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TG says Govt ‘brushing aside’ hostel concerns

Together Gibraltar has said the Gibraltar Government’s attempt to “brush aside” the neglect of the Queen’s Hostel by pointing to the future development of a new hostel simply shows an “uncaring attitude” towards those living there.

These comments come after the Government said the new 600-bed hostel planned on being built in the area of Eastern Beach will cater towards Together Gibraltar’s concerns.

But in its reply, the party said it is “disappointed, though not surprised” at the Government's response to TG’s “highlighting of the deplorable living conditions at the Government-owned workers’ hostel”.

“As is the norm with this administration, the response is full of arrogance and fake indignation, but doesn’t address any of the legitimate issues raised,” TG said in a statement.

“The party would like to remind the Government that, regardless of how long the GSLP’s involvement in politics has been, TG earned a substantial mandate to hold the Government to account on all aspects of Government activity.”

“TG therefore reaffirms its observations that the majority of people affected by government’s neglect in this case are of a particular grouping - in this case, Moroccan workers - and that the conditions these workers are being subjected to are nothing short of squalid.”

“The Government may have taken steps to reduce blatant racism, such as awarding British status to workers who were being marginalised, but this does not give Government permission to mistreat this collective in other ways.”

TG said it would urge the Government to “acknowledge that there is yet much to do to eliminate all forms of systemic discrimination from its services”.

It said: “To try to brush aside the neglect of the hostel by pointing to the future development of a new hostel simply shows Government's uncaring attitude towards this collective.”

“By trying to create a solution that is years away, the Government is simply condemning these people to several more years of dismal living conditions.”

“This could have easily been avoided with diligent facilities management, a responsive repair service and proactive maintenance plans.”

“That these have not been in place or effective is nothing short of an embarrassment to the
people of Gibraltar, none of whom would wittingly allow people to live in these conditions.”

The party listed some questions it would like the Government to address, including whether the Government has any intention of carrying out essential remedial work so that the hostel is safe, clean and can provide decent accommodation for low-income workers.

Together Gibraltar also questioned whether the Government acknowledge that despite some efforts at reducing racism in Gibraltar, adding that much work needs to be done to eliminate systemic racism, particularly in the way that certain minorities are able to access housing.

It also asked when the Government will publish a housing strategy that clearly tackles housing
Inequalities.

“TG hopes the Government will demonstrate maturity and leadership by replying candidly to these questions and then taking prompt action to ensure that the hostel is properly repaired,” a spokesman for the party added.