The Malta Independent 2 December 2023, Saturday
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'This is a government for the select few', Grech says as he decries PL administration in protest

Sunday, 2 October 2022, 17:45 Last update: about 2 years ago

PN leader Bernard Grech led a national protest through Valletta’s main streets on Sunday, as he accused the government of being the author of the decline in the quality of life of Maltese and Gozitan people.

Grech, who said that thousands had taken to the streets to protest in the event, spoke about a myriad of topics, with the main theme being that the Labour government and its actions over the past nine and a half years were responsible for life in Malta getting harder to live.


Grech started his speech by quoting messages he had received in the previous days.

He quoted a message he had received from a man that day: “Today I am coming to the protest because my quality of life is declining every day.  My take home pay is the same as it was in 2017.  I’m a single parent, my son’s private lessons have burdened me, as have the bills.  I’m tired.”

“We are with you,” Grech said, referring to the man.

He quoted another message from a woman, where she said that she had gone to buy her pills as she does every month. Her bill was €89.99 – up by €20 in the past month.  Grech said that the woman told him that she could not get by, particularly as she was receiving just €465 per month.

He mentioned another man – a 73-year-old man – who said that he had been waiting for an operation for seven years, calling this “shameful” but lamenting that this is the point that the Labour government had led the country to.

Grech mentioned several other cases: one of a woman who received an electricity bill of €2,000, and another of a woman who was forced to wait an extra three months after her pre-op checks to get an operation.

“Quality of life isn’t just in money, health, and justice – but also in freedom,” Grech said.

He mentioned a businessman who he said was present at the protest, and said that he had voted for Labour in 2022 – a statement meant by groans from the crowd – because he had been threatened that if he doesn’t say that he voted for Labour his business wouldn’t be given another contract.

“This is the type of government Robert Abela’s is,” Grech said, adding that freedom is once again under threat.

He said that the Labour government had dirtied Malta and sold it in exchange for bribery and resulted in a country which is turning away those who should be most looking forward to living in the country, referring to surveys which have shown that youths want to leave the country in their droves.

Grech said that youths had been robbed of their future in the country by the Labour government.

He said that nobody can deny that the Labour Party uglified and sold Malta to foreigners, to friends of the party, and to the core members of the party over the past nine and a half years.

“That’s why Labour robbed Malta’s quality of life, so that the highest officials in the party and their friends take everything themselves,” he said.

He said that there’s so much corruption that the surprise is not when a scandal is uncovered, but when there isn’t. 

“Labour has normalised bribery,” Grech said, referring to a story published by the Times of Malta which stated that the Marsa flyover project is under investigation by European authorities over suspected bribery.

The Labour government sold Malta so that criminals can fill their pockets through bribery, he said, adding that some of the highest party officials are charged in court with trying to sell citizenship before noting that these investigations were not because the police actually investigated them but because a former PN leader  - Simon Busuttil – had asked a magistrate to investigate.

It is a bare minimum to live in a beautiful country where politics is done for the people, not where the politics is done to fatten the pockets of a select few.

He referred to a jibe passed by Prime Minister Robert Abela, wherein Abela joked that Grech could go to the protest for free because the Labour government had made public transport free.

“By pulling other people’s legs you aren’t going to feed people who are starving,” Grech said, before adding: “It’s free for you to go up to New York and take a picture with [US President Joe] Biden, but it cost us €50,000.”

The PN leader said that inflation is at record-levels and hasn’t been this high in 40 years, before noting that this is as per government figures which he said does not accurately represent inflation rates.

He said that the Prime Minister is cut-off from the realities of the people, adding that the country is left with debt which is far higher than during the Covid-19 period now standing at some €3 billion – double what the government said it had to go into debt for due to the pandemic.

The discrepancy, Grech said, was thrown into “buying votes.”

Grech noted that in two weeks, the five-year anniversary from Daphne Caruana Galizia’s death will be observed, and said that the government had in reflection put forward several proposals for the media sector which he criticised heavily.

Likewise, he criticised the country’s environmental and planning authorities, noting the Prime Minister’s purchase of a villa at a cut-price which was sanctioned and which is now subject of a new planning application.

“The Labour government’s corruption and bribery is a constant and ever-growing stain on Malta,” Grech said.

He also had special criticism for the country’s police, saying that instead of charging those who had sold Malta off for “30 silver pieces”, they were protecting them.

“The leaders of the police force in the last nine and a half years – including the present police commissioner – have demoralised the straight members of the police corps that we have a lack of security in the country, with the commissioner taking credit for what those beneath him do and not taking responsibility for his own shortcomings,” he said.

The case of Iosif Galea – the ex-MGA official who went abroad despite being subject to a European Arrest Warrant before he was arrested in Italy – was mentioned, with Grech saying that Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa had to shoulder responsibility and resign for the force’s shortcomings.

Likewise, he said that Justice Minister Jonathan Attard has been rendered complicit in the handling of the Pilatus Bank case, and is also escaping responsibility by saying that institutions should be left to work.

“As if you ever let the institutions work,” Grech said, noting how the Standards Commission has been left vacant after George Hyzler’s departure to the European Court of Auditors and a new Ombudsman hasn’t been chosen.

He continued by mentioning the budget cuts at the University of Malta and the contract between the government and Steward Health Care, saying that in the latter case if nobody was being bribed then the government simply has to admit that it is incompetent.

Quality of life, he said, means social equilibrium where there isn’t poverty on one side and people bursting with money on the other side. “But while the people on the inside steal in front of our faces, poverty in our country increases,” he said, noting that this is something which the Prime Minister is incapable of seeing.

“We are living in a country where the government has given up on growing the economy through the ability of the Maltese people as our forefather sand previous governments did,” Grech said.

He said that the Prime Minister had no plan for how many immigrants the country needs, and wanted immigration without any limit.

Grech also mentioned that scandal surrounding the overcharging on electricity bills and how the PN will be taking the matter to court like it has done with other issues in the past.

“In the coming days we will continue to take action, as this is a government of the few – a government who has taken care of a few from the inside.  This is a government which doesn’t have enough for you, but has too much for those on the inside,” he concluded.

The full protest speeches can be viewed below.

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