06 July 2005

The Web

Onerous bureaucracy for summer party season

Matthew Vella

An exhaustive list for the organisation of disco parties and other one-off gatherings and events shows that the bureaucracy involved in acquiring permits and licences can be stifling.
Not less than 15 different forms of licences, declarations and permits are needed for the holding of a disco party.
The bureaucratic hurdles however do not come in the form of an ideal one-stop shop. For example, party organisers will have to, apart from applying for a police permit, also get relative permits and letters from the Malta Environment and Planning Authority, local councils, and in some cases even the Museums Department.
These are in addition to a myriad of other mandatory specifications which augment health and safety criteria for these events, such as insurance policy, capacity limits, safety certifications, provision of toilets and water fountains and medical staff, and also the full details of disc jockeys.
Edwin Vassallo, parliamentary secretary for Competition, told The Malta Financial and Business Times that although ideally a one-stop shop should be the order of the day, the natural bureaucratic fragmentation involved in organising these events is a natural outcome when everybody demands to have a say in the matter.
“Normally these activities are in the hands of a one-stop shop that is the Police, because where these concern one-off events, the police can consult with the local councils concerned.
“Ideally that’s what the law should provide, but so many interests come into the equation, and what should be ideal starts to separate into different avenues of consultation with the different entities involved.”
Vassallo said mass meetings, sports events, processions, or concerts are usually certified and issued permits through the Police which take care of other concerns such as consultation with the traffic authorities.
However, he added that the current state of affairs presents a reasonable and efficient amount of bureaucracy which, short of the ideal state of affairs, remains a practical system of evaluating all concerns involved when organising such one-off events.


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