Facts the public has a right to know – Gozo Branch of MRC
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Etienne Micallef – ABO Ex committee members Gozo Branch – Malta Red Cross: The Gozo Branch has been very active and always extended a helping hand to all people that needed its services, including the numerous government entities. Through the years we have embarked and successfully completed several programs and projects such as EU programs and exchanges visits, foreign missions, courses, training development, community based programs such as lifeguarding, combat medic program etc. Patient transports, attendance at the public events and activities in schools was the norm.
The Malta Red Cross Gozo Branch has often been the driving force of the MRC. In fact, other Malta Red Cross branches had been offered EMT-B and SART training freely from Gozo Branch instructors. The Gozo Branch also lent two ambulances to a branch in Malta to help it start its operations. The Gozo Branch always extended its help when requested, such as doing patient transports and ambulance services in Malta when other Maltese branches could not do them. Members of Gozo Branch attended at the numerous VIP events / visits in Malta such as the Pope`s visit, Commonwealth meetings etc. The Malta Red Cross Gozo branch always assisted when illegal immigrants disembarked in Gozo, even in the middle of the night.
Unfortunately notwithstanding all this we have proof that show that the recently appointed secretary general, a medical student, for his own personal reasons wants to close the Gozo branch as he unjustifiably has labelled the Gozo branch as an embarrassment to the society.
In view of the present circumstances we feel that we should publish facts, which the public has a right to know:-
Red cross Malta and a nucleus of its officials, tried to undermine to Gozo Branch in the following abusive manner:-
1. Members of the Gozo branch were taunted, and shouted at while they were carrying out training to AFM personnel.
2. The AGM decision to suspend the Gozo branch without any notice clearly shows that it is the Maltese part acting against Gozo. This goes against the principle of unity, one of the fundamental principles of the RCRC movement.
3. Without any notice, they removed the secondment of a government employee attached to the Gozo Branch. Up to date reasons why his removal was done is not yet clarified. This meant that several programs being offered to the government such as AFM, talks in schools and the ministry for Gozo had to stop. This jeopardised the image, reputation and operations of the Malta Red Cross Gozo Branch.
4. Putting Red Cross Gozo Branch officials in the bad light, spreading false rumours and accusing them as liars.
5. Twisting facts so as to depict that the Gozo branch operation during the fireworks factory incident was an illegal operation that endangered people and volunteers lives. When the incident was discussed during a national board meeting, the committee did want to see or hear evidence that could have clarified the outstanding matter. A report full of false accusations and untrue facts was finalized and circulated without consultation with the Gozo Branch.
6. Stopping all training taking place in Gozo, saying that the courses held in Gozo by Gozitian instructors are no longer valid. Gozo Branch instructors regularly held training which was up to that date acknowledged by government bodies.
7. MRC head office lately never replied back to our emails, not even acceded to our invitation to come to the Gozo Branch premises. An invitation for a certificate presentation ceremony preceded by the ministry for Gozo held a few weeks back was never acknowledged. Same applies to the rest of the managing board.
8. Meeting for volunteers had to be done in a hotel – not a good way how to spend donors money. In this meeting the secretary general and the president tried to put in a bad light the Gozo Branch committee in front of its volunteers. Gozo members were labelled at this meeting as "lost tribes from Africa". For sure this is against all the humanitarian principles of the RCRC movement.
9. Slander campaign against volunteers and members – saying that an affidavit by 2 committee members were false; hinting that money was misappropriated.
10. Ethical issues. Members of MRC did resort to all sorts of pressure to make it almost impossible for a red cross medical team to go to bring back an injured Maltese national from Cambodia. In order to reach a compromise, 2 branch nominees for the national board had to have their candidature withdrawn. This confirms the facts that Gozitian members cannot and are unwelcome at high ranking positions in MRC
11. Lately two members in particular were not receiving the notice of the national board meetings in ample time or not at all, ie they are receiving the notice hours before said meetings if received. Decisions and minutes of the national board not always reflected what was actually discussed.
12. Update of the statute: Proposals to amend the statute were never discussed. Amendments were done in such a way in order to put the Gozo branch of the Red Cross, having the greatest number of volunteers, at a great disadvantage, by antidemocratically removing its majority. The statute was to be amended in an improper way, with mandatory procedural regulations being totally disregarded.
13. There was no support from the MRC administration to the Gozo Branch. The Government of Malta gives the Red Cross a lump sum on a yearly basis. Although none of these funds come to Gozo Branch, the latter was always operational when asked.
14. On its own, the Gozo Branch managed to organise and carry out lifeguard services. Instead of being applauded the Gozo branch got taunted for this. However the Gozo Branch was proud to say that, this year alone, its lifeguards assisted on over 500 persons in Comino and Ramla.
15. National board member nominations: Nominations from Gozo volunteers had been refused for the last AGM, even though some people that stood out for election were with the society for a number of years, and have been invited for previous AGMs. Electoral commissioner not appointed during the last AGM. Refusal letters sent to Gozitan nominees were signed by secretary general not electoral commissioner.
16. Breaking the statute of the Malta Red Cross, such as denying the voting rights of the Gozitian volunteers. The national board decided to suspend the Gozitian volunteers from attending any voting at the AGM. Efforts to enter into discussions to solve this problem were undertaken even to the last minute but all efforts were in vain since the Maltese side did not accept any proposals that could have led to a solution.
ABO Ex committee members Gozo Branch – Malta Red Cross
c.c. Prime Minister, Ministry for Gozo, Dr Chris Said Parliamentary secretary for public dialogue, Gozo NGO association, Dr K. Mompalao legal advisor and ex committee members.