'Incompetence is everywhere' - Bernard Grech denounces reshuffle

The Opposition leader took heavy aim at Robert Abela and various Ministers for their handling of the pandemic, and denounced the reshuffle as an added expense on the country

Photo: PN
Photo: PN

Bernard Grech hit out at Robert Abela for undergoing a Cabinet reshuffle in the middle of a pandemic, saying that government has failed to keep stability in the face of a pandemic. 

"In a time of crisis, when stability is needed most, we have a Prime Minister who practically paralyzed Government for weeks with the speculation of a reshuffle," Grech said. 

He took particular aim at Abela's decisions to change Ministers in sectors most affected by the pandemic, namely the Parliamentary Secretary responsible for the Elderly and the Ministers for Education, Tourism, and Finance.

"We have been telling Robert Abela for months that the elderly sector is facing a crisis, with the pandemic spreading through elderly homes and the Parliamentary Secretary disappearing at the height of the crisis, only to send a roly poly to the elderly. After weeks defending him, Robert Abela had to admit to this failure, but only as the number of deaths continued to rise and today stand at 111."

Grech continued to take aim at each Minister for their action or inaction during the pandemic. He called out Owen Bonnici for "failing" in the areas of justice and education, both of which have been in his ministerial portfolio over the years, and criticised Abela for placing Bonnici in charge of the national post-COVID strategy plan. "This is another recipe for disaster," Grech said.

He offered the same criticism towards Julia Farrugia Portelli, who was tasked with the Tourism portfolio during the pandemic. He recalled her BBC interview promoting Malta as a tourism destination for the summer, where she spoke of COVID-19 mechanisms that would help Malta keep numbers low. "Robert Abela defended her, and today he should apologise to tourism operators that continue to suffer due to this incompetence."

The PN leader continued to berate Robert Abela for breaking up ministerial portfolios. He mentioned the super ministry set up during Abela's first reshuffle in January, which was given to Silvio Schembri as Economy Minister. "Today he broke it to pieces and distributed it to other Ministries because Schembri failed". On the finance ministry, Grech accused the Prime Minister of playing a game of musical chairs and criticised him for giving the ministry to a close aide.

"Electoral interests have resulted in Robert Abela growing his cabinet at the expense of the country as we face the largest deficit in history" he said. 

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