Ministerial exemptions from the VOA is a bad idea – NGOs

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Ministerial exemptions from the VOA is a bad idea - NGOsNGOs, Birdlife Malta, Friends of the Earth Malta, Malta Organic Agriculture Movement, Nature Trust Malta, Ramblers Association of Malta and Zminijietna have iisued a joint statement saying that parliament has now passed the Voluntary Organisation Act in 2007, making it mandatory for ALL NGOs to register under this Act in order to be able to benefit from State funding and donations.

The NGOs said that some Church organisations have not registered under this act, for reasons best known to themselves. The NGOs went on to say that they understand the Minister intends to give a blanket exemption to these non-compliant organisations in order to enable them to benefit from state funding via the Malta Community Chest Fund (now declared a state organisation).

The NGOs statement said that they believe that this situation, whereby legislation is passed through parliament only for the Minister concerned to give blanket exemptions for unknown reasons, besides creating a possibly-dangerous precedent, can only perpetuate the notion that laws are only there for certain sections of the population, and that the government will bend over backwards, including disregarding its own laws, in order to benefit other privileged sections that believe themselves to be above the law.

The NGOs concluded by saying the express their solidarity with Voluntary Organisations Commissioner Professor Kenneth Wain, who as Commissioner has to make sure that everyone upholds the law, and now, in the course of his duties, finds his efforts thwarted by the same government that appointed him.

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