More police are needed on Malta’s streets to tackle residents’ migration-related concerns, Labour MP Robert Abela has said.
“As soon as police presence in Marsa increased, residents started to feel less uncomfortable at the concentration of migrants in the area,” Abela said in an interview with It-Torċa. “However, not enough is happening in this regard around the country.”
Abela said the government must “strike a balance” between showing solidarity to migrants in need and respecting Maltese citizens but warned such discussions are tough because of the risk of getting branded as a racist.
“I am worried at the discomfort felt by Maltese people at the recent riots at the Ħal Far open centre and more so, at the situation in the streets,” he said. “I have received many detailed emails from residents of Marsa, Ħamrun and other localities who have expressed real concerns that cannot be ignored. If we don’t admit that there are Maltese people who are feeling uncomfortable and unsafe, we will be pulling wool over our eyes.”
While he advocated the idea of a cosmopolitan Malta, Abela argued that migrants must adapt to Maltese culture.
“We have an easygoing culture and it is easy to live alongside Maltese people, but people with extreme cultures are coming here who are getting drunk and doing their business in the streets,” he said. “This is making Maltese people feel like prisoners in their homes, which is unacceptable, more so seeing as we are hospitalising these people in our country. There must be a balance between showing solidarity and safeguarding Maltese people, and as a Maltese MP, my utmost priority is the Maltese people and their needs.”