GSD hits back at Govt ‘smokescreen’ over stadium
The GSD has hit back at the Gibraltar Government in a fresh exchange in the row over Victoria Stadium.
While welcoming plans to develop the stadium for football alongside additional sporting infrastructure around the Rock, the GSD insisted the move amounted to a U-turn by the government.
It accused Chief Minister Fabian Picardo of poor leadership on this issue and accused the government of trying to mislead the public as to what had transpired with the stadium.
“The Chief Ministers attempts to defend his Government’s position by falsely claiming that GSD plans simply catered for football,” the Opposition said in a statement.
“In fact, it is obvious from a cursory look at the plans the GSD made public in 2015, that its suggested project was multi-use.”
“The Chief Minister’s latest comments are therefore another smokescreen to hide that the Government is doing now, what it said for four years was impossible due to site constraints, namely build a national football stadium at Victoria Stadium.”
The GSD said that as far back as May 2013 – and before the GSD had published its own plans - Mr Picardo had ruled out the Victoria Stadium saying it was impossible to build a Category 4 stadium because of site constraints.
By March the following year, the GSD said, Mr Picardo was backing the plan to build the stadium at Europa Point and reiterating that construction at Victoria Stadium was not possible.
“When public pressure forced him to backtrack on Europa Point, Lathbury Barracks became the new site, despite the Chief Minister having previously stated in Parliament that Lathbury was inadequate due to access and environmental issues, a national stadium at Lathbury was suddenly possible and became the agreed site by GFA, UEFA and the Government,” the GSD said.
“All this shows poor judgement on the part of the Government and poor leadership on the part of the Chief Minister.”
“He has made contradictory statement after contradictory statement simply to further the idea that was flavour of the month to him, rather than having taken a more considered view, which is the right and responsible way for any Government to act.” The Opposition added: “Despite the lamentable loss of time that this has incurred and the litany of U-Turns by the Government, and despite the currently announced proposals not being a Government manifesto commitment, the GSD nevertheless has and continues to loudly welcome the proposals as being in the best interest of our community.”
“The GSD now look forwards and welcomes that the Government is finally doing what is right for football and sport generally.”
“However, the GSD looks forward to understanding how disruption to sport generally will be managed during construction and the timely delivery of all projects prior to the Island Games in 2019.”