An in­ter­view with Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary for Val­letta 2018 Hon Dr Deo De­bat­tista

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - VALLETTA18 -

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.

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