01 MAY 2002

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Bar owners determined to push for bottle bye-law

By Miriam Dunn

Owners and managers of Paceville establishments have expressed their frustration and annoyance that a proposed bye-law which would have made it an offence to carry bottles and glasses in the streets of Malta’s entertainment spot was blocked primarily because of its wording.

Philip Fenech, president of the GRTU hospitality and leisure division, said that the vast majority of proprietors viewed the implementation of this regulation as of paramount importance and are angry that it seems to have been stopped because of little more than a technicality.

"It might constitute only a small step towards tackling the problems in Paceville, but it will, at least, show that there is a move to begin bringing an element of discipline to the area," he said.

Recently, our sister paper, MaltaToday, reported that St Julian’s local council had proposed a bye-law making the carrying of bottles and glasses around Paceville illegal. The move was supported by a number of organisations, including the police, the Tourism Minister and bar owners, but was halted by the local councils’ department, which decides whether bye-laws are passed, partly because the wording could produce problems. Local councils’ director Victor Rizzo said the proposed bye-law would be unrealistic to implement and also pointed out that legislation in place, such as the Litter Act and Criminal Code, could be used to tackle problems.

But yesterday Mr Fenech voiced support for St Julian’s local council, which refused to back down when the local councils’ department told them their proposal would need to be amended.

"Bar owners have, for a number of years, been raising awareness about this issue, and it is a great shame that now the local council has done something about it, its efforts have been blocked," he said.

Mr Fenech highlighted the fact that when a regulation was first suggested, one of the reasons it was so strongly supported was the fact that it would help in the attempt to enhance and harmonise the area.

"We were particularly encouraged by the prospect of a bye-law which would help bring some discipline to Paceville and show that the locality is not anarchic, as is sometimes perceived," he said. "The fact that people are allowed to congregate in the area with bottles lends something to the impression that there is one large, disorganised party taking place and we would very much like to move away from this image."

He also pointed out that bar owners would be relieved to lose the inconvenience and expense they incur from lost glasses and bottle deposits.

Mr Fenech voiced his hope that the move to get some sort of bye-law in motion will be revived.

"It is important, because of the reasons outlined and because of the danger that bottles and glasses can pose when trouble flares up," he said.


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Editor: Saviour Balzan
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