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GSD bemoans ‘secrecy’ surrounding tax treaty, withholds judgement

GSD Headqtrs 27- 10 -18 (Photos Johnny Bugeja ) is the centre/centre-right political party in Gibraltar. Founded 1989

The GSD last night said it would withhold its judgement on the tax treaty until it had seen the full text of the agreement.

In a statement, the party said the treaty had been negotiated “in secrecy”, adding that the Opposition had not been shown a copy of the draft text or involved in the preparatory work, or even briefed on its content.

“This secrecy despite the fact that the Gibraltar Government has apparently been working on this for months and it has been in the public domain that they intended to consent to a bilateral tax agreement,” the GSD said, adding that it had been pressing for publication for months.

“It is impossible for the Opposition to form any view on such an important issue while the government holds back publication.”

The GSD said the meeting of the Brexit Select Committee convened for today – at which MPs will be briefed on the agreement – amounted to “mere window dressing” after the event.

“The government has handled the negotiation and entry into this tax agreement in an opaque manner far from the scrutiny of the Gibraltar Parliament and public and should not pretend otherwise,” the GSD said.

“The GSD calls on the government to immediately publish this agreement and allow the Opposition and public to make its own judgment on what it or the United Kingdom for Gibraltar has entered into with Spain and for what.”

Last night, Chief Minster Fabian Picardo said the GSD statement “borders on the nonsensical”.

“We cannot negotiate in public,” he said.

“The text of the treaty will be laid in Parliament on the 14th of March.”

“Nonetheless, if the GSD think our meeting tomorrow to brief them is window dressing, then they should stay away.”