The Malta Independent 5 August 2021, Thursday

Grech blasts ‘arrogant and incompetent’ government for Covid-19 ‘management by crisis’

Albert Galea Sunday, 11 July 2021, 11:14 Last update: about 25 days ago

PN leader Bernard Grech has blasted the government as being “arrogant, incompetent, and stubbornly refusing to listen to anyone” and described its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic as “management by crisis.”

Grech was asked about measures recently implemented which shut English language schools and closed Malta’s borders to all those who aren’t vaccinated yet – a set of measures which the PN on Saturday said was “extreme” and “discriminatory”.

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The PN leader said in a radio interview on party media that the government either does too little or too much, and that this is because they have no plan and refuse to listen to experts.

He said that the government had frequently ignored the advice of experts, of constituted bodies and of the PN itself when handling the pandemic.

Grech said that the PN had recognised that Covid-19 variants will be a threat once tourism reopens, which is why the party had proposed a cautious re-opening with people presenting swab tests upon arrival and then undergoing a second swab test upon arrival in Malta.

He said that the party had also advised for more preparations at the airport to deal with the increase in passengers and the bureaucracy that was going to follow.

“They laughed at us; then when tourists started coming and spending hours in queues, they had to figure out what to do”, Grech said.

“This is not a proactive government: this is management by crisis.  This is an incompetent, arrogant government which refuses to listen to anyone: not to experts, not to social partners, and certainly not to those wanting to give advice on how to do things better”, he added.

He said that the government had attracted the “wrong” type of tourist in trying to bring over English language students, but also said that in closing English language schools, older students who may be fully vaccinated are now suffering as well.

Asked about the PN’s recently opened General Council, Grech said that he is very enthusiastic about the prospects, and said that it is the “duty” of anyone who wants to do good for the country to come forward to the PN.

He said that the government’s amateurism and spur of the moment decisions had destroyed the country’s credibility, and said that it has to be the PN which builds it back.

Asked about a MaltaToday survey, which on Sunday showed that Prime Minister Robert Abela had gained a sliver of public trust, as had Grech himself, the PN leader said that the survey showed that the gap between the two parties had gone down by 9,000 votes.

“It shows that we are advancing.  Is it enough? No. Do we need to work more? Yes”, he said, adding that he will do everything to make sure that people of all ages and backgrounds can be attracted to the party and so that the party itself can be more relevant.

Asked, finally, about Malta’s greylisting by the FATF and by the government’s refusal to hand over correspondence between it and the FATF, Grech said that the government did not want to show the truth.

The PN had asked for all correspondence between the government and the FATF in parliament, however Finance Minister Clyde Caruana said that FATF rules precluded him from making such documents public.

Grech said that he will continue meeting with constituted bodies, whom he said are not being consulted either, to listen to them and to share what they say.

“It is the PN which can bring the country out of this”, Grech concluded.

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