Bernard Grech unleashes scathing criticism of government at commemoration of parliament’s 100 years

Nationalist leader Bernard Grech says parliament should be discussing the country’s future, not scandals by ministers

Opposition leader Bernard Grech
Opposition leader Bernard Grech

Opposition leader Bernard Grech launched a scathing attack against the current administration in a speech during a special sitting celebrating 100 years of the Maltese parliament.

“We feel this parliament is not equipped to carry out its duties in 2021,” Grech said, adding that members of the House need to show more respect to the people who elected them.

“This House has a committee who called on an MP, who refused to attend three times, and that is not respectful to the Maltese people,” Grech said referring to MP Konrad Mizzi’s no-shows before the Public Accounts Committee.

He also said despite the Opposition MPs fielding parliamentary questions to ministers, they are not present to reply, or refuse to answer them.

“How can you expect scrutiny from MPs who are bought? Look at the backbenchers, all of them are chairmen of committees, while receiving better salaries than ministers,” Grech said.

He also said the House should not repeat the same mistakes as it did when it refused to insist on former prime minister Joseph Muscat testifying before parliament’s ethics committee.

“I see a future where this parliament scrutinizes every individual with a public role,” Grech said.

The PN leader said parliament should address the reasons as to why technocrats do not want to get involved in politics. “No need to think too much about it – because 70% of young people have said they wanted to leave Malta.”

He also said the House of representative “wasted too much time” discussing scandals by ministers and MPs. “We have to be here to discuss the future of the country, not scandals.”

Grech said it would be useless to celebrate 100 years of parliament, without taking a hard look at the current situation.

“Our biggest ambition should be that of being of service to the people,” he insisted.

Parliament is celebrating its 100th anniversary today.

Following in the footsteps of political giants – Chris Fearne

The deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne said while the country has been able to achieve parliamentary representation, it should not be taken lightly, and MPs have the duty to safeguard it.

“This country’s parliamentary democracy is still young, we have to continue protecting it,” he said.

He also paid tribute to the “giants” who have “graced” the country’s political history.

“When we speak in this room, we are following in the footsteps of political giants,” he said.

 Miriam Spiteri Debono, the only woman to have served as the Speaker of the Maltese Parliament, also addressed the House.

She spoke about the Maltese’s request to the British empire for Malta for it to become an independent state, the country’s road to becoming a republic and its eventual accession into the European Union

“The national interest has to be the most important thing,” she said.