Bernard Grech has defended his remark that he would pretend to be Greek when travelling overseas because he was ashamed to admit he was Maltese.
In a statement, Grech accused the Labour Party of “twisting his words around” out of fear that he could win the upcoming PN leadership election.
“In its latest attempt at twisting facts, the PL edited a sentence I had said in a programme months ago to make it seem as though I’m not proud of my country,” he said, posting the clip on his Facebook wall himself. “It didn’t suit them to publish the full clip because I had spoken out about the corruption and crime that took over the Labour government.”
“I’m so proud of my country that I embarked upon this journey to serve it, to strengthen the PN and make it an alternative government so that we can get Malta out of this alleyway the PL government has pushed it into.”
On ONE TV’s Pjazza last night, Karl Stagno Navarra dug up a remark Grech passed during a NET TV debate last December in the wake of the publication of the Egrant inquiry.
“I want Malta to become a normal country and I want us to regain the honour of calling ourselves Maltese and to stop being afraid of telling people where we’re from when we’re overseas,” Grech had said.
“In all honesty, I’ve gone abroad and told people I’m from Greece because my surname is Grech which makes it easily believable.”
“I’m not joking, I really do that because I’m ashamed to tell them I’m Maltese because I’m afraid of what they’ll tell me. I can’t defend the Prime Minister, his clique and all this dirt.”
These last two sentences weren’t aired on Pjazza.
Several people criticised Grech for this comment, including parliamentary secretary for citizenship Alex Muscat, who questioned how a Prime Minister in waiting could be ashamed of his nationality.
“This is an elitist style of politics, which is why I said [Grech] has been chosen by that famous clique which took control over the PN for years,” he said.
PN leader Adrian Delia also appeared to take a dig at his rival, writing a quick poem about how proud he is of his country.
“Malta always comes first when we’re overseas,” he said. “I’m Maltese and proud of it. Always. Even when everyone’s attacking us. We’re true Nationalists because we love our country.”