PN leader Bernard Grech on Sunday defended his decision to write to the Financial Action Task Force as it considers greylisting Malta, saying he was doing his part in defending the country.

Speaking in a PN telephone interview, he said that the fact that Malta's laws and actions against money laundering were being questioned by international bodies such as the FATF was already a huge hit to Malta’s reputation.

“The reality of the situation is that the damage to our country is already done. Whether we pass or fail, the fact that we’re being put to the test is already very damaging,” Grech said. 

The FATF is due to have a final vote on Wednesday on whether to put Malta on a money laundering offenders' grey list. International experts gave mixed reviews to the global anti-money laundering watchdog during a meeting in Paris on Tuesday. i

Grech said that he felt the need to write to the FATF to “be proactive and do his part in defending the country”. 

“As the Opposition we have offered and agreed with the Government that we are ready to help wherever necessary and possible to defend our country, but we have so far not been approached to do anything tangible,” Grech said. 

“I’ve written to the FATF to highlight the fact that Malta simply cannot afford to be grey-listed and to appeal to the fact that we depend economically on many of the sectors that would be impacted by the decision, which represent a lot of jobs which sustain a large number of our families.” 

“I also wanted to make it clear that should the PN be entrusted to lead the country we will do everything necessary to rebuild trust and credibility,” Grech said.

Asked about a pilot project which provided glucose monitors to diabetic children, Grech urged the government to indicate whether it planned to extend the scheme and make the device available to all diabetes sufferers. 

“We praise and appreciate successful projects such as this one which clearly was successful,” Grech said. 

“We have also heard from patients and parents who have felt much better with this service. Unfortunately the government is yet to confirm its intention to extend the project. We strongly urge the Government to keep up this investment and extend the availability of this apparatus to all who need it so that we can keep giving people a better quality of life.”

Grech said that the PN was committed to delivering politics close to the needs of people, and based on the recommendations of its advisory clusters was putting forward proposals such as that to take back control of the Gozo General Hospital and promised to close Mount Carmel and build a new and more central mental health hospital.

 

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