Grech says Abela enabling price hiking, ‘by blaming inflation on Ukraine war’

The PN leader has said people are suffering because of rising inflation, and need solutions not “excuses from the Prime Minister”

PN Leader Bernard Grech
PN Leader Bernard Grech

PN leader Bernard Grech has accused Prime Minister Robert Abela of enabling certain businesses to hike prices, by blaming inflation on the war in Ukraine.

Interviewed by Dione Borg on NET FM on Thursday afternoon, Grech said that inflation was affecting everyone and not just those on the lower income bracket. “The time of excuses for Robert Abela is over. He has blamed past PN administrations, COVID and the war in Ukraine. Those that are suffering are not interested in those excuses, but want solutions,” Grech said.

He said that Abela has no solution for the rising cost of living and that by blaming it all on the war on Ukraine, he is enabling certain business to hike prices.

“Whilst we believe that there should never be a control on prices, Abela is giving a free pass to those that are comfortable with pushing up prices,” Grech said.

Grech spoke about the public broadcaster PBS, referring to a recent court ruling, where PBS and the Broadcasting Authority were fined for breaching the Constitution and PN’s rights.

PN had filed a case against the Broadcasting Authority, Public Broadcasting Services Ltd, Minister Carmelo Abela and the State Advocate earlier this year, complaining of pro-government bias in the public broadcaster’s programming.

“Robert Abela has absolute control over PBS and it is clear that he does not handle criticism well. This is not healthy in a democratic society, as we need a plurality of voices,” Grech said.

“The Opposition has a duty to keep the government in check and critique wherever necessary. It is not true that we are negative – the Opposition has to intervene whenever things are not done well.”

Grech said that it had now been proven that PBS broke the rights of PN and accused it of continuously distorting facts in its reporting.

In an expert report on this year's parliamentary election, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) questioned the timing of the tax refund cheques, having been disbursed two weeks before the general election. 

Grech said that the timing was wrong and not the distribution of cheques. “Government distributed the cheques, not because it wanted to help the people, but in order to win the election and win by large margins.”

The Opposition Leader questioned how no cheques were distributed in the last four months, since the electoral victory for the PL, in order to combat inflation. “This is a clear misuse of public funds,” Grech said.

Grech said that the Attorney General’s actions vis-à-vis the plea deal with the self-confessed bank robber Daren Debono it-Topo and the bribery acquittal of Yorgen Fenech’s lawyers were inexcusable.

“Those that shot at police and allegedly attempted to bribe a journalist were liberated as the AG did not carry out her duties well. Through her shortcomings, Victoria Buttigieg is weakening the office of the Attorney General. She should resign if she can’t justify her actions,” Grech said.

He also touched upon the government’s legal notice, allowing music to be played in a number of Valletta’s streets until 1am.

“The Opposition is all for development and commercial activity in Valletta. We are all in favour of a lively capital city, but the right balance has to be struck. Valletta belongs to everyone, as the legal notice affects the residents, visitors and hotel and business owners alike. People also deserve to rest.”

When asked about the nomination of Alex Perici Calascione as PN deputy leader, Grech said that he has already initiated discussions with him on various topics and said his appointment was further proof that the party was regenerating and opening up.