Buried cave in Gozo: Watchdog still awaiting explanation from architect

Almost a month after an emergency stop notice was issued on construction works at Xagħra, Gozo, the Superintendent for Cultural Heritage is still waiting for an explanation.

The issue concerns a cave discovered during excavation works that was hurriedly covered with fresh concrete.

The Shift reported that a cave discovered during the construction of a new government-funded civic centre in Xagħra was filled with concrete to avoid delays to the development.

The national heritage watchdog issued a stop notice only after a report by independent MEP candidate Arnold Cassola.

One of the officials tasked with reporting such discoveries was Joseph Tabone, a Site Technical Officer appointed to the Planning Authority board by Minister Clint Camilleri last month.

The Gozo Minister was handed the Planning Authority portfolio in the recent Cabinet reshuffle. Tabone is the minister’s ‘canvasser’.

The site technical officer is a member of the Planning Authority Board nominated by Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri

Since the incident, no work has taken place, as an investigation is still ongoing.

Planning and Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri admitted that concrete was poured over the cave during the works.

Pressed by PN MP Chris Said about the project’s status, the minister said the watchdog was still awaiting an explanation from Leonard Spiteri, the project’s architect.

According to law, the architect and any other persons on site during the discovery were obliged to stop the work and report it to the superintendent.

This was not done. Instead, the contractor, Road Construction Co Ltd, poured concrete onto the newly discovered cave to try to hide it from the authorities.

So far, it is unclear who gave the order to hide the discovery – a criminal act subject to massive fines and possible jail time.

The development lists architect Spiteri and Planning Authority board member Joseph Tabone, as well as Xagħra mayor Aaron Agius as the parties involved.

Minister Camilleri provided no information on whether the police have been involved in any investigation.

                           

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Austin Sammut
Austin Sammut
23 days ago

Can a member of the PA Board act as Site Technical Officer? Smells of a conflict of interest. And now, together with the architect, he may be criminally liable. But that’s how things work. Clint Camilleri kien jonqos.

Raymond Heap
Raymond Heap
23 days ago

It is always easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.
Another case where the public and the islands lose.

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