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What follows is an excerpt from a Times of Malta report published at around 3pm on Friday. My thoughts follow below the excerpt (marked in italics). Feel free to skip straight to the commentary if you’ve already read the piece.


‘Difficult decision which could have been taken earlier’ – PM on Kusi Dismark

‘Like most people, I strongly felt for his humanitarian needs,’ Abela says

Robert Abela said it was a difficult decision to demand Kusi Dismark’s return to Ghana and admitted that a decision on his status could have been taken earlier.

“Like most people, I strongly felt for his humanitarian needs, and it’s a difficult decision when you come to it because people like him always have a tragic story behind them,” he said.

“Could we have come to that decision earlier? Yes, but we weren’t sleeping on these situations either.”

The Prime Minister was fielding reporters’ questions as Kusi was being flown to Ghana on Friday.


Abela said every migrant has a tragic story behind them – otherwise, they would not attempt the perilous crossing – but it would be dangerous for the country to allow all of them to stay for that reason only, or simply because they had been in the country for a long time.

“You have a tragic human story if you’ve decided to leave Libya with 40 people on a boat that fits only 10, and then make a 200 nautical mile crossing amid storms and the risk of shipwreck,” he said.

“All of them have a tragic story, but if we had to decide who stays and works in the country based on whether they have a tragic story, then we would be completely opening up our doors with no return policies.

“We must observe the rules, and in doing that, we have always treated people with dignity.”


Shortly afterwards Abela told reporters Kusi’s was not a one-off case – it was part of an ongoing process through which the authorities identify people living irregularly in Malta.

Asked why Kusi could not have been allowed to live and work in Malta when the country needed so many workers anyway, Abela said that would be a “dangerous” policy.

The country’s economic growth did need foreign workers, but only in certain sectors.

“This country cannot welcome every foreigner who decides to come here. We welcome those who have skills that our employment market needs,” he said.

“This surely cannot be a free-for-all situation.”

Abela also stressed the government never left migrants in Malta’s search and rescue zone to die at sea and always rescued them and treated them with respect.

In September 2022, a four-year-old migrant girl – Loujin Ahmed Nasif – allegedly died of thirst while stranded on a boat in Malta’s search and rescue zone – three days after the Maltese authorities were allegedly contacted to save the migrants.

Asked about Loujin and how her story contrasts with images seen earlier this week of prominent politicians welcoming and embracing three-year-old Palestinian girl Selah Hajras, who was brought to Malta for urgent medical help after having been injured in Gaza, Abela said the cases do not compare.

It was not the responsibility of the Maltese authorities to save Loujin, but of “another EU state”, he said. Meanwhile, the government will continue to collaborate with the Palestinian ambassador to bring over more children from Gaza for medical help.


The world’s most flexible bodybuilder is at it again – what with all these mental gymnastics as of late, our prime minister ought to be an undefeated chess champion. Instead, he selflessly dedicates his time towards gaslighting the entire population as one tragedy after the other unfolds in front of our eyes.

Barely two hours before Robert Abela made the incoherent statements outlined in the excerpt above – more on that later – the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) held a press conference in which they briefly described a partially unsuccessful rescue mission. According to the initial news report, a boat carrying at least 34 people in Malta’s territorial waters capsized during the AFM’s rescue attempt.

The AFM’s deputy commander – Edric Zahra, who was fast-tracked to his post shortly after a bitter succession battle in June 2022 – told reporters that during the rescue, the refugees aboard the boat moved to one side of the boat, causing it to tip over. So far, it seems that at least five people lost their lives.

As I explained in a column I published earlier today, the Labour government’s track record with practically every possible aspect of the phenomenon of migration – be it the way migrant crossings are handled, the choices the government makes in terms of what infrastructure to invest in, and the way people are treated as they attempt to integrate into Maltese society – is horrendous. There are no ifs or buts; it is inexcusable beyond any reasonable doubt.

With that in mind, deconstructing Abela’s amateurish attempt at defending his government’s track record on this issue earlier on Friday becomes a cakewalk.

The prime minister says that the decision to send Kusi Dismark back to his country of origin – after Dismark, much like many other people in the country, spent 13 years living in uncertainty as the legislative system around third-country nationals kept lurching unsteadily from one policy to another – was ‘difficult’ and that it could have been taken sooner.

If that is the case, then how come Malta’s International Protection Agency deliberately delays the applications of potentially successful asylum seekers while prioritising deportations? More importantly, why does the government steadfastly refuse to acknowledge the migrant communities’ long-standing calls for the Specific Residence Authorisation system to be reinstated?

This misleading statement is framed as some sort of admission along the lines of ‘we could have done better’, especially with the prime minister’s scripted emphasis on how he felt for Dismark’s humanitarian needs and, in general, the ‘tragic stories’ of migrants who make their way to Malta using one of the deadliest crossing routes on the planet.

If that is the case, then why does Malta’s detention centre regime remain one of the most disgusting things I have ever laid my eyes on?

Ah, but of course. We cannot allow a free-for-all, he tells us. We must cater for our labour market’s needs and therefore solely focus on importing the kind of slaves we need rather than, God forbid, doing anything as insane as letting something as trifling as people’s ‘tragic stories’ get in the way of more important things like making a buck.

And then, a flat-out lie: the prime minister claims that we’ve never allowed anyone to die out at sea in Malta’s Search and Rescue Zone and that we’ve always rescued people and that we’ve always treated them with respect. Correctly, the reporter points out that this was not the case in at least one very recent instance in which Loujin Ahmed Nasif, a four-year-old, died of thirst while the AFM blew raspberries at our international obligations to save lives at sea.

In fact, I’d say that the most surprising thing about the rescue attempt from today was that it was actually made, to begin with. Then again, given that Abela likes to govern strictly according to what he thinks the public thinks of him, it is no surprise that such a rescue attempt would have been made on the same day he was facing massive public backlash for deporting the most affable Ghanaian to ever grace a local headline.

The way Loujin’s life was disregarded contrasted starkly with how politicians lined up to slobber all over a terrified three year old Palestinian girl named Selah Hajras, did it not? The reporter who phrased the follow-up did so far more politely, but you get the gist of it. And how did Abela react to this pointed observation?

By shifting blame to another EU member state, of course, arguing that it was not the Maltese government’s responsibility.

Truly, one must be a brain-dead, rotten village lawyer to think of border liability when speaking about the death of one child and then act all magnanimous for doing nothing except show up for the photo-op when someone else saves the life of another.

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