“Our message was misunderstood but our Carnival float will have to stay behind”
Less than a month away from Carnival, a satirical Carnival float has courted controversy. The authorities want the float to be changed having found it offensive while the float owners have defended the idea, which they say was misunderstood.
Exactly one month before Carnival season begins, controversy erupted because of a float which features Archbishop Charles Scicluna and St. Joseph Home, clearly implicating the cases of abuse that occurred at this house, years ago.
Minister for Arts, José Herrera, said that he immediately intervened and took legal advice. Minister Herrera said that although the Government had already demonstrated its personal commitment to freedom of artistic expression, however, he feels that the float is insensitive to the Archbishop and to St. Joseph’s Home.
Rayvin Galea, who is one of the float builders, told TVM that the public had misunderstood the message. Mr Galea explained that the children who feature on the float do not refer to children at St. Joseph’s Home but to babies born through the process of IVF.
‘The reference to St. Joseph Home is not meant to be injurious. On the contrary, it is to do justice with those residents who previously lived there, and who suffered abuse, and who still have not seen justice. ”
He said that from legal advice sought, the float was not in violation of an law.
“I don’t see why we are being censored, when the law clearly states that I can do such things.”
Galea explained that the float demonstrated a number of themes including same sex marriage, sperm donation and surrogacy.
“Sour grapes, as the expression goes.”
His brother Etienne Galea, said that they had been working on the float for two months and had the approval of Festivals Malta.
”The only thing they told us, which was not in writing, is if we could remove the words St. Joseph Home.”
The float appears not to have gone down well with the directors of St. Joseph’s Home. The Provincial of the Missionary Society of St. Paul, Fr Louis Mallia, said the congregation was ready to take legal action if the float took part in Carnival. Fr Mallia said that the 17 boys at the home, live in an environment of affection.
‘We have a hugely beautiful place. Obviously we are doing our best possible so that children who have a problems at home can be loved and we keep them here in the best possible environment. ”
Archbishop Charles Scicluna said, that while the satire did not bother him, this float was unworthy of a national event which was attended by many children.
TVM is informed that officials from Festivals Malta are insisting that the float did not reflect the sketch they approved. It is understood that there are ongoing talks between both sides but that the float as is, can’t take part in Carnival next month to challenge because it would put a dampener on things.