paga minn fuq it taxxi tieghi u tieghek Gahan.

Last edited 16 hours ago by Bamboccu
15 hours ago

The corrupt thieves at the maqjel (anglu’s description of parliament) couldn’t care less as they all possess villas in some paradise and exotic places. It is us the honest tax payers who have to deal with this mafiamalta illegalities. This is what we all deserve as nobody especially the opposition to go down in the streets
So enjoy the corruption, we seem to support it.

Mary Rose
Mary Rose
13 hours ago

Would someone enlighten me as to what is the role of a Minister, Chairman, CEO, Chief Officer, Director? Why having such highly paid positions within the Government Entities yet they are lawless? What are they accountable for? Malta has literally become a f…g free country for the bullies:(

12 hours ago
Reply to  Mary Rose

All these “people” that you have described are Mafia consiglieri and answer to no one except the Don here in Malta who is sometimes referred to as the Prime minister. No money is exchanged, everything is done in deals mostly to the detriment of the population unless they are on the Mafia protection list.Everything you see and hear is just a facade to deter further scrutiny by discerning people like yourself or officials from the EU. This is the only country in the world wholly owned by the Mafia and nothing in the near future is going to change any of it.

9 hours ago

Gozo was highjacked and stolen by the greedy corrupt property developers.

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