The government has been “reactive” and has failed to learn its lesson from the  Jean Paul Sofia inquiry, Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech said on Tuesday.

Grech was speaking in Parliament during a debate on the new workplace health and safety Bill.

He said this time last year the public came together as a “crusade”, as the Maltese and Gozitan people joined in full support for a public inquiry into the death of Jean Paul Sofia. 

The debate on the bill began on Monday, where Prime Minister Robert Abela said the purpose of the bill is to create a new, revolutionary legislative framework so that the likelihood of industrial accidents was reduced as far as possible. 

The Health and Safety at Work Bill  seeks to comprehensively reform the Occupational Health and Safety Authority (OHSA), which underwent little change since being established in the 1990s.

Grech recalled the government’s original decision to not accept a public inquiry into the death of a “son of the nation”.

“There are people who try to forget the past, but let us not forget that a population that forgets its past is destined to live through it again," he said. 

The PN voted in favour of a public inquiry, the Labour Party did not, they did not want the full truth of the Sofia case to be revealed.”

He also questioned why Abela has failed to make a “sincere apology” after the government dragged its feet to launch the Sofia public inquiry. 

He said that every government is responsible to be proactive, not reactive, when it comes to the life and health of workers and that every worker deserves to be safe and protected. 

“This is a government with no sense of urgency, which has failed completely,” he continued, asking why the government has not consulted experts for the bill.

He said the new laws on workplace safety came too late, as the government has ignored the safety of many workers who risked being hurt or killed at their workplace. 

“We did not have to wait until Jean Paul Sofia died to make a change,” he said. 

“We have a government that has dragged its feet and now we have a government that only does something to solve a crisis it has created itself.”

“A party that was once the party of the worker is not ready to protect and strengthen the worker,” he said. 

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