Controversial Remarks by Minister’s Advisor Spark Debate on Environmental Protection

The recent statements made by Marija Sara Vella Gafà, an advisor to Minister Miriam Dalli, have sparked a heated debate on environmental protection policies in Malta. Vella Gafà, who also serves as the Mayor of Gudja and a candidate in the upcoming MEP elections, commented on the presence of rangers in the countryside.

As per her contract, Vella Gafà is tasked with advising Minister Dalli on environmental matters and is a person of trust in such affairs. Her salary, including various allowances, amounts to around €54,000 annually. Vella Gafà’s job involves providing counsel on any environmental duties assigned by the minister.

In a recent social media post, Vella Gafà criticized the number of rangers in the Malta Ranger Unit, an NGO focusing on environmental protection. She suggested that the presence of these rangers was excessive and called for a better balance between environmental conservation and traditional Maltese activities.

The controversial remarks made by Vella Gafà were perceived by some as an attempt to secure the hunters’ votes, especially given the timing close to the upcoming elections. Her statements raised questions about the rights of individuals to access private property under the guise of environmental protection.

Following Vella Gafà’s comments, the Malta Ranger Unit refuted her allegations, terming them as misinformation based on rumors. The organization emphasized the importance of the rangers’ work in safeguarding Malta’s natural habitats and wildlife.

Vella Gafà has described herself as an admirer of Minister Miriam Dalli and credits Dalli as her mentor in the Labour Party‘s initiative to nurture new political talent (LEAD program). Her family background has strong ties to the Labour Party, with her father, Paul, being a political appointee in Minister Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi’s secretariat.

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