Partit Demokratiku will be pushing for amendments to Bill No. 34, the Constitutional of Malta Amendment Bill, which will be debated in Parliament this evening. The Bill aims to enshrine the protection of the environment in the Constitution, but it will only do so in a cosmetic way. Partit Demokratiku is proposing real amendments which would actually fulfill the stated objective, beginning with the fact that the environment should be bestowed a legal personality with the corresponding rights and criminal liability attached.
Hon Herrera’s bill also talks of the government’s responsibility towards pollution in this bill, but Partit Demokratiku proposes that the responsibility be towards all types of pollutants. Likewise Partit Demokratiku believes that the Environmental Court which the Hon Herrera has promised should not have a narrow remit. Instead, environmental and heritage matters should be fast-tracked through this court, instead of being held up for years on end, and that all citizens have a right to take a matter to this Court, including representatives of NGOs, not just third parties. There is a drastic difference in Maltese law between allowing an individual who is affected by a local problem to seek justice, and allowing an NGO to step in on the same matter from the outside. Partit Demokratiku believes in the equal right for all citizens to speak up.
Partit Demokratiku will be pushing for these amendments which will make Article 9 truly justifiable, rather than allow it to remain an enforceable statement , and have the Environmental Court likewise be a shallow way to fulfill the electoral pledge made about it in 2017. This Constitutional change is a unique opportunity and Partit Demokratiku hopes that it will not be missed.