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Opinion & Analysis

Vote for change

By Damon Bossino

Our opponents are bereft of ideas. They have run out of energy and more worryingly, credibility. They know this to be the case and this is why they are resorting to the sole weapon they have left in their armoury and that is to instil fear on the issue of Brexit and sovereignty.

I must say I am surprised Mr Picardo should continue to peddle the Andorra joint-sovereignty accusation against Mr Azopardi. He has known Mr Azopardi for many years and must therefore know, deep down, that there is a fundamental untruth in what he is saying. Neither Mr Azopardi nor anyone else in the GSD would compromise Gibraltar’s sovereignty. That is clear.

On Brexit too, the Alliance’s positioning is manifestly and alarmingly weak. The GSD is confident that it has the political experience to brief ourselves on and deal with the pending issues, not forgetting that on Mr Picardo’s own (most recent) estimation is that only 0.1% separates the parties from securing a deal.

He says, furthermore, that he needs more lawyers and less politicians to cover the remaining ground. What is there to worry about then?

Is he suggesting that both the local and UK public servants - who because of our system of government do not change should the colour of the political government change - will not provide the know-how, contacts and skills to take this over the line? Is he suggesting that our public servants and economic operators here will not work with the new administration to reposition Gibraltar in the event of a no-deal scenario?

Furthermore, the reality is that the Spanish political establishment is in a state of flux such that there remains uncertainty as to when we will know who our interlocutors are on the Spanish side. Sr Feijoo has predictably failed to form a government and now it is the turn of Sr Sanchez. In the event that the negotiations fail him too, there could be another general election on 14th January 2024. All of this would give us sufficient time to prepare as a new government.

It is clear that the Brexit fear strategy is simply designed to instil precisely that – fear. It is being used to seek as much electoral gain as possible.

Do not be fooled.

In our manifesto we have set out what are bold and innovative ideas to tackle what we have long identified as the principal concerns of abuse, corruption and the state of public finances. We know that these are very real concerns and the GSD will address them should we be elected into government in a week’s time.

We acknowledge that our plans are ambitious. I would say they represent a much-needed generational change in the way we handle governance in Gibraltar.

What is on offer from our political opponents is something quite different. There is a clear blue-line as to the way we view how government should work and how they view it. Sir Joe Bossano’s grandly termed “National Economic Plan”, quite apart from the economic and financial concerns which arise, drives a coach and horses through basic principles of how a parliamentary democracy such as ours should work.

The plan, in its most basic analysis, amounts to a scheme which allows the government to spend Savings Bank monies through a charity for what should properly be the expenses of the government. Pensioner flats at Laguna, studio flats at Coaling Island, car parks and offices for clubs at Chilton Court, Eastern beach stores and an old peoples’ home at Rooke are being built under this scheme.

This is an operation which would be expected to be subjected to open and transparent answers to Parliamentary questions and a vote, in particular as to funding, costs and expenses, but yet all we get are inelegant replies from Sir Joe Bossano that we should ‘lump it’ if we did not like the answers.

For all these reasons and more, Gibraltar needs a change of direction – only you can make it happen by voting for the GSD on 12th October.

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