Grieving Mother Demands Answers as Public Inquiry into Tragic Construction Collapse Begins

 - Local - Aug 11 2023 SHARE ON:

The public inquiry into the Corradino building collapse, which claimed the life of 20-year-old Jean Paul Sofia, began with a powerful testimony from his mother, Isabelle Bonnici. Her emotional plea for answers resonated with a nation grappling with the loss of yet another life to a construction tragedy.

Isabelle Bonnici, the first witness to take the stand, bravely shared the devastating journey that culminated in the loss of her son. With tears in her eyes and a heavy heart, she recounted the harrowing 16-hour ordeal that led to the recovery of her son’s lifeless body from the rubble of a factory under construction. Her voice trembling, she described Jean Paul Sofia as a vibrant, healthy young man with a promising future ahead—a future abruptly and unfairly stolen.

“He had a life, a whole future, another victim of construction, another Miriam Pace,” Bonnici declared before the inquiry board, drawing a poignant parallel to another construction tragedy that shook the nation’s conscience. These words echoed the collective sentiment of a society tired of witnessing young lives lost due to preventable construction accidents.

The details of the fateful day were laid bare—Jean Paul Sofia had left home that morning, expressing his love for his mother as he embarked on his daily routine. Little did they know that this routine would lead to his untimely demise. Urged by his boss and developer Matthew Schembri, Jean Paul had visited the construction site to deliver tools. What followed was a catastrophe that would leave a family shattered and a nation grieving.

Isabelle Bonnici’s grief-stricken journey did not end with the collapse; it was compounded by misinformation and false hope. Initially informed by a police officer that her son was safe and receiving medical attention, the truth later emerged—the devastating reality that Jean Paul had not survived the collapse. “He was the centre of my life,” she expressed with a heavy heart, encapsulating the profound loss she and her family have endured.

The commencement of the public inquiry comes after a relentless campaign by Isabelle Bonnici, who garnered widespread support from the public and compelled Prime Minister Robert Abela to relent and initiate the investigation. Bonnici’s determination is fuelled by a deep-seated desire for systemic change. “I want the system to be investigated and spell out any shortcomings and failures…I don’t want other parents to go through what we are going through,” she asserted.

The inquiry promises a thorough examination of the circumstances surrounding the building collapse and, importantly, a broader assessment of the state’s responsibility in safeguarding the lives of workers on construction sites. Planning Minister Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi and Finance Minister Clyde Caruana also testified on the inquiry’s first day, underlining the gravity of the situation.


Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri Cleared of Ethics Breach Allegations

 - Local - Aug 11 2023 SHARE ON:

The Standards Commissioner has officially dismissed allegations of ethical breaches against Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri, following a complaint lodged by independent candidate Arnold Cassola back in 2021. The complaint pertained to alleged unauthorised works within a Natura 2000 site, ostensibly benefiting service providers on Comino who were purportedly associated with Camilleri’s campaign efforts.

In his thorough investigation, the Standards Commissioner noted that the Planning Authority had indeed granted permission for the works in question on the island of Gozo. However, the Commissioner expressed curiosity over the necessity of these works on a site that had remained untouched for centuries, highlighting that the jurisdiction on such matters lies with the Authority, not his office. The Commissioner aligned himself with the Office of the Ombudsman’s findings, which revealed that the Comino projects overseen by Camilleri lacked the required approvals.

Camilleri, taking to social media, hailed the Commissioner’s decision not to pursue further investigation after a comprehensive review of the allegations. Labelling the claims as “baseless,” the minister clarified that the works on Comino were greenlit by the Planning Authority and were not intended to cater exclusively to service providers on the island. He further emphasised that the issuance of direct orders, as criticized by the complainant, does not necessarily constitute an abuse of power.

Expressing concern about the misuse of the Commissioner’s office, Camilleri pointed out the importance of substantiating claims before filing complaints. He stressed the need for accountability and fairness in utilizing such processes, stating, “The law should be just with everyone.”

Arnold Cassola, in response to the Commissioner’s decision, acknowledged that the Standards Commissioner had aligned himself with the stance of the Office of the Ombudsman. This alignment prompted the Ombudsman to halt ongoing works, recommend fines, and mandate the restoration of the affected site to its pre-construction state.

The Commissioner, however, found himself in a challenging position due to conflicting views between the Ombudsman and the Planning Authority. This divergence made it difficult for the Commissioner, lacking the requisite technical expertise, to delve further into the situation, according to Cassola.


Airport Aiming to Eliminate Liquid Restrictions with Planned 3D Scanners

 - Local - Aug 11 2023 SHARE ON:
Airport Aiming to Eliminate Liquid Restrictions with Planned 3D Scanners

Speaking exclusively to the Times of Malta, Alan Borg, the CEO of Malta International Airport, revealed that the company is in the process of soliciting quotes from seven scanner providers for new 3D scanning technology to enhance security checks.

This advanced technology enables passengers to retain laptops, liquids, and other items in their hand luggage, as it generates a detailed 3D image of the contents. The primary objective is to enhance the customer experience and alleviate frustrations stemming from the current restrictions on liquids and laptops. Presently, the security area houses six scanners, and Borg’s plan is to have two 3D scanners operational by early 2024.

This strategic move aligns with international trends, mirroring the adoption of similar systems at airports such as New York’s JFK and Amsterdam’s Schiphol. Notably, airports in the UK and Ireland are on track to implement these systems by mid-2024. The introduction of this new technology may also alleviate the 100ml liquid limit, which was initially implemented in 2006 due to security concerns.


Eve Borg Bonello Sheds Light on the Shocking Reality of Rats & Rubbish

 - Local - Aug 11 2023 SHARE ON:

In a passionate and urgent call for action, Nationalist MP Eve Borg Bonello has brought to the forefront a distressing issue that has been plaguing the streets of Malta. With a resounding plea, “Our streets can’t be playgrounds for rats and rubbish anymore!” Borg Bonello has sounded the alarm on the ongoing “garbage crisis” that has left residents exasperated and communities frustrated.

In a video shared on her social media platform, Borg Bonello painted a stark picture of the current situation. The picturesque localities of Sliema, St Julian’s, Swieqi, and more have been marred by the unsightly presence of heaps of trash that now characterize their streets. Residents have been enduring the distressing reality of sharing their living spaces with rats and mountains of waste.

The video, shared with a sense of urgency, captures the essence of the issue as Borg Bonello stands resolutely in front of a pile of refuse. She eloquently voices the concerns of her constituents, pointing out that this garbage crisis has become a pressing matter that demands immediate attention and concrete action.

The plight of these affected communities has caught the attention of concerned citizens across Malta.


See All