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GSD challenges Govt to publish music festival costs

The GSD has challenged the Gibraltar Government to publish a full breakdown of the costs of the music festival since its inception.

This comes after the Government denied GSD assertions that last year’s MTV produced music festival had cost the taxpayer £3.1 million.

GSD Leader Keith Azopardi said: “We are not going to play accountancy games.”

“The basic point is that in overall terms the music festival has resulted in a net loss to the taxpayer since inception of £9.3million.”

The party further accused the Government of ‘spin’ on the issue and of not being open about how money is being spent.

In a statement the GSD flagged Chief Minister Fabian Picardo’s explanation of the figures, particularly that the net losses for the 2017 Festival may not be £3.1million because other losses from previous years may have been booked as an accountancy exercise into this year’s expenditure.

“Presumably then the reverse is also the case and some costs from last year have not been paid and the losses could even be higher than last year,” the GSD said.

Mr Azopardi added: “If the Government say that last year’s festival did not lose £3.1million then we challenge them to publish a full breakdown of the costs spent on each year’s festival and when these were paid and to whom.”

“We remind the Government that this is taxpayers’ money and not theirs,” he said adding: “There should be transparency and accountability in the use of public monies.”
“Until that happens it is impossible to accept anything that they say on the festival.”

“As for the fact that the Chief Minister has now conducted his own “review” of distribution of VVIP tickets to Ministers one would be forgiven for thinking this happened off the cuff and in reaction to the GSD statement.”

“We reiterate that in Government the GSD would not have a grace and favour private enclosure for friends, family and party activists.”

“There is no case for the Chief Minister to lord it over the rest of paying customers as is the case every year,” he said adding: “It is clear from his statement that that practice will continue.”
“Will the Government publish the list of invitees to its VVIP enclosure?”

“In Government we will make sure there is an open tender that achieves greater local control and influence and that public monies are used transparently and more efficiently at any future music festival.”

“People are entitled to expect that cultural events are organised responsibly and not on the basis of reckless abandonment of any basic regard for affordability.”

“The massive losses must stick in the throat of people on zero hour contracts or facing economic uncertainties,” said Mr Azopardi.

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