A new definition for ‘vulnerable’

In terms of vulnerable members of our society, ' enormous steps in the right directions are being achieved through the introduction by the Education Department of innumerable courses offered in crafts, skills, professions and careers'

The vulnerable members of our society - 'those who have had a brush or two with the law' - need support
The vulnerable members of our society - 'those who have had a brush or two with the law' - need support

An article carried in L-Orizzont of 5th August, regarding hope for the future for those who have had a brush or two with the law and therefore have a so-called tainted conduct certificate as well as other vulnerable members of our society, deals with two praiseworthy new schemes which would help such persons to join the world of remunerative work.

To this end, enormous steps in the right directions are being achieved through the introduction by the Education Department of innumerable courses offered in crafts, skills, professions and careers. These courses are open to all who have even the slightest inclination to improve their lot in life.

Therefore, as the Minister of Education, Evarist Bartolo, rightly states, the aim of these new schemes is to further enhance and complement the work already being done to help those looking for work. The two schemes, the first of which is known as ‘The Vaste Programme’ and the second which is being handled by Jobsplus, have between them been allotted the sum of €17 million for this very purpose.

This laudable initiative reflects a new and higher consciousness which totally understands that unless even the most vulnerable are uplifted, we, as a nation and ultimately as global citizens simply cannot progress further because those in dire need of our help will surely negatively impact the very air we breathe through their silent cries of despair.

In order for these schemes to reap the best possible fruit, those responsible for its future structure must first of all be aware of the massive gap which exists in the services offered to persons suffering from what I term as unseen vulnerability. As things actually stand at the moment, a rather negative vicious circle of procedures is implemented and these procedures are very rarely successful and even more rarely work long-term. Discharging from hospital the vulnerable suffering from any kind of addiction, time and time again and this before they are not even remotely healed, will simply engender more and more relapses.

This is the actual picture at the moment. Instead of just ‘appearing’ to help these persons why not really come to their aid by creating a structure which will really help them by providing an adequately supervised community with all the necessary support and therapy, while at the same time providing productive work within the same community. There would also need to be a measure of ‘controlled’ freedom as this whole idea is not about locking people up but rather protecting them from those dangers society has imposed upon them and which they are too vulnerable to handle. Above all we must keep in mind that every failure in the life of a vulnerable person is a living reminder of what we, as members of our society, have failed, if not to do, certainly to achieve.

I feel that I must also draw attention to the fact that existing drug and alcohol rehabilitation programmes, both Church and State, should seriously review their selective and archaic policies regarding who is accepted into these programmes. Also worthy of serious mention is the fact that locally, those who for some reason do not make it to a programme, should not keep being discharged from hospital before they are cured.

The moral responsibility carried by those professionals who constantly do this repeatedly is enormous. This is why it is so crucial that the long-term, if not life, solution of the establishing of a supervised community with innovative ideas and structures is set up as soon as possible. Caring individuals interested in learning more details are welcome to connect.


Marina Lowell



Complaints and action

If Malta wants to win an Olympic Gold medal it should ask for “complaining” to be an Olympic sport. Catch a bus and you will hear how badly the driver is driving, how bad the road is, how bad…  is.

Buy a pastizz and you hear how under- or overcooked it is, the size, shape, filling. In fact everyone has an opinion on everything and everyone voices it, often loudly.

Of course there is nothing wrong with that but when it comes to the really important things like politics, the environment, human rights, etc it is not enough. My experience is that people happily complain to each other but never to the agencies or to the government and indeed I have been told time and time again, ‘wait it’ll change, don’t complain’ by so many people.

This passivity however is why things don’t change or at best change too slowly. Whoever wins the PN leadership, we know there will be an avalanche of complaints, yet how many people will not only join the party but be active in its sections to influence the leadership?

It seems to someone who loves this Island but has a degree of objectivity that the people are the problem all too often. We must go beyond the complaints written in newspaper comments sections or the occasional angry letter to effect change: we must act.

Today or tomorrow, think, if it makes you unhappy what are you going to do – not say – about it. As Churchill said “war war not jaw jaw”.


Lauren Salerno



Church disasters

A correspondent in a local newspaper ascribed “two miracles” to a church in Rabat which happened to be empty when a part of its roof collapsed during the night. This was, in fact, nothing more than a matter of chance. He seemed to forget the many occasions when devotees were crushed to death in church while they worshipped God.

Only recently on the feast of the Assumption in Madeira, 13 people were killed and 49 were injured when a giant oak tree fell on them during Mass while they were singing a hymn to the Virgin Mary.

In 2016 in Nigeria, 160 people were killed when a church roof collapsed on them while they were worshipping God.

The ultimate proof of the futility of faith took place in Portugal in 1755 when a catastrophic earthquake devastated Lisbon. Within 10 minutes, 23,000 buildings were destroyed, and 60,000 people perished. The earthquake began at 9.30 a.m. on All Saints’ Day, when nearly all pious citizens were attending Mass. Neither God nor the saints saved the 30 churches that were destroyed and the thousands of worshippers that perished.


John Guillaumier

St Julian’s