Grech condemns PM’s refusal to wear facemask in proximity of journalists

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech was scathing in his criticism of Prime Minister Robert Abela’s “arrogance” in the face of criticism he received for failing to observe Covid-19 precautions at a press conference.

Abela had been rebuked by the Institute of Maltese Journalists (IĠM) after removing his mask to answer journalists’ questions at a press conference which served to inaugurate a new road tunnel.

Though in a proviso that appears especially written with politicians in mind allows the removal of facemasks for “official public speaking” – while educators are still expected to keep their masks on throughout their lessons – this should only be allowed if a distance of 2m is maintained between individuals. This distance was far from respected at the press conference, as highlighted by the IĠM.

But the government opted to blame journalists for what happened to defend its head, and in his comments, Grech highlighted another press release issued by Abela’s team: which highlighted that according to the latest Eurobarometer, trust in the media is low. The PN leader suggested that the latter was a show of passive-aggressive behaviour.

“This is not the behaviour of a serious Prime Minister. This is the behaviour of an arrogant one,” he said, adding that the independent media was essential in keeping the government and the opposition in chec.

“The Prime Minister not only removed the physical mask which he seems to hate with a passion, but he also removed the metaphorical mask which often falls off without him realising,” Grech quipped.