The Malta Independent 26 September 2021, Sunday

Bernard Grech defends letter he wrote to the FATF, says it was about defending the country

Sunday, 20 June 2021, 11:17 Last update: about 4 months ago

Opposition Leader Bernard Grech defended his letter to the Financial Action Task Force during an interview on party media on Sunday.

PN Leader Bernard Grech had written to the Financial Action Task Force, telling it that a PN government would bring back Malta's reputation. In the letter, he had also appealed to the FATF to give credit to the efforts made by the Financial Services sector, aside from mentioning the efforts made to improve supervision and enforcement.


He sent the letter after it emerged that three countries - the UK, the US and Germany - will vote to have Malta placed on the grey list, despite the country having passed its Moneyval test last month.

Speaking on Sunday, Grech said that "everyone knows that the damage to Malta's name, unfortunately, has already been done. So for every test, regardless of whether we pass or fail, the very fact that we had to sit for this test... already damages the country's name."

Grech expressed worry about the circumstances, especially in light of the news that those three countries want to vote for Malta's greylisting. He said he felt he had to be proactive and do his part to defend the country.

He said that the PN had previously offered the Prime Minister to help wherever possible to defend the country's name, but added that the PN has not yet been approached to do anything tangible.

"So I did not stay waiting and felt the need to write that letter and declared that we cannot afford to be grey-listed." He said that he appealed to the FATF given that many people's livelihoods depend on financial services.  He also said he is working, and if entrusted to lead the country will keep on working, to do all that is needed to earn back the trust and credibility the country deserves.

Grech also hit out at Steward Health Care, saying that people cannot keep spending millions on a foreign operator "that is not keeping their word on the promises they made."

"Gozitans are worried and frustrated that the health services in Gozo did not improve like they were meant to," he said.

Grech remarked that the investment that was meant to take place, did not. Among other things, Grech said that Gozo needs a new hospital with modern services. What is sure, he said, is that "we need to take back control of the Gozo hospital, as it cannot be that people keep spending millions, giving them to a foreign operator that is unfortunately not keeping their word on the promises they made."

He was also asked about diabetes and the continuous glucose monitor pilot project.

Grech said that this pilot project seems to have worked. "A number of parents spoke to us and feel they were much better off with this service."

"Since it worked, why don't we extend and continue it. Unfortunately, the months in which the pilot project is taking place are coming to an end and the government did not confirm that it will continue."

The PN Leader gave his word that those who need this apparatus will continue having access to it if elected.

Turning to mental health care, Grech said that the party walks the talk. "The PN is identifying what the true needs of people, localities are. We found that mental health issues are affecting many and so we need to put an emphasis on it, to provide the necessary support to this sector and indicate how to improve it.  Among other things, we said we want a new mental health hospital in vicinity of Mater Dei.  We want to end the stigma around Mt Carmel Hospital. That building will be rehabilitated for the good of the people to be used in other ways."

The PN will also work to improve mental health care within the community.

Grech also wished a happy Father's Day to all fathers, and said that such days are a way of celebrating our parents.




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