The chairperson of the Valletta 2018 Foundation has come out strongly against plans by activists to set up a permanent memorial for assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in front of the law courts.
“I will oppose these plans in my capacity as Valletta 2018 chairman, as well as on a personal basis,” Jason Micallef said. “As a sovereign nation, we should never accept the debasement of historic monuments like the Great Siege Monument, a masterpiece of Antonio Sciortino which commemorates one of Malta’s greatest ever victories.”
Micallef also urged Malta’s leading heritage NGO Din l-Art Helwa, which had restored the Great Siege Monument back in 2010, to speak out against how the statue has been turned into a makeshift memorial to Caruana Galizia.
Earlier, activists from the Civil Society Network announced plans to crowdfund a new memorial for Caruana Galizia in front of the law courts, after some Valletta local councillors complained that the current makeshift shrine is illegal.
“We are in the process of formally applying for a memorial in this square,” the CSN confirmed. “The memorial will be a reminder and acknowledgement of Daphne Caruana Galizia to the present and future generations. A reminder of her work. And also a reminder that we are still awaiting justice. The memorial will be crowdfunded to remain truly of the people and for the people.”
The application is intend to counter a motion by PL Valletta councillor Ray Azzopardi, which calls on the local council to remove the memorial at the Great Siege Monument on the grounds that it breaches the law against the debasement of public monuments – a crime punishable by maximum 18 months imprisonment or a €3,500 fine.
“This monument is a national monument that honours the people who had fought in the Great Siege and not a personal grave,” Azzopardi said. “I urge the local council to put the rule of law into practice if it truly believes in it.”
The memorial was at the centre of controversy last week when footage emerged of a woman tearing down the shrine.