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GSLP/Liberals promise new supported needs facility in Commonwealth Park if elected

Photo by Gabriella Peralta.

The GSLP/Liberals on Monday announced plans for a new supported needs facility in Commonwealth Park if re-elected into Government on October 12.

The plans were unveiled by GSLP candidate Christian Santos, alongside GSLP leader Fabian Picardo, Liberal party leader Dr Joseph Garcia, and acting Minister for Equality, Samantha Sacramento, at an Alliance press conference.

If re-elected, Mr Picardo said the facility would be located at the current Department of Education site in Commonwealth Park, with plans to move the department elsewhere.

Mr Santos said the facility would not clash with PossAbilities, a support facility which provides services for those with special educational needs.

“We feel that this will bridge the gap for younger adults going into adulthood and providing services for them,” Mr Santos said.

“Something that doesn't clash with what PossAbilities already provided, but something that will work together. So we are looking at covering all ages and all different people with different facilities.”

Mr Picardo added the facility would provide 24-hour care and respite for families and will enhance the work of St Bernadettes.

The project, which will be included within the GSLP/Liberals manifesto, was followed by further announcements including introducing legislation to allow parental leave to be shared by parents, programmes at the College of Further Education and the long-awaited extension to Gibraltar of the UN Convention for Persons with Disabilities.

For the youth, which Mr Santos will be focusing on in his campaign, the plans include providing further educational provisions if elected.

“We need to provide for academics and we need to provide for those who are less academic and we need to form a strategy so that all government agencies, all government ministries, work together on a holistic approach to be able to give young people opportunities,” Mr Santos said.

“Because no matter your background, we all need to give young people the opportunities and the skills to succeed.”

“We need to make young people into successful adults.”

Mr Santos added that the Same Sex Marriage Act and the Surrogacy Act championed by the GSLP/Liberals had allowed people to live freely, and questioned whether the GSD would roll back these changes.

“We believe that we need to fight this election based on our policies and our policies on these issues, in particular in the area of disability and LGBTQ+ and in the area of equality as a whole, are the policies of the whole of our party,” Mr Picardo said.

“They are not the policies of one person. It does not matter who is the leader of the Liberal Party or of the Socialist Party. What matters is that these are our policies.”

“You do not take a risk with the progress so far and the progress to come.”

Mr Picardo also questioned the GSD’s policies on LGBTQ+ matters, despite the leader of the GSD, Keith Azopardi, previously saying he would not row back on changes.

“It's also important you should look at what might happen if we don't become the next government,” Mr Picardo said.

Mr Picardo added the GSD’s views on progressive politics highlighted the divisions within the party.

“The reality is that if Keith Azopardi were not to be the leader of the GSD, were not to be a GSD chief minister...other people in the party might seek to row back on issues of the progressive politics that you've seen us advance on and on issues of equality,” he said.

“So we have to tell you honestly and frankly the positive things that we will do if we are elected, the positive things that we've done already, so you can judge us on our track record, and indeed the risks that there are if the GSD were to become the government.”

“Because for them this is clearly not an area of policy on which they have all agreed and acquiesced.”

“It's an area of deep division within the party, as there are obviously so many divisions within the GSD, in particular between Mr Azopardi and Mr Bossino, who routinely gets more votes than Mr Azopardi in general elections.”

Dr Garcia and Ms Sacramento also looked back at the GSLP/Liberals track record on equality and youth issues.

Dr Garcia focused on the work of the Commonwealth Youth Forum, and Ms Sacramento described “landmark legislation” enacted during the past 12 years.

“I would feel very, very sad indeed to see any of those landmarks and progress that we have achieved be stopped, halted, slowed down or indeed reversed in any way,” she said.

“I think that Christian Santos should be elected."

“I firmly believe that he should be responsible for equality because I know how passionate he is about this subject and I know that he would be absolutely brilliant to continue to drive the agenda forward.”

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