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‘Focus on housing people in need,’ GSD tells Govt

Pic: Johnny Bugeja

The Gibraltar Government “should focus on housing people in need” rather than “digging a bigger hole for itself,” the GSD said in its latest criticism of the Government’s housing policy.
In a statement, the Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi, said the Government should get back to dealing with the “rightful grievances” of those people who need housing or are on the medical or social lists, who are “deeply disappointed with the Government.”
The GSD said that this is where the exchanges first started, and “not content with raising red herrings,” the Government is now “pretending to proclaim the proposed developments at Hassan Centenary Terraces, Bob Peliza Mews and Chatham Views are a success.”
Keith Azopardi said: “The Government and the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, in particular has singularly failed to meet the promises it made people years ago.”
“In 2017 Mr Picardo announced those three developments promising 1600 houses - some houses to be completed by 2019 and all by 2021.”
“In fact, it has provided none to date.”
“In answer to GSD questions in Parliament Mr Picardo has stated that the first phase of Hassan Centenary Terraces will be ready in 2023 with the second phase some 30 months after the site is cleared.”
“At Bob Peliza Mews and Chatham Views, the situation is even worse with the forecasts being some 30-36 months once construction starts which cannot even happen till sites are clear.”
“In practice it means that the developments which purchasers were supposed to be occupying now may not be available till perhaps even 2026.”
“This is ridiculous and people cannot plan their lives like this,” Mr Azopardi said.
“There has been breach of promise after breach of promise.”
Mr Azopardi said many people were “surprised” when the Minister for Housing, Steven Linares, said he was “extremely satisfied” with the Government’s housing record when the “appalling” housing conditions emerged.
“This is a Government that is oblivious to its failures and completely disconnected from reality,” Mr Azopardi said.
“For Mr Linares now to claim that the GSLP have a good housing record with members of our community of Moroccan origin beggars belief in light of the successive GBC Viewpoint programmes on housing since 2016 all of which have highlighted several cases of persons of Moroccan origin not least the other day.”
“And has Mr Linares forgotten the permanent 24-hour protest outside No.6 Convent Place by Moroccan workers before 1996 who complained against the discrimination of the GSLP administration.”
“It shows how pathetic and desperate the attempt is to cover its own tracks.”
Mr Azopardi added: “Moving the debate onto new territory will not help Mr Picardo as it only puts the magnifying glass on his wider housing failures given his very clear promises.”
“But after all this is someone who does not keep his promises to anybody – even himself.”

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