Coleiro Preca offers Presidency’s support to help migrants in Gozo

President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca meets Apostolic Nuncio Mgr Aldo Cavalli

Apostolic Nuncio Aldo Cavalli and Maltese President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca (Photo: Clifton Fenech/DOI)
Apostolic Nuncio Aldo Cavalli and Maltese President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca (Photo: Clifton Fenech/DOI)

President of the Republic Marie Louise Coleiro Preca has expressed concern over migrant workers in Gozitan agriculture, whom she says have “nobody to care for them”.

She expressed this concern during a meeting with Apostolic Nuncio Mgr Aldo Cavalli, saying she had brought up the issue with Gozo Bishop Mario Grech.

"The number of asylum seekers in Gozo appears to be increasing and the Gozo Bishop confirmed he had commissioned a report to have a better understanding of the situation,” Coleiro Preca said.

“Migrants are seeking Gozo for work and we should know who is really taking care of their needs. There are no open centres or shelters to give them the necessary support.”

She expressed her wish to further the collaboration with the Gozo diocese in any way that the Presidency could help.

Urging the Apostolic Nuncio that the Church, even at EU level, must voice Malta's call for support, Coleiro Preca said both the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UNHCR have acknowledged Malta's reality as "a special case".

"With reportedly hundreds of thousands waiting to flee countries of conflict, now is the time to prepare ourselves. IOM and UNHCR are bringing forward our case and the Church can help us too."

Acknowledging the different realities that existed, Mgr Cavalli said the Church and the State had to collaborate together "because these are poor men, poor women and poor children who need us".

"It is indeed a reality that thousands are moving to different countries... Thousands to Italy and thousands to Bulgaria seeking work. What can we do? The European Union will discuss the matter in June and I hope concrete solutions are found," the Apostolic Nuncio said.

Coleiro Preca said she look forward to work with the Church on a number of issues of social dimension. 

"The Church has always been a pioneer in supporting vulnerable groups and I would like to engage with the Church to further the longstanding cooperation that has always been there with the Presidency," she said.