Former deputy speaker Michael Bonnici has returned an honorary decoration he received in 2011 in protest at the change of a street name that he said was disrespectful to one of the village’s “most respected ancestors”.

In a letter, Mr Bonnici slammed the Żebbug council and the government-appointed street naming committee for “going against the wishes of the residents”.

The council is insulting residents

This comes after the council last year renamed the 120-year-old street dedicated to former Maltese bishop Francesco Saverio Caruana.

In his letter, Mr Bonnici criticised the council’s decision and said he could no longer accept the ‘decoration’ he was honoured to receive for his work in the locality.

“The council is insulting all Żebbuġ residents and misinterpreting history,” Mr Bonnici wrote.

“The memory of Bishop Caruana – a Żebbuġi who contributed a lot to the well-being of this village – is being insulted by those who are supposed to promote and defend his name.”

Last year the council, led by Labour mayor Alfred Grixti, proposed to name the street after the late author Frans Sammut. Residents had signed a petition against this and insisted Mgr Caruana’s memory should not be erased.

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