Young people are the generation of today and need to be included in decisions taken in their locality, 18-year-old Jordan Pace said. 

A Naxxar resident, Pace was speaking on Friday during a 'youth conference' in Parliament marking the 30th anniversary of the establishment of councils in Malta and Gozo.

“Youths need to have their voice and ideas heard in our local councils, we need to work together with councillors and mayors who come from different generations so that we can improve the lives of our localities,” he said.

The conference saw more than 20 youths from different localities highlighting the importance of why young people should form part of councils and have their say in the way their community is run. 

More open green spaces please

Jordan Galea Pace, from Swieqi, spoke with passion about the need for councils to focus more on the environment. 

“My generation does not know what an open green space is, we have to travel abroad to actually experience that,” he told his peers. 

“We want to change this. I am very passionate about clean-ups, and the focus on protecting our environment should not be a blue, red or green issue, but a subject of interest for all of society.”

He said the country needs more politicians who work hard to protect the environment, rather than politicians who just “post pictures”.

Jordan Galea Pace in Parliament on Friday. Photo: Jordan Galea Pace/FacebookJordan Galea Pace in Parliament on Friday. Photo: Jordan Galea Pace/Facebook

He also called for a change in political education, noting that it was often considered "taboo" to discuss politics.

“Politics is seen as something ugly. Taking part in our community and local councils teaches you the history of our local government and democracy, and that is something to be proud of.”

18-year-old John Paul Buttigieg from Qala also spoke on the garbage piling up in his locality.

“Unfortunately, there are times when councillors have their hands tied and they cannot do anything,” he said. 

“Yet, this can change. My locality managed to successfully stop the development of Ħondaq Rummien. I want to see more autonomy, more resources provided to our councillors.”

After a 20-year saga, a planning tribunal has shot down developers’ appeal to forge ahead with development in Ħondoq bay.

And the Planning Authority has now started the process of amending planning policies to prohibit any form of development within Ħondoq ir-Rummien.

Glauber Spiteri, from Cospicua, said he was unaware of all the work councillors do for the locality.

“I used to think the local council takes care of the rubbish collection and street lighting - but it is so much more,” he said. 

“I believe youths should work hand-in-hand with councils, improving on the good that is being done and being critical of what needed to change.”

Other speakers highlighted the need to bring “ideas” and “creativity” to councils. 

Councils to focus on more accessibility for disabled 

A wheelchair user, Christine-Ann Deasey, from Paola, said councils must work on ensuring that their localities are accessible for all. 

"It is important that no person falls behind, and that everyone can participate in everyday life," she said. 

Councils should provide public transport specifically for those with a disability who find it difficult to go to work or to go out and had to pay for private transport. 

"In my locality there is now a van that provides us with transport, but this is not provided by all councils."

Local Government minister Owen Bonnici, who was part of the Marsascala council for five years, said councils had to be the voice of their community and provide an efficient services to residents. 


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