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Picardo announces mini-reshuffle, with more to follow in 2016

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo briefs reporters in the new press room at No 6 Convent Place.

The Chief Minister Fabian Picardo has taken responsibility for drugs policy including substance rehabilitation and Bruce’s Farm, to ensure Gibraltar’s ‘drug problem’ is dealt with directly from the heart of Government.

The announcement was made yesterday along with a number of other changes to some ministerial portfolios, mainly affecting the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister.

While there will not be an extensive cabinet reshuffle just yet, Mr Picardo indicated that there will be once the estimates of expenditure are completed early next year.

“A more extensive reshuffle now would have meant that the spending programmes of different Ministries would have had to be re-adjusted in the middle of the financial year,” he told reporters.

On taking on responsibility for the control of drugs Mr Picardo said: “I don’t know whether we can win the fight against drugs or not but this is a government that accepts that there is a drug problem in Gibraltar and this requires the coordination of a number of different ministries; the Ministry for Justice, the Ministry for Health and also the Ministry for Social Services.”

“I owe it to current and future generations of Gibraltarians o start the process of trying to reverse the issue that we have with drugs in Gibraltar and to coordinate those in a way that is most efficient and therefore bringing the matter to No. 6 Convent Place seems to me to be the best way to be able to push forward against that scourge.”

Mr Picardo, also takes on responsibility for Gibraltar 2025, which is the Economic Advisory Council that will be established, taking a long-term view of the direction in which Gibraltar is heading.

The Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Joseph Garcia, will formally take on responsibility for the delivery of the GSLP/Liberal manifesto, which became the policy of the new Government on Friday 28th November as soon as the new Ministerial team was sworn in.

Dr Garcia will also take on responsibility for international political lobbying, including responsibility for the Gibraltar Office in London and other representative offices. This role includes specific responsibility for the promotion of the right to self-determination and liaison with the United Nations.

In view of these changes and of the fact that the European Union brief will involve a considerable increase in activity in the coming few years, the administrative responsibility for the Town Planning and Building Control Department will pass on to the Minister for Technical Services,  Paul Balban.

There will be provision made for Dr Garcia to remain on the Development and Planning Commission and in this way the political responsibility for the Department will be kept separate to the DPC.

The Urban Renewal brief will formally pass to Dr Garcia at the same time.