Letters: 23 August 2015

Foundation’s plan for Co-Cathedral museum

When the St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation embarked on the new museum project it had at the forefront the preservation of the Co-Cathedral and its priceless art collections as the focus of the extension and refurbishment of its splendid museum.

The cemetery in the courtyard, said to hold the remains of knights who fell in the Great Siege, transferred here from Birgu, was completely destroyed by enemy action during the Second World War.

Presently there is an ugly concrete platform constructed post war in the 1960’s with a commemorative monument. The Foundation’s plan specially focuses on refurbishing this area. The concrete platform will be redefined with a specifically designed elegant marble podium that will be engraved with the names of those knights transferred here.

The modern arches built in the 1960’s will serve as an entrance and exit to the museum, directly in front of the commemorative monument, which will be given a lot of attention as the visitor’s tour will start exactly from this point with the audio guide’s explanation highlighting its history.

It will not be covered, built on and certainly no disturbance of graves or any desecration will take place.

The view of the courtyard from street level on Merchants Street will be enhanced to evoke interest and allow better circulation around the monument. Passers-by will be able to better enjoy the view of the interior space.

The chamber exhibiting the largest seventeenth-century tapestry set, based on the creations of the world-renowned artist Peter Paul Rubens, will be on the first floor above the arches. The Foundation is obliged to correctly display this dazzling set of tapestries in the right conservation environment, where they can be enjoyed and studied after the painstakingly delicate and costly restoration, which is now almost complete.

The Foundation is a non-profit making organisation which is continuously investing all its proceeds towards the restoration, conservation and the much needed new museum to provide the space and means to give visitors an educational and comfortable visit that is now expected by experienced travellers. This project of national importance will ensure that all Maltese citizens will be made proud of this unique heritage site.

Dr Philip Farrugia Randon

President, St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation

Santa Marija chapel at Tarxien

Thanks to the present and previous administrations, the ancient chapel of Santa Marija at Tarxien, known as Tar-Rokna, recently had its exterior renovated. Well done!

To give Caesar his due, the work was initiated on the insistence of Jason Azzopardi and carried out by the present government by the Department of Restoration.

Talking to one of the workers I was informed that the department will not touch the chapel’s interior as they will neither restore the parvis nor the chancel. In fact only the piece of art on the main altar attributed to Rokku Buhagiar (1771) has been restored.

This is rather sad as the chapel had been closed for the last couple of months. This year not even the titular feast of the Assumption of Our Lady was celebrated.

I appeal to the civil and ecclesiastical authorities to see that the work already started will continue so that the chapel will be reopened and liturgical services continue to be held as in the past.

One last word – this chapel is the oldest church in Tarxien. It is thought it was built around 1415 when Fra Anton Platamone was Bishop of Malta.

Alfred Massa, Tarxien

Dedication to Baku success

I would like to point out to Mr Pippo Psaila (Malta’s only winner at Baku: the travel agent, MaltaToday, 9 August) that the Baku European games were of the highest level as far as my sport is concerned. Only players who managed to qualify to take part made it there and Badminton Europe insisted with the Malta Olympic Committee for our participation, as was our right.

Moreover, if we come to compare events, one cannot compare the GSSE to Baku. The latter was of a higher standard and organisation. In this regard, I wouldn’t contest if my sport were being so poorly taken care of in Malta, to be inserted in the GSSE games. If that were the case we would have been far up on the winning side. 

Nevertheless, Baku provided my sport an opportunity to participate in a multi-sport event since we never get to be invited in any other sports events. Seeing that we qualified for the event, we had a right to be there.

Finally, may I point out the dedication our amateur sportspeople have to training every day in a bid to pass on sports values to our younger generations. And how much longer will it take to give these sports the importance they deserve? The badminton players I met at Baku were all full-time sportsmen: can we compare their resources and standards with ours?

Fiorella Marie Sadowski, Gudja

Changes needed in the political structures

I read with interest Saviour Balzan’s opinion (9 August, 2015) and I surely agree with recommended changes. I did come across similar proposals in the past. However, addressing our political processes has to be preceded with changes in the political structures, otherwise our malaise will continue to fester.

First and foremost the institutions pertaining to law and order have to be independent from the government. The police force must not need a ‘request’ to start investigating any suspicious behaviour. The AG should not represent both the state and the government. Members of the courts must not be appointed by the government, neither the police commissioner for that matter.

Another flaw we have in our political scenario is MPs having the faculty to carry on with their private practice. To add insult to injury, the present government appointed ‘backbenchers’ to various government/regulatory authorities with exorbitant remuneration.

The latest code of ethics for the cabinet, allowing its members to conduct private practice if deemed in the ‘national interest,’ would be farcical if not tragic. And some people are suggesting members of the police force should not be denied any opportunity to have a part-time job.

These are dangerous notions. Member of the police force, AG office, and the courts should not even be allowed to be actively involved with NGOs, let alone money-earning jobs! We also have the fallacy of appointing persons running important regulatory bodies (e.g. MEPA, MRA, etc.) without security of tenure.

The list could go on, but these would be a great start. Finally, in the quintessential debate of whether a state should be structured on either a Presidential type of government (like USA, Brazil) vs our Parliamentary one, I would surely vote in favour of the former. This way the parliament would not be a rubberstamp of the whims of the government. 

George Caruana, Mosta

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