[WATCH] Bernard Grech: Institutions are not working as hard as they should be

The Opposition Leader Bernard Grech insists institutions must work 'autonomously' not because someone forced their action

Opposition leader Bernard Grech
Opposition leader Bernard Grech

The Opposition leader Bernard Grech has said that while institutions are functioning, they are not as effective as they should be.

“The institutions need to work autonomously, not because somebody has forced them to work”, he said.

Grech was interviewed by The Malta Independent editor-in-chief Neil Camilleri.

The PN leader named the Office of the Ombudsman and the Standards Commissioner’s office as examples of how more work needs to be done to ensure institutions are working correctly.

He also mentioned the court proceedings against former Office of the Prime Minister Chief of Staff Keith Schembri and Nexia BT officials. “They were charged not because police investigated, but because the magistrate ordered it.”

He also said there are two-weights, two-measures when it comes to dealing with money laundering cases in the country, with Grech insisting that the small fish are being punished, while the big fish roam free.


On the COVID-19 pandemic, Grech said that restaurants owners have become growingly frustrated when seeing measures not being enforced.

“The good are suffering because of the bad – that’s becoming the government’s trademark,” he said.

The PN leader said that for the country to attract tourism, it must be deemed safe, proposing the setting up of three testing centres for tourists – one in Gozo and two in Malta.

Reduced VAT for restaurants and bars

Grech said that while the party will not be revealing its full strategy, in the coming days the PN will be publishing a set of proposals aimed at rejuvenating the tourism sector.

The plan will see the tourism sector reached pre-pandemic numbers within two years, with support for all those which can help the sector, such as Airbnb and farmhouse owners.

The PN will also be proposing better VAT rates for restaurants and bars, while exploring new tourism niches like camping and caravanning.

The opposition leader promised that a Nationalist government would oversee the whole Grand Harbour’s regeneration.

“We cannot have one part which is thriving with business, and the other left abandoned,” Grech said, referring to the Marsa area.

Cannabis white paper

Speaking on the white paper on the responsible use of cannabis, Grech said Robert Abela published to alienate young people.

“And to some extent he managed, because last week’s surveys show the Labour Party attracting more youths,” he said. “Even people who are in favour of legalisation have criticised it.”

Grech stated the PN will not base its position according to how many votes it will attract, stating that it will continue to consult with experts.

He said the PN is in favour of decriminalising marijuana.

On the situation within the party, Grech warned that people with the “wrong attitude” are not welcome within the PN, be them members or MPs.

“We need people with a sincere and humble attitude.  We do not want people with an attitude that they know everyone, that they prejudice everyone, that they are in some form of ivory tower looking down upon everyone, that they think that only they have a divine right to govern”, he said.

He said the PN has understood its mistakes, and insists the party does not want to throw anyone away.