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GSD shrugs off Govt’s ‘laughable’ response to Opposition concerns over Licudi resignation

Johnny Bugeja

The GSD has accused the Gibraltar Government of using “diversionary tactics” as the spat over the resignation of Gilbert Licudi from ministerial office continued yesterday.

In the latest salvo the GSD slammed the Government’s remarks that it was a “revelation” that the GSD said it would govern with eight Ministers at the last election. This, it said, just shows that the Government did not even read the GSD manifesto.

“All of this is of course however just another red herring from the Government,” the party said in a statement.

The Opposition said there was a clear commitment by the GSD to govern with eight Ministers, alongside a comprehensive set of commitments to improve the way Gibraltar is governed and so that Ministers are held to account more.

“The measure would have resulted in a saving of some £150k which would have been churned into necessary democratic reforms to make them largely cost neutral.”

It added that the reforms would have improved the current system which suffers from major democratic deficits by which Government cannot properly be held to account or decisions of policy influenced and reversed by Parliament.

“By contrast the GSLP said almost nothing about parliamentary reform in its manifesto except that there would be public consultation but without expressing on what specifically and when.” Nearly a year on after the election the Select Committee on Parliamentary reform has still not met, the GSD added.

“Their commitment to reform is flaky to say the least because they prefer governing in a system where they cannot be held to account by Parliament which is not the case in most other western democracies.”

The GSD said that the Government’s “challenge” to the GSD is therefore laughable because the policy was clear in 2019.

“It’s just that apparently they had not read it.”

The party reiterated that it has not asked Mr Licudi to resign his seat.

“What the GSD has done is to say that Mr Licudi’s resignation is a blow to the Government. That is a fact as the Government itself says so.”

It added that Mr Licudi’s resignation followed directly in the wake of Sir Joe Bossano saying he has a “totally different” view to the Chief Minister on aspects of post-Brexit talks and the calling of a public inquiry into the early forced retirement of the Commissioner.

“The Government is in seeming disarray. No amount of trying to raise diversionary tactics can change those facts.”