The Dean of the Faculty for Social Wellbeing at the University of Malta, Prof. Andrew Azzopardi, issued a statement to express his regret for the comments published on Facebook by the CEO for the Foundation for Social Welfare Services (FSWS) with regards to the destruction of boats carrying immigrants.
This came after the Government took the decision this week to ban all incoming boats with migrants, as it said that it must use all its resources to maintain the outbreak of coronavirus in the Maltese Islands.
Prof. Azzopardi said that Grixti in his capacity as a leader in the social sector is expected to maintain a decorous attitude on migration and all other social issues.
“It is completely unbecoming that as the head of the social welfare services in Malta he expresses what can be perceived as anti-migratory statements in such a crude and impervious way,” stated Prof. Andrew Azzopardi.
The Dean of the Faculty for Social Wellbeing urged Alfred Grixti to dig deep into his stash of humanity and exercise the nuance and kindness befitting to anyone much least someone in his position.
MASW and MAP call for Grixti’s resignation
The Malta Association of Social Workers (MASW) expressed similar sentiments and said that it is unacceptable that the CEO of the state agency which is charged with providing its services to the most vulnerable, expresses his opinion that the boats carrying these refugees should be sunk. According to the association, “this indicates a sentiment which is in complete contradiction to the Foundation vision of the organisation he heads,” which states that it is a catalyst for change and development in the social welfare sector, pertaining to the needs of the public, so as to avoid social exclusion.
MASWS was firm when saying that the Foundation cannot work towards its vision if it is being led by someone who has different beliefs. The association urged the authorities to ensure that the Foundation have at its helm someone whose views are consistent with its vision, as opposed to Mr Alfred Grixti.
The Malta Association of Psychiatry echoed the social workers’ association message when saying that Grixti’s position is untenable. It agreed with MASW that the views he expressed on social media are incompatible with his office.
“Mr Grixti showed a complete lack of understanding, knowledge and maturity in his Facebook post regarding migrant rescue operations. His words were irresponsible at best, insensitive and serve only to continue to disintegrate the social fabric so essential at this difficult time. Mr Grixti, we call for your resignation.”
Repubblika urges authorities to take action
Meanwhile, NGO Repubblika wrote to the Head of the Hate Crime and Speech Unit, saying that Grixti’s comments incite hatred and probably come from a place of hatred. It asked him to take action against Mr Grixti so that he may be investigated, as Repubblika deemed it inadequate of him to express such views, particularly in his position as a government representative.
Repubblika President Prof. Vicki Ann Cremona also wrote to Joe Gerada, the President of the Foundation for Social Services, copying Minister Michael Falzon. Her letter said that Grixti’s comments were opposite to the vision upheld by the Foundation.
It urged Gerada to take action against Grixti so that the Foundation may serve those most vulnerable.