“This morning, we had numerous complaints come in from residents because they thought this shameful paintwork and vandal act was the work of the Council,” Balzan mayor Ian Spiteri took to Facebook earlier this week to say. In a photo he shared, the pavement in front of a house’s door bore the red, spray painted words: “DO NOT STOP HERE PLEASE. THANK YOU.”
“I’d like to clarify that this was the act of a particular resident who took the law in his own hands and I was therefore left with no choice but to inform the police,” Spiteri continued. “Because of this, myself and the Vice Mayor received some strong words from that same resident.”
“The Council will not tolerate similar behaviour from anyone.”
“We’re doing everyting we can to make the town nicer and keep it clean, but at least help us from your end,” Spiteri finished, before sarcastically thanking the resident in question for showing “this sort of respect” towards the Council and his fellow Balzan residents.
Just 24 hours before this post, the Balzan Local Council had shared photos of smaller spray painted notices that had appeared in front of shops all over the town… which had probably prompted residents thinking this latest, slightly more passive aggressive red message was also their doing.
The comments quickly came pouring in. Most were quick to echo Spiteri’s condemnations… while others raised other concerns.
“I’ve seen notices and signs asking people not to queue in front of that house,” one comment started. “The owner is very worried and has gone to an extreme. The action was wrong, but I think we need to look at the cause to see if we can help.”
“Let’s not forget the death that happened a few days ago…” another poignantly added. Earlier this week, a 48-year-old Żabbar man died in his own residence after having to be sedated by a doctor and stunned by a police stun gun. The man’s family members have since spoken out, saying he was having serious issues lately and was becoming “obsessed” with the coronavirus. Apparently, the incident that led to his tragic death began when he started to act erratically after seeing a long queue of people forming outside a nearby shop that recently reopened.
However, the Balzan mayor seems to have dismissed this possibility, saying he had reached out to the resident and even “tried to help”.
“I asked the bakery to put up signs showing where clients are to queue,” Spiteri replied to one of the comments. “This resident wanted bollards opposite his house which would have meant that pedestrians need to walk in the road rather than on the pavement, which is crazy. He could’ve called the police station if he wanted. He only wanted bollards, and when I told him it isn’t possible and he didn’t get his way, this all kicked off. I even have a copy of the letter he sent the Council and the private messages he sent.”
“Everyone is scared of COVID, but that doesn’t justify every act,” Spiteri finished.