31 Jan – 6 Feb 2001

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Time to let people choose how to spend Sunday, says Bay Street chief

By Miriam Dunn

The retail industry in Malta must reflect today's way of life and this should see Sunday depicted as a day of leisure rather than a day of rest, according to Bay Street chief and self-appointed Sunday trading campaigner, Chris Grech.

Mr Grech said he hoped the Sunday trading battle could be resolved through compromise, but made it clear he had no qualms about pushing for a referendum on the issue.

"There have been changes in consumers' needs and no one is providing them with a voice," he said. "Today the retail, leisure and entertainment sectors co-exist and our laws need updating to take this into account."

Mr Grech was speaking to The Business Times as the Sunday shopping controversy continues to hot up and in the wake of some scathing comments directed at him in our newspaper last week by Parliamentary Secretary Edwin Vassallo, who suggested the Bay Street boss might be trying to manipulate public opinion and was being rather egotistical

Asked whether he felt that pushing for a referendum would put him on a collision course with the government, which has made it clear it Sunday trading will remain tightly controlled in its planned changes to legislation, Mr Grech countered that he believed it was healthy for different ideas and opinions to be discussed.

"The government has a difficult brief, it is not surprising that it is currently treading carefully," he said. "But it is important that the public's point of view is relayed. We have been inundated with thousands of people supporting us - people who want to be free to choose how to spend their Sunday."

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt