An interview with Parliamentary Secretary for Valletta 2018 Hon Dr Deo Debattista
If you had to describe Valletta 2018 in one word, what would the word be?
If I had to choose only one word, I would choose ‘Impressive’.
What is the best memory you have of Valletta 2018?
All the activities were unique in their own way however, one of my favourite memories of Valletta 2018 was a one-off event in which the four main feasts and the two band clubs of Valletta came together for the first time ever as part of the Valletta 2018 Cultural Programme. The highlight of the event included processions with the titular statues of St Paul, St Dominic, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Augustine. The four statues met at St George’s Square where Archbishop Monsignor Charles J. Scicluna lead prayers. The titular statues, along with the bands accompanying them, made their way through Republic Street to City Gate before heading back to their respective churches. The Valletta 2018 mandate is soon coming to an end what are your expectations of the Valletta Cultural Agency?
The know-how and the experience we have earned during this year and also during the years before in preparation of Valletta 2018, as we have been working on this mandate as from 2013, will be renewed and extended. Artists that weren’t part of the Valletta 2018 programme will be given the opportunity to become part of this experience. Valletta 2018 will not stop at 2018, we will have Valletta 2019, Valletta 2020 and so on. How many activities were involved in this year’s Valletta 2018 programme and how was the public’s participation?
The Valletta 2018 programme involved more than 400 events and activities. These events took place all around Malta and Gozo. We invested in every sector of the Maltese Culture. Culture in its broadest sense, which includes the people, the Maltese language, food, religion, music, art, literature, theatre, opera etc. Physical participation, on-paper is of approximately 400,000. However, when considering people that browsed the internet and social media in order to follow Valletta 2018’s updates the number would be much larger. Certain numerical data can’t be quantified. I can sincerely say that Valletta 2018 was a success even more than expected. I am sure this success will keep on rendering fruit in the coming years. Which was your favourite Valletta 2018 event/activity?
Personally the event I am most fond of is the opening of MUZA. Since I love art, this art museum is something very dear to me. It will not only recollect Valletta 2018’s artistic pieces but also the Maltese art, and everyone will have the opportunity to appreciate these artistic pieces. In my opinion, and I believe that others agree with me; MUZA is a dream come true. What were the advantages Malta experienced by this mandate?
We made Malta more conspicuous. Conspicuous in every aspect; tourism, economy, aesthetics and infrastructure. Furthermore, Valletta was given back life. I am sure that this ray of light will continue to be admired in the coming years. Something that has always been present will now be better appreciated by all. What were the changes made in Valletta?
Valletta has been completely transformed. Just like Cinderella; Valletta was a beautiful gem, but no one was aware of its beauty. Its transformation can be considered as a metamorphosis as we man- aged to evolve it into a beautiful butterfly. This transformation is still underway. Valletta experienced various building restorations and infrastructure improvements. However, more improvements are still being planned and will be implemented in due course. As the Parliamentary Secretary responsible of Valletta 2018 and as a person from Valletta what did the Valletta 2018 mandate mean to you?
Valletta 2018 managed to materialize the cultural progress Malta used to dream of having. Before Malta was attributed the European Capital of Culture title, since I have always lived and worked as a Doctor in Valletta, I used to think that it’s a shame that our Capital City was not like other foreign Capital Cities. This changed after the Valletta 2018 mandate, in terms of culture and infrastructure. As a person from Valletta I believe that we have given Valletta the glory the Knights of St. John dreamt of.