Safi detention centre chief resigns weeks after appointment

Published: July 15, 2013 at 11:46pm

David Attard

The Malta Independent reported today:

Colonel David Attard has handed in his resignation, weeks after becoming the commandant of the Safi Detention Centre, sources confirmed with this portal.

Col Attard stepped down after having served the army for 25 years, however his resignation comes after the government decided to transfer him to the Safi Detention Centre last month, according to sources.

Col Attard was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1988 and graduated from infantry colleges in Italy and the United States.

He was appointed Deputy Commander of the Armed Forces of Malta on March 1, 2010 and also served as platoon commander with 1 Regiment and later commanded ‘C’ Special Duties Company.

The Safi Detention Centre is by far the largest detention centre for migrants in Malta.


It doesn’t look at all good, does it.

30 Comments Comment

  1. H.P. Baxxter says:

    I’m not surprised. Running a detention centre is no job for a soldier.

    • Gakku says:

      Nobody should be running detention centres to be honest.

      • Chris Mifsud says:


        Are you nuts ? Your comment does not even warrant an answer.

        [Daphne – Chris, I see from Times of Malta’s comments-board that you voted for Norman Lowell (see below). I shall cease trying to reason with you or treating your comments here as being from a normal, rational person of sound mind. What a waste of time that was.
        Chris Mifsud
        Today, 16:54
        I have given Norman Lowell number 1 before and I will do it again. ]

        Only difference is that last time I gave the other votes (after number 1) to the PN candidates. This time around they will NOT be getting my vote after they recently showed that they (current PN MEP’s) do not have Malta’s national interest at heart

      • Gakku says:

        I wasn’t looking for an answer, but my belief is that detention centres only serve to depict migrants as criminals, reinforce the racist thinking in most Maltese, add to the burden of mental illness among migrants, take funds which could be better used for integration of migrants and I doubt they make the Maltese popular with migrants.

        There is also no evidence that having detention centres deters new arrivals.

  2. Harry Purdie says:

    The guy deserves a commendation, giving the finger to the fat frog.

    • LTC Patrick Smallwood says:

      He is a genius and a great athelete and a good person. The country of Malta has lost an invaluable asset, and patriot.

  3. TGTBTG says:

    He is a great guy. His transfer was a vindictive one and was done intentionally to make him resign. After serving 25 years in the army, that is what you get from the ‘Taghna Ilkoll’ government. Great job, Manuel Mallia. You lost a valuable asset. Keep it up, will you.

  4. Sue says:

    Rumor has it that he was moved in order to make way for the chosen one – even if he is yet to be chosen.

    I was also told that changes have also been made ‘with regard to the years in service required’ for a particular promotion, all to ensure that the chosen one makes the grade and takes his place-as deputy commander, of course.

  5. Min Jaf says:

    PL understanding of meritocracy: Seek out and identify the good and the highly competent guys, then sack them or drive them out.

  6. Gahan says:

    Running the detention centre under Mallia is like walking blindfolded in a mine-infested desert.

  7. Makjavel says:

    Colonel Attard will be replaced at the Safi Detention Centre by Joe Demicoli and his ADC Norman Lowell.

  8. Sv says:

    I know David Attard personally. He’s a true gentleman who loves the armed forces and is highly qualified.

    He’s the type not to stand any nonsense. I’m sure this was a vindictive transfer. Another valuable resource lost.

  9. Peter Vella says:

    Spotted yesterday at the GasanZammit showroom at 9:30am, PS Michael Farrugia and (presumably) his driver, checking out the luxury cars. Seems there is not much simplification of government processes (no real need for these I guess) and planning (rowdmapp what rowdmapp?) to keep him busy.

  10. edgar says:

    La storia si ripete. In the Golden Years nearly all the Sandhurst-trained army officers left the army because of similar treatment and only those who could not find alternative jobs remained.

    [Daphne – Not only those who could not find other jobs remained. Those who were Mintoffjani were happy to stay on.]

    Some Bagollu who felt comfortable with that regime remained for his iced bun.

    • All too true, but to a point.

      John Spiteri stayed on because he felt that someone had to stay on to fight the rot. He proved his mettle when he was responsible for the army which surrounded the counting hall during the elections in 1987, and the Labour Party wanted a halt to the counting of votes.

