Govt and Opposition clash in row over retired consultants
The Gibraltar Government and GSD Opposition yesterday clashed over the number of former senior civil servants that have been re-engaged by the Government.
This comes after the Leader of the Opposition, Daniel Feetham, took to social media to flag an answer to parliamentary questions earlier this year regarding the salaries paid to three re-engaged former public servants.
This included Frank Carreras who earns £69,680, Albert Bruzon who earns £47,700 and Dilip Dayaram Tirathdas – who earned £78,053 but has since been appointed as Ombudsman.
“What does it say for opportunities for younger civil servants?” Mr Feetham wrote alongside details of the salaries.
This, however, drew a strong reaction from the Government which responded with a statement defending the use of a “very small number” of former senior civil servants by the Government on a temporary basis to “again serve Gibraltar with their unique skills, knowledge and expertise”.
The Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, said: “This Government’s policy is the antithesis of the climate of fear that the GSD administration spread throughout the civil service.”
“They shamefully promoted and placed their own people, thereby threatening to create a dangerous skills deficit amongst junior grades, and re-engaged higher numbers of retired civil servants than this Government ever has,” he said.
The Government added that if the GSD “were able to put aside their own personal egos, they would be able to see the incredible value that these extremely qualified people bring to the very specific tasks that they have been engaged to do: Re-engaging them amounts to common sense and the best thing for Gibraltar.”
In total, the Government explained, three retired public servants have been re-engaged to fulfil specific tasks that require certain experience and knowledge.
“Mr Carreras, for example, is today giving evidence alongside Finance Centre Director James Tipping to the European Parliament’s Committee of Inquiry into Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion (PANA) in Brussels,” the Government said.
“As former Commissioner of Income Tax, nobody is better placed to do this extremely important work for Gibraltar,”
“Contrary to what Mr [Roy] Clinton would do, it would be unwise and indeed, unfair, to task someone with that role who did not have the relevant experience and who could not discuss the matter with their own first-hand knowledge.”
The Government further asserted that tasking Mr Carreras with this specific job does not take it away from somebody else.
“Furthermore, Mr Clinton overlooks another important fact: that the job of Ombudsman has always been undertaken by someone who had previously retired.”
The Government said it is therefore is doing nothing new in this sense, and is simply following a long-established precedent.
What is new is this Government’s promise to reduce the number of re-engaged consultants to zero within the lifetime of this Parliament, it added.
“In fact, the contract of one of the three re-engaged consultants will expire before the end of this year.”
Mr Picardo added that the GSD actually re-engaged more than double the number of retired Civil Servants than his government has had to re-engage.
“Once again, Mr Feetham did one thing in Government and now pretends to preach another in Opposition. On the contrary this Government works together with the civil service, ensures a meritocracy across all grades and re-engages retired senior civil servants only when necessary and even then, only on a temporary basis to perform a specific task that only they would be able to do. Mr Clinton’s defensive whinging belittles the value of their expertise.”