Monday, 30th July 2012
Govt-Opposition parliament row: GSD remain ‘spiteful’ says Garcia
Acting Chief Minister Joseph Garcia has accused the GSD Opposition of flouting “accepted standards of Parliamentary cooperation” at last week’s brief Question Time sitting. It follows the Government’s unprecedented defeat in a motion to adjourn the House until August 2nd which resulted in parliament having to be adjourned sine die after the Opposition outvoted the Ministers present in the Chamber by 5-4.
A Gibraltar Government spokesman said: “The decision of the Opposition to vote against the adjournment was an underhand tactic which goes against the practice and convention of Parliament. It also goes against the spirit of cooperation in Parliament that the new Government has been trying to foster since it was elected in December.
“Moreover, the impression that had been given to the Government by the Opposition was that it was not always necessary for the entire Government to be present in Parliament during question-time. Thursday’s meeting was only for Minister Bossano’s questions, which meant that there was no need for the Government to take a majority of Ministers.
“The Opposition took advantage of the situation to vote against the motion to adjourn to August 2 on the basis of Mr Caruana’s preference that he does not want to work in August.
“Although Mr Caruana is wrong because Parliament did meet in August 2004, albeit for he Tercentenary Motion, he must understand that he is no longer in Government and that times have changed. The Parliament, for example, has not met for questions in January, February, March, May, June and July when he was in office, but it has already met six times for this purpose under the new Government.
"Given that a meeting was required in August to allow Mr Licudi to answer his questions, then the Opposition should have agreed to this because this is what they are paid by the taxpayer to do. The end result is that the questions have now been lost and that they will have to be submitted again if they want the answers. The Government is now free, in any case, to call a new meeting in August for this purpose if it so determines.
"Mr Caruana is the last person to complain about who is present in meetings of the House and who is not. He has, since the GSD lost the elections, been absent on several notable occasions, particularly on Friday afternoons, and including part of the conclusion to the budget debate and the whole of the Committee Stage. Moreover, the Government has bent over backwards to accommodate Mr Caruana’s personal diary needs quite correctly changing the start of the budget debate and even the date of one Chief Minister’s questions at Mr Caruana’s request.
"There is no need to remind anyone that Mr Caruana would never have acted in this generous and accommodating manner had be still been the Chief Minister.
"It is obvious that the Opposition are completely ungrateful and clearly remain spiteful because they lost the election and we won it. It is also clear to the Government that they cannot be trusted to uphold accepted standards of parliamentary behaviour and the Government will now regrettably have to proceed on this basis in the future."