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Opinion & Analysis

Let’s talk transparency

by Erika A Pozo
Transparency and accountability are the golden rules of government. Together they convey an image of trustworthiness, yet successive governments have fallen short.

A traditional cornerstone of democracy is the notion that each political representative and public official - individually or collectively - should be held accountable for their decisions, actions and inactions.

Why, then, is our government so reluctant to become fully transparent and accountable?

The true level of our public debt is hidden behind a complex web of creative accounting mechanisms, off-balance sheet transactions and companies structured to manipulate the net result actually published.

The last annual audited accounts were grossly incomplete, with material items of assets and liabilities missing from its statement of financial position, were dated 31 May 2016, and only presented to Parliament in January 2019!

Information must be delivered to Parliament and made public in a timely manner, when it is relevant. The government’s current culture seems to lack robustness, professionalism, and due care for our taxpayer. We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to corruption, cronyism or nepotism; our community has tolerated this far too long. After a decade of lack of control and supervision, it is time to tackle the trust deficit, protect our taxpayer and dignity of our community.

Together Gibraltar will create the radical changes the future of our public reporting needs. We aim to be the real pioneers in governmental accountability and transparency, and are ready to implement an action plan and establish aframework that will overhaul the status quo and open up our government, a framework ready to challenge and engage our government infrastructure to serve us better.

This is our strategic response to ensure public integrity. Integrity should be fundamental in our politics. We will deal with dishonest behaviour and encourage public integrity. In this way we expect to generate considerable savings, money which will be better spent on health care, education, apprenticeships, and pensions.

We have a comprehensive programme of governance requirements for our Ministries, covering policies, guidelines and standards. No minister will continue to have unfettered powers of decision, and no politically exposed person will be able to enter into any government contracts for their benefit. Our Parliament will have stronger tools to enhance their powers of scrutiny and ensure it can hold our government to account.

Together Gibraltar is the best party to establish the right stewardship of its public finances and this is crucial at this point in time. I have the right experience and the right commitment to achieve this.

I am a woman from a working family and not a member of the elites that dominate our economy and our politics. I firmly believe that it is only by ensuring honesty and fairness in government that we can give working people real opportunities in life.

At Together Gibraltar, we have ensured our independence by funding our campaign without corporate donations. We are free to speak uncomfortable truths and challenge what others dare not challenge and make the changes that others won’t.