The Malta Independent 24 October 2021, Sunday

PN metro proposal will be better, Grech says as he blasts lack of connectivity to Gozo and the south

Albert Galea Sunday, 3 October 2021, 12:08 Last update: about 21 days ago

The Nationalist Party’s proposal for a metro transport system for Malta will be better than what was proposed by the government this weekend, PN leader Bernard Grech said on Sunday.

Speaking in a telephone interview on party media, Grech said that the proposal copied the idea first suggested by the PN in the run up to the 2017 election, and criticised it for leaving out both Gozo and most of the south of Malta as well.

“It is evident that this is a government which doesn’t have any ideas and doesn’t have any sense of planning – it’s a government which thinks only about tomorrow or even the afternoon of the same day,” Grech said.

He said that the government is – in proposing things such as the new motorsport track and a metro system, both of which were announced in the past week – turning to the PN for ideas.

The metro system in particular, which the government announced on Saturday evening in the form of a €6.2 billion project with three lines and 25 stations, had been proposed by the PN in 2017 as part of its electoral manifesto.

Back then, Grech said, the PL had ridiculed then party leader Simon Busuttil for the idea – but that today they had to eat their words and admit that it is the only way forward for the country to improve the traffic and environmental situation caused by road widening and the increase in cars.

“So if this was such a good idea, why did the government announce it this week, so close to the general election?  Why not two or three years ago, or in January of last year when Abela became Prime Minister?  It is clear that Abela does not believe in this proposal or its fulfilment – it is only the PN which believes in it,” Grech said.

However, he said that the PN’s proposal will be “better.”

He said that the government’s proposal leaves out the south of the island – indeed the proposed lines cover the Three Cities, Paola, and the Malta International Airport, but do not go further south – or the country’s industrial parks, where there are thousands of would-be commuters.

He said that the proposal also excludes Gozo entirely – something which Grech said is to be expected, given that the government had proposed a Malta to Gozo tunnel which does not include provisions for the inclusion of a metro link.

“The government has given us disjointed proposals without a clear, set plan – it doesn’t know from where it’s leaving or where it’s going to arrive,” Grech said.

Grech was speaking during a tour of Nationalist Party clubs across the country in a fundraising drive on the occasion of a year anniversary since being elected as PN leader.

He said that he had been elected leader on the clear premise of increasing unity and renewing the party, and that the government has now elected to piggyback on the PN’s message of renewing the country through its slogan ‘Malta Mgedda’ (A Renewed Malta).

“Why does the government want to renew Malta today when we are meant to be living in the best of times (L-Aqwa Zmien)?  When you are living in the best of times, you don’t need to renew or change anything.  The reality is that instead of the best of time, the government has given us a nightmare which has resulted in greylisting.”

Speaking on the party’s pre-budget document, which was launched this past week, Grech said that it had been welcomed by social partners when it was presented to them, and that he could see “in their eyes” that they believed that the PN would be the government which the country deserves.

He said that the part wants an economic vision which would see Malta stop being ruled by the same four people who, he said, had agreed on how they could become millionaires off the back of the state before the 2013 election.

Malta needs to build a resilient economy based on a number of pillars such as the maritime sector, the finance and financial services industry, the manufacturing industry, but that above all else, the economy has to be one which is based around the individual.

“I am convinced that with a PN government led by me, Malta’s economy can grow and we can then spread the wealth generated to everyone,” Grech said.

Asked about some of the PN’s more recently announced measures which impact the quality of life of families, Grech said that people are realising that the PN really has the interests of the people at heart while the PL is only interested in their price.

“They try to see how they can buy you, abuse you, and use you – and when they don’t manage, they try to break you, cast you aside, and even take you up to court,” Grech said, referring to PN MP Karol Aquilina – who was this past week cleared by the courts for dangerous driving; a charge only made after ONE TV aired footage supposedly catching Aquilina in the act.

“He was cleared not because of any mistakes in the police’s investigation, but because the courts said that there was no evidence,” Grech said before blasting the Labour Party for their campaign of “lies” against Aquilina, which he said was mounted in an effort to silence the PN MP.

“No longer will the PN be afraid of confronting its enemy.  I’m a quiet man, but if you pinch me, then I turn into a lion,” Grech said.

He went on to speak about the party’s proposals for an increase in paternal leave and parental leave to 15 days and eight weeks respectively, saying that this was being proposed because the PN recognises that the most important thing in life is time spent with one’s loved ones.

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