Vision-less Labour’s population boom risks hurting Gozo, Grech says

Bernard Grech tells PN rally in Gozo that sister island will face threat to its heritage and identity unless Malta embraces a strategic change in direction

PN leader Bernard Grech
PN leader Bernard Grech

PN leader Bernard Grech accused Labour of having presided over a population boom from labour migrants that was weighing heavily upon Maltese infrastructure and now spilling over to Gozo.

Grech addressed a Nationalist Party rally in Xewkija, Gozo, in which speakers highlighted the threat to Gozitan heritage under creeping population pressures from Malta.

Grech said the PN’s vision of excellence, which formed the backbone of his Budget 2024 reply, was a reply to the country’s challenges on the environment, rising public debt, and rising criminality.

“It is a vision that is buttressed by care. Care is the watchword of our philosophy. Just like a family that is itself facing problems of household debt, it changes direction. And it does so with a duty of care towards its children,” Grech said.

Grech likened the PN’s vision to that of a family which employs care for its future generations. “It is a vision that wants to care for our children, our elderly, our environment, our cultural heritage and our language,” Grech said, with a segue into the threat to the UNESCO World Heritage listing of the Ġgantija temples in Gozo due to a development planning permit nearby.

“Again, only decisions based on care, should be those a government takes,” Grech said, lambasting the Labour administration as a government that serves the few and its PPP clients, namedropping Steward, the healthcare company picked to run the Gozo general hospital.

Building on previous speeches by Nationalist MPs Alex Borg and Chris Said, Grech said Gozo will risk facing the same pitfalls Malta is suffering under growing population pressures and infrastructural demands. “We need to ask ourselves: where are we heading, and where do we want go. To me, the decision is easy: we cannot allow what we love to be lost. In Malta, our infrastructure is heaving under the pressure of a population growth that has been steered by Labour.”

Grech said not even the millions paid out to the Vitals-Steward PPP to run the Gozo general hospital had resulted in any additional investment for Gozitan healthcare. “I am told that Gozitans feel like second-class citizens when seeing the kind of healthcare service they are offered here, compared to that in Malta.”

He also tore into Labour propaganda on Budget 2024’s slogan ‘A just Malta’, saying Maltese and Gozitan citizens are being short-changed by long waiting lists in hospitals that do not even have enough space to carry out daily surgeries. “Is this what they mean when they say ‘Malta ġusta’?”

He said Labour’s miserly offers on teaching salaries with Malta’s teachers’ union would also punish future generations and skills development. “When will Labour understand, that this collective agreement means investing in Maltese and Gozitan future generations?”