Bernard Grech: Steward renegotiation deal failed after senior civil servants refused to sign it

The PN leader says that senior civil servants stood up to Robert Abela and Chris Fearne and refused to sign new deal with Steward Healthcare

PN leader Bernard Grech (Photo: PN)
PN leader Bernard Grech (Photo: PN)

Opposition leader Bernard Grech alleged that renegotiation agreements with Steward failed after senior civil servants refused to sign the contract.

The Opposition leader was interviewed on NET TV on Sunday morning after the Nationalist Party postponed its planned event in Sliema due to the weather conditions.

Grech said that it is “evident” that Prime Minister Robert Abela is dealing with severe issues, with his predecessor Joseph Muscat’s compromises having created major problems for the party.

He added that Muscat is continuously issuing warnings to Abela and threatening to bring him down if he was prosecuted.

“The nation deserves nothing but the truth, it deserves a health service of the highest quality,” the PN leader said.

Grech said that the NAO report on the hospitals’ concession, revealed that Abela had tried to re-negotiate the deal with Steward in Castille when he came Prime Minister, in the presence of Joseph Muscat.

“It is evident that they tried to lie and cover up the true picture to the NAO investigators. The renegotiation agreement with Steward (that Abela says that he had nothing to do with) stopped at the eleventh hour after the State Advocate told them that what they were doing was illegal,” Grech said.

He also revealed that another reason why the negotiations broke down, was that individuals high up in the civil service refused to sign the new contract.

“They stood up to Robert Abela and Chris Fearne, despite their insistence. If it was up to them, they would have signed the new agreement with Steward,” Grech said.

The Opposition Leader said that when his party states that “you are the one to pay for corruption” it means that the over €400 million paid to Vitals and Steward by the taxpayers was never invested in the national health sector.

He said that the Labour government almost doubled the national debt from €5 billion to €9 billion in 10 years.

In an obvious dig at the infamous “Malta Tagħna Lkoll” (Malta belongs to all of us) Labour Party 2013 slogan, Grech said that “we have to understand that this country belongs to all of us; the environment, the historical places, the historical heritage, our reputation, our health – belong to all of us.”