Anthea Brincat, one of the residents of a Pieta apartment which collapsed last June due to nearby construction works, delivered an impassioned speech at a protest against overdevelopment today.
“My father and brother were inside, they heard noises and they didn’t know whether their house was going to collapse around them and our neighbours,” Brincat told the protest, which was organised by Moviment Graffitti.
“The people [who used to live there] have been prevented from excelling in their careers and studies because dealing with the situation takes up a lot of energy and time. Those who suffered from physical and mental health problems saw their conditions deteriorate further and had to seek help.”
Protest in Valletta against overdevelopment
Posted by Lovin Malta on Saturday, September 7, 2019
“Some of the residents had moved into that apartment when they got married and are now pensioners, while some of them, like myself, had been living there since childhood. We made memories there and now whenever we pass in front of what used to be our home, we can only see an abandoned building.”
“Our lovely memories have collapsed along with the building because whenever we pass by it, the moment the building collapsed flashes before our eyes. The right we have to live in our home was taken from us, and the contractor, architect and developer [of the construction site] have more power on what will happen inside our own home.”
Brincat warned she had seen strangers entering and leaving the house but that her request to have them identified was denied, with the end result being that her family’s possessions got stolen.
“Our fundamental rights were broken and we were left without a response for six days until the Housing Authority stepped in.”
She urged people who fear their houses are at risk due to construction works to contact a lawyer and architect, as well as the Planning Authority and Building Regulation Office, from now so that they will have proof that they tried to take action.
She also questioned whether a new law, which requires professional site technical officers to oversee day to day construction works is functioning, arguing that only three people are listed as site technical offices on the BRO’s website.
“This is a national crisis that is impacting many people and the authorities must consider it as such,” she said. “This is 2019 but it’s like we’re in a third world country in terms of how action is taken. When you inform the authorities about the laws they’ve broken, they shout at you and try to silence and intimidate you instead of help you.”
“I urge the people in power to make decisions from a humanitarian aspect, from a place of kindness and conscience. Treat the general public with respect and dignity and not as mere numbers.”
Brincat also paid tribute to the late Maggie Smith, who died a few months after her Mellieħa apartment collapsed.
“She left the world full of trouble and not in the comfort of her home.”