[WATCH] Nationalist Party Independence Day discussion casts spotlight on quality of life

Nationalist Party begins Independence Day activities • Grech says PN has the courage to take the unpopular decisions if it means the country moves forward

Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech
Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech

The Nationalist Party began its Independence Day activities on Monday which are set to conclude on the eve of Independence Day with a mass meeting at Pjazza Tritoni. 

The Nationalist leader Bernard Grech was part of a discussion with the theme ‘A better life for our country’, which was composed of academics and activists: university dean Andrew Azzopardi, LGBTI+ Gozo President Eman Borg, assistant head Randolph Peresso, disabilty activist Amy Camilleri Zahra and Rota president Sergio Sammut.

The intervention largely revolved around the need for a better quality of life for Maltese citizens, with speakers mentioning how proactive policy in their respective sectors can help in improving it.

University dean Andrew Azzopardi (right) and disability activist Amy Camilleri Zahra (left)
University dean Andrew Azzopardi (right) and disability activist Amy Camilleri Zahra (left)

Azzopardi quoted a number of studies carried out by the social wellbeing faculty on mental health, substance use, suicide and loneliness.

“We need policy which does not make money the ultimate priority, and makes wealth the ultimate goal. We need a human-centred approach,” he said. “We need legislators which are not afraid to standout and be courageous.”

The LGBTI+ Gozo president said that when people speak about equality, they are not talking about “taking photo in front of a flag”, but the realities faced by minorities.

“Just a two weeks ago, we saw a homophobic attack in Gozo. Instead of the person being charged with a hate crime, they were charged with grievous bodily harm. That shows we have a long way to go,” Eman Borg said.

LGBTI+ Gozo President Eman Borg (left) and assistant head Randolph Peresso (right)
LGBTI+ Gozo President Eman Borg (left) and assistant head Randolph Peresso (right)

Randolph Peresso said the education system needs to be improved in order to cater for modern realities. “But we cannot just look at schools, we have to look at social factors which affect our families, we need holistic solutions.”

During her intervention, Amy Camilleri Zahra spoke about the quality of life, where she stated that “you cannot discuss social policy without considering all the factors”, including inflation, a busy life, the environment, as well as basic rights.

She mentioned that if these factors are not addressed, the population's quality of life will decrease. “These factors have emotional and physical effects.” Camilleri Zahra emphasized the need for measures to achieve work-life balance and more measures for the elderly, among other things.

Randolph Peresso and Rota president Sergio Sammut (right)
Randolph Peresso and Rota president Sergio Sammut (right)

Sergio Sammut said that there is a need for laws to protect the most vulnerable on the roads. He mentioned that law enforcement in Malta is quite weak and called for priority to be given to those who walk or cycle.

Concluding the event, Grech stated the PN has always been at the frontline to address the need for a better quality of life.

“The country has an important decision to make. A better quality of life is not something we can get overnight, we have to decide where we want to go, together,” he said.

Referring to reports on former TVM News chief Norma Saliba’s new €70,000 salary, he said when individuals see opportunism being rewarded, the message sent is that hard work is not rewarding.

He said the PN has the determination to take the unpopular decisions when it believes it will help the country move forward.

“We humbly believe that we do not have all the solutions, but we have some, and we have the determination to act on them,” Grech said.

Grech serves hot meals at Soup Kitchen  

Earlier on Monday, the PN leader visited the Soup Kitchen in Valletta, saying there is the need for better understanding of the hardships people face in the community.

He voiced his concern at the fact that a statistic published last December showed 91% of Soup Kitchen users, were Maltese.

The Soup Kitchen, which is run by the Franciscan Friars, opened its doors in St Ursul Street on the 25th of August 2021 and operates exclusively on donations.

The Franciscan Friars’ soup kitchen in Valletta was awarded the European Citizens’ Prize for Malta, two years since the start of its operations. The charitable organisation was nominated for the prize by Nationalist MEP David Casa.

The award is organised by the European Parliament and recognises outstanding contributions to the promotion of common values and fundamental rights.