Government spending inconsistent with GSLP election slogan on debt

Update
Government spending inconsistent with GSLP election slogan on debt

Date : 
02/11/12

Ref   : 
PR158/2012


Government spending inconsistent with GSLP election slogan on debt


The Opposition notes with interest the confirmation by the government that the cost of the speakers at the Thinking Green conference has been €200,000.

The Opposition further notes that the government has stated that the true cost to the Government s in the region of £97,000. The Opposition will be seeking further breakdowns of this cost, including the nature of the sponsorship arrangements entered into by the Government, a breakdown of tickets sold and attendance at the event, information which it hopes the Government will share when it gives a final account in due course.

In relation to the matter of the cost of the event, the final figures for which the Opposition keenly anticipates and reserves its position on, Selwyn Figueras explained that it struck him as odd that if the Government was entirely confident that the event was such a good thing for Gibraltar and that the expenditure was justified beyond reasonable question, that it resisted talking about the cost until now..

“I think that the issue here is not about whether the event is of value to the community or not, that is a debate which can only be had in the coming months and years, if and when any benefit comes from this expenditure. The main thrust of our contention with the Thinking Green conference is that if Gibraltar was as broke as the government told the people it was during the election campaign last year, why are spending such significant sums of money on an initiative of this kind?

Another example of an issue where the Opposition takes a similar line is with the Commonwealth Park. We know that works are now continuing on the park and yet, despite numerous requests for information relating to the estimated cost of building the park, they again refuse to publish so much as an indication of how much they think the park is going to cost.

“I, along with many concerned members of our community, are wondering why that is. Is it because they know that the man on the street is asking the same, legitimate question about the park as they are about Al Gore? If we were so broke, then what little money we have should probably not be spent on a park, should it?

In addition to the issue that we take with what we consider was the fraud on the electorate of telling them that our public finances were in a state of ruin, the Opposition contends that the Government has got its priorities wrong. The Government is pressing on with the manifesto commitment of the Commonwealth Park and yet, it seems to me, the community is more interested to know what progress is being made in the provision of a new power station or other power solution to meet the growing demands of our community.”

“The Government is clearly all about ticking boxes on their list of manifesto commitments, all about re-election. Surely though, if we were as broke as they said we were, both before and after winning the election, they should surely be busy delivering on the single most important manifesto commitment they have, the most important and obvious: the commitment to run Gibraltar’s affairs in the best interests of the community as a whole and not slavishly in accordance with their partisan agenda which saw them into power by the slimmest of margins.

This is not, as the Chief Minister promised upon election, Government ‘for the whole of Gibraltar.’ People in Gibraltar, particularly those who feel they were duped by the GSLP during the election, are now understanding the truth of the matter and the Government knows this.

There can be no other explanation for the Government’s hesitation to reveal how much they are planning on spending on their signature manifesto commitment, a commitment which Gibraltarians would forgive them for not delivering if it meant that the energy needs of the community are guaranteed for years to come by the provision of a new power solution for this community as a matter of the highest priority.”

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Government spending inconsistent with GSLP election slogan on debt

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