The Malta Independent 2 June 2023, Friday
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Government spends €6 million to ‘save’ six band clubs from eviction

Andrew Izzo Clarke Friday, 24 March 2023, 12:53 Last update: about 3 months ago

The government has purchased six band clubs facing the threat of eviction for the total cost of 6 million, with Culture Minister Owen Bonnici stating that the action will safeguard musical societies for the future.

The news was announced by Bonnici after the government’s proposal in 2019, which he had proposed as then-Justice Minister, to intervene on behalf of band clubs who were facing eviction by property owners who wanted their properties back.


This came after the court declared the country’s old rent laws – on the basis of which the band clubs were being rented out – to be unconstitutional, setting a precedent which would have seen the musical societies out on the streets if taken to court.

Bonnici said that the government has “has reached an acquisition agreement with the club premises owners” of six band clubs.

These band clubs are: Stella Maris Band Club - Sliema, Anici Banda & Social Club – Ħal Qormi, Socjeta Fil. GM Fra Antoine De Paule Banda Kristu Re – Paola, Circolo San Giuseppe Sagra Familja - Kalkara, La Stella Levantina - Ħ'Attard, and Marija Regina Band Club - Marsa .

“With regards to the Stella Maris Band Club, the process of acquisition has been concluded, while with regards to the other properties a promise of sale has either been signed or is in the process of being signed with the respective owners following the reaching of a formalized agreement as to the conditions of the sale,” Bonnici explained.  

“The acquisitions were made through various means, including through the commitment to purchasing premises that are presently being used by the band clubs so that a long-term assurance of tenancy can be provided,” Bonnici said. 

“The €6 million spent was not an indication that these six band clubs were all worth the same amount, but varied in price,” Bonnici added.

Bonnici was clear that “while we are still in the process of finalizing several deals, so as not to prejudice the proceedings, we will publish the individual figures as they relate to specific band clubs with the termination of the entire process.”

“While we are determined to help and assist these band clubs,” Bonnici said, “we must also protect the government’s interest to ensure a just and fair income results from the investment,” he said.

Bonnici said that the government “wanted this project to be an exercise in fairness, treating band clubs, their owners, and the taxpayer in a fair manner.”

Bonnici said that “the government is committed to promoting a social element within the band clubs to strengthen community-led initiatives aimed at inclusion, learning, and preserving traditional skills related to the village feast.”

Arts Council Malta Executive Chairman Albert Marshall said that the “Arts Council Malta has an intrinsic role in safeguarding elements of our country’s artistic and cultural heritage, and through these acquisitions as a Council we are addressing one of Strategy 2025’s goals, which is to invest in and foster diverse artistic and cultural expression.”

“Whilst also investing in various art forms through our strategy and funding schemes which cater for diverse areas of the Cultural and Creative Sector, we are also protecting our traditions, which form part of the solid platform on which the sector is built upon” said Marshall.

The Band Club Management Board, under the direction of James Pearsall, was founded within Arts Council Malta to provide consistency and prompt attention to this effort, and it is currently in charge of administering the acquisition-related matters.

Further discussions are being held with other band clubs that are facing a similar eviction threat.

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