10th May 2012: Andrew Brons made the following speech yesterday during a debate in the European Parliament on the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) delegation to Sicily to study the problems associated with large numbers of African immigrants arriving in Lampedusa.
"The LIBE delegation to Sicily seemed to believe the problems of immigration to be confined to the problems for migrants. They were concerned that Sub-Saharan Africans were suffering because one of several lavatories, at Trapani, did not flush. You simply don't have to put up with problems like that in Sub-Saharan Africa!
"The delegation assumed that the local population in Lampedusa was pleased to act as welcoming hosts to the migrants. It came as a shock that when the migrants escaped, they immediately clashed with the locals. Indeed the harbour was declared an unsafe area.
"Rescuing migrants in danger from the sea is the only proper response. However, must the rescuer's country really be punished by having to entertain their claims for asylum?
"When the Italian and Libyan Governments signed an agreement in 2010 to return the immigrants to their home countries, the flow of immigrants began to slow down immediately….
"The gratitude of the asylum seekers in Lampedusa was breath taking. They thanked their hosts for supplying them with safe and expensive accommodation by burning it down.
"If you lie on the ground in front of incomers you must not be surprised when they walk all over you."