President of Malta George Vella expressed his desire for respectful and informed dialogues on the topics that most affect residents in the country’s localities. These dialogues should take place in a civilised way, beyond the political convictions of mayors and councillors, and always with the ultimate goal of further improving the quality of life for everyone, Maltese and non-Maltese. The President was addressing the Annual General Meeting of the Local Council’s Association via a recorded message.
The President referred to the series of meetings he held in recent weeks with mayors and regional representatives from all over Malta and Gozo. He said that these meetings were very useful to him because, through them, he could listen to the concerns of the citizens and residents at source, and to ideas on how the work of the councils can be further improved.
“Basically, despite the particular characteristics of each locality, the challenges conveyed were very similar to each other. These included the protection of the natural environment, overdevelopment, the integration of communities of foreigners among us, waste collection, the coordination with governmental entities and, above all, the role and power of local councils in the current dynamic context,” said the President. He mentioned that he listened with interest to several interesting proposals that are worthy of attention, including the need for reforms that increase the autonomy of councils – both financially and in terms of permits, the strengthening of human resources, as well as the desire conveyed by many that mayors start to operate in this role on a full-time basis. These are all topics that should be considered carefully. He remarked that, although he has no power to implement such wishes, he will relay these thoughts to the authorities concerned.
The President thanked Mario Fava, President of the Local Councils Association, for his support to the Presidency in a bid to continue moving closer to the people, as well as all mayors and councillors for their support – either through donations or through material and logistical support during special events – in aid of The Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation. He urged for more work together for the benefit of those who need help, those who are going through hardship, and those who might be feeling left out or excluded. He also reminded that local councils have a role to play in the interest of unity in the country, which is highly needed.