Government praises farmers, then seizes their land – AD/PD

Alternattiva Demokratika and Partit Demokratiku questioned the mixed messages government sent to farmers, noting that in the space of one day, a new support scheme was launched while Infrastructure Malta geared up to build a road over arable land.

AD and PD, which are in the process of merging into one party, held a press conference in Dingli, where on Friday, activists and farmers thwarted heavy machinery from clearing arable land to make way for an extension of an existing cul-de-sac.r

That same day, Agriculture Minister Anton Refalo and Economy Minister Silvio Schembri launched a €1.5 million financial assistance scheme for arable farmers.

The planned road works are not covered by a development permit, with IM justifying its actions on the strength of a legal notice allowing works on “within scheme” roads without the need to go through the permit process.

But this reasoning was questioned by AD chairperson Carmel Cacopardo, who noted that such roads were unneeded where no residents could be found.

The party leader and architect explained that typically, when new zones are being developed, roads are only built once a substantial number of buildings go up, to avoid having to dig up the road once more to lay services.

“But if the farmers whose land is being taken over want to keep working their land, why does Infrastructure Malta want to impose development on them,” he asked. “Why is there this fixation to build up every little corner?”

The two parties also expressed their gratitude to Moviment Graffitti and the farmers for their action, which stopped the destruction planned by Infrastructure Malta, at least temporarily.