Government placing Zammit Tabona’s interests above those of the people |  Moviment Graffitti Malta.
20/09/2020

Government placing Zammit Tabona’s interests above those of the people

Moviment Graffitti asks whether electoral donations given by the Zammit Tabona family are facilitating their business interests


Following a change in the terms of the call for tender for a hop-on hop-off service, which will be replacing the fast ferry originally planned for Gozo, concerns are arising as to whether the Zammit Tabona family is exerting influence on these calls for tender and other decisions that are being taken in the country.


Among the dealings that are benefitting the owners of Captain Morgan and Fortina, the list includes the private jetty that will forever ruin Balluta Bay and the scandalous process that led to the PA greenlighting this project; a private lido in Sliema; and the proposed construction of a gigantic pier in Kemmuna to provide berthing facilities for the vessels of Captain Morgan.


In the case of the fast ferry, the Government seems to be hell-bent on ignoring the needs of thousands of Gozitans to favour the private interests of the Zammit Tabona family. The latest tender document drops the fast ferry plan and instead requests the provision of a hop-on hop-off service - the kind of ferry service that is offered by Captain Morgan. This would give an exclusive monopoly to Captain Morgan over the maritime transport industry since the tender grants exclusive concession rights to the operator for a 15-year period, whereas the first two tenders only covered a 5-year period. It is estimated that a 15-year concession would amount to a revenue of around €115.5 million for the service operator. However, the hop-on hop-off catamaran service, a service meant for tourists that is being proposed instead of the fast ferry, can never address the mobility challenges faced by Gozitans in the same way as a fast ferry that would have provided a direct and seamless connection between Mġarr and Valletta.


This is not the first time that the Government appeared to bow to the interests of the Zammit Tabona family. A few months ago, the Fortina group was given permission to construct a private jetty in Balluta Bay to operate a hop-on hop-off service for tourists, to the detriment of the public and posing a danger to many bathers.


Another proposed project that will be facilitating the operation of the hop-on hop-off service operated by Captain Morgan is the construction of a 133-metre pier in Kemmuna. This will have a detrimental effect on the Blue Lagoon and its surroundings, and public funds will be used to accommodate the business interests of Captain Morgan. 


A couple of months ago, the Planning Authority also gave the green light to the Fortina Hotel in Sliema to extend its lido facilities over 625sqm through land reclamation. Fortina were also allowed to use public land to develop it for non-touristic purposes following changes in the conditions of the original concession.


The ambitions of the Zammit Tabona family to expand its maritime dominion do not stop here. Captain Morgan was chosen through direct orders to provide three of its vessels to accommodate migrants out at sea. For the provision of this ‘service’, it is estimated that they raked in around €9,000 daily. Last month, Captain Morgan also presented an offer of €45,000 for the leasing of an accommodation vessel to house quarantined migrants out at sea.


As is known in the public domain, the Zammit Tabona family gave donations to the Labour Party in recent times. In light of all this, it is only natural that serious doubts arise about the close ties that the Zammit Tabona family has with the political class, and which are leading to decisions that favour its business interests.


Moviment Graffitti stresses the need that all dealings involving the Zammit Tabona family are thoroughly scrutinised and investigated because people have a right to know the reasons and motivations underlying these decisions. It is totally unacceptable that the people keep being trampled under the weight of the financial and political power of the Zammit Tabona family.


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Il-Gvern qed ipoġġi l-interessi tal-familja Zammit Tabona qabel dawk tal-poplu

Il-Moviment Graffitti jistaqsi jekk id-donazzjonijiet elettorali tal-familja Zammit Tabona hux qed jiffaċilitaw l-interessi kummerċjali tagħhom


Wara li nbidlu t-termini tas-sejħa għall-offerti għal servizz ta’ hop-on hop-off, li se jissostitwixxi l-fast ferry oriġinarjament ippjanata għal Għawdex, qed iqum tħassib dwar jekk il-familja Zammit Tabona hux tinfluwenza dawn is-sejħiet u deċiżjonjiet oħra li qed jittieħdu fil-pajjiż.


Fost il-ftehimiet li qed jgħinu lis-sidien tal-Captain Morgan u l-Fortina nsibu wkoll il-moll privat li se jirvina l-Balluta u l-proċess skandaluż li wassal għall-permess mill-PA; il-lido privat fil-kosta f’Tas-Sliema; u l-proposta għal bini ta’ moll enormi f’Kemmuna biex jilqa’ d-dgħajjes tal-Captain Morgan. 


