The Qawra dumping news has only just made the headlines. Some contractor had been asked to dredge a part of Qawra in order to clear an area close to the slipway, only that whoever gave the contractor the order omitted to tell him what to do with the sludge. The solution? The contractor dumps the sludge – not once, not twice, but thrice – in a bathing area. His excuse? “I have permission”.
The much maligned MEPA stepped in and stopped the ridiculous activity as soon as it found out. Council Mayor Paul Salerno was quick on the scene only to inform the press that the council was fully informed of the sledging part of the deal. It turns out that while the Council had contacted MEPA with regard to the sledging business it failed to inform MEPA of the full details of the operation.
What I see in this business is the botched operation by empowered local councils. It is well and good for the “inconveniences” to be summed up and put at the doorstep of whatever government there is on the day but on the other hand what we fail to see is that these examples of hapless management are aeons away from what happened when every fart required central permission. We will surely have more complaints of Gonzi this and Gonzi that with regard to this latest episode of environmental shame but in doing so we fail to recognise one fundamental factor: this time we cannot blame “the government”.
The local council experiment is almost 20 years old now and yet we continue to elect party approved apparatchiks who settled into their seats of decentralised power and decided to lord it in their respective joint.Without wanting to denigrate a whole tranche of Maltese politics – I am sure that many a local councillor ended his term on full marks – we ended up having an exacerbation of incompetent power politics at a lower level.
The next time your council decides to dump shit in your bathing water remember that it has nothing to do with MEPA or the government – and a lot to do with who you chose to elect to manage your locality.