'Pass or fail, the damage is done': Grech defends his letter to the FATF

'I did my part to try and avoid a greylisting,' the Opposition leader said during an interview 

Photo: Partit Nazzjonalista
Photo: Partit Nazzjonalista

In defence of his letter to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Opposition and Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech said that he wanted to do his part to try and avoid being greylisted.

"Whether we pass the test or not, the fact that we are underrgoing this test has already damaged our reputation," he said during a radio interview on NET FM.

After news cropped up that the US, UK and Germany are pushing for a Malta greylisting, Grech wrote to the FATF promising that an alternative Nationalist government would help restore the country's international reputation.

He said that this was done as the party wanted to take a proactive approach to the greylisting. In the letter, Grech not only pledges to restore Malta's reputation, but also appeals for the FATF to give credit where credit's due, and to recognise the efforts made by Malta's financial services sector.

Grech added that the Nationalist Party offered to help the Labour government throughout this test, but the offer was never taken up.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Robert Abela said he was disappointed and suprised by not only the content of the letter but also of its strategic timing, as Malta faces its final verdict on the FATF greylisting in the coming week.

Apart from the FATF, Grech hit out at Steward Health Care (SHC) on Sunday and said that the Nationalist Party will be proposing the re-nationalisation of the Gozo General Hospital, currently under the management of SHC.

"Gozitans are worried and frustrated that health services in Gozo have not improved in the expected way," Grech said, adding that the promised investments that were supposed to be carried out by SHC have failed to materialise. 

"We need to take back control of the Gozo General Hospital, we can't have people spending millions on a foreign operator that is unfortunately not keeping their word on the promises they made," he said.

Apart from taking back the Gozo General Hospital, Grech said that the Nationalist Party would close Mount Carmel and build a new mental health hospital in the vicinity of Mater Dei. 

"We want to end the stigma surrounding Mount Carmel. The building will be rehabilitated for the good of the people so that it can be used in other ways."