I am hereby giving my reaction as Mayor of Gzira with respect to the press release made by MIDI consortium yesterday. Whilst as a council we embrace the fact that MIDI consortium finally has acceded to our request, we remain steady on our point that we are not in any way begging for a grant from MIDI as they are stating. MIDI are contractually obliged to leave an access both after completion as per plans attached to the contract and during development as stipulated in the contract in namely article fifteen which is titled access during development.
Articles 15.1 and 15.2 under the subheading access during development state clearly that only the Government can prohibit access by the public temporarily to areas of the property during development only so as to enable MIDI to carry out the development. This gives the public the right to access even areas delineated within the property for instance the area in front of the fortifications facing Valletta which is a public area according to the plan and the development /restoration in this area is completed.
MIDI are obliged to reasonably indicate to the Government the areas of the property where development will take place to be enclosed for safety purposes and MIDI are bound not to unduly interrupt essential services which includes access to parts also not included in the property namely the foreshore.
Access to public areas does not hinder in any way the peaceful and vacant possession as stated in Article five as in no way the access will effect MIDI in the development stage. This makes complete sense, since MIDI has still to provide public roads and public facilities when the project is completed as indicated on drawing M07 annexed with the contract.
Manoel Island measures approx. 268,000m2, which is nearly a fifth of our locality having a stretch of foreshore measuring nearly one kilometre.
Finally, public interest and the common good should prevail in these cases rather then going into a legal battle and looking into the nitty gritties of a contract when massive profits are made on previously publicly owned land when according to the parliamentary debates way back in 1999 the intention of the whole project was the regeneration of the area for public use and enjoyment and moreover after the rights of the public have been breached for a whole 16 years.
As a council we will shoulder responsibilities for the public areas as we do in all public areas within our locality when our jurisdiction is extended to cover also Manoel Island. This request has been unanimously agreed within the council and sent to the government for acceptance.
May I make it clear that access is only during weekends from 8:00am to 8:00pm until the necessary infrastructure and surveillance measures are installed.