On one of my last days at the Marsa Open Centre I ran into ______, a young Sudanese man whom I had met a few times before. He was very happy to see me as he always was and we chatted a bit about what we had been up to. He was just on his way from the main administration office. He showed me a piece of paper that he had just received. It had a photocopy of his ID card along with his photo. This was part of new security measures to prevent unregistered people from staying at the centre. Currently, the Centre was truly "open" in that anyone could enter without question. The plan was to eventually install a gate that would only be opened by fingerprint match using biometric scanners . Everybody who had a bed at the Centre would have be fingerprinted and have their photos taken digitally. I asked what he thought of these new measures and his face went suddenly serious as he told me he thought it was a terrible idea. This is supposed to be an open centre where we are free to come and go as we please. This is not supposed to be a jail he said. And he should know as all illegal refugees who end up in Malta spend a minimum of one year in a jail-like detention or Closed Centre before they are released to what they are promised are "Open Centres." Open centres that are now implementing high-security entrance procedures.
By the way he spoke to me it was clear that the man was losing faith in the direction the Marsa Open Centre was taking and he could hardly be the only with such thoughts.