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The Triton Fountain's destruction

In the revealing article When The Sea Gods Wept (August 18), detailing the heavy damage to the Triton Fountain outside Valletta, which was designed by our eminent sculptor, the late Vincent Apap, the author gave a clear, but all too diplomatic account of the way in which this fountain and its attendant tritons suffered damage in the mid-1970s.

I was born and bred in Valletta, and on that fateful evening I witnessed, to my horror, motorcycles climbing up and down the upper plate of the fountain over ramps that had been placed for that purpose.

This wild orgy of celebration went on for at least an hour. No wonder the Triton's hands which supported the top plate could not withstand their weight. And the inevitable disaster happened. The plate collapsed, the hands carrying the water system snapped, and the Triton Fountain as we had known it was no more.

At no mean cost to the central government in 1987, a central column, sculpturally camouflaged to cover the water pipe, was later added. But the fountain had lost its pristine beauty through this central inartistic intrusion, all because of the stupid arrogance of some diehards who threw discipline to the winds, and who had no one in their senses to control them. A costly and artistic fountain was reduced to a shadow of its former self, and I fear it will never be the same again.

The damage was done not only to the fountain itself, but also to Valletta, and to Malta. No wonder the late and respected Vincent Apap wanted nothing more to do with its faulty rehabilitation.

If vandals are allowed to tamper with our monuments, these are the results we can expect.

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