Senglea Cultural Association dissociates itself from other NGOs

Updated 08:14 PM

Azzjoni accuses association of conflict of interest

The Senglea Cultural Association has dissociated itself from other non-governmental organisations, entities and individuals who have sought the Ombudsman’s intervention over inconvenience by the shipyard in Grand Harbour and the government’s failure to act.

In a statement on Thursday, the Senglea Cultural Association claimed that it has taken to task Azzjoni: Tuna Artna Lura which has sought the Ombudsman’s intervention over alleged inconvenience by the shipyard in the Grand Harbour and surrounding area.

Azzjoni: Tuna Artna Lura complained of noise from an MSC cruise ship has been docked at the shipyard for weeks, keeping its engines running round the clock and constantly producing foul emissions. The coalition asked the Ombudsman to investigate the working conditions of shipyard employees and adherence to the conditions stipulated in the government agreement which handed the site to operators Palumbo.

The association referred to an action in February 2016 filed by Azzjoni: Tuna Artna Lura against Palumbo Shipyards which was thrown out by the court at the time.

“At the time, noise pollution was again the bone of contention for Azzjoni: Tuna Artna Lura, which it said was disturbing Senglea residents’ repose, a claim, which, given that the noise in question could not be proven that it was emanating from the same shipyard, did not have a leg to stand on, in a court of law.”

The association said that it wanted to disassociate themselves from these non-governmental organisations, entities and individuals who are claiming to represent Cottonera.

“We would also like to draw your attention to the apparent non-existence of some of these and also to the fact that they have no judicial interest since some of them have nothing to do with nor are they residents of Cottonera,” the association said.

The association said that it sent a letter to the Ombudsman which was signed by several Cottonera sports and cultural associations. In its letter, it was highlighted that Palumbo Shipyard makes a “great contribution” to Cottonera and local voluntary organizations.

Furthermore, the association said that “about 5000 residents in Cottonera had signed a petition in favour of Palumbo Shipyard, which was presented to the parliament of the Republic of Malta.”

Azzjoni claims association has conflict of interest in Palumbo debacle

A spokesperson for Azzjoni: Tuna Artna Lura rejected the association’s insinuations that it was not representative of Cottonera residents, and in turn suggested that the SCA’s president had a conflict of interest.

She highlighted that its president, Stephen Buttigieg, is the treasurer of Senglea Athletic FC, which has been sponsored by Palumbo.

Azzjoni emphasised that it had no involvement in the action filed against Palumbo in 2016, with the spokesperson pointing out that it was only established last year.

She added that Azzjoni was not complaining about the noise, but over the toxic fumes residents were subjected to due to the lack of shore-to-ship infrastructure at the shipyards.

‘Mario Gauci is the association’s president’

A spokesperson for the Senglea Cultural Association clarified that its president is Mario Gauci and not Mr Stephen Buttigieg as claimed by a spokesperson from Azzjoni: Tuna Artna Lura.