Tuesday, 6 October 2020, 18:26
Last update: about 5 hours ago
PN Leader Bernard Grech and Prime Minister Robert Abela clashed during their first official meeting, held on Tuesday.
The two met at the Prime Minister’s office in Parliament. Grech, who was on Tuesday afternoon sworn in as a Member of Parliament.
Grech previously announced that he will be asking the Prime Minister to discuss launching a public inquiry into the “corrupt” Electrogas deal.
“The Prime Minister heard me, but it does not seem that he understood what I was telling him. He again refused to launch a public inquiry. It seems that the Prime Minister forgot that there is an Auditor General’s report that indicates that there are serious failures in the contract. I believe that we are duty bound to ensure that such a public inquiry take place.”
On migration, Grech said that he told the Prime Minister that he wants a national conference on population and migration to be held. “He (Abela) went into a long monologue where he tried to explain his work and principles in this regard. But it seems that the Prime Minister did not understand me again, as I was not solely talking about irregular immigration, but about all immigration. The Prime Minister did not tell me anything about the 70,000 – 80,000 people that the PL government brought into the country to work. Today we do not know how many of them left and how many remained.”
He said that he would want the conference to study the impact these people have and what needs to be done. “The Prime Minister only answered me on irregular migration. I again extend my invitation,” he said.[embedded content]
Grech said that “it is not enough for someone to say that they are proud to be Maltese, even I am proud to be Maltese .We need to seriously work. At the end of the day his Chief of Staff is on record stating that there was a need for thousands of migrants to come to the country to work, and today we are suffering the difficulties of those thousands who came and today we do not know how many are here and how many left.”
He said that the Labour Party “clearly” does not have a migration plan, and only has the decisions they said they were taken on irregular migration. “I am speaking about all migration and the population problem in the country – a heavy weight on infrastructure, a weight on healthcare and a weight on security and the serenity of all Maltese.”
Asked about the tone of the meeting, Grech said that he understands that the Prime Minister is ‘edgy’ and wants to come out looking strong. “That is not my style. I have a different style, one that is still incisive. The Prime Minister invited me to go to the PL Headquarters and I accepted on condition that I could speak with him on these points. When he decided to be cynical and say that I will only go into Castille if I win the election… then I felt I do not need to bow my head to such cynicism and so I asked for the meeting to take place here, which it did.”
Prime Minister Robert Abela also addressed the press. He said that he hoped that as a new MP and as new blood in the PN, “that Grech would bring up positive issues, speak about how we will create wealth for the people, how we will regenerate the economy after the past months of Covid-19. Unfortunately I heard nothing about this and I must conclude that, the more things change in the PN the more it stays the same. The main theme that the PN had grabbed onto before 2017, the main theme factions within the PN latched onto after 2017 – inquiries and corruption – is again the main theme that the new PN Leader felt he had to discuss with me in our first meeting.”
“I believe the rule of law and good governance in the country are crucial. Good governance is the foundation of everything, but is not the only thing. Strong rule of law is the basis of things that are just as important, if not more important for our people – how we will create prosperity, how we will create wealth. I again make my appeal to the whole Opposition. Let us together understand that this is a particular moment for the whole world and it is crucial that at this moment we forget the partisan differences between us and unite and say that we are one people with strong values. Let us work together to have a healthy debate where we agree on points and not on others, but at the end of the day say that we want to create wealth for this country.” [embedded content]
He said that he became Prime Minister to do good for the people. “I will not permit anyone to damage the country, the economy or the people. I will have a strong position on this. I entered politics to do good and this needs to be the target and mission of all politicians, to do good for the country and the people. Let us debate over which is the best political party that is able to lead the country.