The Archbishop of Malta leads by example

Malta Today on Sunday carried out a story that the Marsa Holy Trinity Band Club had adopted “a members only” policy that however did not apply to Maltese people not members to the club.

However, MaltaToday knows of at least one case when a black person, who happens to be Maltese, was refused entry on the basis of a members-only policy.

Ahmed Bugre, a black Maltese national since 1990, director of the Foundation for Shelter and Support to Migrants (FSM), and a practising lawyer and pastor, was refused entry to the club last July.

He recounts, “I was meeting two friends in Marsa and I decided to go have a coffee in the square. I did not want to go to another shop as I didn’t feel that the appropriate hygienic standards were met, and so I decided to go to this band club. As soon as I walked in I could feel their eyes looking at me, and I knew exactly what was going to happen… I was so upset that I didn’t even say anything. I know that if I had quarrelled with them, it would make it even harder for the next dark-skinned individual who unsuspectingly walked in.”

It appears that the individuals responsible for running the bar that day asked Bugre and his friends to leave the premises because the place was only for members.

Band club President Clinton Sammut when contacted had denied the existence of a members, insisting the premises was “open to all”.

Mons. Charles J, Scicluna was scheduled to celebrate mass at the Marsa parish church yesterday evening and asked Bugre to join him. After the mass, the Archbishop and Bugre, accompanied by the parish priest went Mons. Carmelo Aquilina, went over to the Holy Trinity band club where they met committee members.

In comments to the media the Archbishop said the meeting helped bring together different parts of society, in an effort to increase understanding between all sides of the community.

“The informal meeting helped us in understanding better the needs of the community like hygiene and respect, in an effort to achieve a more meaningful integration,” Scicluna said. He insisted the discussion started today should continue.

Bugre praised the Archbishop’s efforts in bringing together the club’s officials and himself. “The band club officials showed willingness to help solve this issue and have committed to moving forward with the migrant community,” Bugre said.

Video clip from Malta Today

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