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MaltaToday 14 October 2020 MIDWEEK

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2 maltatoday | WEDNESDAY • 14 OCTOBER 2020 NEWS KARL AZZOPARDI GROWING opposition to gov- ernment's decision to hand over land at Miżieb and L-Aħrax to hunting organisation FKNK will force the government to listen to concerns, BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana believes. Sultana was asked whether the coalition Spazji Miftuħa was weak in its opposition to gov- ernment's plans back in summer when the deal was exposed by the media. "Yes, I would have wanted more people to convince gov- ernment, but with the help of the media, and the momentum that there is on the issue now, I believe government will have to listen," he said. Sultana was speaking during a BirdLife Malta press confer- ence held outside the Office of the Prime Minister in Valletta during which the organisation voiced its opposition to the opening of the finch trapping season. Asked whether he expects a reversal of the land transfer de- cision, Sultana said that while he doesn't expect a government U-turn, there were other things the administration must commit itself to such as the creation of a wildlife crime unit to oversee en- forcement. Sultana insisted it was not a question of a lack of resources but a lack of political will. "Last Sunday during the pro- test at Miżieb there were three times the number of police that there are when the hunting sea- son opens. That speaks for it- self," he said. BirdLife also said that along with other organisations filed a judicial protest over the handing over of public land to hunters. Sultana called out govern- ment's decision to challenge the European Court of Justice ruling and open an autumn trapping season for finches. Prime Minister Robert Abela was receiving bad legal advice on reopening the trapping season, Sultana said. "It is evidently clear the Prime Minister has been complete- ly deceived by Minister Clint Camilleri who it seems, apart from being a trapper, is also a politician who doesn't give a hoot about what our country has achieved over a period of 20 years for the environment," he said. The NGO also called out "the weak excuse" given by govern- ment that the season will be opened for a 'scientific study'. "He [Robert Abela] will be challenging the European Un- ion and the European Court of Justice, resulting in Malta being taken once again to the Europe- an Court," it said. BirdLife also stated that fol- lowing the 2015 spring hunting referendum, then prime minis- ter Joseph Muscat had promised to safeguard the environment, therefore Abela should honour that mandate. "This is the same government, it is not a different government," BirdLife said. The NGO said that it will con- tinue to fight for the cause and will do its utmost in European institutions to stop the "arrogant and wrong decision" to open a trapping season in the interest of all Maltese. "Environment has been rele- gated to the fourth tier under this government," BirdLife sec- retary general Saviour Balzan said. BirdLife insists government will have to listen to the people on land gifted to hunters CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 The Standards report has not yet been published, and it will be released once Hyzler presents the report to the parlia- mentary standards committee. MaltaToday understands that the re- port will state that the abuse of the PM's power is a breach of law. Any action on a breach of law can be forwarded to the police for further investigation. Joseph Muscat resigned from parlia- ment at the start of the re-opening of the House in October, ending a career of 12 years as MP, Alternattiva Demokratika chairperson Carmel Cacopardo, who filed the origi- nal complaint, has called on the Speaker of the House to release a standards in- vestigation report that details a breach of someone in power in the award of the consultancy. In January, Cacopardo requested the Commissioner for Standards in Pub- lic Life to investigate the appointment of Konrad Mizzi as an MTA consult- ant. "In particular, I asked that Joseph Muscat, Gavin Gulia and Johann Butti- gieg be investigated in their capacity as Prime Minister, Chairman and CEO of the MTA respectively," he said. The final report was passed on to the Speaker of the House and will not be publicised until a committee of MPs publishes it. An investigation report which details the breach of standards of someone who has been investigated is not released by the Commissioner. "It seems clear that the Commissioner has in fact found that there are serious shortcomings in the circumstances sur- rounding Konrad Mizzi's appointment," Cacopardo said back in September. "As had happened when the Commissioner concluded that Joseph Muscat had failed ethically when he accepted Petrus wine from Yorgen Fenech, the report will go to the Parliamentary committee." Report: Abuse of the PM's power is a breach of law Joseph Muscat Konrad Mizzi

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