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Govt deflects criticism on ERS transparency, drawing fresh flak from GSD

Archive image of work on the Rooke elderly residential home. Photo by Johnny Bugeja

The Gibraltar Government rejected GSD criticism that it was not being transparent on its plans for the Elderly Residential Service, in particular in respect of Mount Alvernia and the Rooke site, insisting it would respond in Parliament in due course.

No.6 Convent Place said the GSD had tabled questions in Parliament and the Minister for Economic Development, Sir Joe Bossano, would answer them at the next session of Parliament “as previously requested by the Opposition and in keeping with the parliamentary convention”.

Sir Joe missed the last session of Parliament due to illness.

“The Government is not failing to provide transparency on this issue,” No.6 Convent Place said.

“The Government is simply complying with the relevant convention in Parliament which the GSD have previously complained the Government do not keep to if the Government provides public comment when their questions are pending.”

“As usual the GSD damn the Government for doing or not doing just for the sake of damning the Government every time.”

But the Government statement drew an immediate response from the GSD.

“The Government’s attempt to shield behind parliamentary convention as a defence from its lack of transparency on the future of Mount Alvernia, the provision of State care to the elderly or the Rooke residential home is as expedient as it is poor,” the GSD said.

The party noted that its latest statement on this issue followed similar concerns raised by Unite over ERS, the Rooke project and the future of Mount Alvernia.

It added that the GSD had been asking questions on these issues “for years now”, even if some questions were pending in Parliament.

“The problem is that in the past the Government simply has given nebulous unspecific answers about the future of Mount Alvernia or the staff,” the GSD said.

“The Government cannot therefore roll out parliamentary convention when it suits it when it knows it is being deliberately vague about arrangements in public and in Parliament and has been in the past.”

“We will see if they are more precise with their answers next month in Parliament.”

“We also note that when it suits it the fact that questions are pending in Parliament does not stop the Government from issuing press releases and providing information.”

The GSD insisted that staff and elderly people should be told “precisely” what the Government’s plans were in this area and what specific care arrangements would be for people moving into the Rooke facility, alongside details of costs, who would benefit from the new arrangements and what impact they would have on jobs.

“Families are concerned about these arrangements and want to know and so do workers,” the GSD said.

“We will continue to probe these issues in Parliament when we have the opportunity.”

“In the meantime, we urge the Government to meet the union on staffing issues.”

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