Opposition leader Bernard Grech has called on the nation to re-evaluate the way of life people were used to before the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the country should not go back to being “business as usual”. 

In a telephone interview on the Nationalist Party’s radio station, NETFM, Grech said that saying that things will go back to the way they were before the pandemic hurts those who have been suffering. 

“When the Prime Minister says we’re soon going back to 'business as usual', what does he mean? Are we going to once again start ignoring those who are suffering? 

“No, we don’t want to be 'business as usual' because we need to re-evaluate the basics,” Grech said. 

In his end-of-year message, Prime Minister Robert Abela delivered an upbeat message, insisting he wanted the country to be “business as usual” by May. 

Looking back at 2020, the year he became Opposition leader, Grech said the nation had learnt a lot of important things and prompted many to look at the way they were doing things and change their behaviour. 

“We need to look back at 2020 as the year that we analysed the way we do things. The truth is there are people who suffered because of what has happened while others died. 

“But we rediscovered solidarity, the importance of spending time with family, the importance of caring for those who are lonely. This is because the year made us realise how difficult it really is to be alone,” the PN leader said. 

The new year should serve to bring hope, he said. 

100 days as leader

On inching towards his first 100 days at the helm of the PN in the coming week, Grech said the party had already achieved a lot in the short time since he has been leader. 

“We have laid out the foundations. But advancements are not measured with time. We have done a lot of work but there is more to be done. What is sure is that we have a party that is united and that is out meeting people, where possible. We have approved new candidates and we have young people who want a better future for their families and friends as well as their country.”

Grech then again challenged the Prime Minister to publish his tax and VAT returns, including those before he became an MP, and said good politics should not be based on trying to destroy an adversary.

Late last month the prime minister confirmed that he had reported Grech to the tax commissioner for not having paid his taxes, only to do so just before the PN leadership election. Grech had reacted by challenging Abela to publish his own tax and VAT returns, including those before 2017, when he became an MP. 

In his remarks on Sunday, Grech said the PN is now full of young people who want to work to better the country. But things are taking shape even though there is much more to do.

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