[WATCH] Bernard Grech's greylist pledge: 'It's not about magic; it's about credibility'

Xtra on TVMnews+ | Opposition leader Bernard Grech will be the first guest on the programme as the new season gets underway tonight

Opposition leader Bernard Grech
Opposition leader Bernard Grech

Bernard Grech has defended a pledge to get Malta off the greylist in three months if he becomes prime minister, insisting it is all a question of credibility.

The Opposition leader said greylisting by the Financial Action Task Force means the country is not trusted internationally and reiterated his promise to put Malta on the whitelist in three months.

He was being interviewed by Saviour Balzan on Xtra, which will air to night on TVMnews+.

Grech's pledge flies in the face of what the top brass at the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit have said that the minimum timeframe for any country to get off the greylist so far has been 18 months.

“This is not about magic; it’s about credibility… greylisting means Malta is not trusted internationally. It creates problems for Maltese nationals, which is why we have to get off the greylist as quickly as possible,” Grech said in the recorded interview.

Malta was greylisted last June and has agreed an action plan with the international money laundering monitoring body to address the shortcomings. The principle problems flagged were lack of action on serious tax evasion.

He insisted that if people choose him to be the next prime minister it would send a clear message that Malta is willing to turn things around.

“It will be the people’s merit because they would have voted me in power and that is a message in itself because it shows that Malta would have turned its back on the problems created by the Labour government,” Grech said.

He insisted that if he became prime minister he could sit down with international partners and convince them. “I won’t be beholden to anyone and so I can convince our international partners.”

Asked about the reforms on good governance undertaken by Robert Abela’s administration, Grech insisted that despite the changes the reforms remained on paper.

“FATF told us clearly that they do not believe we can implement those laws and that is why Malta was greyslisted… as prime minister I will ensure that laws are implemented,” Grech said.

Asked what he will do if he loses the next election, Grech insisted he was concentrating on what he will do if he won the election.

The interview covered other topics, including Grech’s description of the Prime Minister as a “detached rich man” during the Indepencen Day eve mass gathering.

Xtra goes on air tonight at 8:45pm on TVMnews+

TVMnews+ is the rebranded name of TVM 2 and will focus on news, current affairs and sports