The Malta Independent 3 December 2021, Friday

UPDATED: Police questioning Maltese man on migrant worker allegedly dumped on pavement

Kevin Schembri Orland Tuesday, 28 September 2021, 13:37 Last update: about 3 months ago

The police are questioning a Maltese man in connection with investigations into an incident that allegedly saw a migrant worker dumped on the side of the road by his boss after having fallen from a height of around two storeys at a construction site.

The worker has been identified by police as a 32-year-old from Ghana, and he has been certified as suffering from grievous injuries.

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A post on Facebook by a Caroline Galea, a woman who found the worker lying on the pavement, read that the man “fell two storeys on a building site whilst at work. His boss drove him away telling him he'd take him to hospital, but instead dumped him on the side of the road. He drove a man who had just fallen down two storeys on HIS building site and disposed of him on the side of a road. Why? Because he is working without a permit. And the legal ramifications of that seem to outweigh ensuring the safety and care of a fellow human.”

“I am beyond disgusted. The scared, seriously injured man kept sobbing, saying he didn't want to die and didn't want to go to prison. He kept saying help over and over again. He was too scared to say who had done this to him. What the f*** is actually wrong with the world? Ps. Just to say, the police and ambulance reassured him and did their job very well.  I dread to think what will happen to this man now.”

In a short video posted to her Facebook profile, the man can be heard whimpering, saying that he is afraid of being sent to prison.

In a statement later on Tuesday, the police confirmed that the man had been found on the pavement in Triq Selmun in Mellieha, and identified the worker as a 32-year-old from Ghana.

They said that the man was calling for help because he was in pain, and he was taken to Mater Dei Hospital for treatment, where he was certified as suffering from grievous injuries.

The police confirmed that the man had allegedly been working in a construction site which is located in Triq Dun Frangisk Sciberras in Mellieha when he fell around two storey.

They said that a Maltese man is being questioned in connection with the investigation into the case.

Contacted by this newsroom, Galea said that she and a friend of hers were driving by and saw the man on the ground on the way to Selmun, with around three people around him. They stopped the car thinking he might have heat stroke in order to give him some water. First the people standing around the man told her the story the man had told them, which she said she then heard directly from the injured man who was in a lot of pain.

“I was told he was working on a site when, while looking for something, fell around two storeys and landed on his back. His boss said he would take him to hospital in the car, but instead dumped him on the side of the road. The man said that his boss told him he would get into trouble because he was working illegally.” Two police officers arrived on site, she said, telling the man that his health comes first and not to worry, but the man was saying he didn’t want to go to prison.” The ambulance came and took the man to hospital,” she said.

In a reaction issued to the incident, the Malta Employers’ Association condemned without reservation the incident.

The Association stated that such abusive actions are unacceptable in a civilised society. It appealed to the police to conduct the necessary investigations to establish what happened and to bring anyone responsible to justice.

The Malta Chamber of Commerce condemned "the vile lack of humanity." It said that it has always advocated fair and equal treatment of all workers regardless of nationality across all sectors of the economy. It called on all relevant stakeholders and authorities to immediately carve out a strategy to tackle this issue in a holistic manner.

The General Workers' Union also condemned the incident. "This is not the way workers should be treated." It said that it is ready to offer all possible assistance to the worker and expects whoever did this to be charged in court.

PN leader Bernard Grech meanwhile expressed his shock at the incident.

"Like the thousands who saw the photos of a person thrown to the side of the street, after an incident which reportedly took place at his place of employment, I am shocked. Every person has a value that supersedes the price of the work they do," Grech said.

"Money generation should not come at the cost of humanity. I want to express my solidarity with this person, and many others who are falling victim to precarious employment, that risks their lives," he added.

Prime Minister Robert Abela also condemned the incident in a speech later on Tuesday, saying that such attitudes cannot be tolerated in any circumstances.

 

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