Opposition Leader Bernard Grech encouraged people to look forward to a new year with hope after the events of 2020, but appealed to everyone to follow all the Covid-19 precautions as this is the only way to prevent more death from the virus.
Grech delivered his New Year’s message on Thursday evening.
“It was an extraordinary year not just for us, but for the whole world. As the year draws to a close, I am certain that nobody would have predicted what we experienced in the past few months.”
He expressed his condolences to those families who lost a loved one throughout the year, especially due to the pandemic.
“Genuinely, I would like to pass on my most sincere condolences to those who lost someone close to them this year … in particular the victims of the pandemic, as the pain that they have left for those still with us is heavier.”
“This crisis, which came onto us without any prior warning, hit our economy, our jobs, our businesses, and our families.”
Grech also thanked the workers in the medical and educational fields.
“All the healthcare workers deserve our appreciation and gratitude. The pandemic hit teachers and educators and within a few weeks they had to adapt to the challenges that the pandemic brought with it.”
Grech also noted the effect on mental health this pandemic has had on citizens. “Above everything, it had an effect on our psychological well-being.”
“I appeal to everyone, old and young, to make sure that they take all precautions, as the health authorities indicate. It is only this way that the pandemic won’t take any more lives.”
The Opposition Leader also took note of journalists and their work, “who throughout these months of the pandemic continued to provide us with the latest news regarding the medical situation locally as well as across the world so that we could see the latest practices being adapted, especially by our European counterparts.”
Although the vaccine is upon us, Grech appealed for vigilance so that the the number of deaths will reduce.
“The time for hope is close due to the vaccine that will help greatly with mitigating the spread of the virus. But it does not mean that everything has passed, we need to stay vigilant.”
Furthermore, Grech pointed out that even though it was a challenging year, one should not sulk, yet look forward to a better time.
“Let us look forward to spring, to a time after this difficult period, and when this thunderstorm stops, the black clouds pass, the wind calms down, and the sun comes out. To a time where we will go out of our houses. Then, we will celebrate.”
“We need to understand the lessons learnt from what happened so that it wouldn’t have happened for nothing.”
The Opposition leader also highlighted a few points that people need to keep in mind as we head towards a new year.
“We need to see infrastructural improvements made so that our children will never again end up at home without schooling. We have to see legislation come into effect so that men and women can work from home without losing productivity. We need to have high standards in care homes for the elderly. We need to have a diversified economy so that when another issue impacting our economy hits, it wouldn’t be as damaging as it was. We need a country that is ready to help those who lost their job, those who lost their business investment. All of this needs to start at once and it would be a mistake to quickly forget the distress we faced during these past months.”
“I augur a better new year to everyone, a year filled with fond memories, one that is full of what we were used to before the pandemic and that we crave so much for throughout this past year.”