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‘Jaiteh Was Put On A Plank Of Wood’: Gambian Worker Recounts What Happened Moments After Mellieħa Incident

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The court case looking into what happened on a Mellieħa construction site that led to a migrant worker being abandoned after getting injured has revealed what happened moments after the fall.

Lamin Jaiteh is believed to have fallen around two storeys while working on a construction site run by J & G Contractors Limited in Mellieħa. One of Jaiteh’s coworkers, a 27-year-old man from Gambia, testified in court about what happened right after he saw Jaiteh fall.

“He told the court about the contractor’s orders not to call an ambulance, to make Jaiteh stand up despite his very obvious agony, to put him onto a plank of wood, and the order to put him into the front seat of the van despite Jaiteh being in so much pain he just wanted to lie flat,” Caroline Galea, an activist working closely with Jaiteh, said.

Though there may have been up to 10 other workers on site at the time of Jaiteh’s accident, the fact that many of the workers were working illegally – without proper documentation – means most are afraid to testify or be involved in any legal proceedings out of fear they may be deported themselves.

“Most of the people on site were working illegally, and, according to this testimony, were told to leave after the incident happened,” Galea said. “A lot of men working on most Maltese constructions sites are working illegally. And Malta is a small place. Disloyalty to your bosses could reflect badly on you and your hire-ability on future projects. Witnesses are afraid to speak up.”

Galea praised the man for having the courage to testify in court.

“By exposing themselves or being exposed in court cases like this, there is always the fear and risk that they might be deported in the process. Back to the place they were first granted asylum – and often, the place where they cannot find work to survive,” she said.

“So watching him walk into court, I was filled with anxiety but also respect; awe. This was his first time walking into a courtroom. I knew that the defence was not going to go easy on this man. After all, the testimony he gave was damning.”

Glen Farrugia, of J & G Contractors Limited, has been remanded in custody after pleading not guilty to voluntarily causing his workers grievous bodily harm as well a raft of other charges related to the incident on 28th September.

He pleaded not guilty to a host of charges including voluntary grievous bodily harm, negligence that led to the injury as well as trying to destroy evidence. Farrugia was also charged with a number of employment and occupational health and safety law breaches.

Lovin Malta spoke to Jaiteh as he recovered in his Mosta home – watch it below.

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Johnathan is interested in the weird, wonderful, and sometimes dark realities late capitalist society forces upon us all. He also likes food and music. Follow him at @supreofficialmt on Instagram, and send him news, food and music stories at [email protected]

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