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MT 19 October 2014

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maltatoday, Sunday, 19 OctOber 2014 6 News James Debono Dom mintoff's residence in Deli- mara, known as l-Gharix, has been sold to Silvio Cassar, a 33-year old self employed businessman from Fgura, for the sum of €250,000 – substantially less than the compen- sation amount awarded by a court to mintoff for a case he brought against the government for con- structing the Delimara power sta- tion close to l-Gharix. L-Gharix, as the former residence of the mercurial late Prime minis- ter, is a historical landmark where mintoff not only entertained his posse of personal friends, who used to accompany him in his daily dips at St Peter's pool, but also hosted foreign dignitaries. The latter included Lord Louis mountbatten, who was killed by an IRA bomb in 1979, and who was mintoff's guest for lunch in 1973 at the height of the then Labour Prime minister's standoff with Britain. Cassar, who bought l-Gharix from mintoff's daughters, Yana mintoff Bland and Anne mcKenna, was tight lipped when contacted by maltaToday. When asked about his plans for the building, Cassar replied that it is "too early" to make any declara- tion. Last week Cassar presented a planning application to carry out internal alterations at l-Gharix, make additions on the second floor, replace roofs and construct a swimming pool in the grounds of the building. Architect and Labour mP Charles Buhagiar filed the application. The public deed for the sale of 4,476 square metres of land was registered in August. In 2006 the constitutional court confirmed the compensation amount of Lm360,000 (€838,574) awarded by the first court in 2004 for damages caused by the power station which was built by the Fenech Adami administration vir- tually on the doorstep of l-Gharix. The court ordered that the amount of Lm212,950, that mr mintoff had already been paid, be deducted from the compensation amount. mintoff had appealed the 2004 decision, claiming that he should have been awarded more com- pensation and that the first court should have ordered the govern- ment to provide him with an alter- native residence. The court application had been filed against the government by mintoff in 1994, on the ground that the building of the power station so close to his house breached his fun- damental human rights. mintoff had struck a deal with the Sant government in 1998 which included a tract of land at Fawwara to be developed into a residence, valued at Lm230,000 (€535,755) and financial compen- sation of Lm128,000 (€298,159) to- gether with a handout of Lm4,950 (€11,530) for structural damage caused by the construction of the Delimara power station. However, the agreement fell through after the government failed to obtain permission to de- velop the site. History in the making A declassified British govern- ment file reveals that in march, 1973, Lord mountbatten, Queen Elizabeth's cousin, was entertained to lunch in mintoff's l-Gharix resi- dence in Delimara. Admiral Templeton Cotill, who took Lord mountbatten to the in- formal lunch, reported that "Lord mountbatten really enjoyed his lunch. I might add that although the food was slightly better than usual the wine was, if possible, even more undrinkable, but Lord mountbatten surmounted that hur- dle without remark". The High Commissioner to malta at the time, John moreton, wrote in favourable terms, saying this lunch was "further proof that mr mintoff is a man for whom personal rela- tionships are very important." In his memoirs, Archbishop Emer- itus Guzeppi mercieca reveals how mintoff started inviting him to reg- ular private meals at his residence in Delimara, l-Gharix, which helped heal the rift between church and state in the mid-1980s. And former Prime minister Ed- die Fenech Adami also revealed that in 1997 mintoff had asked to see Dr Fenech Adami at his Delimara home. During the meeting mintoff told Fenech Adami that he was pre- pared to bring down Alfred Sant's government – which he in fact went on to do in 1998 by voting against Sant's one-seat majority govern- ment. In an article in maltaToday, his- torian Henry Frendo recalled anec- dotes recounted by former President Guido de marco relating to mint- off's farming activities at l-Gharix. one was when De marco was at home at San Pawl tat-Targa and he heard mintoff saying loudly, 'Gwid, gibtlek l-gheneb!' (Guido, I have brought you the grapes). mintoff also had a goat – "In a very recent interview for a book, which I had with Eddie Fenech Adami, it transpired that the milk being served to him with the coffee at l-Gharix was from mintoff's goat: 'minn taghna dan, minn taghna' ('this is our own produce, our own). mintoff's Delimara country house sold for €250,000 Mintoff family reaped €830,000 in compensation from government after construction of delimara power station outside country home 'Illegal' boathouses to get temporary electricity supply ConTInUeD FRom PaGe 1 The deci- sion cements a new understanding between the owners of the illegal boathouses in both St Thomas and Armier bays, who will be guaranteed a steady supply of energy despite hav- ing occupied the public land without any permission. But back in February 2013, the en- vironment planning tribunal had turned down an appeal by Enemalta to renew a permit for a substation at St Thomas Bay. The EPT in fact had said that the substation would be "built to supply electricity to its clients who built il- legally and in outside-development zones", adding that one of the fun- damental principles of the Structure Plan, malta's planning guide, was that no buildings were allowed outside de- velopment zones except those related to agriculture. Filed in 2010, the original applica- tion was refused in 2011 after mEPA said it was "unacceptable", because "no further intensification to the area will be allowed" before an action plan for St Thomas Bay was yet finalised. Enemalta insisted that the substa- tion would serve a number of build- ings with valid permits, which needed a reliable power supply. But mEPA said it had failed to locate any struc- ture with a valid permit or a compli- ance certificate. The tribunal pointed out that the area was dominated by beach rooms and boathouses, some of which were illegal. It said that one mistake – in this case granting a permit contrary to planning policies – should not be compounded by another. Enemalta is also replacing old me- ters with smart meters for some 500 customers in the l-Ahrax tal-mellieha area, which may include agricultural pump rooms, farms, residences, boat- houses, commercial establishments and other buildings. over 87% of electricity meters in malta and Gozo have already been replaced with new smart meters. At Armier, where the area is also populated by a shantytown of illegal boathouse owners, Enemalta is cur- rently replacing over 100 old meters. "Enemalta is engaged in an ongoing effort to curb electricity theft in all areas of malta and Gozo," a spokes- person for the company told malta- Today. "To further prevent the possibility of irregularities, Enemalta and ARmS Ltd will soon be giving customers in specific areas, including Armier, the option to apply for a temporary elec- tricity supply in boathouses. Such supply would need to be periodically renewed. Enemalta will maintain the right to remove the electricity supply with immediate effect and without any obligation or liability for com- pensation or damages in the event that any authority orders the removal of the structure where it is installed. "Enemalta and ARmS already of- fer similar services to customers who require a temporary electricity supply for a limited period of time."

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