Watch: BirdLife Malta files judicial protest against government

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Birdlife Malta has filed a judicial protest against the government after the hunting regulator was placed under the Ministry for Gozo in an unprecedent move.

During a press conference on Wednesday morning, BirdLife Malta questioned whether now that the hunting regulator has been placed under the Ministry for Gozo which is headed by Minister Clint Camilleri a hunter himself and reportedly a member of the two hunting lobbies, FKNK and KSU, means less regulation.

The regulator was previously under the Ministry for Environment. The NGO acknowledged the signs of goodwill sent out by the incoming Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia who immediately made it known that he will register each meeting he will hold with lobby groups.

The judicial protest signed by lawyers Philip Manduca and Leslie Cuschieri was filed against the Prime Minister, the Minister for Environment and Minister for Gozo in regard to a decision taken by Prime Minister Robert Abela to place the hunting regulator under the Gozo Ministry.

The NGO said that it had to resort to legal action since the decision to transfer the Wild Birds Regulation Unit (WBRU) under Camilleri is also in breach of the law. Previously the NGO had described the move as a “diabolical and a purely electoral” one.

In its judicial protest, the NGO referred to the Environment Protection Act which specifically states that every reference to a “Minister” points to the Minister responsible for the environment. The Environment Minister is therefore responsible for the protection of the environment and for establishing any authority relating to it.

This was the government’s decision – Ministry for Gozo

In a statement, the Ministry for Gozo reacted to the judicial protest saying that the decision was taken by the government. The Ministry said that the Minister for Gozo Clint Camilleri was assigned the portfolio. In the statement the ministry said that Camilleri will continue to do his work with the same effort. He explained that an effort will be made to balance the interests of the hunters and respect towards the environment and the laws.

“We fail to understand BirdLife Malta’s concerns” – FKNK

The Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FKNK) in a statement said that it could not understand BirdLife Malta’s concerns. The hunting lobby said that it was ready to assist the minister in finding a balance which reflected the situation of hunting, trapping, conservation of wild species, conservation of the environment and enforcement.

Video: Monique Agius