Nationalist Leader Bernard Grech urged the government to take two weeks to consult with the opposition about their recovery plans while Labour MPs responded to their demands by asking for concrete proposals from the Opposition.
“The government that pretends to listen and pretends to have interest in you is the one that decides alone,” Grech told Parliament this morning.
Grech said that plans for the utilisation of EU funds should be built on consultations with the opposition and experts in particular sectors, as opposed to the government just “listening to itself and those around it”.
Grech then requested that the government take two weeks to consult and present a proper recovery plan, one more detailed than the 20-page presentation that they offered the day before.
Grech continued by criticising the government’s plan for Malta to move towards electrical vehicles. Although he agrees with the premise, he said that the project should start by incentivising the purchase of private vehicles instead. He also censured the fact that part of the €111 million allocated to this sector will be spent on ministerial vehicles.
“This is how they are, they come first, and then maybe, at some point, the population follows,” he continued.
Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia responded to Grech by saying that “we must remember our roles” and that the government is ultimately the decision maker.
He said that he would be willing to amend the recovery plan if the opposition would suggest concrete proposals and a secondary report.
“If it really is a plan without a plan, you can make your own,” he said.
Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis said this recovery plan is the third stage in the government’s fight against the pandemic, after fighting the virus itself and keeping business afloat. He said that the wage supplement is a testament to how much they care for the citizens of Malta and Gozo, and compared it with other countries that are facing protests and frustration.
Meanwhile, Nationalist MP Kevin Cutajar reflected back to the 12 years he spent in a local council mainly made up of Labour councillors in which he felt “irrelevant”. A sentiment, he said, that Labour is reigniting within him by excluding the Opposition from this important decision making.
Alternatively, Nationalist MP Joseph Ellis accused the government of delivering the recovery plan too late. He contrasted the island’s situation to that of Italy where their plan was proposed on the 13th of April.
EU Funds Parliamentary Secretary Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi, on the other hand, argued that the plan cannot be looked at in “isolation”, he said that it is a part of several initiatives used to combat the effects of the pandemic.
Do you think that there should be more consultation or more concrete proposals?