The entrusting of national monuments to Heritage Malta does not signal any shift in attitude towards the memorial to Daphne Caruana, which is cleared away regularly by government workers.

The cultural heritage agency said in reply to questions that there have always been laws in place which will “remain unchanged”.

Last week, Times of Malta revealed that a number of monuments all over the country now fall within the remit of Heritage Malta, which will be assuming responsibility for these newly declared “national monuments”.

One of them is the Great Siege monument, in Valletta, at the foot of which lies the makeshift memorial to slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Malta has always had laws which provide for the protection of our heritage and this will remain unchanged

Candles, flowers and other items left in her memory are regularly swept away by government employees, only for activists to place new ones within hours of their removal and the cycle to start all over again.

The removal of the objects at the memorial has been criticised by NGOs, MEPs, journalists and freedom of speech activists.

In reply to a series of questions about the new regime, a spokeswoman for the cultural heritage agency said Malta “has always had laws which provide for the protection of our heritage and this will remain unchanged”.

“Heritage Malta, as the national agency for cultural heritage and conservation, has been entrusted by the government with the responsibility of making a formal list of national monuments and to ensure that such monuments are kept in a good state of maintenance and repair, both visually and from a conservation point of view,” she said.

The comments echo those made by Culture Minister Owen Bonnici, who last week said the move was merely the government keeping an electoral pledge.

“Nothing will change,” he said.

The minister also confirmed to Times of Malta that while he could not stop people from exercising their right to freedom of expression, the authorities had to ensure that no damage was done in the process.

This, he said, was why the memorial was cleared every evening, adding that the process would continue even as Heritage Malta takes over.

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

Support Us