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July 7, 2003

Association’s decision to leave federation

From: Malta Independent, Malta - Jul 7, 2003

The Malta Federation of Organisations of Persons with a Disability claimed the Deaf Association council's recent decision to leave the federation was due to "ulterior motives" which have nothing to do with the ostensible reasons.

In a statement, the federation said that during the past three years, the Deaf People Association had attended only four out of the 35 federation meetings.

The federation added that had the association attended its meetings, it would have had the opportunity to voice its complaints in an open discussion and the necessary decisions would have been taken by all federation members.

The federation said it had learnt of the association's decision from the media, since it had not yet been officially informed of the decision in writing.

One of the reasons given by the association for its resignation was that the federation's executive council is mainly composed of family members of people with a disability or professionals, rather than disabled people.

"Unfortunately, many disabled people do not attend the federation's monthly meetings and the few who do attend, do not wish to be nominated for posts on the executive council," said the federation.

"This was the situation last January. It is obvious that the federation cannot force disabled people to occupy a post of responsibility against their will."

The federation said that the election of the executive council is carried out in a transparent manner according to the federation's statute.

Replying to the association's objection that a substantial part of the Istrina money be used to provide the federation with its own premises, the federation said this was planned years before receiving the donation from the Istrina 2001 programme.

The issue was discussed at length, said the federation, adding that if the association had bothered to attend these meetings, they would have contributed to the decision on what to do with the money. Moreover, it added, the associations received the same amount of money as other member groups in the federation.

The federation said that according to clause 5.05 of the statute, it was entitled to ask for the resignation of those groups which failed to attend three consecutive meetings without any justification.

It said that instead of resorting to such a measure the federation decided not to send the minutes to those groups "which did not have the decency to ask to be excused for their regular absence".

The federation concluded by assuring all concerned of its determination to keep working in the interest of all forms of disability in Malta, whether they are represented in the federation or not.

© 2003 Malta Independent