6 - 12 June, 2001
The Business Times has never attempted to besmirch the functionality of the Planning Authority.
Now, however, things have gone way too far.
The decision to agree to a belated application to the ugly Solemar complex off Marfa, but hardly a stones throw from Armier, is a disgraceful event that touches at the heart and the credibility of the Planning Authority.
One also has to consider whether the Parliamentary Secretary George Pullicino is comfortable with such a decision.
The latter in our view is a capable politician and one of the few intellectuals that are to be found within the Nationalist party.
However, his silence on the matter, is questionable.
Whereas lesser morons were treated to bulldozers and Administrative Law Enforcement, the hotel owned by a very well known contractor was treated with kid gloves.
This type of behaviour does nothing to instil any faith in the system and worse still, it allows for an element of mistrust in the way we look at the institutions.
There are cases strewn all over the Island of pending applications that are withheld by the Planning Authority over criteria enshrined in the many manuals regurgitated by the PA.
Many businessmen suffer financial loss because of the bureaucracy of an alien kind.
The Planning Authority is applying a two weights and two measures approach to the problem. And many of the actions it is taking reflect on its integrity.
The Armier folk, however much in the wrong, could if they had the proper leadership wreck government plans.
It seems that the owner of Solemar has more clout when it comes to lobbying for changes in attitudes or shall we say decisions.
The Planning Authority has become a focus for gossip and rumour, businessmen and contractors are advised to talk to certain individuals, certain architects and certain personalities to move things.
This is a no-go situation and the public has every right to protest.
What is worse, when the Opposition leader Dr Alfred Sant dishes out criticism about the operations of the Planning Authority and the conflicts of interests of certain individuals more people will listen to what he has to say.
And we dont blame them one bit.
The Irish vote
If that is the case, then the local political scene will be in for some shock waves.
On one side we will have bewilderment, and on the other side, the individuals who shun the referendum as a process in gauging what people think, will have an unexpected shot in the arm.
Yet another reason why this government should be very careful not to put all its eggs in one basket.