Gzira mayor launches broadside against Labour Party president over garden for petrol station deal

‘Destroying a public garden for a petrol station is the most anti-Socialist thing one can do,’ Conrad Borg Manche' admonishes Ramona Attard over her role as Lands Authority lawyer


Gzira’s Labour Mayor Conrad Borg Manche’ has admonished Labour Party President Ramona Attard for being the Lands Authority’s lawyer in a case dealing with the granting of land within the densely-populated locality’s only garden for the relocation of a petrol station.

The court case against the Lands Authority and the land transfer was launched by the Gzira Local Council last May. The Council is asking the courts to reverse the Lands Authority’s highly controversial decision to grant some 1,000 square meters of the garden, the crowded locality’s only green lung, for the relocation of a petrol station and the health hazards that come with it.

The Lands Authority’s lawyer in the case is Labour Party President Ramona Attard.

In a scathing social media post this afternoon, Borg Manche’ laid into Attard, saying, “I remind her that destroying a garden that has been serving the people for more than 120 years so it can be given to a petrol station that will render it unusable because of the high levels of carcinogenic fumes is the most anti-Socialist act that one can do to.

“Do we value the people so little? If this is not madness and a betrayal of the people, then I don’t know what could be.”

The Council won the case in the court of first instance presided over by Magistrate Charmaine Galea on 1 November 2022, but the Lands Authority has appealed the ruling, seemingly bent on pushing the deal through at all costs and against stiff public opposition.

The appeal continues on 26 April before Mr Justice Lawrence Mintoff.

Borg Manche’ made note of how in a hearing yesterday Attard quoted the contract and aspects of Lands Authority law, but failed to cite the article that stipulates the government’s obligation towards the people to ensure the best possible use of public land.

“That’s exactly what I’m fighting for,” Borg Manche’ said, “so that land that belongs to the people and that is used by the people is not destroyed because of the greed of some.

“As your representative, that is what I am doing even though I am being attacked from everywhere, as anyone who is following Council meetings knows. But I will work for the trust voters have placed in me without fear or favour.”

Borg Manche’ said he is well aware that he is upsetting some circle within the party with his fight against the Lands Authority and for not toeing the party line.

“Can someone explain to me what the party’s line is and why, as a representative of the people, I should betray those who voted for me? What I have done in the last seven years has been pure Socialism and I think the actions taken with respect to Manoel Island and the petrol station saga are proof enough of this.

The area in Gzira being offered up by the Lands Authority to the petrol station.

“What is Socialist about sacrificing people’s health and land so a businessman who has already been occupying public land for more than 60 years can continue to dominate us?

“Could it be that we have lost our soul, reason and all we say we believe in?”

The Shift has reported how the Lands Authority had summarily informed the Gzira Local Council that around 1,000 square metres of the seafront garden are to be allocated to the Manoel Island Service Station, which at present lies just 100 metres from Gzira’s last remaining area of greenery.

The petrol station is owned by businessman Simon Muscat. Through another company, Cubed Turnkey Projects Ltd, Muscat and its partners have received numerous direct orders for work connected to the same Authority. Such work included the refurbishment of the Lands Authority’s headquarters at Auberge de Bavière in Valletta.

“I remind her [Attard] and those who have pushed and who are still pushing to make this scandal happen that Socialist principles are principles that you believe in and live by. Otherwise, you are spineless and a disservice to the people who have entrusted you to govern.

Labour Party President and Lands Authority lawyer Ramona Attard.

“I am amazed at how many have come to hate, sacrifice and humiliate their brothers from the same party in order to serve themselves and businessmen.

“I can assure my detractors and everyone else that I will keep fighting at all costs for the petrol station to not be relocated to the garden. It is inconceivable that a Socialist party does not give serious priority to the environment.

“This case clearly shows that what I am saying is true, and that is why I have been removed from my position as Environment Malta CEO – because I am not a yes man and I never will be.”

Borg Manche’ called for the public to sign on to the petition against the petrol station’s relocation at www.gziragardens.com because “to grumble later would be futile and too late”.


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A. Fan
A. Fan
23 days ago

If this were the only station for miles, I’d somewhat understand trying to relocate it within Gzira for the convenience of the local residents. But won’t there be at least one just up the block (you know, the one where homicidal coke-addicts go to run over pedestrians…)? Socialism MLP style: all costs — whether monetary, environmental, or any other kind — are to be borne by the taxpayer, while any related profits go to friends and friends of friends.

