What is happening in Valletta is really regretful. Not only has Parliament usurped all the parking spaces in the central most important part of Valletta and parking has also vanished from most streets that service the commercial sector, but on top, Valletta has become one extensive construction site.
In spite of all the rules and regulations that prohibit construction works in peak tourism months, dust and construction equipment is all over the place and it seems that Ministers Austin Gatt and George Pullicino are immune to the laws of the land. It appears that Hon Mario Demarco is powerless the Valletta major is simply disregarded. Tourists are being warned by cruise liners and tour operators not to go to Valletta as Valletta has become a danger zone for pedestrians.
GRTU has already asked Hon Dr Jason Azzopardi, as the person responsible for small business owners, and Hon Dr Chris Said, as the person responsible for commercial affairs, to provide an early means of redress.
GRTU is requesting, for a start, the immediate suspension of the CVA. Why should people who drive all the way to Valletta to be serviced by the shop and all other service providers operating in the city, and who find it almost impossible to park, should pay the hefty CVA charges and all the penalties imposed by wardens.
"GRTU has also informed Government that shop owners in Valletta are not willing to pay their trading licences till the whole paving and construction works in Valletta are completed. The loss of business is tremendous, while shops` liabilities continue to grow as sales fall and fall. Why should traders pay their trading licence when they cannot trade" asked Vince Farrugia, GRTU Director General.
GRTU is requesting the MFIN to seriously consider a package of compensation for Valletta shop and business owners. "It is absolutely not fair to suffer and be forced to dismiss their workers when workers are not to blame for these, absolutely unplanned, state of affairs. Shop owners in Valletta and GRTU as their representative are completely disregarded and all this has really become one terribly shameful event?"
"We support the paving project, we support the embellishment programmes but there is a serious and reasonable way of doing things. I beg Government to act rationally". Concluded Vince Farrugia.