The government’s decision to send out tax rebate cheques on the eve of the election is nothing but “a vote-buying exercise”, Opposition leader Bernard Grech said on Tuesday.
“The cheques are nothing but a vote-buying exercise. We do not believe that assistance is some token and we do not send out cheques to shut people up when they start questioning backdoor deals,” Grech said.
His comments come as the government started sending out the cheques on Monday, earlier than usual, to help people with the increase in the cost of living. When questioned about the timing of the sending out of the cheques, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana on Monday denied this was indicative of a vote-buying exercise.
The PN leader was being interviewed as part of a series of sessions with politicians by Mcast’s student council ahead of the general election.
He started off by calling on the students present to “be active”, urging them to not only get involved in politics but also in voluntary work.
“It is important that you are active, not just in politics. If there are people who are discouraging you or who are trying to stop you from speaking publicly, this will damage your advancement in society.
“We need your people to give us their opinions. More young people need to take ownership of important issues. Don’t just wait for politicians to take responsibility,” Grech said.
Grech went on to promise students that a PN government would open an Mcast Campus in Gozo and that more courses will be on offer, saying the party’s apprenticeship schemes will serve to encourage the private sector to take in more apprentices.
The PN, he said, is promising a 200 per cent tax credit for the private sector to take in an apprentice.
On the teachers’ shortage, Grech said that the issue should have been tackled years ago and not now that there is a crisis. He pledged to address the issue if elected, although he did not elaborate on how the party would do that.
The PN leader also said that it is crucial that the country’s education system moves away from just textbook-based thinking and that there is more critical thinking.
“We need to stimulate thinking and analysis. We need to revolutionise the educational system. I won’t say something populist like we will be removing homework because we know that doesn’t reflect the real world,” Grech said, hitting out at the Labour Party’s proposal that it would push for students to not have homework.