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Opinion & Analysis

Experience matters

By Daniel Feetham

At this election experience does matter and the GSD has it in abundance.

Both Keith and I worked very closely at No 6 Convent Place with the then Chief Minister Sir Peter Caruana.

We know what it is to Govern. Five further members of our list have Government or parliamentary experience. We are ready to deal with the challenges posed by Brexit and today I want outline the 6 core principles that underpin our strategy in our manifesto.

The first is that we need to unite and strive to develop a joint strategy with long term continuity. We need to take party politics out of Brexit.

That is why if we are elected, Keith Azopardi would, as Chief Minister of Gibraltar, invite the Leader of the Opposition TO ALL Brexit talks and negotiations.

Our political forefathers have worked together in the past when our homeland was threatened, and it is the corner stone of GSD policy in the future.

The second principle is ensure our supply lines in terms of medicines, food and other essential services are resilient and the public is kept informed.

For all the work that public servants and the current administration have done, the leaked Yellow Hammer report revealed significant weaknesses and the public must be kept fully abreast of our preparations.

Thirdly, we need to protect the industries that we have. These include the gaming sector which accounts for 3,800 jobs and financial services sector. We need to keep bureaucracy, over regulation and costs down, while being more agile and responsive than ever before.

I have been very critical of the very aggressive culture some individuals within the GFSC introduced to financial services regulation post 2014.

The GFSC has many competent people within its ranks with deep roots in the community. I hope that the new CEO will trust them and their instincts and that we can return to a sensible culture of working with licensees for the best outcomes. But make no mistake, a GSD Government will not stand idly by and allow an unnecessarily aggressive culture to continue.

Fourthly, what alternative markets can we tap into? We have access to the U.K. market on financial services and that is great, but one of the first things that we will do is commission a report from top experts examining exactly what other markets and opportunities we can tap into.

That will include what our competitors in other jurisdictions do, to see how we can improve on what they are doing or avoid their mistakes.

Fifthly we need to ensure we are closely aligned to the U.K. and lobby hard to ensure that we are included in any future trade deals with third countries in areas that will benefit us.

Finally we need to improve openness and transparency in the way we manage our public finances so that we can have a meaningful debate about what we can and cannot afford. Over the last 8 years we have seen a systematic destruction of parliamentary governance in Gibraltar.

It is not only about the quality of our democracy. It is also about the ability to identify potential financial problems before they arise. That’s why we want a public accounts committee and that is why we will open the books of Government companies so that you know where your money is being spent and what we can and cannot afford.

The GSD offers experience and a track record over many years. We are ready to Govern and with your support, we will do it well.

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