A Maltese politician has apologised for “possibly offending” migrants after he described an open centre as Planet Of The Apes.
Claudio Grech, the Nationalist Party’s Shadow Minister for Family and Social Policy, was letting loose on the topic of migrants in areas like Marsa while on the NET TV programme 10q.
While discussing the day-to-day situation in the area, Grech summoned the visuals of a classic dystopian film to really drive his point home.
“Go to the Open Centre at Marsa, and you’ll think that you are in The Planet of the Apes,” he said with a serious look. “That’s where you think you are. Now, how can you treat people like that…. now that they are here?”
Claudio Grech has since issued an apology about his over-the-top comparison… where he ended up doubling down on his initial comments
Taking to Facebook this morning, Grech posted a lengthy apology, saying he regrets “possibly offending” people, but emphasised how parts of localities like Marsa looked like they were from a “film based on dejection”.
“Reference is being made to media reports on my intervention during the NET TV programme 10q aired on Thursday. I unreservedly apologise for the unfortunate use of words which might have led to misinterpretation and, in the process, possibly offended people, in view of it being taken out of context, given that on air it could have been contextualised fully.”
“It is a known fact, acknowledged by many, that the poor living conditions set out in the scenes in the movie ‘Planet of the Apes’ were by far better than those in which both residents and migrants in Marsa and Ħamrun are today living in.”
“My point here is simple and straightforward. We cannot keep ignoring the plight of the people in these areas. If anyone goes to the Marsa harbour area, the Albert Town area and the Marsa Open Centre, they can easily think to be thrown into a film based on dejection, set in a rundown area with several idle people loitering about.”
“The people who still live in the Open Centre face the most inhuman living conditions possible, clearly pushing them to find alternative means of residence, only to be exploited once again by ruthless landlords. This is not the cosmopolitan Malta I believe we should be building. This is not the compassion we so frequently like to speak about. I ask where the solidarity we boast about as a nation, is in this situation.”
“We cannot block the flow of immigration, anywhere it is coming from; not least because we are an EU Member State. The only thing we should be doing is to acknowledge the challenges and work towards solutions that will open up new opportunities, but always remaining true to our basic human values, if we still have any left.”
During the rest of the discussion on the NET TV programme, Claudio continued to say that immigration brings about “lots of social problems”
However, he did clarify that it is not about the colour of one’s skin, but about one’s actions.
He then noted how many migrants in the Marsa area do nothing all day, drink alcohol, sleep in a room that isn’t good enough for animals, and that the elderly in Marsa are scared to leave their house now.