February 23, 1996
Meeting with the Hon. Dr Edward Fenech Adami
Prime Minister of Malta
Eden Beach Hotel, St George’s
You may realise that this public meeting was held just a few months after the establishment of Mid-Dlam ghad-Dawl, a meeting that crowned the pioneering work done at the beginning of our experience. This meeting, in fact, marks the end of the “honey-moon period”, so to say, of the organisation’s experience. And to this effect it had all the right ingredients. A truly”magical moment”, we might say succinctly.
First of all, the place – the brilliantly-lit large hall of the Eden Beach Hotel atSt George’sBay- magnanimously offered to us by the owners, Ian and Kevin Decesare, was grandly laid out, complete with a silver-service touch. To this, the meeting had the added glamour of a “star-studded” participation: the Prim Minister, Dr Edward Fenech Adami, and his wife; the Leader of the Opposition, Dr Alfred Sant; H.G. the Archbishop,Mons. Joseph Mercieca; the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Tonio Borg, and his wife; the Shadow-Minister for Home Affairs, Dr Gavin Gulia, and his wife; the prison Director, Emmanuel Cassar; the whole compliment of the Prison Board, headed by Chairman Dr Mario Felice; the Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, Louis Cilia; and many more. Finally, the enthusiastic attendance of a large number of prisoners’ relatives, ex-prisoners, volunteers of Daritama, a good number of journalists, and the general public.
The special occasion was made more so by the singular fact that the politicians were invited not to address speeches, but to listen to what the relatives of prisoners, and the ex-prisoners present, had to say. And say they did indeed.
Subsequently, the press gave excellent coverage. Most news editions – on television, radio and print – gave outstanding prominence to the occasion. The Sunday Times even had the meeting placed as its front-page header on Sunday 25.