PN's new economic sectors will bring in billions without damaging environment, Grech stresses

Bernard Grech says Labour has no plans for mass transportation and rising cost-of-living

PN leader Bernard Grech (Photo: PN)
PN leader Bernard Grech (Photo: PN)

The ten economic sectors proposed by the PN will bring in billions of euros worth of investment without causing damage to the environment, Bernard Grech has said.

With one week to go before the General Election, PN leader Bernard Grech addressed a political event outside his party’s headquarters in Pieta on Saturday evening.

Lawyer and PN candidate Joe Giglio, former PN leader Adrian Delia and long time PN politician Francis Zammit Dimech were amongst those present in the crowd.

Before getting underway, Grech thanked the party supporters for their support and expressed his gratitude to those who had made donations to the party. “We are on a journey, not a departure but an arrival,” Grech said.

He derided the PL’s electoral manifesto, published just last week. “Other people,” Grech said, referring to Labour, “have no vision for this country, only a series of measures.” It was not true that Labour had a plan for mass transportation, he said, before commenting on Labour’s vague promise to deal with the cost of living. “They literally said ‘we need to tackle the cost of living.’ Gee thanks, but how are you going to tackle it?” Grech told his cheering supporters.

Robert Abela had no solutions in his electoral program and would abandon those who would vote for him, warned the PN leader. “You need to answer this call,” Grech said, addressing voters directly. “It is useless for you to be discouraged…unless you pick up your voting document and go to vote on 26 March for the Nationalist Party, things will not change.”

“If you don’t want to wake up after 26 March to find Robert Abela with a big majority, or a bigger majority, you need to vote for the PN.” Grech urged Maltese citizens living abroad not to abandon “the party that gave you the opportunity to work in the EU.”

Also addressing the rally was DJ Paul Hamilton, who explained the difficulties faced by Maltese artists abroad. The “wave of damage” done to Malta’s reputation a few years ago had led to him being to hide his nationality on promotional materials, he said.

Covid had ravaged his career, he said, yet despite this the government was only sponsoring foreign artists to play at large events which are funded by taxpayer euros, he said, accusing the government of undermining all Maltese artists.

“Unfortunately we are living in a bitterly divided country. We cannot carry on like this….A change is needed,” Hamilton said.

Asked what he was proposing for the entertainment sector, Grech began by criticising comments made by Minister for Inclusion and Social Wellbeing, Julia Portelli. “I am sorry to see that for some Labour politicians the artist is a lesser person, deriding them as hobbyists and attacking them as inferior,” Grech said, referring to Portelli’s recent dig at PN candidate, singer Julie Zahra, in which Portelli told Zahra that she “wasn’t on a stage anymore.”

Grech laid out his proposals to strengthen the artistic sector. “Those persons who choose the arts as a career, as well as those who choose sports, and their coaches and teachers, will be taxed at 5% tax on the first €80,000 of their earnings, because to strengthen the sector you need to strengthen those who participate in it.”

He also announced that a PN government would be giving a €3,000 grant to young artists participating in artistic events. ”The arts are not only about participation but also education. Like sports, it is an integral part of the holistic development of our children,” Grech said.

Malta has great talent in every sector. Maltese artists had made great strides in the face of government indifference, he said, “imagine how much they would achieve with the proper backing.”

“Environment at the centre of PN’s proposals”

Former journalist Sergio Mallia gave a speech about the PN’s environmental proposals, telling the crowd that a glance at the party’s manifesto would show that the environment “is truly at the centre of everything that the PN is proposing.”

Labour was trying to frighten business about PN's Environmental, Social, and Governance proposals, Mallia said. “But most businesses are already in conformity with ESG, he stressed. “Do you know what businesses don’t like? Unfair competition.” Businesses which conformed to the ESG standard would be incentivised by the PN in government, he added. On the PN’s trackless tram proposal, Mallia said the choice was simple:  “either we go for innovation or for 30-40 new cars on the road every day, that roads need to be widened, eating up land.”

Grech announced a €10,000 incentive for commuters not using private cars, and expanded on the PN’s environmental views. The ten economic sectors proposed by the PN would bring in billions without causing any environmental damage, Grech said.

 “Labour isn’t telling you how it will reduce waste. Rather it is saying that it will cause more environmental damage. It is not saying how it will expand the economy and therefore will continue to rely on the construction industry…It is useless to just plant a few trees.”

Abela's Marsascala property scandal

On the most recent scandal to hit Robert Abela, regarding a Marsascala property deal, Grech said that Abela had entered a promise of sale regarding a property which should have been condemned according to regulations, but had, being the PA’s lawyer, misused his power to issue permits for the house he was going to buy himself. “Look at the abuse of power, and he is asking you to give him more power!” Grech said.

“Had it been you, you would have been fined. Robert Abela, did the government architect visit and find that you had declared a lesser value for the property ? If so, were you fined? Did you pay that fine? How dare you call other people tax evaders?” Grech said.

In his concluding words, Grech once again stressed the importance of voting in the election.