CM renews criticism of GSD’s ‘self-indulgent’ budget vote
The GSD’s decision to vote against the budget was “self-indulgent, point-scoring foolishness that serves no serious purpose”, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said yesterday.
In the latest exchange over public spending and the Appropriation Bill, Mr Picardo said the GSD had in effect voted to stop all public spending.
The salaries of civil servants, all public sector employees and government company employees were being paid, he added, only thanks to the vote of the GSLP/Liberals, Independent MP Marlene Hassan Nahon and Lawrence Llamas, who broke ranks with the GSD to vote in favour of the budget.
TheGSD had dismissed initial criticism of its position as “scaremongering”, adding that the government’s parliamentary majority meant there was no prospect of the budget not being approved.
But yesterday the Chief Minister underscored that this was the first time in Gibraltar modern political history that an Opposition had voted against the budget.
He quoted Sir Peter Caruana, who in 2014 had explained the tradition in Gibraltar of the Opposition voting in favour of the budget “...in order not to deprive the Government of funding and the civil servants of their pay...”
“The vote of the GSD last week therefore is a vote for the opposite and is one that breaks that tradition for the first time in our post-war history,” Mr Picardo said. “Everyone sees the irresponsibility and unnecessary additional confrontation which that position has created.”
“But every civil servant, public sector worker and citizen now knows, their pay and our services this year are no thanks to the GSD.”
“What a pity to see such infantile antics in such an important debate in our Parliament.”
Mr Picardo said that for the first time in Gibraltar’s modern history, public services were being paid for as a result of a vote by the government of the day and only two opposition MPs.
“It is, therefore, no longer possible to talk of public services being funded by the Parliament, as has traditionally been the case in our post-war history,” he said.
“The political irresponsibility that [GSD MP Roy] Clinton has persuaded [GSD leader Daniel] Feetham and a part of the GSD to pursue will be seen by everyone in Gibraltar for what it is: a self-indulgent, point-scoring foolishness that serves no serious purpose.”