Councils are not government’s customer care departments

Sandra Gauci, ADPD – The Green Party Chairperson addressed a press conference online, together with ADPD candidates for Ħal Balzan and Birkirkara, Samuel Vella and Mark Zerafa respectively.

When the local councils were first established in 1993, it was said that there was no longer the need to go to the Minister to have a burnt-out light bulb in your street changed.  However, nowadays it appears that many of the responsibilities that once fell within the remit of the local councils have been taken away from their portfolio. 

Not only that, but it also appears that the local councils are frequently ignored by the central government. We believe that the Government needs pledge greater commitment to this, and through the departments, agencies and authorities set up by law, the local councils are consulted and involved early on in everything that concerns the localities.

Ultimately, local councils should have a decisive role in issues that affect the residents, such as

  • the operation of the Bitmac plant in Tal-Balal which is causing great damage and distress to the residents of Birkirkara, Balzan and other nearby localities;
  • the nuisance of noises day and night caused by the Freeport in Birżebbuġa;
  • the unchecked use of outdoor furniture in public areas by business establishments in areas such as Marsaskala and St Paul’s Bay. 

In particular, the local councils should be given a decisive role in making decisions about major projects that will directly affect them. The local council should be at the forefront of analysing projects brought forward in its locality and of opposing these projects if they are harmful to the residents. After all, that is why all the councillors were elected. Councillors elected on behalf of the ADPD insist that there should be a broad consultation with the residents before the council takes any position on these same projects.

Also, it is necessary to have the monitor and control the current building frenzy in many localities, and ensure that virgin land is not earmarked for developed at all costs.  It is not true that the Government is obliged to compensate for building permits denied for land in its natural, as happened in the case of Ħondoq in Gozo. On the contrary, we believe that it should be the Government itself that sees that these truly green spaces remain untouched.

Another problem that many residents face is the lack of respect from certain developers who turn the lives of the neighbours of construction sites into hell. Our candidate for Pieta’ Janet Zahra Walker, who ended up outside her home for several months, was badly hit by such irresponsability.  There is a need for the control of noise and dust that is generated by construction works and for developers to make good for the damages suffered by the neighbours without any hesitation.

We work to strengthen transparency, good governance in local councils and the strengthening of local democracy. Public funds must be well managed for the good of the whole community at all times.

WE INSIST that the council must keep residents informed on everything that concerns the locality.

WE INSIST on financial responsibility, meaning that the local council does not engage in work or projects that are not financially sustainable.

WE INSIST on increasing the areas reserved for people and completely car-free, so that we have cleaner air and safer urban areas, because we all really deserve it.

WE INSIST that more trees are planted, and we insist on a policy for residential roads that offer safety for all, with accessible pavements for pedestrians in general, including elderly people, people using wheelchairs and mobility scooters and parents with small children using pushchairs.  We need roads and pavements that serve the people.  

We work to protect open spaces, so that in residential areas people take priority and increase accessibility and safety on the roads. We work to promote spaces for people on the streets and facilities for pedestrians, cyclists, the elderly, people with disabilities and parents with small children. We work to have roads and pavements that serve the people, with an emphasis that they are always in good condition.

The policy on outdoor furniture should fall under the remit of the local councils. It must be run mainly in the interest of the residents and the local economy. Tourist operators should not be allowed to take over public space they are not licensed to use. For councillors working on behalf of the ADPD accessibility for all residents are a top priority.  The residents are the centre of our work.

All councillors must understand that they were elected by the residents to protect their interests first and foremost. The interests of those who run a business in the locality should never be given priority over those of the residents.

There is a need for the elected councillors to uphold the interests of the residents first and foremost always and without any compromises.

WE PROPOSE a central government policy to STRENGTHEN the local councils AND FORCE the GOVERNMENT to REMOVE the absolute control of the Ministers. The local councils are neither the government’s customer care department, and nor should they depend on the charity of the Ministers. The current trend concerning the centralization of authority is the direct result of the politics of clientelism, which unfortunately has created a state of apathy in the country.    

Councillors elected on behalf of ADPD work so that facilities and buildings of the local council use clean energy and water conservation means. We put pressure so that the destruction of our towns and villages and of the little countryside that remains does not continue. For this purpose, we are against any extension in the development areas, and we follow any projected development that is anticipated to have an impact on our localities. The principle that guides us is that protecting the environment means a better quality of life for everyone.

ADPD councillors work in favour of more investment in public libraries, a sector that currently has a great lack of resources. We insist on better cooperation with all the schools as well as with the local associations. We work to increase the sense of community in our localities, especially with those located on the outskirts. Cultural, educational, social and sporting activities are organized together with the local associations. ADPD councillors work to promote sites of historical interest in the locality and promote their restoration and reuse.

The main principle that guides ADPD councillors is the common good of society and building a sense of community.


If you’re going to keep voting like you always have, don’t expect to see any change. On the other hand, if like me you are fed up with a system where the red and the blue often agree with each other at the expense of the residents, then in these elections you should think about voting for ADPD candidates.

The candidates presented by the ADPD in a number of localities are ready to roll up their sleeves for the good of the residents first and foremost – I don’t want to forget anyone out so…

  • Dr. Ralph Cassar who has already served for a number of years as a councillor is contesting again in Ħ’Attard;
  • Samuel Vella, a young, enthusiastic university student of political science for Balzan;
  • Dr. Melissa Bagley who is well known because of her involvement in clean ups in Birżebbuġa;
  • Mark Zerafa born and bred in Birkirkara, a locality which he loves so much;
  • Janet Zahra Walker who, as I have already mentioned, was a victim of the construction industry in Tal-Pieta’;
  • Brian Decelis, our veteran (I’m sure he won’t take offence at this!). He was one of the first Alternattiva Demokratika (AD) ever, and is now a local council candidate for Marsascala;
  • And I, Sandra Gauci, as a teacher, believe fully in the need for education in our work and that I am contesting local council elections for the largest locality in Malta, St Paul’s Bay. 

We are presenting you a mix of experienced people and new, but they all have one goal – that of bringing forward the locality in which they live. Visit our site to get to know them as well as what they are proposing for their localities.

If there are candidates who have already served your locality, in addition to the new ones, do find the time to find out what they do and what they have done as afterwards it will be useless to say that you were not aware of things.  And finally, there is no need to tell you that it is important to vote so that it is YOU who decides who should represent you in your locality. Vote for the best people, because that’s what you deserve – people who are not ready to sell their principles but who are ready to keep the interests of the residents first and foremost.

Contrary to what is being said by the major political parties, you do not need to vote for candidates from a single political party.  On the contrary, I encourage you to cross vote, as our electoral system allows that, and give your first preference to the ADPD candidates, then continue on those candidates from other parties that you are confident that they will meet your aspirations for the locality.  Because as Brian said in the Broadcasting Authority debate: a one-wheeled car goes nowhere.

Yes – it is in your interest to have people on your council who are capable of protecting the interests of the residents first and foremost and who do not favour speculators who only care how they are going to fatten their pockets.

Yes – it is in your interest to have ADPD – The Green Party councillors on your council.

So on June 8, use your vote wisely by giving first preference to an ADPD candidate then continue on other candidates if you wish.

It’s in your interest to vote Green for the local council elections.