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GSD hits out at ‘District Wednesdays’ criticism

Photo by Johnny Bugeja.

The GSD has called the response from the GSLP/Liberal party to its ‘District Wednesdays’ initiative “as desperate as it is defensive and cynical”.

Both the GSD and the Gibraltar Government this week ramped up their outreach programmes by carrying out visits to the local housing estates.

But on Tuesday the Gibraltar Government accused the GSD of announcing these visits as an “election gimmick”, adding that its Cabinet ministers have been visiting the estates since they were elected and have taken steps to address the concerns of residents.

In its response, the GSD yesterday defended its ‘District Wednesdays’ programme.

“Our outreach campaign is not an election year effort,” the GSD said on Wednesday.

“As we specifically stated in our [statement] it has been going on in different ways since 2017 when Keith Azopardi became GSD Leader.”

“The twist and spin of [Chief Minister Fabian Picardo] in choosing to ignore that is deliberate as usual.”

“Secondly the GSLP/Libs do not have a monopoly on visiting estates and districts.”

“They are doing so themselves and very recently.”

“So what?”

“Thirdly the experience that we find on the doorstep is usually very different to that allegedly given to the Government.”

The GSD said it most commonly receives reports of ineffective and slow refurbishment, defective workmanship, nuisance that has been reported but not acted upon, or promises made that are not kept.

“Our criticisms in Parliament have reflected those reports that we often get from tenants and residents of districts,” the GSD added.

“People have a right to engage with their elected representatives directly and we will carry on doing this work.”

“When we visit these districts residents also raise a number of non-housing concerns with us and it is their right to engage with the Opposition on these matters.”

Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi, said the Government was being “hyper-sensitive and hyper-defensive”.

“They are intent on hijacking our most politically innocuous press releases in a desperate bid to survive,” Mr Azopardi said.

“The reality is that this is a Government without vigour or direction.”

“It is limping badly to the next election carrying only a bag of empty promises.”

“We will continue doing our work in these districts and estates as we have done since 2017.” “If Mr Picardo does not like it – tough.”

“He does not own these estates or districts.”

“They belong to the people of Gibraltar and he needs to stop behaving like a feudal landlord who expects the peasants to be content with the lick of paint he is giving these areas or the cleaning that gets done just before one of his visits.”

“The reality on the ground is very different to what he is painting.”

The Shadow Housing Minister, Damon Bossino, added that the GSD Opposition represents all of Gibraltar and aspires to do so as its Government after the election this year.

“To suggest otherwise speaks to how far the GSLP have gone in thinking that they own Gibraltar as if it belonged to them,” Mr Bossino said.

“Who do they think they are?”

“The undeniable fact is that Gibraltar is in a general state of neglect and filth and this impacts all of Gibraltar and not just our estates.”

“It is no wonder that the GSLP get nervous when they see the GSD interact with residents discussing these and other issues which worry them.”

“Gibraltarians will not be fooled by the rose-tinted gloss the Government wants to put on things any more.”

“The GSD will not be distracted from continuing with its program of visits by the Government’s silly attempts at deflection and electorally inspired spin.”

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