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Alliance ‘best able’ to tackle Brexit, says Picardo

Eyleen Gomez

The GSLP/Liberal Alliance is “best able” to deal with the challenges posed by Brexit over the next four years, its leader Fabian Picardo said yesterday as he urged the electorate to discard the “novices and has-beens” of his political opponents.

Mr Picardo said the electorate must consider what the GSLP/Liberal administration has achieved in the past eight years and what its plans for the future are.

But, he said, it was also important to focus on Brexit and its implications.

“We owe it to our children and to our children’s children to make sure that we get this right and that we put in place the people who are able to get this right,” he said.

Mr Picardo was speaking at a press briefing in which he set out the timetable for the election and in particular the selection of candidates, confirming that the full Alliance slate will have been selected by Tuesday September 24.

Reflecting on the campaign ahead, he urged the electorate to take heed of the results of elections and referendums in both the United States and the UK.

“The United States woke up to a surprise after the most recent presidential election, the United Kingdom woke up to a surprise after the Brexit referendum,” he said.

“Gibraltar should not wake up to the wrong government on the morning of October 18.”

“This is a binary choice, it is a simple choice in complex circumstances.”

He reiterated that now, against the backdrop of Brexit, is “not a time for novices neither is it a time for has-beens”.

“People have to block vote the 10 GSLP/Liberal candidates if they want a stable GSLP/Liberal government the morning after the date of the election on October 17.”

His comments were mirrored by Liberal Party Leader Dr Joseph Garcia who said the present administration has the experience and personal contacts with UK Ministers and senior politicians to deal with Brexit.

“We are a safe pair of hands when it comes to taking Gibraltar forward,” he said.

Asked if there would be many changes to the Alliance line-up given his comments about the importance of stability, Mr Picardo said any new faces in the line-up will bring experience in “different ways”.

“When you look at the spread of experience that the spread of experience that we have, what we want to do is refresh the line-up if there are vacancies with people who have experience to bring to the equation,” he said.

Mr Picardo added that he hoped that the final slate would see a large number of members of today’s cabinet continuing to serve with new members filling those vacancies that may become available.

“If new faces appear in our line-up, because the Executive so decides, I believe that it will be a mix of those of us with current government experience and those who are coming in bringing something new to the equation which also has been proven to the electorate either in business or in politics in different ways,” he said.

“I think it’s just not fair to come having never run a government or having run a government in many different circumstances and say ‘we can do it just as well’ in this very difficult moment,” he added.

As things stand, Neil Costa is the only Minister to publicly announce his intention not to contest next month’s general election.

His decision, following two terms in office, means there will be at least one vacant slot on the Liberal Party slate.

GSLP candidates can put their names forward to be interviewed by the party Executive as from today.

That process closes at 5pm on Sunday September 22.

The process of selection will commence on Monday September 23 and there will be an executive meeting of the GSLP at 8pm where the interviews will take place.

The GSLP will hold an Extraordinary General Meeting on Tuesday September 24.

This will see the Executive make a recommendation to the general meeting, on which members will be invited to vote on.

At the close of that meeting the seven GSLP candidates will have been selected.

The Liberal Party follows a slightly different procedure.

Explaining their part of the timetable, Party Leader Dr Joseph Garcia said the nominations for candidates opened the moment the election was called.

A meeting of the Executive on Tuesday September 24 will see candidates selected by way of secret ballot.

All 10 candidates are expected to sign up officially in Parliament on Wednesday September 25 a day ahead of the deadline for registration.

The Alliance will then hold its public meeting on October 1.

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