GWU: 94% of prison warders want Alex Dalli back

General Workers Union says petition calling for currently suspended prison director Alex Dalli to return to his post has garnered 390 signatures

Col. Alex Dalli
Col. Alex Dalli

94% of prisoner warders at the Corradino Correctional Facility (CCF) have signed a petition calling for currently suspended prison director Alex Dalli to return to his post.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday afternoon, the General Workers’ Union said 390 signatures have been collected.

"The agency workers are publicly acknowledging the great progress achieved under Dalli's leadership. The agency today has clear structures, order and sufficient resources to carry out its duties effectively," it said.

Last week Alex Dalli suspended himself from the post after 35-year-old Arun Jose, an Indian national working in Malta, became the 14th prison death in three years. 

In its statement, the GWU said workers and their families have suffered from intimidation.

"In three-and-a-half years, the workers and Colonel Dalli managed to transform the facility from a place where drugs were the order of the day, to a place devoid of drugs and violence, thus facilitating inmate rehabilitation," it said.

The union’s statement contrasts with the information passed on by prison sources who said they are afraid of being singled for not signing the petition.

“They are telling us that Alex Dalli will be reinstated into his role, and so some are fearing retaliation for not signing it,” one source said. “How can you not sign, knowing the kind of things he is capable of?”

MaltaToday reached out to the Home Affairs ministry for an explanation on the matter, with questions on whether the minister feels it appropriate for such a petition to be disseminated, whether it will be halted, and whether Dalli will be reinstated should the petition garner enough signatures.

“The Ministry is only aware that there are workers that are exercising their right of signing a petition. However, decisions will be taken in the best interest of the Corrective Services Agency,” the reply read.

Prison sources who spoke to this newspaper said there are currently two petitions being passed around in prison – one for inmates, and one for prison guards.

Prison sources told MaltaToday that inmates in divisions 4, 5, 13 and 17 refused to sign the petition, but a few hardened inmates are believed to be supporting Dalli’s reinstatement – among them Leli Camilleri ‘il-Bully’, Alfred Bugeja ‘il-Porporina’, and Pierre Cremona ‘is-Cigar’, who were also said to have disseminated the petition handed to them by prison warders.