Fireworks police escorts will be paid through IIP citizenship sale funds

Government allocates €100,000 from IIP funding towards security transportation for fireworks

The government will be forking out police escort fees for fireworks factories by using funds from IIP citizenship sales.

Sources said the government will be allocating €100,000 for expenses related to the police escort.

In order for festa enthusiasts to be able to set off fireworks during their annual celebrations, they must pay for a police escort to transport the explosives from their factory to the place where they would be set off.

Band clubs are also obliged to pay for an insurance policy and a fire engine during the fireworks spectacle.

Enthusiasts who spoke to MaltaToday said that over two days of celebrations, fire engine costs total around €350, while a site permit and police escort cost over €200.

The enthusiasts said a 15-minute fireworks display could add up to more than €300.

With police officers now being paid for their over-time duties, National Security Minister announced government’s intentions of helping band clubs in their expenses on Tuesday.

Officers transporting fireworks will now be hired for a minimum of three hours and will be receiving additional pay when working on Sundays and public holidays.

Sources confirmed the funds will be taken from the new Komunità Malta scheme and will be retained after the pandemic passes. All expenses, not just the increase in cost, will be covered by the scheme.

Changes in citizenship sale came following infringement action by the European Commission on Malta’s citizenship-by-investment scheme.

Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship Alex Muscat had insisted the country was not ready to give up its right of deciding who should be granted Maltese citizenship, which was the source of a lucrative contribution to the national fund for social development. 

On Tuesday afternoon, the National Security Minister announced some details on the scheme, outlining government’s commitment in shouldering some of the expenses borne by the festa enthusiasts.

Nationalist MP Edwin Vassallo also said in a Facebook post that he was the first to shed light on the issue, with a parliamentary question to Camilleri back in October verifying the extra costs. “Well-done minister for carrying out your duties, but had you been observant from day one, you wouldn’t have found yourself in this situation,” Vassallo said.

He also said a number of festa enthusiasts have come to him with concerns over the issue.