The Malta Independent 30 March 2023, Thursday
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Government seeking ‘alternative accommodation’ for Fort Bingemma squatters before evicting

Marc Galdes Monday, 6 February 2023, 17:45 Last update: about 3 months ago

The government has said that efforts are being made to find the squatters who have been illegally occupying Fort Bingemma for decades “alternative accommodation,” before evicting them.

This national heritage site has been occupied by the Buttigieg family since the 1980s, and now also features an illegally built swimming pool.

This was said by Lands Minister Silvio Schembri, in response to a parliamentary question made by PN MP Rebekah Borg asking for an update on the Bingemma squatters.


Schembri said that in light of the fact that the property is still occupied by an elderly woman, one of the original tenants, together with her son, the government is looking for alternative accommodation before evicting them.

Last month, Schembri said that the squatters will “eventually” be evicted, which was the same update he gave three months prior.

An internal audit that was conducted in 2021 by the Lands Authority confirmed that the occupiers in the fortification had no legal right over the land.

It was initially leased to Gaetano Buttigieg for cow-rearing on the eve of the general election in 1981, however, the lease expired in 1997. The government continued to accept rent from the family until 2009.

The audit revealed that in 2009 an order was given to stop collecting rent and evict the Buttigieg family.

Although the Lands Authority has confirmed that the Buttigieg family are living there illegally, there is spray paint saying "Private property" around the complex.

Fort Bingemma is a 19th-century site which is part of a series of fortifications built by the British that can be found along the Victoria Lines, stretching from Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq on the east coast to Fomm ir-Riħ on the west coast.

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