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Grech ‘shall deliver’ the goods for Labour

Labour leader Joseph Muscat signing copies of the party’s manifesto at its conference last night. Photo: Jason Borg

Labour leader Joseph Muscat signing copies of the party’s manifesto at its conference last night. Photo: Jason Borg

Labour deputy leader Louis Grech will be tasked with overseeing the implementation of the Labour Party’s electoral manifesto if the party is elected into government.

The announcement was made by leader Joseph Muscat yesterday, moments before the party’s electoral manifesto was unanimously approved by nearly 1,000 delegates after a three-hour conference.

Dr Muscat said Mr Grech’s managerial experience – he was previously Air Malta CEO – made him the perfect candidate for the task of ensuring the PL’s proposals were delivered “on budget and on time”.

He criticised the PN for the GDP growth assumptions it included in its proposal-costing exercise. “They assume growth: we put forward proposals to bring it about,” he said, before going on to rattle off a series of lesser-known PL proposals.

These include full maternity leave for adoptive mothers, a full service pension for police or army officers injured or killed in the line of duty before serving 25 years, a special detention centre for young offenders and tax incentives for doctoral candidates.

Dr Muscat criticised PN deputy leader Simon Busuttil for having said that PL candidate Deborah Schembri had the face of a Nationalist. He said that when he looked at his father or mother, he saw them as a father and mother.

Malta belonged to all, not to Nationalists or Labourites – it was about time the old style of politics was ditched, he said.

Mr Grech had taken to the stage some minutes earlier, saying that the PL plan was “realistic, credible and doable” and calling for national politics to move beyond the partisanship that often characterised it.

Party executive secretary Lydia Abela boasted that the PL had embarked on a positive campaign, before going on to attack its rival Nationalists.

“We’ve gotten used to the Nationalist reaction whenever we launch a proposal – they either attack it frenetically, claim they’ve already done it, or say they just didn’t have enough time to implement it,” she said.

PL stalwart and manifesto coordinator Karmenu Vella accused the Government of using the global recession as a crutch. “They go on about the crisis – which we never denied existed – but do nothing to reduce costs. They just see the crisis as a handy excuse,” he said.

Party affairs deputy leader Toni Abela said the party had not fallen into the trap of “waging a war on businesses and entrepreneurs” and also warned PL members that if any one of them was caught with their hand in the cookie jar they would be scythed down.

Between keynote speeches, people from all walks of life – but most with a political background previously tinged blue – offered testimonials as to why, come March 9, they would be voting for the Labour Party.

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