Infrastructure Malta silent on shoddy €3 million Paola Square project

New minister rubbishes his predecessor's work, Labour insider was its architect


The government has failed to answer questions on whether anyone will be held accountable for the work carried out on Paola Square that must be redone some six years later due to massive defects, despite costing taxpayers some €3 million.

Transport Minister Chris Bonnet announced that works to redo the main square of his constituency are about to start, but the agency responsible for ordering the work has refused to provide any information on how much it will cost or possible repercussions for those who carried out the initial work.

The Shift contacted Infrastructure Malta CEO Ivan Falzon to ask for information on the work to be carried out and whether legal proceedings have been started against those responsible. He was also asked how much the remedial works are expected to cost or whether the original contractors will cover the cost.

Falzon did not reply by the time of publication.

Announced in 2015 by the then-chairman of the Council of the South, Silvio Parnis, the project took three years to complete, creating significant inconvenience for businesses and residents in the area. The project was also controversial due to the removal of a number of large, old trees that lined the previous square.

Paola Square was left closed for three years until its ‘completion’ in 2018

Designed by Chris Mintoff, a former president of the Chamber of Architects, works were carried out by contractors Barbros Group and Schembri JV at a cost of over €2.3 million. This was a 21% increase over the original tender estimates.

The contractors responsible for the work at Paola Square.

Mintoff’s company, Building and Design Consultants, was paid to oversee the project’s implementation as project managers.

But so far, neither of the contractors has been held responsible for any wrongdoing, which included the wrong laying of porfido, rusty benches, unconnected lighting, unlit zebra crossings and empty wells underneath the square that were supposed to supply water to fountains.

The new minister took a dig at his former colleague in a post on social media.

Meanwhile, the new Transport Minister’s dig on social media at the late Silvio Parnis, who served the Paola district as Labour MP for many years and passed away last year, did not go down well with his supporters.

Minister Chris Bonett did not shy away from mentioning the shoddy works of his former parliamentary colleague who used to contest his same district.

One Labour supporter blasted “newcomer Bonett”, saying “it was not on to try to score cheap political points by criticising his former district rivals of the same party”.

Parnis did not contest the last elections after being ousted from cabinet by Prime Minister Robert Abela.


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Mark Debono
Mark Debono
12 days ago

So basically you cannot even criticise one of your own?

Francis Mifsud
Francis Mifsud
12 days ago

Inthom illum qed tghidu li din il pjazza giet tiswa 3 miljun , imma dak iz zmien kienu qalulna li giet tiswa 6 miljun . Din il pjazza ma fija xejn tajjeb, hlief biex tal kazin tal-labour u xi zewg hwienet ohra johorgu l-imwejjed barra.

Last edited 12 days ago by Francis Mifsud
Joe l ghasfur
Joe l ghasfur
12 days ago

Facli titfa ir responsabilta fuq Silvio Parnis sur ministru,ghax ma jistax jirispondik. Jekk trid taghmel l affarijiet sew taf lil min ghandek tfitex sur ministru.
Veru il pjazza giet disastru izda ix xoghol ghamluh hazin il kuntraturi bil haddiema barranin bla hila u kollox suq ha nehilsu bhal ma qed issir fuq progeti ohra.

Joey FAlzon
Joey FAlzon
11 days ago

Well…at least Bonnett was honest and said things as they stood!!!!! However, he should chase the contractors to rectify the works at their own expense. We know how labour works; they will never do so as the contractor is one of the main contributors to the labour party.

Last edited 11 days ago by Joey FAlzon
Pierre Micallef
Pierre Micallef
11 days ago

bunch of idiots, they should build an underground parking underneath the piazza – try parking in Paola…good luck!

11 days ago

Shades of Addolorata? …

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