Labour resorting to threats, deceit to discourage PN voters in Gozo, Grech says

PN leader says Labour's fresh proposals were copied and points out that forcing workers to be unionised was against EU law

PN leader Bernard Grech on Saturday
PN leader Bernard Grech on Saturday

PN Leader Bernard Grech has accused the governing Labour party of resorting to deceit and threats in an attempt to discourage people from voting PN, promising to “restore Malta’s dignity, honour, strength and pride” if elected on March 26, and criticising Labour’s freshly published electoral manifesto as vague and unoriginal. 

Speaking at a rally in Ghajnsielem, Gozo on Saturday, Grech railed against what he described as the incumbent Labour government’s unfulfilled promises and corrupt practices. “Robert Abela is not on your side. He is only on his own side. Everyday people are realising that Robert Abela is just empty words. He says nice things and then does what benefits him.”

He told attendees that a PN voter had called him up to say that he had received a phone call purporting to be a “survey” on the election,  but that when he said he was going to vote PN the caller had started to argue with the man, telling him to “remember my name,” whilst offering incentives to try and win him over. Grech did not disclose the name of the cold caller, although he said he had taken note of it.

Another person had told Grech that he was attending activities involving Labour candidate Clint Camilleri because his employment was being threatened if he didn’t, he said. “But in the voting booth you are alone. If you are fed up with this oppression, because they took away your freedom of expression, collect your vote, come with us and vote!”

Grech promised to restore national dignity, honour, strength and pride. “If you want to criticise us, because we believe in freedom of expression, we will not do anything to you. To the contrary, you will thrive and make more money…”

Grech poured scorn on Labour’s electoral program, which was finally published yesterday, just two weeks before the election, saying it was “like a cover version of our proposals.” 

The PN leader described most of Labour’s proposals as copied and contradictory and joked about proofreading errors. “On corruption, they said they would fight against corruption and against integrity. At least they’re honest!” The time had come for Malta to have politicians of integrity once again, Grech said.

Tackling a few of the 1,000 newly-published PL electoral pledges, Grech pointed out that forcing workers to be unionised was against EU law. “Unionisation is a right, not an obligation,” he said.

“They say ‘we will address the cost of living’ and then don’t say how they plan to do it. We already explained how we will do it. Everything they do is up in the air.”

He took issue with a Labour proposal to “study poverty,” saying that “when you're in government you must eradicate poverty. And instead of eradicating it you increased it.”

Labour had copied many of the PN’s proposals, Grech told the crowd. “That’s why they are asking us for the costings.” He said the PN would publish them before the election, but on its terms, not Labour’s.

The PN had solutions for farmers, agricultural workers and fishermen, he said. “They are all in our electoral program, because it is not a program of dreams but of solutions.”

Grech called upon Gozitans to vote for and elect all of the PN candidates. “We have 70 candidates united by one thing, more than one actually… but above all the extraordinary dedication of every candidate to serve you and not be served by you.”

Agriculture workers concerned about diminishing wheat and nut stocks - Claudette Buttigieg

“We don’t have the millions of euros that others have but we have you, and for this we are grateful,” Buttigieg told the crowd. “Although there are people who are hurt, the fact that you still welcome us into your homes means a lot.”

Buttigieg warned that agriculture workers were worried about diminishing stocks of nuts and grain. “What has Robert Abela done to address this?” she asked and appealed to the public to collect their voting documents, saying the PN has a lot to offer. “I am convinced that in Gozo we are making a difference. So our final appeal is for you to help us. Contact us and tell us who to go to and we will go there, tell us their stories and we will listen to them.”

There are still people in 2022 who are afraid of speaking out about their political opinions, she said.

Steward will be kicked out of Gozo by PN government within a week of election - Chris Said

“If elected, within one week, Steward will stop managing Gozo’s hospital….but we won’t stop there. We will build a 400 bed hospital.”

The PN was also promising to open five small homes for the elderly in five different localities in Gozo, he said. “We don’t mislead the Gozitan elderly. What did they [Labour] do? They put them in a hotel.” 

Gozo littered with unfinished projects, unkept promises - Joe Ellis

Ellis highlighted a number of unfinished government projects in Gozo, mentioning a number of clinics and roads. “This is a government which doesn’t know where it's going. If it is reelected, Gozo will suffer.”

Ellis said that the Gozo hospital should have been opened years ago, but was handed to Vitals Global Healthcare, instead. “Now they promise to build a new hospital here.”