Grech: Government 'was doing its job' when it assisted people during the pandemic

Nationalist leader Bernard Grech says people must stop ‘eulogising’ politicians, saying it is their duty to lead the country in a time of crisis • Grech says PM used pandemic as an excuse to restrict people’s liberties

Nationalist leader Bernard Grech said government “was doing its job” when it gave out assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Robert Abela was carrying out his duty. If we as politicians are expecting people to give thanks to us, we must thank teachers, police, nurses, doctors, pilots for continuing their work during the pandemic,” he said.

Grech was interviewed by academic Prof. Andrew Azzopardi at a PN rally held in Mosta on Wednesday evening.

He said people must stop eulogising politicians, saying it is their duty to lead the country in a time of crisis.

Referring to COVID-19 restrictions, Grech said Abela used the pandemic to restrict people’s liberties.

He also said the European Union played an important role in providing government with the resources to face the pandemic.

“When in the pandemic government gave financial assistance, when it procured the vaccines, God forbid the EU wasn’t there to help us. That is why the PN always had a vision for Malta’s future,” referring to the PN’s campaign for EU accession. “That is why we must get Malta off the greylist.”

Questioned on polling surveys, Grech insisted “the only survey that matters is that on election day.” Azzopardi asked the PN leader whether he feared tax-rebate cheques people have started receiving in the mail, would sway people into voting Labour.

“I have trust in people’s intelligence. I know their vote is worth more than €100, or €200,” he replied. “But if the trust ratings are so much in Abela’s favour, why does he keep trying to buy people’s votes?”

“Are you not serene? Have you realised that even Labourites are fed up with you?” he challenged the PM.

Grech also accused Abela of “arranging” for a sanctioning permit to be issued on his Zejtun property when Planning Authority lawyer, “only for him to rent it out to Russian oligarchs.”

“No wonder he didn’t want to stop the sale of citizenship to Russian nationals,” he said.

Questioned on the IIP scheme, Grech said a PN government will retain the programme for “people who are not ashamed to show they have links to Malta.”

“We want a transparent scheme, we want applicants who have a true link to the country, we want someone who doesn’t want to hide their name,” he said.

On hunting, Azzopardi asked Grech whether he felt it was a contradiction to promise more animal rights and better enforcement against animal cruelty, but still come out in favour of hunting.

“You can see it as a contradiction but I do not,” Grech said. “I understand people and our politics is based around people: who am I to try and take away the hobby of someone raised in that hobby.”

Concluding the interview, Grech said a PN government will “properly” address the issue of misogyny and femicide in the country.

“No law will change that mentality, we must take an active role in changing it. We have to continue seeking measures for the prevention of femicide. Femicide doesn’t come alone – it stems from a career of bad attitudes, and we promise to address that,” he said.