2013 Carnival Village Promise: Minister confirms funding still not secured

Culture Minister Owen Bonnici, who in 2013 promised carnival enthusiasts a state-of-the-art carnival village in Marsa, admitted in parliament that his ministry is still in the process of applying for EU funding for the long-awaited project.

Following up on The Shift’s report last week that Bonnici’s ministry has lost millions in EU funds initially dedicated to this project due to never-ending delays in its delivery, Nationalist Party MP Charles Azzopardi asked the minister for more details on the status of the latest application.

The minister said his ministry is expected to present a formal application by April 2024 – two months after this year’s carnival celebrations.

“I am informed that the deadline for EU funds in connection with this project will come to an end next April, by which date the ministry will be presenting its application,” Bonnici said.

Last week, after a barrage of criticism over his continued failure to keep his promises, Bonnici told a press conference that “We already have the land in our hands (Marsa) and most of the buildings have been demolished, so once we have the EU funding – which we are applying for under the new programme – we will be working on implementing this promise.”

Sources familiar with EU funds told The Shift that this means a completion date for the project would be around five years away if the EU decides to re-fund the project.

Bonnici, one of the longest-serving ministers in the Labour government, has been promising carnival enthusiasts this project for over a decade.

His repeated promises have become a recurring joke among hundreds of carnival participants.

Last week, following his latest promise, many took to social media, branding the minister “King Carnival”.

In 2012, under the then-Nationalist Party administration, a development permit was issued for the Carnival Village project. When Labour came to power the following year, it changed its plans and announced a state-of-the-art “new concept”.

The planned project would see the construction of 18 warehouses to store floats, eight smaller craftsperson workshops for building float figures and for making costumes, a souvenir shop, a museum, a dance studio and even a music performance complex where musicians could rehearse.

After years of delays, in 2017, Bonnici announced that “the carnival village dream was only one step away,” and in 2019, the state broadcaster PBS said it would be ready by 2020.

                           

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Charles Vassallo
Charles Vassallo
1 month ago

How can you trust such government concerning more serious state of affairs when they can’t even organise a piss up in a brewery… Ready by 2020 they stated, state of the art they said, go figure…

D M Briffa
D M Briffa
1 month ago

This is good news. The average voter isn’t concerned about “more serious state of affairs”. However, things like this do count. And when mega-loser Owen Bonnici, serial ex-Minister for countless ministries, keeps on failing to deliver, even the thickest died-in-the-wool Labour voter is going to realise that the horse they backed in the 3.30 race on Saturday at Marsa already has rigor mortis.

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