To the Hon Prime Minister, Dr Joseph Muscat
To the Hon Minister of Justice, Culture and Local Government, Dr Owen Bonnici
To the Hon Minister of the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses, Dr Chris Cardona
9 February, 2015
Dear Prime Minister and Ministers,
Over the weekend the media has reported statements by government, that contrary to what was said last week, it is still considering relocating the Monti stalls to Ordinance Street and will include the area that spills over from Republic Street to the stretch that runs down from Castille between the Old Theatre ruins and the new Parliament Building.
While the decision to relocate has already been taken by government, and although we find the location in Ordinance Street to be inappropriate for a street market, may I, on behalf of Din l-Art Ħelwa and its members, appeal to you most sincerely to avoid the spill over into what in essence, is, the ‘most noble brow’ of our capital city, as this will endanger the experience of grandeur and admiration when you enter Valletta as you savor the sightlines between the restored theatre ruins and the iconic Parliament building with Castille as a backdrop. The City Gate area has always been the victim of political debate and now risks remaining so if the decision is politicized. We believe your government has the maturity to stand above the political pressures that have been brought to it and urge you to heed the advice of so many experts, many appointed by government, the Board of V18, the Valletta and Floriana Local Councils and so many other leading exponents in the cultural field who have all spoken against the choice of location.
While we are pleased to hear the design of the stalls is being revisited, we maintain placing any market in this area will be an undesirable and irreversible insertion within this sacred triangle of our historic and architectural legacy for many years and especially if the stalls are to remain permanently in use even after hawkers’ hours.
We would strongly appeal to you to keep this particular area safe from the indignity that any market will bring to it. It is a matter of pride for the whole nation that is at risk which far outweighs the benefit to the few.
Din l-Art Ħelwa