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Localisation of Public Health post not for another year, Govt tells TG

Photo by Johnny Bugeja

Localising the post of Director of Public Health will take at least a year the Government has said after Together Gibraltar questioned why the new appointee will not be local.

Currently locum, Dr Autilia Newton is covering the post for a month as a locum, after which a new appointee will hold the position for 11 months.

The Government said this had already been explained to Leader of Together Gibraltar Marlene Hassan Nahon in Parliament last week.

Following that one year period where the new appointments will hold the post, the Government said, it is expected that a Gibraltarian will potentially be available to be appointed to the post.

The Government added to have extended Dr Sohail Bhatti’s contract as Director of Public Health would have meant that this door to the potential to make this post available to someone from Gibraltar would have been closed.

“It would not have been right to deny such an opportunity to someone from Gibraltar and Together Gibraltar and Ms Hassan Nahon should realise that,” the Government said.

“That is why the Minister’s answer specifically started that there is a ‘medium-term’ plan for replacement which was expected to see a localisation of the post.”

“It really is as simple as that and all of this was explained in great detail to Ms Hassan Nahon in answer to her own questions.”

“Nevertheless, the Government is fully expecting Together Gibraltar’s inevitable next response that will no doubt accuse us of bullying and being abusive, simply because we hold Ms Hassan Nahon up to the humiliation of her own words seeking answers which she appears to have forgotten in the space of just one week.”

“It is no secret that Ms Hassan Nahon has been no fan of Dr Bhatti or of his approach, and now questions both the merit of his Medallion of Honour and the terms of the non-renewal of his contract.”

The Government said Ms Hassan Nahon is inconsistent with her arguments, one moment attacking Dr Bhatti and the next defending him.

“What is clear is that, as the Chief Minister told the Parliament last week, the non-renewal of Dr Bhatti’s contract, in line with the localisation policy that we thought has been agreed by all sides of the House, does not in any way or at all negate the excellent work that he did for Gibraltar during his tenure, under the extreme circumstances of a global pandemic,” the Minister for Public Health, Dr John Cortes, said.

"That is what Ms Hassan Nahon completely fails to comprehend.”

"It is also abundantly clear that, almost half way through the lifetime of this Parliament, Ms Hassan Nahon has shown that she has not got the strength of conviction to stand up for anything other than what she thinks might be popular on any given day or in any given moment. As a result, she has demonstrated once again that she does not have the ability to lead Gibraltar, as she pretends should be the case a leader of a political party and it is increasingly clear that she knows it, her party knows it and the public know it."

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