Wednesday, 18th July 2012
Treatment afforded to Montiel ‘spiteful’, says GSD
Gibraltar Social Democrats has said that the treatment afforded to former Employment Minister Luis Montiel by the GSLP administration, is a clear “attempt to humiliate a political opponent.” Mr Montiel has been locked in a long standing dispute with the new Gibraltar Government over his reinstatement as Grade 4 employee of the Gibraltar Development Corporation since the beginning of the year.
In a statement reacting to the news that he had been offered a position as receptionist at the ETB, the GSD declared that the move follows “a barrage of snide and almost obsessive remarks by the Minister for Employment Joe Bossano, at every single Parliamentary session about Mr Montiel.”
A GSD spokesman said that this begs the question “how the Chief Minister can let Joe Bossano deal with the issue.”
According to the Opposition, similar treatment has been dished out to the directors of the Bus Company, the CEO of Housing Agency and GSD sympathisers or neutrals in Government Boards and elsewhere.
A party statement said: “The spiteful attempt by the Government to humiliate Mr Montiel by placing him as a receptionist at the ETB on his first day back at work with the Gibraltar Development Corporation is just another clear example of how far the Government, and Mr. Bossano in particular, will go to humiliate or brush aside political opponents or people who do not share their views.
“The facts are that Mr Montiel was a GDC employee before being elected into Parliament in October 2007. GDC terms and conditions provides that: ‘Employees who are elected to the Parliament will be reinstated in their former grade as employees of the Corporation if: a) they cease to be elected members after an absence from the Corporation not exceeding two terms of office as members of the Gibraltar Parliament; b) they apply for reinstatement within 3 months of ceasing to be members.’
“The rules are designed to encourage public servants to get involved in politics without worrying that a change of Government, or a political opponent, will seek to keep him out of his job should he leave politics or not be elected. One would have thought that upholding the integrity of that principle would have been important to a Government that professes to improve our Parliamentary system.
“Mr. Montiel ceased to be a Member of Parliament on the day the Governor dissolved Parliament when the General Election was called in the first week of November last year. As Mr. Montiel said in his statement to the press, in October of 2011 he had already made a decision not to stand again for election and arranged with senior officials to return to work on December 12 2011.
“Ever since the change of administration, there has been prevarication after prevarication. Originally, there was no offer of reinstatement and it was only after Mr. Montiel instructed Daniel Feetham of Hassans to act for him, in his capacity as a lawyer that the GDC, of which Mr. Bossano is Chairman, agreed to reinstatement, albeit on unacceptable conditional terms. Mr. Montiel was then forced to issue proceedings, at his own expense, and only then did the GDC relent and offer to reinstate him on unconditional terms.
“That offer was made on Thursday of last week, after it was reported in the Chronicle that Edwin Reyes had raised his plight during his Budget speech in Parliament. That offer of reinstatement advised Mr. Montiel to report to the secretary of the GDC on Monday morning for work. Mr. Montiel did so, only to be told that no arrangements for his commencement to work as a Grade 4 had been made and that he was required, for the time being, to work as a receptionist at the ETB until further notice. As Mr. Montiel has said in his statement, working as a receptionist may be a worthwhile job but it is a job performed by a Grade 1 employee and currently undertaken by a trainee; he has to be reinstated as a Grade 4.
“Upholding democratic values is about much more than just having monthly meetings of Parliament. This spiteful and humiliating treatment of Luis Montiel is just another example of how the Government pretends be one thing but in reality acts in quite the opposite manner.”