The last military regiment to occupy and serve in our country’s beloved Fort St Elmo was the 3/11 Regiment of the Royal Malta Artillery (Territorials). Since disbandment of that regiment in 1972 our association has been the constant representative of all those who served in that regiment. And as such we cannot but follow with great interest anything that is conceived by the authorities for our beloved former home, or is reported in the media about it. We were also among those who had first submitted suggestions for the restoration and future use of the fort.
The recently announced Malta Environment and Planning Authority board’s plans for the restoration of upper St Elmo, and the fort’s surrounding battlements, go some way towards meeting our originally made requests, in that it will be a wonderful experience for visitors to be able to walk around the battlements and enjoy the lovely views therefrom and that enhanced housing for the present War Museum and Malta Experience set-ups was very badly needed.
What however we cannot help being very worried and concerned about is what may be being planned for lower St Elmo. It is good that works are about to commence on cleaning, dismantling and rebuilding of dangerous roofs, unblocking of apertures and other tasks presumably restricted to within upper St Elmo. But what about lower St Elmo?
When such similar work is undertaken, for example on the many rooms there, with what objectives will such be done? Hopefully not for preparing them for commercial exploitation (e.g. hotels, full-scale restaurants, swimming pools, etc)! Within the context of future use of these rooms the suggestion had been made that the several ex-servicemen’s associations existing in Malta be each allocated one of these rooms for use as their own offices, small museums, or areas for their meetings and activities.
However neither Mepa nor the architects working on the submitted plans ever deigned to discuss our suggestions with us.