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Both leaders pledge to solve Armier problem

The boathouses on public land in Armier. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

The boathouses on public land in Armier. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

The leaders of the two main political parties yesterday said they were committed to finding a solution to the boathouses’ occupation of public land in Armier.

The injustice is there – how can you talk about a just solution when the injustice is there?

Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said a Nationalist government would strive to find a solution, which had not been found during the past legislature.

When asked specifically about the subject during a press conference yesterday morning, Dr Gonzi said the PN would not go back on its word and commitment given to the boathouse owners, even in writing, in 2003 and again in 2008. He did not specify what that commitment was.

He said the Government had tried to find a solution through the Malta Environment and Planning Authority but none had been found. He pledged that the Government would continue trying to find a solution.

Alternattiva Demokratika is, so far, the only political party saying that the Armier boathouses should go. As a result of his position, chairman Michael Briguglio has received a written threat at his former address which is being investigated by the police.

Later yesterday, Labour Leader Joseph Muscat was also quizzed about the boathouses during a meeting he had with environmental organisations who pushed him to clearly explain what decisions he would take over the Armier issue.

“We believe there could be a fair solution for all,” he replied.

He referred to Dr Gonzi’s statement about honouring commitments. “I hope I’m misquoting him – there might be an agreement we don’t know about so we need to see what the Prime Minister was referring to and what commitments there are,” he said.

Angelo Camilleri, from Friends of the Earth, and Alex Vella, from Ramblers Association insisted that the Armier case was an injustice.

“We want to know how you will tackle the problem when you are in government. The injustice is there – how can you talk about a just solution when the injustice is there?” Mr Vella said.

“How can it be fair for me who never took anything?” he told Dr Muscat.

The NGOs also expressed solidarity with Dr Briguglio over the threat he had received.

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