Mosta council accuses government of 'illegally' blocking road for press conference

Parliamentary Secretary Deo Debattista denied that it was the case that a Mosta road had been blocked illegally for the sake of a press conference

The government held a press conference on Triq Dawret il-Wied in Mosta
The government held a press conference on Triq Dawret il-Wied in Mosta

The Mosta local council has accused the government of "illegally" blocking a road in order to hold a press conference. 

In a statement, the Mosta local council said that it had not been informed before Triq Dawret would be closed, meaning its closure was illegal.

Represented by Parliamentary Secretary for Public Cleansing Deo Debattista and Parliamentary Secretary for Local Councils Silvio Parnis, the government held a press conference on Triq Dawret il-Wied in Mosta on Wednesday morning to announce new Clean Malta mechanical sweepers.

Mosta Mayor Keith Cassar said in a statement that he had been invited to this press conference only to the find that the road had been blocked by two government vehicles.

"The road was blocked illegally because the local council didn't issue any permit for this to happen. It was blocked by two governmental vehicles, and while the conference should have been addressed by the government, the area was invaded by Labour local council candidates. The Mosta local council believes that local government activities should not make room for partisan politics," Cassar said.

He added that, for this reason, he declined to participate in the press conference and that he personally asked Debattista to make the local council candidates leave but said that Debattista refused.

"The Mosta local council categorically deplores Wednesday's behaviour," Cassar concluded.

When asked for a comment by this newspaper, Debattista said that he wasn't expecting this reaction from Cassar.

"I always helped the Mosta local council even when it wasn't my remit to do so. I don't know why Keith Cassar reacted this way," he told MaltaToday.

He added that the road wasn't closed at all and that cars were driving by behind him. "You can check the video of the press conference. You'll see that the road wasn't closed," Debattista said.

The parliamentary secretary might have been referring to Triq il-Fortizza further down as footage from the press conference showed that two stationery Clean Malta vehicles were indeed blocking the road.