No PN mass meeting for Independence Day activities

A senior official told MaltaToday that the party will focus on 'elevating' the standard of the activities

The Nationalist Party will not be holding a mass meeting as part of its traditional yearly activities marking Independence Day, MaltaToday is informed. 

In fact, the activities leading up to 20-21 September – when the party celebrates Malta’s 1964 Independence from the United Kingdom – will be quite subdued and will not be staged on the granaries in Floriana, but in an area in the vicinity, a senior party official said. 

The same official said that the party will not be inviting regional or sectional committees to set up food stalls or information stands, as was the norm for many years, but that it will focus instead on “elevating” the standard of the activities. 

MaltaToday is informed that journalist Dione Borg has been tasked with organising a debate and that this will most likely be held under the Independence Day monument. But it is as yet unclear what other activities are being planned, if any.  

Questions sent to PN secretary general Michael Piccinino remained unanswered, while the party’s director of information said the party was still working on the programme and would make it public when finalised. 

This is not the first time in recent years that the party has opted not to organise any major activities. In fact, the last full mass meeting on the granaries was held in 2018, when PN leader Adrian Delia addressed a crowd visibly reduced from the numbers that the party was used to attracting in the past. 

That year, the activities also included entertainment by ‘Coldplay’ and ‘Queen’ cover bands, the song festival linked with Independence Day, a party for teenagers and sports activities, and political discus-sions with the participation of leader Adrian Delia held in the space of five days. 

The year after that, only activities outside the PN headquarters were organised. Then in 2020, the country followed lockdown measures to combat COVID-19, although Delia and Bernard Grech held their own mass meetings as they campaigned in the run-up to the leadership election. 

In 2021, Grech, as the new leader, organised a meeting on the Granaries but this was limited to small area with attendees having to stay seated and socially distanced. 

Party members on social media voiced their disappointment at the lack of activities planned. 

Bernard Grech is currently on his summer holidays in an overland trip in Europe, and is expected back around 13 September. His newly-elected deputy leader, Alex Perici Calascione, has represented the party at the activities organised by sectional and regional committees around Malta and Gozo.