The Malta Independent 15 August 2022, Monday

Updated (2): Valletta residents protest outside Parliament against extension of music curfew to 1am

Semira Abbas Shalan Monday, 4 July 2022, 16:50 Last update: about 2 months ago

A group of Valletta residents protested in front if parliament against a legal notice allowing for establishments play music till 1am in several streets in Valletta, including some residential areas.

Some of the streets included in the legal notice are Merchants Street, Old Bakery Street, Old Theatre Street, Republic Street, South Street, St. Lucia Street, and Strait Street, Archbishop Street and St Ursola Street.

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The group, named ‘Residenti Beltin’ and organized by Billy McBee, gathered in front of parliament with signs appealing for the revocation of the legal notice – which saw the curfew time extended from 11pm to 1am.

Some of the signs called for ‘bringing back dignity, respect and law enforcement in Valletta.’ Some said that residents do not want Valletta to turn into another Paceville. One claimed that stakeholders were the only ones consulted regarding the legal notice, leaving out residents.

McBee told The Malta Independent that the music at such a late hour in these establishments have disturbed resident’s peace, even saying that students have found it hard to study.

Asked if the group plans on taking matters to court, McBee said that they are making contact with several business owners for a plan to do so, however this has not been formally fully planned out.

The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Associations had also expressed that it is disappointed that no consultation by the government with the relevant stakeholders before this important legal notice was enacted. The updated law risks putting Valletta on par with the three entertainment hotspots of Paceville, Buġibba and Qawra.

The protestors waited outside of Parliament for ministers to emerge from Monday’s plenary session.

 

Issue debated in Parliament

Meanwhile, the issue was being debated inside the House. PN MP Darren Carabott said Valletta should not become a night club destination.

“Valletta is a Unesco World Heritage site and the government is failing to uphold its status around the world.”

Carabott stressed that the people and businesses were not consulted and it was only after the “minister ordered the legal notice that things were set in motion.”

The Opposition is therefore calling for a vote on Wednesday in order to repeal the legal notice which has brought much anxiety to the residents due to disruption of their sleep patterns.

“This is not a blue or red situation, it is a situation of either being with the people who elected us or your greedy selves. We cannot kill the commercial community. If you vote against the abolishment of this legal notice, you will be abandoning the people who elected you.”

Valletta is unique and should not become the next noisy destination.

Culture minister Owen Bonnici stated that before the Labour Party was elected to government, “the capital city was closed off to the Maltese, it was a Labour government which gave Valletta back to the people.”

Bonnici went on to explain that legal notice, although it allows establishments to keep playing music till 1 a.m, the level of music has to remain moderate. “We are not promoting loud music as the Opposition is stating.”

“The Opposition is also looking to turn this issue into a political football and is constantly trying to create controversy where there isn’t in order to try and score points with the residents.”

A PN motion to prohibit the playing of music till 1am was eventually rejected in a vote.

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