The Electrogas deal and the concession of three hospitals to Vitals Global Healthcare benefits only "a select few" close to the Labour administration, Opposition leader Bernard Grech said.

Speaking at a rally held in Birkirkara on Sunday, Grech stated that the health, energy, environment and financial services sectors are all weighed down by dubious deals penned by the Labour administration.

He promised that a PN government would end “injustices suffered every day” because the government wishes to continue “stealing money from people’s pockets”.

“Our party will come up with better proposals to make sure that consumers have better choices. We are working on a strategy and will soon have an opportunity to let you know what we have in store,” Grech said.

In a tribute to former prime minister Eddie Fenech Adami, who turned 87 on Sunday, Grech said that the freedoms from Fenech Adami’s legacy are now no longer a guarantee.

“In the last few years, many of us are questioning whether those liberties that were achieved have progressed or regressed,” the PN leader said, asking people to think whether they can criticise the government without fear of repercussions.

On the hospitals deal, which saw St Luke’s, Karin Grech and Gozo hospitals conceded to the US-based healthcare company in September 2015, Grech said that “the government is hostage to a bogus agreement it came up with itself”.

“We are now informed that for our country to win back our own hospitals and run them how we see fit, we must pay up €100 million in exit fees,” Grech stated.

The opposition leader praised the government for taking up the PN’s idea to use the services of private doctors to speed up the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, adding it should go a step further and use pharmacies for the same purpose.

Grech slammed the government’s Electrogas deal, stating that taxpayers will have to pay €417 million to “take back” the power station.

“This agreement has given a handful of people complete control over our country’s energy sector,” the opposition’s leader said, adding that a deal that benefits “people whose stomach is already full” is unacceptable.

More profitable rates for clean energy producers

Grech also pledged that his party would help alternative energy producers obtain more profitable rates for selling the clean energy they generate to the government.

On the environment, Grech argued that the government “clearly failed” when it comes to recycling plastic and that “there was no plan” in place.

“The national statistics office confirmed that the government recycled just 1% of the plastic waste generated in 2019. Now, people are realising there was no coherent plan,” Grech said.

“Rather than boasting about how it is investing half a billion euros in waste management, the government should tell us exactly what competence it has in this sector, given that three recycling facilities have burnt down in the last seven years,” he added.

Grech was referring to the fact that the Sant’ Antin waste treatment facility was engulfed in a large blaze in 2017, followed by another blaze in Magħtab in 2018 and another one at a waste plant in Marsa in 2020.

Speaking on the environment in general, Grech said that he wants “politics that marries the environment with development without the two being enemies.”

“The common and personal good should be one and the same,” Grech said.

Grech also called for an end to partisan mentalities, arguing that the government’s failure “to do things right” affects everyone, irrespective of whether they support the government or not.

”We are obliged to remain objective in our criticism.

“We must make sure that we do not divide ourselves in red or blue but work on what improves our wellbeing as well as the future of our children, which requires best-practice decisions to be taken,” Grech said.

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