Statements on Paceville are “creating a negative picture” of the area, according to Philip Fenech, president of the tourism section of the Malta Chamber for Small and Medium Enterprises – GRTU.

During a meeting yesterday with the Group Acting for a Safe Paceville (GASP), led by Anthony Farrugia, a group of Paceville bar owners discussed what practical action the government should be encouraged to take “to meet the real challenge”.

A GRTU statement issued after the meeting quoted Mr Fenech saying that “... action is being taken as a result of the hype now surrounding the issue, and statements being made by those who ought to know better are not really addressing the issue but simply adding to a picture of negativity about the whole Paceville area.”

“The worst thing that can happen is that panicky decisions are taken just to impress rather than taking remedial action that is well-planned and directed towards real and not perceived problems,” he added.

Mr Fenech, himself a bar owner in the entertainment mecca, said Paceville was an area with heavy investment and played a pivotal role in Malta’s new tourism strategy.

The action that had to be taken should lay more stress on supervisory and surveillance methods on a regular basis rather than “sporadic one-time actions that achieve very little”.

Hoteliers have called for an effective management structure in the form of a government agency representing various interests and jurisdictions to tackle the situation in Paceville in view of violent incidents taking place there.

During the meeting, Mr Fenech said the problem affecting Paceville had its roots in the increasing tendency of a growing number of young people who preferred to disregard regulations and go out for all sorts of abuse when not under constant surveillance.

He added it was important to “adopt measures of surveillance that have been proved successful elsewhere because the phenomenon of anti-social behaviour by youth is not restricted to Paceville”.

The GRTU and GASP agreed to cooperate with the authorities to ensure solutions are implemented without further delay so that Paceville would improve its image as a safe and disciplined area for all those seeking relaxation and enjoyment.

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