Labour MP Evarist Bartolo said yesterday he was formally calling for the resignation of Education and Culture Minister Louis Galea for having authorised the demolition of the façade of Villa de Fremaux in Zejtun.

The demolition took place on January 20.

Mr Bartolo said that what the minister had done set an ugly precedent which would open the way for similar acts of vandalism on historic sites by people in suits.

It was ridiculous for the minister to claim that this structure had no value because only the façade remained and it was surrounded by more recent development.

What had happened since June 1999 when the minister himself said the building should be safeguarded?

What use was it for parliament to approve a law on the protection of national heritage when the minister could then authorise the demolition of a historic structure at the stroke of a pen?

The minister's line of thinking and his actions could well lead to the demolition of other buildings which had to date been protected, such as the façade of the villa at Ghar il-Lembi Street in Sliema.

Through his actions, the minister had lost his credentials as minister responsible for culture and he should resign.

Labour MP Joe Mizzi said Villa de Fremaux had been scheduled by the then Planning Authority and it was only the authority's board which could decide that the villa was no longer scheduled. The permit for its demolition was, therefore, issued illegally.


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