The country needs to rediscover its values as a means to achieve a better quality of life for its people, PN leader Bernard Grech said on Monday.

He was speaking at the Tritons Fountain in Valletta as the PN kicked off its Independence celebrations.

Such values, he said, included rewarding hard work not rewarding people with a salary of over €70,000 solely thanks to political connections or because the prime minister needed to keep somebody quiet.

Grech did not go into specifics, but his comment came hours after Times of Malta revealed that former TVM head of news Norma Saliba has been awarded a €72,000 contract as executive director of the new Centre for the Maltese Language, whose setting up is being challenged by various language organisations.

Giving high salaries to people who did not deserve them undermined other people’s willingness to work hard to achieve more, Grech said.

He insisted that the Nationalist Party remained determined to bring about change for the country. It could not claim it had solutions for everything, but it was determined to do what was right and proper for society and it had the political willingness to take decisions which might be unpopular, but which ultimately benefited society, particularly the most vulnerable.

“Better life will come from hard work and good decisions by the people,” he stressed. But the people needed to rediscover the values that mattered.

Picking up on points raised by earlier speakers, he said the country needed to better reward teachers, not just make empty promises to them.  

He also touched on improving transport as a means of improving the quality of life, reiterating a PN electoral promise to reward families if they gave up use of a car for five years.

He underscored the importance of investing in mental health. Malta not only needed the long-promised new mental health hospital, but also new services, particularly for younger people, he said.   

Near the end of his brief address, Grech also condemned an assault and threats made against people because of their sexual orientation, a reference to an assault suffered by a man after attending the gay pride parade in Gozo on Saturday week.  

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