Bernard Grech shies away from Giglio's gung-ho attitude, cautions against anti-foreigner sentiment

The Opposition leader says the issue of security should not turn into a battle between Maltese and foreigners as he blames government for lack of police resources

PN Leader Bernard Grech
PN Leader Bernard Grech

Bernard Grech has cautioned against turning the issue of security into a battle between Maltese and foreigners, adopting a more moderate tone than his party's home affairs spokesperson.

The Nationalist Party leader said the issue of security had no nationality and he didn't like the discourse where foreigners are blamed for lawlessness in the country.

PN home affairs spokesperson Joe Giglio last week called for the "immediate deportation" of foreigners who broke the law when reacting to a massive brawl in Hamrun's main road between a group of Syrians.

But Grech adopted a different tone to Giglio's gung-ho attitude during a phone interview with veteran journalist Dione Borg on NET FM, the party radio station. Grech instead shifted his guns onto the government.

“Let’s not turn the issue of security into a battle between Maltese and foreigners. It is the government that is not showing leadership and planning. Only the Labour government is culpable,” Grech said.

The PN leader said that Prime Minister Robert Abela had to guarantee everyone’s peace of mind and safety in the community. “Public spaces belong to everyone and we all have a right to go outside, enjoy life and socialise.”

The Opposition leader spoke about national security and said that many feel that they can’t get out of their home and can’t visit certain places.

“We daily hear of fights, murders and thefts. This is a result of a government that has depleted the police corps and is being a miser with our security. Government has rendered the police corps ineffective,” Grech said.

He said the PN has been harping for years that the quality of life in Malta was degrading. He mentioned the delayed judicial processes, precarious work, long waiting lists at Mater Dei and the out-of-stock medicine as examples of things that were eroding the quality of life.

“This government has no plan and no politics for the country. They only had one plan – to win the election and become millionaires,” Grech said.

Asked about the news that the budget for the University of Malta was being slashed by €1.1 million as part of the government’s spending review, Grech said that the Labour party never had education at heart.

“Leave our university alone. They spent millions on shenanigans for the film festival, whilst robbing the country through endless direct orders,” Grech said. “We advocate for financial responsibility but when you are a miser with the university, you are being a miser with our children, and the future of the country. This is unacceptable.”