The Malta Independent 20 October 2020, Tuesday

Social workers say they ‘cannot work’ with Alfred Grixti

Saturday, 11 April 2020, 13:34 Last update: about 7 months ago

Social workers said they cannot work with a person who “indicates a sentiment which is in complete contradiction to the Foundation vision of the organisation he heads,” they said in a statement.

It was referring to Alfred Grixti, head of the Foundation for Social Welfare Services, who has said that “boats carrying refugees should be sunk”, the Maltese Association of Social Worker said.

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The pandemic situation is challenging everybody and indicating that it has no barriers. Everybody is susceptible. The pandemic is creating new vulnerable groups for economic, health, social and other reasons, the statement said.

At the same time, the members of the world’s societies who started off as more vulnerable have had their suffering exacerbated. These include persons escaping intolerable situations in their countries. These are members of society who, in this difficult moment, also need our help.

“It is unacceptable that the Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation for Social Welfare Services, 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,” the association said.

This indicates a sentiment which is in complete contradiction to the Foundation vision of the organisation he heads, which states, “The Foundation for Social Welfare Services is a catalyst for change and development in the social welfare sector in Malta, consistent with the real and emerging needs of children, families and the community in order to avoid social exclusion”.

The Foundation "cannot work" towards its vision if it is led by a person who does not believe in it, the social workers said. The association urged the authorities to ensure that the foundation, which is a lifeline for so many vulnerable individuals and within which so many social workers are an invaluable presence for service users, is allowed to carry on with its mission by having, at its helm, persons whose views are consistent with its vision. Unfortunately, Mr Alfred Grixti has indicated clearly that his are not, the association said.

Clarifying his comments, Grixti said he was not referring to boats carrying migrants but to empty NGO boats.

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