Friday, 21st September 2012
Jobs policy row, Speaker raps Feetham over Bossano age reference
Opposition Member Daniel Feetham was called to order by Speaker Haresh Budhrani after making reference to Employment Minister Joe Bossano’s “advanced years”.
During a series of exchanges over employment questions Mr Feetham accused Mr Bossano of getting “very, very paranoid in his advanced years” one of several references to the minister’s age, 73.
To a call of “ageism” from the Government benches, Mr Speaker called Mr Feetham to order and said he did not think the references to age should be made.
The part banter, part dig exchange continued through the morning. When, for a second time, Mr Feetham said that Mr Bossano appeared to be about to “blow a gasket”, Mr Bossano declared that he could assure him that “I am in a robust state of health” and that he, Mr Bossano, knew how worried Mr Feetham is about the possibility of “having to visit me on my deathbed.”
Earlier, Mr Feetham had said that Mr Bossano appeared to be about to “blow a gasket” when being asked ‘”simple cases”. The discussion had turned to the pool of skills and resources in the blue collar sector and jobs in the public sector.
LOCAL AND FOREIGN
Mr Bossano said that he wanted to have a situation where non-resident labour was only imported when exceptionally necessary.
“There is no reason why we should have non-Gibraltarians and non-residents in Gibraltar working long term on government buildings and government departments,” said Mr Bossano, adding it was a heritage from the previous government which he intends to put right.
Mr Feetham had put to Mr Bossano that he “plans to get rid of foreign labour working within the public sector.”
Mr Bossano said Mr Feetham chose to put this in a negative way.
“I intend to ensure that the proportion of our people in work in Gibraltar in the public and in the private sector increases for every single month that I am in office,” said Mr Bossano.
Mr Feetham asked if it was true that Mr Bossano telephones private companies telling them they won’t get contracts unless they sack foreign labour and they employ Gibraltarians.
“No, it is not true. I have not found it necessary but I will take his advice into account if I need to do so,” retorted Mr Bossano.