This is how we know when the election will be
Or rather, this is how we know that there won’t be an early general election, and that it will be after 31 October next year.
The government has given those refugees who have temporary protection under the law until that date to obtain documents from their country of origin and an employment licence from the government agency, JobsPlus. They are then to take these documents to Joe Vella Bonnici’s Identity Malta, seat of this government’s corruption and headquarters of the sale of citizenship with Henley & Partners, and apply for a residence permit. Of course, if they have €650,000, the matter can be sorted easily, but they don’t. There will be no temporary protection status after 31 October next year, so all those without a residence permit granted by Joe Vella Bonnici’s outfit will be kicked out of the country despite being categorised as ‘non-returnable’ (like something bought in a shop).
A sizeable number of organisations who work with refugees and the disenfranchised, including the very respectable Jesuit Refugee Service and SOS Malta, have met with the government, represented by the Minister for the Interior, and argued that these people have been put in an impossible situation. They come from countries which refuse to supply documents to those who have fled, or which are unable to supply documents because of civil strife, war and chaos. The government has ignored the representations made by these civilised organisations, and will press ahead regardless (because it is a listening government).
The groups which petitioned the government include one or two which supported its election African immigrants whose temporary status is not going to be renewed beyond 31 October 2017, I thought – after the initial rush of pity for the destitute being flung into the unknown – that the decision is cynical and the date has been chosen deliberately. And those human lives are being used as a campaign tactic to elect Joseph Trump.
On 31 October next year, they’re going to slam down on desperate African immigrants, withdraw their temporary protection because they have failed to obtain documents which are impossible to obtain, and begin rounding them up and kicking them out, though God alone knows at this stage what they plan to do with those categorised as ‘non-returnable’. Fling them into concentration camps, no doubt, like those we had some years ago, which were so unspeakable that journalists were not allowed anywhere near them.
This will be done in a shower of publicity, with photographs, news stories and Joseph Trump acting the anti-immigrant hard man who saves Malta from Africans. Yes, the timing is deliberate: African migrants will be rounded up as Malta moves into election mode.
Don’t be surprised: these are the people who violated human rights law by preparing to push back newly-arrived immigrants without allowing them to apply for asylum. It was one of their first acts of government, in the summer of 2013. You might recall those press photographs of Joseph Trump and Manuel Mallia standing side by side like a couple of bloated and singularly unappealing Benito Mussolinis, while a small army of Maltese lawyers petitioned the Courts of Justice in Malta and then the European Court of Human Rights, which issued an injunction against the government of Malta and saved those people from Muscat’s and Mallia’s savage nastiness.
At the next general election, however, one thing will be different. The gay-rights campaigners who flocked behind Muscat to get themselves samesex marriage now have what they wanted. This time, they should do the decent thing and remember that there are other minorities, and vote to protect them from the viciousness of those who will do them harm. And while doing so, they should bear in mind that real liberals don’t violate human rights with pushbacks. But Trump-minded, far-right politicians weakly disguised as ‘liberals’ do. Unfortunately, when the time comes to vote, it will be already too late for the Africans who have been rounded up and booted out, cannon fodder and lives used up to gain votes for Joseph Trump and Melania Mallia.