On behalf of the committee of La Stella Band Club of Victoria, I wish to refer to Matthew Xuereb’s report in your issue of September 5.
The report was mainly about the use of offensive banners by Leone Band Club members celebrating their feast. When asked for his comments, club president Michael Caruana was quoted as replying: “These banners were merely a reply to banners put up by La Stella club, saying they would not allow them into the square.”
If Dr Caruana really did make this comment, he is not telling the truth. La Stella Band Club supporters put up no banners whatsoever during the feast of St George and Dr Caruana knows this. This can be attested to by the hundreds of people present during all the band marches organised by La Stella during the week of the feast, among them several senior police officers.
Dr Caruana’s words could mean that it is very easy and convenient to simply write off his supporters’ offensive actions by saying that this is merely a reply to provocation… provocation that simply never happened. I wonder why Dr Caruana should defend such indefensible actions in this manner. Is this the way he leads and educates his committee and supporters?
I urge Dr Caruana to produce any photographs he or his supporters may have of any such banners during the feast celebrations he referred to; but I know he will not as these simply do not exist.
The band march organised by the Leone Band Club on August 15 each year does not go through the areas in Victoria that are prepared and decorated for the feast but passes through areas without feast decorations simply to ‘celebrate’ and affirm the ‘right’ to insult whoever is not celebrating with the Leone supporters.
This also, on several occasions, included hurling insults at St George and throwing paint at St George’s Basilica with the authorities seemingly unable to put a stop to it.
In discussions we had with the authorities concerned, they all agreed that this is not a healthy situation and should not be allowed to go on, but the police authorities so far have not taken any action. One wonders if they are waiting for a serious incident to happen. God forbid.
I thank your reporter for helping to throw light on this unhealthy situation in Victoria. I also take this opportunity to urge all involved to help the two communities of Victoria celebrate their respective feasts with dignity and free of excessive pique and insults.
My committee intends to follow this path and has already shown its goodwill in many ways, including changing band marches’ routes to avoid clashes with rival band supporters, and decorating La Stella Band Club’s façade with a large picture of Santa Marija on August 15 each year when the Leone Band Club celebrates the feast of Santa Marija.
We thank all those who are doing their best to defuse the situation and urge them to help convince all those involved that this is the way forward and that they should work for this desirable end.