[WATCH] ‘I am the new face on the district, not Beppe Fenech Adami’ – Graham Bencini

PN candidate Graham Bencini says the withdrawal of candidates from the election race is part of a renewal process as he emphasises that he is the new face not Beppe Fenech Adami

PN candidate Graham Bencini
PN candidate Graham Bencini

Nationalist Party candidate Graham Bencini had no hang-ups pointing out that he is the new face on the 9th District and not Beppe Fenech Adami.

In a stinging remark on TVM News’ Xtra on Thursday, Bencini was replying to a comment by Economy Minister Silvio Schembri on defections from the PN.

Schembri said PN MP Kristy Debono stepped aside from contesting the election to make way for new faces and voters on the 9th District ended up with Beppe Fenech Adami.

“I am the new face on the district, not Beppe Fenech Adami… I am the new face and others like Joe Giglio… Beppe knows this,” Bencini hit back.

Bencini, a former Sliema Wanderers and national team footballer, will be contesting the 9th and 10th districts. This will be his first election as a candidate.

“This is a natural process of renewal… I used to play football and despite being a national team player when I reached the age of 34, I knew I had to make way for new talent,” Bencini said.

Last year, Bencini became president of the PN’s administrative council as part of sweeping changes in the party’s top posts.

The 9th and 10th districts are traditional PN strongholds with several new and established candidates vying for the three seats normally won on each of the districts by the party.

Along with Bencini, lawyer Joe Giglio will also be contesting the two districts for the first time.

Veteran Sliema MP and PN deputy leader Robert Arrigo will also contest the two districts, while Jason Azzopardi will put his name on the 9th District ballot sheet and Karol Aquilina will contest the 10th.

During the debate, Bencini emphasised the PN’s pledge to set up a €1 billion fund to invest in 10 new sectors, including the metaverse.

“The metaverse is technology involving virtual and augmented reality and which large companies such as Facebook, Google and Apple are investing millions in… we want to encourage companies investing in this technology to come here,” Bencini said.

He insisted the PN had the credibility to deliver on such a pledge because it had created new economic sectors in the past that continue to thrive until today.

But Schembri was unimpressed, insisting that ‘new’ sectors mentioned in the PN manifesto, such e-sport, artificial intelligence and video game development, already exist in Malta.

Schembri said the e-sport strategy was published three years ago and the AI strategy four years ago. He said there were already companies operating in the respective fields, while established manufacturing firms had also invested in robotics.