The Malta Independent 15 July 2024, Monday
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Government’s subsidisation of corruption is why Malta is in a deficit, Bernard Grech says

Isaac Saliba Sunday, 23 June 2024, 13:16 Last update: about 21 days ago

“Stop the subsidy on corruption, and you will still have enough money to subsidise electricity in our country,” said Opposition Leader Bernard Grech during an interview on NET with PBS journalist Mario Xuereb.

He said this in reference to the European Commission’s warning earlier this week that Malta is among eight EU countries with excessive budget deficits.

Grech said that Malta seemingly has to go into the excessive deficit procedure due to the government’s actions. He remarked that the country currently has a debt of €10 billion, but that up until 2021 the country had a debt of €5 billion. He said that since 2021 the government has added on another €5 billion in debt and has nothing to show for it. Furthermore, he continued that under different governments there has been something to show for that debt, such as the construction of hospitals and various infrastructure work, including “a telecommunications system and the new airport”.

“We need to continue helping people, but we cannot keep stealing as this government continues to do,” he said. He continued that the government is wasting money on corruption and improper work. “This is a government which does not plan,” he said, “and because of that you are the one that suffers.”

Xuereb asked the PN Leader what he is prepared to do in order to govern, to which Grech responded by saying that he is surely not ready to do “all the illegal things that this current government has done”.

He said that he is ready to continue speaking and consulting with people, and that as a result of such discussions the PN has prepared proposals and plans such as its economic plan which focuses on quality and maintains a strong economy without continuing to lower the quality of life in the country. He added that there are social partners who are on board with the party’s plans, including principal unions such as UHM and the General Workers’ Union.

“Our economic model is one that still allows for the economy to grow, but would focus on quality rather than quantity.”

When asked about the issue of overpopulation, Grech said that the government is working only by continuing to increase the population. He questioned if it is possible for Malta’s population to continue increasing without limit, and said that we are already seeing and experiencing instances of the quality of life and infrastructure being unable to keep up.

He said that what this government has done is increase the population without investing in the infrastructure. He continued that it did not invest in things such as the drainage system, “and so drainage is dumped into the sea”, which he said sometimes results in bays being closed off due to contamination.

“The government has failed in everything, that is why it cannot guarantee that the power will not go out.”

Grech said that the government cannot guarantee that people will have stable energy provision, nor can it guarantee that people will be able to receive timely service at the hospital. He remarked that this is not just a government that does not plan, but that it is now also a government which has evidently become tired, confused, and is unable to continue leading the country.

Xuereb mentioned an interview Grech had done with The Malta Independent on Sunday, during which the PN Leader said that the party’s aims for the recent elections were met and that the aim for the coming years is to win the general election.

Grech said that the PN had aims, and that those aims were reached. “We had the aim to achieve a third seat in the EP, and we achieved that. We had the aim to turn over five localities, and we not only did that but surpassed that, we also achieved more seats in various localities and added on to our votes in almost every locality.”

He added that the PN had the aim to lower the voter gap by half, and that this was achieved by more than half. He said that this is the type of politics which he wants to continue pushing forward. “Our aims are not fantastical, but they are aims that we know can be achieved.”

The Opposition Leader said that Malta currently has a government which has clearly shown that it is willing to do anything. “It is ready to steal, it is ready to break the law, it is willing to use of the people’s funds, and it is ready to abuse its position,” he said, continuing that the people have noticed these actions and fought against them in the voting room, therefore sending a message.

The topic of discussion shifted to Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa, whom the PN has said should not have his contract renewed. Grech said that for positions such as this, it is important for there to be consultation, and he referred to the appointment of President Myriam Spiteri Debono as an example of this.

Grech said that the Police Commissioner must have only one goal, which is to serve the people. He said that Gafa’s term should not be extended, and that there is a need for a Commissioner of Police who does not adhere to certain people.

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