The Malta Independent 21 September 2021, Tuesday

Prime Minister calls opposition amateurish, slams its actions during the pandemic

Friday, 23 July 2021, 22:14 Last update: about 3 months ago

Prime Minister Robert Abela took aim at the opposition during his closing speech of the PL's General Council, calling the PN amateurish and criticising the PN's actions during the pandemic.

"Less than two months after I took over, the pandemic hit," he said. "In a situation like this, the first instinct is to panic, but that moment required calm, concentration and determined decisions."

He praised the way the government worked to tackle the challenge.


"We had and have challenges, and at times rushed or were too cautious. But when looking back, in the moments that mattered most, we took the big decisions we had to take."

He said the government looked out for both lives and livelihoods of the people.

"Today we are the country that vaccinated the highest percentage of its population."

It is good to reflect on the leadership of the country in these moments, and on who you would want to lead the country.

"The choice the people have is between competence and amateurism."

He said that the government did not panic during a difficult time, and kept listening to advice from competent people, taking all the necessary decisions. At the beginning of the pandemic, he said, experts told him thousands would die.

"We adjusted where needed, we took courageous decisions, and other countries followed our example. We let the experts lead us with science, while we carried the responsibility of the decisions we took. We kept to our principle, of honest dialogue with the people."

Turning to the opposition, he called them amateurish.

"In the middle of a pandemic, instead of a solid opposition, we have a divided party that broke its leader. In the middle of a pandemic, they went for an election for a new leader. Imagine a divided party leading a country in the middle of a pandemic and during the recovery period that comes after."

"Many people thought that with a new leader, maybe he would understand the gravitas of the extraordinary situation, but instead the PN began playing the same partisan games of the past."

Abela took aim at the PN's covid action team, criticising them for contradicting themselves.

"The choice is between amateurism, and those who led in a balanced way in the most difficult period."

He spoke about his style of leadership, "taking balanced decisions and improving quality of life."

"We have the vision and courage to improve and lead the country, for families, taxpayers, middle class, workers, all moving forward together."

Abela spoke about a time when the economy was breaking one record after another.

"While there is no doubt that progress and wealth must continue, has the time come to reflect on how this progress can be better focussed on the improvement of quality of life?"

"We must see how to find a better balance, to have development that rakes in millions for the country, but also projects that do not, but through which more people can benefit. This is a road we already started on, such as through the Wied Fulija project, the Ta' Qali project where an abandoned factory was demolished and the site is being rehabilitated."

He spoke about needing to take care of Gozo, but not allow Gozitans to be disadvantaged.

Abela said that life must not be a battle with time. It must be balanced.

"But how is balance found, by finding time for ourselves, for our families, giving us a chance to clear our minds from the rush of everyday life. This is the direction we will take going forward. This is not an environmental message only, but an economic and social one. A population that is strong mentally, physically and economically leads to a stronger country."

"That is why we want strong healthcare, education that looks to future generation, more open spaces. This is our vision."

"He said that a country benefits from a strong opposition,  but you don't build a strong opposition by changing a leader, but through politics of conviction, being strong in criticism of government, but offering alternative policies. In reality we have an opposition only interested in partisanship."

"Let nobody tell you that this is a choice between someone bad and someone worse. You know how to choose. People stuck by us as on important decisions on youths, families, elderly, it is only this movement that has an answer. We are not perfect and don't have an answer to everything, but we are working daily to improve the lives of people."

He said that radical reforms were needed, and that he believes in the rule of law. "I intrinsically believe in rule of law and will ensure justice occurs with everyone. We strengthened the country's structures and laws, which led to international institutions that used to criticise the country, like the Council of Europe, Moneyval, recognising the progress we made."

"A few days ago we began the budget process. A budget that reflects the realities we passed through and that we are still going through." He spoke of the investment the government has done through the wage supplement to save jobs.

He said that three major manufacturing companies informed him of multi million investments planned.

Abela assured that taxes will not be increased. While understanding that all owed taxes must be collected.

He spoke of finding balance between economic and social development.



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