Fabian Demicoli

GRTU wins its complaint on behalf of the Freedom Square Business Community

 GRTU, following complaints received from its members, has written to the Ministry of Finance and the Parliamentary Secretary for Public Dialogue, on the basking that is taking place in Freedom Square. Below is the letter that was sent.

After many long discussions between the Government and GRTU, with the help of the former Parliamentary Secretary Hon. Edwin Vassallo, the Baskers` Law was drafted and legislated. The new law makes it abundantly clear that no basking may be done in Freedom Square and no sale of goods, services or other sales of any other nature can take place. GRTU has insisted all along that sales from temporary stands under whatever title, cause grossly unfair competition to shops in the arc who pay rents, licenses and employ people on a regular basis and await particular occasions to cover costs of days when business is poor.

GRTU has also argued that activities like time share and pressure selling as being conducted by Go and Vodafone, should not be allowed in the whole of the Valletta commercial centre. The uncontrolled use of Freedom Square for special vending opportunities has had a grossly damaging effect on shops in the shopping complex, so much so that many are now vacant and no one seeks to rent.  

In November 08, Vodafone were given an encroachment to open a vending stand in Freedom Square by the Valletta Local Council. One fails to understand under what authority was this license given. Shop owners pass through much bureaucratic delays and costs to obtain licences, yet now it seems that some find all sorts of excuses to obtain licenses which should not be available to anyone. The reason given, that Go and Vodafone were sponsors to occupy of an Arts Event that ended in January 2009, is very puerile.

Valletta Local Council has no right to dispense trading licenses and encroachments in complete disregard of laws and economic impact affecting normal business operations in Valletta.

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