Agreement with Libya and return of irregular immigrants to their country leads to drop in arrivals
The Ministry for Home Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement Byron Camilleri said that the arrivals of irregular immigrants to Malta this year went down by 81% and 73% when compared with 2019 and 2020.
Minister Camilleri was speaking during the debate by the House of Representatives on the financial estimates of his ministry. He said this occurred thanks to the co-operation of the Libyan coastguards according to an agreement signed with the Libyan Government for human traffickers to be stopped in Libya itself. He said that this is all a result of Malta sending a number of immigrants back to their country who do not qualify for asylum. This, he pointed out, is reflected in the number of arrivals by sea from certain countries which have gone down drastically.
When speaking about the correctional services, the Minister said that over the last two years, professionals have entered the sector who are helping with the rehabilitation of prisoners. He said that for the first them there will be a centre which will accommodate 140 prisoners who are being rehabilitated. Talks are being held about the operation of this centre. Electronic tagging will also be introduced so that that prison will require less security.
He said that in the first three months since it has been set up, the Agency for Crime Victims has helped 300 victims and will now also offer its services to the community in various localities.
Minister Camilleri spoke about the considerable investment in Human Resources and technology in the disciplinary forces and the increase in their rights, salaries and improved working conditions.
The Parliamentary Secretary within the same Ministry Alex Muscat said that the report of the Commission and European Parliament mentioned Malta as a model country when it comes to the procedures used and the rigorous due diligence of applicants who make Malta their permanent residence. He said that the European Commission has accepted in writing that it is legally difficult to decide about citizenship and residence in European countries. He said that the same report proposes for migration to Europe to be regulated.
Alex Muscat also said that Malta has replied to the EC about new residence programmes and that there are open discussions about the future. He expressed his satisfaction that the Opposition is now agreeing with the residence programme.
The PN spokesperson for Home Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement, Beppe Fenech Adami said that the Police Force is demoralised and is lacking in Human Resources. He said that in one year and eight months, 311 people had resigned from the Forces and only 109 new recruits had joined.
He said that under a PN Government the impunity in the country will stop and justice will be served with those who were discriminated against.
Dr Fenech Adami said that the Government is being miserly with the Police and spent half a million Euro less on the payment of overtime and extra duties. He criticised the closure of certain Police stations and said that in the first eight months of this year there were 2,977 thefts.
He alleged that in prison there is a culture of cruelty and pointed out that 13 people had lost their lives there in the last two years.
The PN MP said that the prison was crowded and that reforms are required although there are people who will never reform themselves. He said that foreign prisoners should be sent back to their countries.
Dr Fenech Adami said that a PN Government will see that justice is served with those who were passed over when it came to promotions within the armed forces. He said that information should be given about immigrants who were sent back to their country.
PN MP Jason Azzopardi said that the Opposition is in favour of a residence programme however he asked what the Maltese Government had replied to the EC after it advised them that it would open legal proceedings against Malta about this programme.