Bernard Grech tries to fire up PN supporters: ‘Party is alive and working’

Bernard Grech uses his weekly Friday radio interview to try and fire up browbeaten PN supporters, cautions against internal trip-ups

Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech
Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech

Bernard Grech used his Friday radio interview to try and fire up Nationalist Party sympathisers, urging them to be proud of their political allegiance.

He also cautioned against internal trip-ups, which he called a disservice to the people.

But the PN leader also urged people to speak up against government largesse with its cronies and the lack of cleanliness and upkeep in the country.

“As a party, we have to work together and stand up for the people because by tripping each other up we will be letting people down. I have a strong parliamentary group and who is saying PN is asleep is mistaken… the PN is working, it is alive and on the ground meeting people… everywhere we go we feel this,” Grech said as he raised his voice up a notch.

The PN leader was being interviewed by journalist Dione Borg in what has become a weekly Friday appointment.

After the March election, the party has faced an exodus of functionaries and Grech has had to deal with some biting criticism from ex MPs and former deputy leader Robert Arrigo over his leadership. Grech was the sole contender in the post-election leadership contest.

Grech said PN MPs were with him on the streets meeting people during feasts, suggesting that Labour MPs were uninterested in being close to the community.

“I was at one of the feasts with our MPs but there were only a handful of Labour MPs… we are close to the people always not just before elections,” Grech said.

He then made reference to the party’s electoral pledge to introduce economic, social and good governance (ESG) criteria as a benchmark for tax rebates and investment schemes, hailing the PN as a political force that anticipated the future.

“You know what, Dione? Recently a number of companies formed an alliance to embrace ESG. They realised that this is the way forward. Not that they did not know but it shows how the PN is and has always been at the forefront of change,” Grech said.

The introduction of an ESG framework was a key electoral plank for the PN even though it was unable to explain what the adopted criteria would be.

But Grech rekindled the ESG policy today to try and fire up Nationalist sympathisers. “Do not allow anyone to make you feel ashamed you are Nationalists… be proud… this party always had a glorious story and was able to read the signs of the time.”

Grech said the PN is the process of preparing a pre-budget document that will emphasise proposals from its electoral manifesto.

The Opposition leader also hit out at Prime Minister Robert Abela for failure to discuss the appointment of a new Standards Commissioner and Ombudsman.

The former post becomes vacant in a few weeks’ time when George Hyzler formally takes up his post at the European Court of Auditors, while the latter remains occupied by Anthony Mifsud despite his term ending in March last year. Both posts require a two-thirds majority in parliament to be filled, which necessitates cross-party agreement.

“I wrote to the Prime Minister two months ago inviting him to sit down and discuss these important appointments but I have not even received an acknowledgement,” Grech said, adding there were no active discussions underway.