A group of NGOs is asking the government to immediately publish the full terms of any agreement regarding the transfer of the Miżieb and Aħrax open spaces to the Federation of Hunting and Conservation (FKNK), which was revealed earlier this week through the media.
In a joint statement, 16 NGOs said they are concerned that through this agreement, the general public will be unable to enjoy these areas for a period of at least nine out of twelve months since FKNK wants exclusive access during open seasons to hunt quail, turtle dove and also rabbits.
The government does not have an electoral mandate to hand over open spaces to lobbies, said all the NGOs.
The Kamra tal-Periti and the Noise Abatement Society Malta (NASoM) have also endorsed the appeal made by the NGOs.
In their statement, the coalition of NGOs questioned why the cordoning off of these two popular recreational spots and their transfer to one of the two hunters’ organisations was only made public through the media.
“In his proposal to the Cabinet, Prime Minister Robert Abela not only bypassed the Lands Authority but also ignored the sentiments of the general public, which presently enjoys access to these areas for walks, picnics and camping” – stated the coalition.
No details about this agreement have been made public yet.
The NGOs are also demanding an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Robert Abela and the Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia.
The NGOs said they feel it is outraged that in this particular moment when most of the country is self-isolating at home a lobby can be given two large open spaces without proper consultation and in total secrecy.
The NGOs, representing different spheres and public interests, especially those in the preservation of the natural environment, strongly oppose the:
- limitations on the appropriate public access to places of natural amenity, particularly to suit a small part of a minority group
- continuation of this way of governing public assets;
- way in which Cabinet treats public assets as its own.
The NGOs are demanding that the decision should be postponed until there is a proper consultation process held with the general public, and affirm their intention to contest any decision taken on this matter in every way possible.
The joint statement was signed by:
- Archaeological Society of Malta
- Bicycle Advocacy Group
- BirdLife Malta
- Din L-Art Ħelwa
- Extinction Rebellion Malta
- Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar
- Friends of the Earth Malta
- Futur Ambjent Wieħed
- Għaqda Siġar Maltin
- Isles of the Left
- Kamra tal-Periti
- Moviment Graffitti
- Nature Trust Malta
- NASoM (Noise Abatement Society Malta)
- Outdoor Recreation and Camping Association Malta
- Ramblers Association Malta