Fil-każ tal-fast ferry, il-Gvern qed jagħżel li jinjora l-bżonnijiet t’eluf ta’ Għawdxin sabiex jiffavorixxi l-interessi privati tal-familja Zammit Tabona. L-aħħar dokument tas-sejħa għall-offerti talab għal servizz ta’ hop-on hop-off - it-tip ta servizz offrut mill-Captain Morgan ta’ Zammit Tabona - minflok fast ferry. Dan iwitti t-triq għal monopolju fuq is-servizz marittimu mill-Captain Morgan, peress li jagħti drittijiet ta’ konċessjoni esklussiva lill-operatur għal 15-il sena sħaħ, b’differenza għaż-żewġ sejħiet preċedenti li kienu jkopru perjodu ta’ 5 snin. Huwa stmat li f’dawn il-15-il sena l-operatur tas-servizz se jkun qed jagħmel dħul ta’ €115.5 miljun. Madankollu, is-servizz bil-katamaran hop-on hop-off, li huwa servizz turistiku li qed jiġi propost flok il-fast ferry, qatt ma jista’ jindirizza l-isfidi ta’ mobbiltà li jiffaċċjaw l-Għawdxin bl-istess mod li tagħmel fast ferry diretta bejn l-Imġarr u l-Belt Valletta. 

 

Din mhux l-ewwel darba li l-Gvern deher li qed jaqdi l-interessi tal-familja Zammit Tabona. Ftit tax-xhur ilu ngħata permess lill-Fortina biex tibni moll privat fil-Bajja tal-Balluta għal servizz turistiku ta’ hop-on hop-off, għad-detriment tal-pubbliku u b’periklu għall-bosta għawwiema.


Proposta oħra li se tkun qed takkomoda s-servizz hop-on hop-off operat mill-Captain Morgan hija dik tal-bini ta’ moll twil 133 metru f’Kemmuna. Dan se jħalli impatt negattiv fuq il-Blue Lagoon u l-kosta tal-madwar, u għalih ser jintużaw fondi pubbliċi biex jiġu mħarsa l-interessi kummerċjali tal-Captain Morgan. 


Ftit tax-xhur ilu wkoll, l-Awtorità tal-Ippjanar tat permess sabiex il-lukanda tal-Fortina f’Tas-Sliema testendi l-faċilitajiet tal-lido fuq medda ta’ 625 metri kwadri permezz tar-riklamazzjoni tal-art mill-baħar. Il-Fortina tħallew ukoll jagħmlu żvilupp mhux turistiku fuq art pubblika permezz ta’ tibdiliet fil-kundizzjonijiet tal-konċessjoni originali. 

 

L-ambizzjonijiet ta’ tkabbir tad-dominju marittimu tal-familja Zammit Tabona ma jiqfux hawn. Il-Captain Morgan kien intagħżel biex joffri tliet bastimenti tiegħu bħala akkomodazzjoni fuq il-baħar għall-immigranti. Għal dan is-“servizz” huwa stmat li Zammit Tabona daħħlu madwar €3,000 kuljum minn fuq kull bastiment. Ftit ilu, tefgħu offerta oħra ta’ €45,000 biex jerġgħu joffru servizz ta’ akkomodazzjoni fuq il-baħar għall-immigranti li se jinżammu fi kwarantina. 


Il-familja Zammit Tabona, kif huwa pubblikament magħruf, kienet tat donazzjonijiet lill-Partit Laburista fil-passat riċenti. Fid-dawl ta’ dan kollu, huwa naturali li jqumu suspetti qawwija li r-rabtiet mill-qrib li għandha l-familja Zammit Tabona mal-klassi politika qed iwasslu għal deċiżjonijiet li jiffavorixxu l-interessi kummerċjali tagħha.


Il-Moviment Graffitti jisħaq fuq il-bżonn li l-kwistjonijiet kollha li b’xi mod hija involuta fihom il-familja Zammit Tabona jiġu investigati u skrutinizzati bir-reqqa, sabiex il-pubbliku Jkun jaf għalfejn qed jittieħdu dawn id-deċiżjonijiet. Huwa kompletament inaċċettabbli li l-poplu jibqa’ jintrifes taħt is-saħħa finanzjarja u politika tal-familja Zammit Tabona.