  11. glucose says:

    Shame that such a good officer had to disown the AFM. Shame on the government for transferring such officers, who delivered, to petty positions: guarding illegal immigrants.

    Ara veru l-Labour huwa gvern tal-kummiedji, jilghab bil-hajja tan-nies kif joghgob lill-injoranti tieghu. Issa naraw xi gharef jiehu post dan l-ufficjal.

  12. Alf says:

    Col David Attard’s resignation is a great loss for the AFM and for Malta. I am longing to know who will and can replace such a professional.

  13. wayne says:

    What a coincidence…commissioned in 1988…wait a minute that’s when PN came to power(1 year later), 25 years is not enough of the best jobs for the blue eyed boys! Now Malta needs him to serve in a difficult place and he quits…what a soldier!

    [Daphne – Coincidence has nothing to do with it, ‘wayne’. Year of birth does. How old do you imagine David Attard is? I believe he’s younger than I am – and I was 23 in 1988. Also, the army wasn’t really an army prior to that. ’25 years is not enough for one of the best jobs for the blue-eyed boys’ – I suppose you imagine he held the rank of colonel for the entire 25 years. You people are just unbelievable in your spite and stupidity.]

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      Breathtaking ignorance here from another of my countrymen.

      I bet Wayne doesn’t even suspect I’ll fire a volley against the PN administration in my next sentence. So here it is.

      Having the Detention Service within the Armed Forces was a bad idea. When it was first set up, its status was unclear. Was it army? Was it a civilian agency? Then it was staffed (mostly) by soldiers seconded from the AFM.

      Enter Labour. As I like to put it, it’s just the PN with the good bits removed.

      So they make the Detention Service a branch of the AFM and put the AFM’s second-in-command as chief. A full colonel, no less.

      Then, in the usual display of ignorance of all important matters, they give him the title of “commandant”. Now a commandant, in British Army terminology, and AFM too, is the officer commanding a training establishment, or, at most, a military prison.

      In any case he or she commands a military establishment for military personnel. The detainees are not AFM personnel. The detention centre is not a barracks. So the term “commandant” is wrong.

      But then I wouldn’t expect anyone in this shambles of a government to know that.

      Like the man said, they’re not fit to lead a troop of knackered whores in a Bormla bordello.

    • wayne says:

      We agree on one thing ‘spite’ but trust me they earned it, as for the stupidity part I am doing quite well thankyou very much, maybe if they they did not give my father 7 transfers in 1987-1988 things would have been different and I wouldn’t have worked so hard and made my part to get rid of them!

      • H. Prynne says:

        Jahasra! Seven transfers!
        I really feel for you, miskin.
        I hope you ‘make your part’ now and piss off.

  14. Wayne Hewitt says:

    Colonel Attard is one of the most qualified army personnel we have in Malta, au par with counterparts in the US and the UK.

    But for Labour, ‘meritocracy’ means being Labour. Merit, academia and experience are irrelevant.

    Mintoff’s infamous ‘karta tal-incova’ is back. Labour’s Malta vision seems hell bent to become an isolated ‘Albania’ in the Mediterranean.

  15. Pandora says:

    Should his resignation be a sign of an imminent announcement regarding changes/new rules/transfers in the detention centre?

  16. Osservatore says:

    From the 2IC of the AFM to detention camp warden…. what next?

  17. Dunstan says:

    I thought this would happen. David was an Army man to a tee. He was an asset to the army.

    The least they could have done was to give him an appointment at Castille to advise on matters pertaining to the military, like he surely did when there was the trouble in Libya. Shame on them.

  18. Crmui says:

    The only obstacle to the mayhem which will now ensue has been effectively removed and a coup against the military establishment seems to be taking place.

    For those who feel that this situation does not concern them I recommend that they read Martin Niemöller’s poem on Nazism.

    Colonel Attard, the few remaining honest people of this country salute you.

  19. Mark Mallia says:

    This is the thanks you get after sacrificing most of your adult life for your country. Col Attard is a true professional and a person totally committed to the task at hand.

    Whoever is behind this should be ashamed of himself and well done for losing one of the best army officers Malta has ever had.

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