Last edited 23 days ago by A. Fan
23 days ago

A statement with outrage from a person who speaks out what others also think and who doesn’t recognises his own party anymore. He’s right in what he says and wears no partisan blinkers and also had to face the ‘gratitude’ from his ‘PL tier one’ fellow members for disagreeing with the greed that is destroying Malta.

I know the area concerned from walking along that garden in the past. The PL greedy will make sure that in time, one doesn’t recognise Malta anymore as they are about and persisting with morphing Malta into a ‘PL concrete’ village.

I wonder (though not really) why the PL even needs to have a person that just formally has the title of ‘President’ of the party when the real decisions are made by the leader and his entourage, the ‘Iva Prim Ministru’ types of which the PL President is just one among the many in the PL’s higher places.

That’s what comes from the last year’s landslide victory for the PL in the GE, they have dropped even the last remaining minimum of concern to the population and the greed is getting more rampant than in the years before.

M. Vella
M. Vella
23 days ago

Thank you Mr Borg Manche for being a stand-up man. My temptation to say that anti-socialism is not only occurring in your back yard would not be entirely fair, as you have a specific job to do. But is not disposing of Malta’s health system to crooks and/or incompetents; privatising far too much of public space; subsidising sham educators; and on and on and on, not far greater anti-socialism than this?

Karl Brock
Karl Brock
23 days ago

How refreshing, a politician with a backbone and the peoples’ interest at heart. Thank you.

Last edited 23 days ago by Karl Brock
Carmelo Borg
23 days ago

Ma ghandhomx sens ta misthija dawn is suppost SOCJALISTI. ( Negozjanti u tal frodisti u tal kriminali u tal KORRUZJONI etc etc NHAR il HADD ma xtqatx ikolli x naqsam mal PN imma se noqod lura U se immur nipprotesta ghax issa DAQSHEKK. IL LIMITU INQABEZ IZZEJJED.

T. P.
T. P.
23 days ago

One must also bear in mind that, apart from the 1000 square metres being allocated to the petrol station, Transport Malta also intends to have offices including a proposed cafeteria within the remaining parts of the same garden.

Can the Lands Authority inform us whether there shall be more parking facilities for customers/visitors seeing that currently all parking facilities are used up or has this matter been left to TM seeing that it is the authority that allocates such spaces on public land not allocated to it.

Can the Minister responsible inform the public what area shall remain freely accessible to the public?

Out of Curiosity
Out of Curiosity
23 days ago

Insecure leaders surround themselves with “yes people”. Effective leaders surround themselves with people who challenge them – Patrick Bet-David. Roberta Abela is not only an insecure leader, but also corrupt to his teeth, and the proof of all this is the scandal of the Vitals/Stewards. I am once more repeating, that this Abela is ruthless, as he follows the same path of notorius dictators, who tend to keep absolute power close to their chest, dictating what needs to be done here and there, with the help of few unscrupulous lucrative bastards. But we (the people) will not permit this to happen. The Maltese are brave enough to sense danger.

Last edited 23 days ago by Out of Curiosity
Anthony Buttigieg
Anthony Buttigieg
22 days ago

Heqq inkella kif se jpaxxu u jagevolaw lill dawk tal-qalba u jdahhlu sehemhom minn taht, mela hasbu li n-nies ghadhom boloh u ma jafux kif jahdmu l-affarijiet, jekk hemm haga li nemmen li certi nies ghadhom boloh fiha hi li jafu bdawn l-affarijiet u jibqaw imorru jcapcpulom u jivvutawlhom.

22 days ago

There is a Government Policy about this made in 2019.
The policy guidelines are being blatantly broken.
This comes under repositioning of Petrol stations.
There must be serious reasons for removing a petrol station under this policy , where the cost is even subsidized heavily by EU and Government.
Repositioning the petrol station a few hundred metres away does not solve the problems for which it was re positioned.

22 days ago

It is obvious that it is totally against this policy guidelines quoted below:

Policy Guidance For Fuel Stations
Revised Draft following Public Consultation
19th September 2019

2.4. The proposed fuel station should not be located on:

(m) within 150m from the perimeter of any public institution or public place or places for vulnerable members of the public, including but not limited to schools, hospitals,institutions, playgrounds, recreational areas, churches, etc.

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