You know, it’s not necessarily the big things which start getting under voters’ skin, making them angrier and angrier against a government. It’s also the “little things” which affect their everyday life, the encounters they have with faceless maddening bureaucracy, their daily drive to and from work, and even the street where they live.
So I can perfectly understand why, according to an article appearing in The Times today, the residents of Bishop Caruana street in Zebbug are furious to have found that the name of their street has been high-handedly changed to Frans Sammut street, completely against their wishes or consent (and without their knowledge). A petition had been signed by almost all the residents and there were vociferous public objections against the idea. But, who cares what the “little people” think right?
“I only found out when I asked the postman not to deliver letters with the wrong address to my house. I was astonished when he told me my address was correct and I was now living in a different street,” said a woman who has been there for 35 years.
The official explanation by Mayor Alfred Grixti to this was, “The residents will eventually be informed; we wanted to tell them once they change their ID Card.”
This is not meant as any disrespect to Mr Sammut’s family, but surely there could have been some kind of compromise on this? The reason the family is insisting on this specific street is because the late Mr Sammut used to reside there, but I cannot understand why something which is meant to be a tribute (a positive thing) has had to turn into such an unpleasant clash. Residents can be understandably very protective and territorial over the area where they have lived for so many years, so what is on earth is to be gained by upsetting them?
As was pointed out in the article, any number of new streets could have been named after Frans Sammut, and surely this is recognition enough. According to the report, however, the mayor’s reply was “Mr Sammut…deserved to have one of the best streets in his hometown named after him”.
Seriously? I do not think a man’s legacy is tied to the width or position of a street but to what he contributed during his lifetime and the memories he has left behind.
As it is, this decision by the Zebbug local council is yet another example of politicians who are too big for their boots and who forget that they are only there because of the votes of the very people they are now treating so abysmally.
And then they wonder why people don’t bother to vote in local council elections.