Bullying by foreigners controversy: Commissioner answers detractors with “facts”

High school students being bullied.

During Newsline on RTK, Charles Caruana Carabez, Education Commissioner said that the bullying he witnessed in schools was the work of the devil. Following the controversy that erupted after his comments on bullying of Maltese children by foreigners, Caruana Carabez refused the invitation to participate in Newsline’s discussion but offered to read out a statement about the ‘facts”. He said that the bullying was done by students from different nations and that none of them was black. He also said that his proposal for a school for international students did not imply that he wanted to set up a ghetto.

The Commissioner said that he did not accept to participate as Commissioners were on par with magistrates and “no magistrate would discuss the sentences he gives in Court.”

Fr Joe Borg, the presenter of the programme noted that two week before the Commissioner for the Environment had participated in the programme to defend his position on the crisis in the building industry. During that programme the Commissioner appealed to listeners to publicly support his position.

Last January Caruana Carabez was embroiled in another controversy after he penned an opinion piece for Times of Malta. Minister Helena Dalli asked the Speaker to discipline him.

“Careless and misinformed”

Nineteen NGOs reacted very negatively to Caruana Carabez’s report which formed part of the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s 2018 Annual Report. The NGOs objected particularly to the introductory section “An Unjustified Sense Of Entitlement”.

Read: Education Commissioner report was ‘one-sided’ and ‘oversimplified’ on foreign students – NGOs

In this report Caruana Carabez wrote, among other things, that foreigners were bullying Maltese students. The NGOs stated that the comments of the Education Commissioner were “careless and misinformed”, adding that  “his recommendations are not grounded in the principles of fairness” and seem “to misunderstand and misrepresent the nature of fundamental human rights.”

On the other hand, Caruana Carabez, dismissed these comments saying that none of the NGOs and professors who criticized him had seen the documents he had examined.

“Work of the devil”

The Education Commissioner, during RTK’s programme, said that he had met with various parties including the Imam, in order to stop the cases of bullying and abuse. He explained that he was ‘sad’ that the Muslim school had to close due to a lack of money and suggested that Muslim children in other schools should be provided with a pastoral service.

The Commissioner said that the children who were bullying had been brought up without belief in God. To that the Imam retorted that “where there is no god, there is the devil”. This made the Commissioner conclude that the bullying he was investigating was the work of the devil.

Read: Foreign students create cliques that bully the Maltese -Commissioner for Education

What should parents do if their children are bullied?

No blacks, no refugees

During the programme, the Commissioner said no dark skinned or refugee children were involved in the cases of bullying. He also said that the children involved came from well-off families.  He mentioned that there were six cases of children from different countries including Maltese, Russian, Serbian, Lithuanian and Libyan and here ended with the words “no black”.

“The Maltese don’t integrate with the Belgians”

Caruana Carabez took as an example the Maltese working in Brussels. He explained that the Maltese working in Brussels don’t send their children to schools run by the Belgian Government and therefore stressed that there is no attempt to integrate the Maltese children with the Belgians.

He said that they instead attend the European School of Brussels that is a college for children of workers in the European institutions. He praised this as a success story where there are around 800 students and 3 teaching staff which are Maltese.

“International College should not become a ghetto”

Regarding the college for international students mentioned in the report, the Commissioner specified that the intention of this kind of school is not only to embrace all students of  different countries who come to Malta but also to serve as a school for those children who are in Malta for a relatively short period and will lack the chance to integrate.

He said he sees nothing wrong that a school makes money through educating the children of parents who have a work contract for a period of six months or a year.

He said that this money can then be used to support even refugees who have will in Malta for a longer period or on a more permanent basis.

“Sack him”

This is not the first time that Commissioner Carabez Caruana has faced controversy. In January of last year, Carabez Caruana was described as being sexist towards women and regarded as not being able to deal fairly and objectively with cases.

Equality Minister Helena Dalli has urged Speaker Anġlu Farrugia to discipline him while several women’s rights organisations said that Caruana Carabez should be sacked.

Read: Il-Gvern jikteb lill-Ispiker biex jittieħdu passi kontra l-Kummissarju għall-Edukazzjoni