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Govt slams GSD’s ‘irresponsible’ claims on LNG

The Gibraltar Government has hit back at Opposition criticisms over LNG bunkering, accusing the GSD of “exaggeration” and “scaremongering”.

Despite the Government having continued to work on the LNG facility now signed with Shell, the GSD had not mentioned the issue since it lost the election in November last year, No 6 Convent Place said yesterday in response to GSD concerns over the deal.

“The issue that they so mercilessly tried to exploit by raising public fear was abandoned by them the day that Mr [Daniel] Feetham and Mr [Trevor] Hammond sunk to the worst electoral defeat in a two horse race in the history of democracy in Gibraltar,” a government statement read.

“Now, once the Government has announced the signing of the LNG deal with a company with an excellent safety record in respect of LNG, the GSD are back in ‘frightening mode’.”

The Government also hit back at GSD criticisms that it has kept LNG matters out of the public eye.

“Was he not in Gibraltar for the two public exhibitions?,” No 6 Convent Place said of Mr Hammond. “Was he not aware of the Health & Safety Laboratory’s meetings with the ESG and GONHS, or their meetings with the representatives of Waterport terraces?”

“Did he not receive his own copy of Shell’s information booklet? Surely he was there for the GSD’s meeting with HSL?”

“And surely, Mr Hammond heard the speeches of Ministers in the Parliament in his presence dealing with progress on the LNG plant?”

It described as “incredible” that Mr Hammond should seek to try and “pull the wool over people's eyes pretending the Government has somehow tried to keep the LNG project out of the public eye” when this is a project that the Government is hugely proud of.

The Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, added: “Mr Hammond seems to have returned to his irresponsible ways of last year. He seems not to be happy unless he is frightening people.”

“To suggest, as he does now, that the Government is gambling with the health of Gibraltar’s economy is offensive: to suggest that the Government is gambling with anyone’s life is outrageous and utterly disgraceful.”

“Frankly I think the public deserve better than an opposition with no experience whatsoever that behaves as if its job is just to alarm, scare and frighten people.”

“We will continue our responsible work with Shell on this excellent and exciting project which is good for air quality, is good for our energy security and is good for our long term economic goals. We will let the GSD continue to be the champions of Grimy, Smelly Diesel.”