Like chain-work, made up of intertwining circles of metal, Floriana is an intricate and inalienable part of Maltese history and heritage. At the crossroad between the capital, Valletta, and the rest of the Maltese islands, Floriana has welcomed countless historical figures throughout the centuries and has served as a hub for cultural activities and administrative functions alike.

As a 19-year-old university student, president of the PN Floriana local committee and candidate for Saturday’s local council elections, my mission is to promote my locality’s dire needs and address them to the best of my abilities.

Floriana has historically been commended for its wealth of gardens, national monuments, administrative offices and, undoubtedly, for having the largest open square in Malta, sought by political parties and musical enthusiasts alike. However, over the past few weeks, through countless house visits and hours of dialogue with its residents, I cannot help but notice that the reality is distinctly different from the classical description of the locality I call home.

Floriana is experiencing a brain drain and steadily losing its inherent traditions and customs. In the past decades, most of Floriana’s population has sought residence in other localities nearby. I, for one, form part of such a family, albeit the strong links I maintain with the locality through myfamily’s business, situated inSt Thomas Street, behind the parish church.

But this gradual decomposition of Floriana customs is evident in all aspects of everyday life. Youth involvement is sadly on the decline while the local population is becoming increasinglyelderly and faces practical problems in residing in the classical residences that dot the locality, and which usually boast several flights of steps.

Floriana’s architectural heritage is frequently portrayed in tourism adverts, aimed at attracting foreigners to our beautiful country. Many a tourist is struck with awe on entering St Publius church, or hears about the achievements of Floriana FC or visits one of our many illustrious gardens, with panoramic views of the bastions and the Maltese harbours.

Floriana is experiencing a brain drain

However, the sentiment of the resident is the complete opposite. They feel misused. They realise Floriana is well known, much frequented but are disappointed that it is seldom appreciated. Thousands flock to Vilhena’s Borgo for mass meetings, operas or concerts, without appreciating the devastation they leave behind them for the residents to deal with the day after.

As a candidate for the upcoming local council election, I believe that we must be the stewards of the change we want to bring to our own locality. We must attract investment, bolstering increased interest in the traditional residences that Floriana has to offer and which, in themselves, enjoy a prestigious niche in Maltese architecture.

All this while recognising the role that Floriana plays in Maltese commerce, with thousands flocking to Borgo Vilhena on a daily basis to do their work.

Better traffic management, a more effective local administrative system and a wise, albeit patient, approach are key to tackling these important issues.

I am determined to work for the locality that is mine.

I want to put new ideas in practice, which would surely bring a difference to Floriana.

I would like to represent all residents by listening to them and be their true voice in Floriana.

James Aaron Ellul is a PN candidate contesting the local election in Floriana.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us