The First Hundred Days of Bernard Grech: Was the financial situation within the Party on his agenda?

Part Seven

In politics, leaders have to understand that their credibility and leadership will live or die with their initial actions and decisions. These will be perceived as symbolic statements of changes that will be implemented during the course of his tenure. These symbolic actions will reflect the leader’s personality and his or her political priorities. If no action is taken in these first 100 days, there will be nothing to report and the leader of the opposition will be sending a negative message to his followers and the nation.

Nationalist supporters were expecting that the first actions of their elected leader, Dr. Bernard Grech, were going to indicate that their party was finally getting out of its rut. Instead, the signals that they were receiving were those of a party in a more profound crisis than before.

Undoubtedly many Nationalists, who were being fed malign information about their previous leader, wanted change. Not knowing what was exactly happening, they were expecting action. The Nationalists had been asked to believe that their previous leader was dragging the Party into worse horrifying election results. Thus, they expected some strong signs from their new leader. All those Nationalist supporters who were fed obscure information about the previous leader expected emergency measures from the incoming leader especially measures for unity. Has anyone read or seen anything to this effect? Can anyone identify some tangible potential progress that has been achieved in these last hundred days? Readers’ replies to this question are welcome and greatly appreciated. From where I stand, however, I am not witnessing anything of the sort forthcoming.  

What these first 100 days have shown us is that Bernard Grech is unable to decide and prove that he is a political leader. I am sure that this will become evident in the future polls concerning his leadership skills.

On another note, it is an open secret that the Nationalist Party is in a dire financial situation. The new incumbent should have immediately taken steps to reduce costs where hefty expenses are concerned. There are a number of costs that the Party can do without.

What should have happened at the beginning was to freeze anything new that increased expenditure. It was extremely important to plug the financial haemorrhage and get control of commitments and stop or ‘postpone’ the costly undertakings. Has any such action been taken? Absolutely not. In fact, the opposite has occurred. PN members are actually seeing more and more individuals moving into different offices at Dar Ċentrali. At the moment, a number of directors have been employed. They are being given a privileged salary at the expense of the others PN employees. Is it true that each of these directors are each being paid €40,000 per annum? Is it true that even the Secretary General is receiving a net €2,000 per month? It follows in this case that the Party then has to pay full tax etc on behalf of the Secretary General, thus incurring more costs unnecessarily? Is it true that all these directors were employed in appreciation and gratitude for their respective efforts during Grech’s leadership campaign? Is it true that MPs and MEPs are enrolling friends, employees and friends of friends onto the Party’s payroll as a show of respect for work undertaken by them to make Grech win the race? Has Bernard Grech ever thought of asking his financial controller, or whatever he calls himself, to give him a full picture of the Party’s financial situation?

Has it ever crossed Grech’s mind and that of the financial controller, that you might be breaking the bank and that the Party could be on the brink of bankruptcy? Has the financial controller ever given Grech an indicative timeframe as to how far finances can be stretched? From what I hear, the Financial Controller is the kind of person who quite often speaks out about the Party’s financial constraints. Did he ever enlighten the party leader? The logical advice to Dr. Grech is that he ensures that he is given the exact picture of the Party’s financial situation in order that, as Leader, he can take the necessary reparatory action. The leader has to attach great importance to this reparatory action regarding finances and which in this case is indispensable considering the catastrophic state of the party. The key to resolving this awful mess lies in the art of being able to fully assess what is wrong and know what action needs to be taken. The leader needs to know how to shift from the short-term approach to a medium and long-term one while remaining focused on his ultimate destination (that of winning the forthcoming general election) without causing irreparable damage in the process.

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