The Malta Independent 21 April 2024, Sunday
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Robert Abela’s government has failed the Maltese people, Bernard Grech says

Isaac Saliba Sunday, 25 February 2024, 13:26 Last update: about 3 months ago

Robert Abela’s government has failed to act in local farmers’ interests, Nationalist Party Leader Bernard Grech said during an interview with Mario Xuereb on Sunday. He continued that the government has failed by not getting a derogation for Malta in the EU policies which have resulted in Maltese farmers resorting to protesting for the first time in over 40 years.

Speaking in a political activity where he was interviewed by Mario Xuereb from PBS, Grech said that this lack of action means that the government has failed to fight for the farmers’ rights and that by extension this means they did not fight for the rights of the consumer and the Maltese people.

He said that farmers know who is telling the truth in this matter and that furthermore, they are still protesting against the government. He also mentioned the issues faced by nurses and teachers regarding negotiating collective agreements with the current government.

Speaking on the matter of Malta’s neutrality, he said that Malta has historically maintained its neutrality in international affairs.

He remarked that the Constitution of Malta dictates that we shall remain neutral, but that neutrality does not mean that we should remain static about what is going on around us. He added that participating in the sanctions against Russia after its invasion of Ukraine was the right thing to do.

The Opposition Leader emphasised that one cannot be scared to make the right decision when it matters, and he referenced former Prime Minister Gonzi’s actions regarding the Libyan revolution to illustrate his point.

Asked about the party’s aim in garnering more support in certain localities, Grech replied that the PN always has the aim of gaining support in more localities. He emphasised his belief that local councils should have a more impactful role.

“We want to strengthen local councils,” he said, adding that the PN also wishes to increase funding available to local councils. “We want more effective local councils, and we believe in the local councillors.”

He said that in his view, local councils have the ability to make decisions with more pertinence as they interact with residents on a closer level, but he remarked that the government has rendered local councils to act as customer care.

“We need to continue doing better,” he said. He commented that the current government does everything it can to “buy and steal”, adding that it has stolen institutions and sent cheques before an election.

PBS is one of those institutions, he said, “We have media stolen by the state and by Robert Abela.” He recalled situations where he has had to send complaints or deal with the courts due to being misrepresented in certain coverages, such as the recent situation regarding his statements on climate change in Parliament which resulted in the Speaker of the House issuing a decision that PBS must amend the report.

Grech said that there have been several situations in which the PN has been able to induce “U-turns” from the government, and in this regard he spoke about the public inquiry into the death of Jean Paul Sofia as well as the PN’s opposition to the introduction of abortion.

“We are being a strong opposition, and hopefully we can be an even stronger opposition, but the people do not just want an opposition, they want an alternative government.”

Speaking about the PN’s economic model, Grech said that the model is clear. He said that prior to coming into government, the Labour Party did not explain how much it would increase the population in order to facilitate the PL economic model, and he added that as a result, the country’s population has doubled under this government.

“Our population is growing at an alarming rate,” he said, adding that it is not the fault of the people coming here, but rather that it is the fault of the government which has allowed this situation to happen.

“We need to build new economic sectors, we need to build an economic model based on quality which allows people to keep up through better wages and better pensions.”

He said that the social partners have agreed with the PN’s economic plan, and he referred to Abela’s economic plan as one of mediocrity.

Asked about the ongoings leading up to the end of President George Vella’s term, Grech said that he believes it is prudent for that which is being done in discussions between him and the Prime Minister to remain confidential due to the sensitive nature of the situation.

With that said, he remarked that these discussions should have started taking place earlier than just a few weeks before the end of the current President’s term.

Grech refused to discuss specific names who may be considered as options for taking on the role of President, citing the sensitivity of the matter.

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