Sunday, August 14, 2005

Ta' Cenc

Yesterday, I felt ashamed to be Maltese. What was supposed to be an educational tour, organised by Eko-Logika, of Ta’ Cenc, Gozo, and its surroundings turned out to be an example of how things are run here in Malta. If you have money you have power, if you have power you have the state on your side.

At around 17:00, together with my wife, I arrived at Ta Cenc, with the intent of spending a few hours there, painting in the open air. To my dismay, I found a group of men closing a gate (which apparently was not there the day before) and blocking the entrance to the Ta’ Cenc area including the Neolithic temple, the three dolmen and the cart ruts. The men, people working for Mr. Victor Borg, owner of the Ta Cenc Hotel, did not let us through and a few minutes later were joined by the police waiting for the rest of the group to arrive.

We left to Sannat to join the others where all had to meet. After walking from the Sannat main square to Ta’ Cenc with the whole group, some 200 people (Maltese, Gozitans and tourists), we were again blocked by the owner of the Ta Cenc Hotel and the police. Now, I am not that stupid not to understand what the meaning of private property is, but I also know the meaning of right of passage. If it is true that Mr. Victor Borg owns the land, it is also true that the passage that was blocked yesterday has been publicly used for probably centuries to say the least. If it was illegal to go to visit the historical remains, the fauna and flora of the area, why would the government put up signs in the vicinity, to indicate the area? Why would the MTA advertise the same road as a Walking Route for Gozo? And most of all, why would the police back up such a violation of my basic right to walk freely?

After more than an hour all of us staying in front of the gate, with different people describing what we ought have seen, a few of us decided it was time to walk in and start our tour. In a few seconds, a dozen of extra policemen came out from nowhere, staff from the Ta’ Cenc Hotel came out, threatening us, pushing us and pulling us with Victor Borg and his son ordering their people and the police to throw us behind the gate.

When all was over, and we were enjoying paintings and photographs by other artists of the previous walk at Xaghra l-Hamra, a troglodyte, owner of a nearby restaurant came threatening us, claiming that the road was his and did not want us there.

Now, since MEPA is always so keen to pull down illegal structures, I hope that soon enough we hear of some Enforcement Notice to pull down the gate put up by Victor Borg.


Victor Galea said...

You are a good example of an active citezen. Thank you for your participation in the Ta' Cenc event on Saturday 13th August. Your reflections both before and after the event are excellent. I wish all people in Gozo and Malta could read them and come up with their conclusion. The incident created by the DEVELOPER is a typical example of what a MONEY TALK is leading to! The political system of bi-party politics in Malta is purely encouraging Money People to paternalistically behave like the SAVIOURS of Gozo! Everybody....please wake up. Well done Rupert!

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