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GSD statement ‘misleading’, Govt says

The Gibraltar Government has slapped down a GSD statement accusing the Chief Minister of not being transparent, describing the Opposition’s comments as ‘entirely misleading, untrue and wrong’.
This comes as the GSD accused Chief Minister Fabian Picardo of “plummeting to new depths in terms of a lack of transparency”, insisting he had refused to provide “full and frank answers” to questions in Parliament on the number of vacancies across the public service.
Hitting back, the government said Mr Picardo a very full answer to the question tabled by the Leader of the Opposition, Daniel Feetham.
“The GSD seems to have decided to scrape the bottom of the barrel of deception in the presentation it makes to the people of Gibraltar about vacancies in the public sector,” the government said in a statement.
It also reiterated that the manning level of the civil service will be “completely respected”.
“Other Government companies, agencies and authorities do not have agreed manning levels,” the government said adding that posts are filled where replacement is necessary.
There is therefore only a fixed level of vacancies in the Civil Service but not in the Government companies, agencies or authorities.
“This has been the position as much under the GSD as it has been under the GSLP Liberal Government.”
“That Mr Feetham may now wish to pretend otherwise suggests that he wants to pick a fight on a token issue,” the government said.
It added that there is too much serious business to be getting on with for the Opposition to “pick fights” at this time.
“In fact most of the time Mr Feetham seems to want to say one thing to employees in the public sector and the complete opposite to the Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Business when it comes to the management of public sector employment.”
Mr Picardo said: “One day he attacks me for employing too many people in the public sector and the next he attacks me for not employing enough because I have not filled vacancies in the Civil Service or not created vacancies in the wider public sector. The two positions are irreconcilable.”
“This nonsensical and contradictory position is being seen through by the general public and by employees of the Civil Service and the public-sector who point out to me regularly that they know they cannot trust Mr Feetham, especially given his desire to implement austerity in a way that would be detrimental to the public sector.”
“The Government I lead has demonstrated that we will invest in the Civil Service and the wider public sector in a way that produces more efficient services for the general public and better working conditions for public-sector employees. We will not change that proposition.”

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