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Govt slams Feetham’s ‘amateurish approach’

The Gibraltar Government has lashed out at the GSD and its Leader, Daniel Feetham, accusing them of failing to commit themselves to respecting the manning levels of the Civil Service.

This comes after the GSD previously suggested that the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, had become intolerant of anyone questioning his policies.

That statement, the Government said, also refers to the Chief Minister’s assurances to the GGCA Union, which the latter recently communicated to their members saying that Mr Picardo's assurances in this respect "raised questions".

The statement highlights the GSLP/Liberals 2015 election manifesto in which it vows to maintain the size of the civil service.

With regards to manning levels the manifesto read: “There will be no cuts in the Civil Service. Manning levels will be respected and new manning levels agreed where appropriate.”

“This demonstrates that what Mr Picardo has told the GGCA, and which they have rightly reflected in their own Bulletin, is exactly the mandate that the Government has after the huge endorsement by voters in the last General Election held under a year ago,” No. 6 Convent Place stated.

“If Mr Feetham thinks that the fact that the Chief Minister has repeated to the GGCA the mandate he has raises questions, he should have raised those questions at election time.”

“Mr Feetham did not do so,” No. 6 said.

Mr Picardo said: "Daniel Feetham and the new GSD do not fail to let the public down.”

“Apart from not having prepared their own manifesto for the last election, it now appears that they did not even read ours.”

“Mr Feetham now says our commitment to the manning level of the Civil Service, which I happily repeated to the GGCA, somehow raises questions when that is what we sought a mandate for,” Mr Picardo said adding that this “amateurish approach is really disappointing.”

According to Mr Picardo, his government inherited 156 vacancies in a Civil Service of 2,282 people in 2011 compared with 177 in a Civil Service of 2,444 at present.

“We have proportionally less vacancies than we inherited from the GSD,” he said.

“Those facts put Mr Feetham's arguments in context and add a lawyer of palpable political hypocrisy to what he is saying.”

“There is nothing for Mr Feetham to reasonably complain of. Similarly, we are committed to not imposing austerity and to improving the office environment of those who work in the Public Sector.”

“When we spend money on offices Mr Feetham criticises us, even though we have a massive mandate for it. When we press Mr Feetham to tell us where he would save £50m in recurrent expenditure, he refers only to the cost of refurbishing Convent Place which is not a recurrent cost and which added huge capital value and offices space and other facilities.”

“His arguments don't make any sense because they are not thought through. He doesn't think things through and that exposes him and his party to political ridicule.”

“Maybe that's why Mr Feetham says he wants to be paid more to do the job of Leader of the Opposition as a full time job. He is not doing enough as a part timer to get his arguments right. The Civil Service and the wider Public Sector know that Mr Feetham says what he thinks he has to say to please any audience and that he is not reliable.”

“The Chamber of Commerce will also know the same thing from his constant attempts to be all things to all men. His patent lack of preparation is now also palpable and renders him a political laughing stock."