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Govt slams Llamas over St Martin’s comments

The Gibraltar Government yesterday accused Independent MP Lawrence Llamas of using St Martin’s School as a political tool and “sowing worry and concern” among parents.

The Government said it remained committed to providing a new St Martin’s School, due to the increased need and lack of space to expand the school at its current site.

The comments from Mr Llamas came after two “porta-cabin” classrooms were built to meet demand.

In a press statement yesterday, the Government said the need for additional classrooms could not wait until the relocation of the school. The additional classrooms were built in consultation with the Head Teacher of St Martin’s and the Department of Education as a temporary measure.

“These are temporary measures implemented to ensure that the children of St Martin’s continue to receive quality education whilst preparations for a completely new St Martin’s School are underway,” said the statement.

“Education in Gibraltar is about to experience nothing short of a revolution,” said the Minister for Education, Dr John Cortes.

“In order to provide the best new school for St Martin’s the Government has been working with the education professionals to deliver a package including all the new schools.

Over and above improved facilities, the plans will provide amazing educational opportunities for the children in the future St Martin’s.”

The Government labelled Mr Llamas as “hypocritical”, stating when he stood for election he had subscribed to plans for no new St Martin’s School.

On this basis, the Government has accused him of playing political games.

But in a further statement yesterday Mr Llamas said the Government could not expect to be praised for including a new St Martin’s School “in their 2015 Manifesto when all they have done to date is set up two portacabin classrooms - one above the other”.

“The Government is incapable of conceding that it is under their watch that they have allowed the situation to get out of hand, necessitating the use of the porta-cabins,” Mr Llamas stated.

He claims the Government should have planned in advance to meet the increased demands but had failed to do so.

For this, he said, the Government should take political responsibility for prioritising other projects and initiatives ahead of St Martin’s School.

He added: “The Government cannot expect us to forget that it has allowed our educational infrastructure to reach foreseeable crisis levels. Scratch beneath the concerts and parks and the Government’s failure in a key area of its business is laid bare for all to see.”

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