MaltaToday | 15 June 2008 | Siggiewi, Malta’s last refuge from the dreaded warden

NEWS | Sunday, 15 June 2008

Siggiewi, Malta’s last refuge from the dreaded warden

James Debono

Siggiewi emerges as a last refuge from the dreaded warden’s gaze: as little as 20 wardens’ tickets were issued in 2007, and just one person booked in the first three months of 2008.
Siggiewi mayor Robert Musumeci is satisfied by his locality’s record. “I firmly believe local enforcement, in the case of Siggiewi not being a transitory destination, may be safely vested with the police.”
The Nationalist mayor claims the decision to rid Siggiewi of traffic wardens was one of his “first firm stances” he implemented two weeks after elected mayor eight years ago. “Generally speaking, Siggiewi residents are very serene with the situation,” Musumeci says.
The locality in fact only employs green wardens. In 2007, four people were booked for littering, seven for ignoring traffic signs and three for not updating their car licence. Only one person was booked for parking contraventions or for ignoring carriageway markings.
The only unlucky person to be fined in Siggiewi during the first three months of the year was booked for ignoring a traffic sign.
Siggiewi even manages to be safer from wardens than the far smaller Gozitan localities with a far smaller population. Twice as many people were booked in tiny San Lawrenz, whose population amounts to 7% of that of Siggiewi.
Marsa, which does not even operate a warden service, is the only other safe refuge from wardens’ fines apart from Siggiewi.Fines dip during elections
In the first three months of this year, which coincided with local and national elections, the number of fines issued by wardens in all localities of Malta and Gozo fell by over 2,500.
St Paul’s Bay and St Julian’s top the list of danger zones, that is, where most fines are issues. But in the first three months of 2008, St Paul’s Bay fell to third place, after its wardens dished out 515 fewer fines than in the first three months of 2007.
And in Sliema, a sharp drop of 1,065 fines was registered, where the number dropped from 3,397 in the first three months of 2007, to just 2,332 in the first three months of 2008.
On a national level, wardens’ fines decreased from 45,320 in the first three months of 2007 to 43,732 in the corresponding period of this year: a decrease of 2,588.
Not surprisingly, the five localities which saw the sharpest decrease in warden fines all had local elections in March.

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