Jaiteh Lamin’s desperate journey in Malta led him to reach out to the man who would later dump his injured body on the side of a road through promises of a work permit in the country.
Caroline Galea, the woman who thrust the shocking incident to the top of the national agenda, visited Lamin in hospital once again, where he remains in recovery following his two-storey fall.
She met two of his family members, his uncle Ebrima Sillah and his nephew Ebrima Jabbie, to share Lamin’s and their own experiences in Malta.
“They told me that Jaiteh is an exceptional tailor but spent over a year trying to find work in Italy. After finding work in Malta Jaiteh’s employer refused to pay him for €600 worth of work,” she said.
“In his desperation, he then found work with Glen [Farrugia] who allegedly repeatedly agreed to set up a work permit for him (which never materialised).”
On 28th September, Lamin fell from a two-storey height from a construction site he was working on. Told by his boss that he’d be taken to hospital, he was instead discarded on a pavement, likely because he was working without a permit. He was later found by passersby, who alerted authorities.
Glen Farrugia of J&G Contractors Limited has been charged with 20 offences, ranging from criminal offences to breaches of health and safety regulations and employment law.
However, the men detailed how the issues they face range far wider than isolated incidents.
“Sillah and Jabbie also told me how they are continuously looked down on in Malta, how people say nasty things in Maltese thinking they cannot understand, referring to them as thieves and other nasty comments and how hard Jabbie, in particular, has tried to connect with the Maltese community to become accepted,” Galea said.
“I hope that people like Jaiteh are given a chance to be heard – and heard properly – by the people of Malta. The Maltese people have a huge capacity for being generous, but we are suffering from systemic failures which obviously are resulting in some of the worst possible behaviour.”
A fundraising initiative has been set up to help support Lamin following the incident.
Construction site safety is a long-standing issue in Malta with a multitude of injuries, mostly involving foreign workers, reported each year.
Despite the industry’s death toll, on-site safety remains scarce with little to no enforcement carried out by local regulatory agencies.
Lovin Malta recently launched its Planning Web project which is seeking to add an element of transparency to Malta’s construction industry. In addition to finding the latest news and analysis about the industry, you call also use the platform to report any illegal works or construction-related issues.