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Earlier this morning, Moviment Graffitti activists and local residents physically blocked ongoing “landscaping” works which ripped apart twelve mature Ficus trees in Mosta’s square. The works were carried out at the behest of the local council of Mosta, whose decision to pedestrianise the square has paralysed the area for months on end.

In a Facebook post urging residents to join them in an action that was ongoing at time of publication, Graffitti also announced a protest that is going to be held tomorrow at 6.30pm in front of Mosta’s local council.

A screenshot of another one of Moviment Graffitti’s Facebook posts urging the public to join for tomorrow’s protest in front of the local council.

Furthermore, thanks to a direct submission from a contributor who preferred to remain anonymous, this website can reveal that the local council’s recorded “discussion” about whether to remove the ficus trees lasted a total of one minute. The discussion, spearheaded by Mosta mayor Chris Grech, did not merit any objections from the rest of the council’s members, including Labour councilor and vice mayor Rachel Abela who is directly responsible for the council’s environmental affairs.

An analysis of a recorded video of the Mosta Local Council councilor’s meeting, within which the agenda item concerning the removal of age-old ficus trees from the square was raised and later approved, shows that the decision-making process took less than a minute. There were practically no objections raised by any of the councilors. I uploaded a clip on this website’s Facebook page that shows the relevant part of the discussion on the subject.

At ten o’clock in the night on Sunday 12th November, as many were sleeping to begin a fresh start to a new work/school week, the Mosta Local Council announced in a Facebook post – sprinkled with tree and plant emojis – that the twelve old ficus trees surrounding Mosta cathedral will be removed. By early Monday morning, residents woke up to find the trees had already butchered.

A screenshot of the Mosta local council’s Facebook post announcing the removal of the trees.

In the post, the local council announced that the councilors present for meeting number 66 ‘agreed’ that the 12 trees should be removed from the village square and planted in an alternative spot.

An analysis by this website into meeting number 66, which was some three and a half hours long and frequently disturbed with arguments, swearing, tardiness, and councilors leaving the room in rage, shows that the discussion of the removal of trees lasted for little more than one minute.

In the recorded footage which is accessible to the public, however difficult to follow audibly, hurrying through agenda items towards the end of the session, Mayor Chris Grech announces his idea of removing the ficus trees in the pjazza, without explaining why.

“Tuni ċans ħalli ma ndumux,” Grech said, which in terms of meaning, translates to ‘give me time to talk so this won’t take up too much time’.

“I spoke to ERA [inaudible] about removing the ficus trees that are in the pjazza… there are twelve,” he continued.

“I spoke to CEO of ERA briefly, briefly, da voce, he said ‘write to me…’ he said he’s not going to tell me yes or no, he told me it’s important to have a place where to put them and we’ll consider it, but as per procedure, [inaudible] you need to be on board yourselves… Do you want to remove the ficus and place other trees in the pjazza?” he asked the councilors.

“Shall we take the chance and speak to ERA? Maybe you’ll tell me no, [the trees are] big, so we want them,” suggested the mayor.

“No” one councillor says, as another two hardly glanced up from their mobile phones.

“Today we are telling you yes!” says Labour Councillor Maria Pia Bonnici, laughing. She had not even looked up from her tablet during this minute-long discussion. That was her only contribution to the conversation about a decision which has enraged the general public and serves as a sore reminder of the ongoing, constant destruction of our natural environment.

Following Bonnici’s erudite contribution to the meeting, Grech then moved on to the next item on the agenda.


  • Billy J McBee says:

    Humans, true Humans stand with nature, they protect it…they do not butcher it, they do not stress it, they instead honor it and respect every single leaf of it

  • Patricia says:

    I hope Mosta residents take careful note of who they entrusted with the upkeep of their locality, and come next June, sweep them all out the door and vote for new faces who promise environmental protection as their priority. This lot have proven to be found wanting.

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