The Malta Independent 23 May 2022, Monday

'I want Malta to be business as usual by May' – PM in New Year’s message

Thursday, 31 December 2020, 20:50 Last update: about 2 years ago

Prime Minister Robert Abela wants Malta to have recovered substantially by March and to be ‘business as usual’ by May.

In his message for the New Year, the PM said Malta this year faced its biggest challenge since World War Two, if not the greatest challenge of all time.

“Whilst other countries and their people were devastated during this period, in Malta, the best qualities of our people emerged. Solidarity. Love towards one another. National unity. These qualities must remain, even after the pandemic is over.”

Abela thanked the Maltese people and said he is grateful to all. “Together we made huge sacrifices. We wished for a better tomorrow from the very start. That moment has arrived.”

“We should be proud of all the medical professionals for their unwavering dedication to safeguarding us all. We are proud of all the workers ensuring law and order - the frontliners coming from all sectors who have given themselves to the service of their country. We should be proud of businesses for securing jobs by showing resilience. I’m proud of our elderly of whom we have asked a lot. I’m proud of all the people of Malta and Gozo, the people of the George Cross, for their gallantry. We can now see a better future ahead.”

The PM said that after the vaccination drive started, the country is already going back to normality.

“By March, I want our country to have recovered extensively. By May, I want our country to be business as usual. We can all take pride in our country and its people.”

While other countries had to impost heavy restrictions, Malta introduced “moderate” measures which meant that everyday life could go on, he said.

Unemployment has gone down, and Malta faced the crisis without resorting to austerity measures and putting the burden on the people.

The country launched the biggest ever financial aid package for businesses and workers, safeguarding jobs.

People responded by putting faith in the government, the continued.

“People replied by buying and selling property in record numbers, far outstripping normal times when we did not have a pandemic. Instead of tightening finances, we distributed vouchers to all. And, in the next few days, we shall do it again – sending out another round of vouchers. This is what people deserve, not discouragement and negativity.”

“Even in the worse moments of the pandemic, I refused to do anything to lower morale or kill hope with words such as a lockdown. I have always resisted those who wanted to go in that direction. I will not say that our decisions have been vindicated. I will leave that judgement to the people. But I’m proud, very proud, that today, at the beginning of the end of the pandemic we have managed to keep the country safe medically, economically and socially.”

Malta managed to achieve a lot despite the troubled times, he said. “Now imagine what we could do as we head towards normality.”

2021 must be the year in which we will start forging forward steadily to create wealth for people and betterment of the quality of life, he said.

Safeguarding the environment will be at the top of the government’s agenda for 2021, Abela said.

Education, social justice and gender equality will also remain top priorities.

“We will emerge much stronger than we started. We need just a little more time to get there. With every day that passes, the sacrifices will ease. But it’s important to follow directions from the health authorities so that we don’t lose what we managed to achieve together.”



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