Moroccan citizens had complained about the discrimination and lack of rights they suffered under Sir Joe Bossano’s GSLP government – long before the GSD was elected to government. It was under the GSLP that they conducted 24-hour vigils outside No. 6 Convent Place for many months complaining about those issues.
Leader of the Opposition Keith Azopardi said: “The Government says it dealt with “historical injustices” it inherited in 2011. When the GSD were elected in 1996, those “historical injustices” were addressed and led to the end of the 24-hour vigil in recognition of the measures that were being taken. The late Dr. Bernard Linares was instrumental in addressing many of these issues and worked closely with the Moroccan Workers Association at the time. I know Bernard felt this was some of the work he was proudest of – especially in the field of education, children and family rights.
The fact that the GSLP Government dealt with a backlog of citizenship applications on being elected is welcome but it is not a magic fix to all issues. The cause of ensuring that our citizens of Moroccan extraction are dealt with equally is also not helped by presenting a false set of historical facts.
Much more needs to be done to break down the historic barriers of discrimination and inequality in our community. A GBC Viewpoint programme earlier in the year brought to the fore the squalid living conditions some of our citizens face feeling compelled to rent in the private sector. The inequality of access to housing opportunities is also historic and spans many administrations. A much more radical approach to this issue needs to be taken. Improvements have been made, but so much more remains to be done and it is important to acknowledge it and ensure there is a systematic programme and culture throughout the delivery of services to ensure equality, non-discrimination and the improvement of social conditions for all our citizens.”