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Few Hundreds Turn Up To Protest Miriam Pace’s Death As House Collapse Survivors Give Moving Speeches

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Miriam Pace’s death in a construction-related accident stunned the nation but only a few hundreds felt the need to make their voices heard in a protest against “the dictatorship of developers” this morning.

The protest, organised by Moviment Graffitti and endorsed by 25 NGOs and groups, took place in Triq Joseph Abela Scolaro, Ħamrun, outside Miriam Pace’s former home which collapsed on Monday.

Those who did attend got to listen to moving speeches by three people whose own houses had also collapsed due to nearby construction works over the years.

Caroline Micallef, who lost her home in Pietà last year, recounted how she and her family had managed to escape the house a few minutes before it collapsed and described their survival as a “miracle”.

Caroline Micallef (Photo: Francesca Vella)

Caroline Micallef (Photo: Francesca Vella)

“There wasn’t even an inquiry into why our home collapsed, apparently because no one hurt or died. There’s a huge question mark over here and I think everyone knows why no inquiry was held. Shame on you. I urge developers and contractors to stop bullying ordinary people because we’ll stop you in your tracks and we’ll never cave in to you and your fat pockets.”

“The authorities need to come up with a proper law. Not a stone should be built on the construction site near my home until my home is rebuilt from scratch. It’s such a shame that we don’t have laws which protect people who pass through such traumas. The law protects developers and contractors, not ordinary people. Someone had to die but let’s see what happens now, whether our calls will once again fall on deaf ears.”

Paul Vella (Photo: Francesca Vella)

Paul Vella (Photo: Francesca Vella)

Paul Vella, whose mother died in a construction-related accident 20 years ago, lambasted the lack of professionally shown by the architects and site technical officers who monitor construction works.

“How can architects be responsible for monitoring millions of site? Now they’re pushing their responsibility onto STOs but this week I had an argument with an STO who is working near my brother’s home because he wanted to demolish a wall. I told him not to demolish a single stone and called up the architect, who told me that the STO didn’t know what he was talking about.”

He also decried how justice moves at a snail’s pace at the Maltese courts, noting that he is still fighting his case 20 years down the line.

“I had a case at 9am, because all cases are somehow scheduled for 9am, but I was left waiting till 11:30. When we finally entered the courtroom, the magistrate went out for a coffee because her father was in Valletta and when she returned, she said she had a migraine and had to go home.”

“We’ve been waiting for 20 years and we should finally receive a final sentence by the end of the month. They have no shame.”

(Photo: Francesca Vella)

(Photo: Francesca Vella)

Anthea Brincat, who lost her home in Gwardamangia last year, delivered a tearful speech in which she recounted how her father’s legs had to be amputated because his blood sugar levels had risen as a result of stress brought about by the collapse of their home.

“No form of compensation, not even a villa, will bring us back what we had,” she warned the authorities and the people behind the accident. “Don’t think your conscience will ever be cleaned, you have bloods on your hands. The question is, who will be next before you do something?”

She also hit out at Malta Developers Association president Sandro Chetcuti, noting that the contractor who was responsible for the collapse of her home has been included in the MDA’s a recently-launched registry for contractors.

“Why is he in this registry when the registry should only include contractors who follow the law and code of ethics? It’s because he’s your friend, right, Sandro?”

“Next time this happens, stay where you are and don’t bring your luxury car to the site just to make a show and understand how you have failed the country.”

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Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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