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Consultative Council is Gib’s ‘best brains working together’, Govt insists

The Gibraltar Government has hit back at GSD suggestions that the Consultative Council would represent an “alternative government” as it insisted the new body will have no executive capacity.

“The purpose of the Council is to be entirely advisory, just like the ad hoc body set up by former GSD Chief Minister, Sir Peter Caruana,” No. 6 Convent Place said in a statement as the row over the Council continued yesterday.

The Council will bring together Gibraltar's best brains to advise the Chief Minister of the day on any subject which may be relevant, No. 6 reiterated.

“That is the purpose of it and the public at large has massively welcomed the concept of Gibraltar's best brains working together.”

The Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, said: "A huge number of members of the public have approached me to commend me for the creation of the Gibraltar Consultative Council because they support Gibraltar's best brains working together in the national interest.”

“It seems to me that the current leadership of the GSD are the only ones who are against the principle. In this respect, the latest statement from the GSD on the establishment of the Council really serves to helpfully illustrate how off the mark they are in respect of its purpose and operation.”

“This is not an alternative government by any definition or measure. Gibraltar already has an excellent government and does not need another one.”

“We meet as a Cabinet every Monday and practice under the principle of Collective Responsibility and we work collegiately. It appears those principles don't apply on the already divided Opposition benches, which do not feature Mr Vasquez, as the members of the GSD in Parliament don't always even vote the same way.”

“Gibraltar's problem therefore is that exactly one year after the last General Election, it has no alternative government in waiting with the Opposition led by Mr Feetham.”

“What the Consultative Council will do is simply provide advice to the Chief Minister on certain subjects just like the body established at the time of Joint Sovereignty by Sir Peter Caruana. It seems clear that Mr Feetham doesn't want to form part of the Council.”

“I am just left wondering if it is because he realises that when he is in the same room as Gibraltar's most experienced politicians he will be seen not to be up to the standard? For the avoidance of doubt, I will not only proceed with the constitution of the Council as I have already committed myself to do, I also confirm that I will serve on the Council in future under a GSD Chief Minister, should there ever be one, subjecting myself to the obligation of confidentiality, even if at the time I am Leader of the Opposition or a Member of Parliament.”

“I would consider it an honour to be able to provide advice to a sitting Chief Minister and if called upon to serve Gibraltar subject to the rules of confidentiality imposed, I would do so.”

“I am frankly dismayed but not surprised by the attitude taken by the present leadership of the GSD in respect of this matter but will continue my work of bringing together the best brains Gibraltar has at its disposal.”