One of the two shareholders of J&G Farrugia Contractors, the company at the centre of the controversy that erupted on Tuesday when a construction worker was allegedly “dumped” on a Mellieha pavement after getting injured on the job, will be charged in court in the coming hours.
The incident and its consequences play out against the backdrop of a national conversation on the role construction should play in the country’s development.
Glen Farrugia, who is also a director of the company, was questioned by police on Tuesday evening, as condemnation poured in from across all sectors of society.
Jaiteh Lamin, 32, was found on a pavement in Selmun by passers-by, who immediately called the authorities. He was certified to be suffering from serious injuries and remains in hospital.
Mr Lamin, who has a wife and two children in Ghana, his home country, claims to have fallen from a height of two storeys on a construction site in Triq Dun Sciberras in Mellieha.
He says his employer, Mr Farrugia, told him he would take him to hospital after the injury but instead abandoned him by the roadside.
President George Vella, Prime Minister Robert Abela and Leader of the Opposition Bernard Grech, along with various employer organisations, spoke out about the incident, calling for justice to be done.
Although the Ministry for the Environment declined to comment on the matter, Parliamentary Secretary for Construction Chris Agius said:
“We outright condemn the irresponsible and cruel action which left an injured construction worker on the side of a road in Selmun.
“Such behaviour is unacceptable and stands in stark contrast to the Building & Construction Authority’s vision for the sector and the people involved in it, from contractors to workers.
“We are working on new regulations for the sector and once again stress the importance of regularising this sector further and fostering the highest standards of ethics and professionalism.”
Minister for Finance and Employment Clyde Caruana, during a Budget consultation meeting over the weekend, said the economy must shift away from dependence on construction.
Reacting to the statement, the Malta Developers Association (MDA) warned against making an enemy out of the construction and development sector, saying that the solution lies in introducing more environmentally-friendly laws and policies.
On its part, The Malta Chamber also warned that the current “piecemeal approach to planning goes against the very spirit of planning itself”.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Abela, during a pre-Budget consultation with members of the MDA, said construction should remain one of Malta’s economic motors, “as long as it’s not the only one”.
Meanwhile, Caroline Galea, the woman who found Mr Lamin and contacted the authorities, has kept in touch with him and is now leading an effort to raise funds for his medical bills and other needs, in collaboration with Victim Support Malta. For more information on how to help out, click here.
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