Bratislava, December 22 (TASR) – Labour, Social Affairs and the Family Minister Jan Richter (Smer-SD) has suspended proceedings on the withdrawal of accreditation from the Clean Day resocialisation centre in Galanta (Trnava region), allegedly because he doesn’t have enough arguments, reasons and findings at his disposal, but this looks like a political move, claimed Opposition MP Natalia Blahova (Freedom and Solidarity/SaS) at news conference in Bratislava on Thursday.
Blahova was referring to information aired by private TV channel TV Markiza. She said that the minister has suspended the proceedings despite the accreditation committee advising him to withdraw accreditation and despite testimonies from former employees of the facility. “The minister doesn’t have enough arguments to strip the centre of its licence, and he intends to sit and wait for the conclusions of an investigation that might take several years,” said Blahova in connection with the facility, which is accused by the Opposition of sexually abusing its residents.
With his political decision, Richter is breaking the recommendations of his own accreditation committee from September, stated Blahova. “Despite massive suspicions, Clean Day continues to function. It has a strong political backing, and Richter is only confirming this with his behaviour. What is his message to the victims and suspects? If you have reliable backing, you can afford to do anything you want,” said the Opposition MP.
Blahova pointed to the fact that action was taken immediately at a similar facility, namely a private one called the Children’s Smile Family Association based in Velke Kozmalovce (Nitra region). “This centre evidently lacked the ‘right political backing’, as Richter acted solely based on unconfirmed suspicions. Double standards are being applied here for Smer-friendly and Smer-unfriendly facilities. What makes Clean Day so special and exceptional that there is a need to distinguish one facility from another?” she asked.
OLaNO-NOVA MP Anna Veresova called on Richter not to make obstructions, not to use double standards and to act in line with the recommendations of the accreditation committee. “If he doesn’t intend to do so, we call on him to resign,” she added.
Richter told TV Markiza on Tuesday (December 20) that he’s suspended the proceedings concerning Clean Day because there aren’t enough arguments, reasons and findings to make relevant conclusions. The ministry has turned to the prosecutor’s office in connection with its intention to suspend the proceedings. “We wanted it to examine this and say whether our procedure contradicts the law or not,” said Richter.
TV Markiza reported on Wednesday (December 21) that children have allegedly been sexually abused at the aforementioned facility in Velke Kozmalovce. One of its employees is a suspect. Three labour offices have filed criminal complaints regarding this issue. Almost all the children have been relocated from the centre. The ministry has launched proceedings on withdrawal of the centre’s accreditation.