Keith Azopardi

GSD Leader

Building for the future

Welcome to the Gibraltar Social Democrats site. We hope you will find this site informative about the Party, its aims and the ideas we have in a number of areas.

I have been very keen that we should relaunch a new site to use as a platform for some of our interface with you. This will complement our Facebook and twitter presence. Of course this will be no substitute for direct engagement which we are also doing in parallel through our community outreach programme and other private meetings. If you have concerns that you would like to discuss with us by all means feel free to contact us and we will meet with you.

We feel passionately about Gibraltar. Our community has been built over centuries of hard work and perseverance of successive generations of Gibraltarians and long-term residents. Together we have created the small country we call home. We want this to be prosperous, stable and develop for generations to come. We have a right to our land and a right to determine our future. We want to ensure that we create the best living environment for all those who have made Gibraltar their home and that we do so in an environmentally, economically and politically sustainable way.

On this platform you will find information about the Party, key documents, policies and videos. If you share our objectives and want to join us there is also membership information available.

We would be delighted to have your support and contribution to our effort.

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We are interested in meeting you in person hearing from you and to listen to your thoughts and ideas, help us give you the voice to make a difference.

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GSD News

Movement for Change

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Meet some of the new faces joining our campaign to get Gibraltar back on track. Together, we can #MakeTheChange!


All Criminal Allegations in the McGrail Saga Should Be Investigated Independently

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All Criminal Allegations in the McGrail Saga Should Be Investigated Independently



On Thursday, former Commissioner McGrail was arrested among other reasons for a suspicion of misconduct in office. Clearly it is right for those issues to be investigated in an independent fashion. To the extent that any other related allegations of misconduct in office or about other criminal wrongdoing are being made by any person in this saga it would make sense for all of these to also be independently investigated in the same manner. If the remit of former Chief Superintendent McVea needs to be extended to allow for that then the Governor should do so because otherwise only some of the evidence of potential criminality will be investigated independently. That would ensure that the independent criminal investigation is comprehensive and there is conclusive finality to any criminal dimensions relevant to this overall case. If that is not done it may leave unsatisfactory gaps in this affair.

Additionally and despite the Chief Minister’s protestations it remains strange that he should say that he is aware of evidence of “potential criminality” but that the current Commissioner of Police, Mr Ullger, when asked about this specifically said he had not seen that evidence. Indeed, the Commissioner of Police made it a point to say on the GBC Gibraltar Today programme that the proper port of call for anyone who does have evidence of criminal wrongdoing is to report this to the Police. Has Mr Picardo passed on all the evidence of potential criminality that he says he has seen to the Police? It is doubly strange that Mr Picardo who is a core figure in the events of May and June 2020 should be the recipient of that information and not the Commissioner of Police.

What Mr Picardo’s press release on the whistleblowers law conveniently leaves out is that in the case of police officers a qualifying disclosure should primarily be made to the Commissioner of Police. In any event Mr Picardo’s focus on the whistleblowing legislation rather misses the obvious overarching point that in the case of criminal wrongdoing the appropriate investigative authority is the Police so that any information should also be delivered to them.

It is unclear when this evidence was provided and whether it came before or after other jobs in the public service were given to some of these individuals. This is something that has already been described by the current Commissioner of Police as affecting capability or morale. Legitimate questions arise in relation to that specific chronology, as to what the motivations or inducements were for the making of these statements and how these allegations are being collated and surfacing now. If these are historic allegations it is equally legitimate to ask who is benefitting from these allegations being thrown about now.

Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi said: “The constant question that remains is how allegations of unrelated issues that are not about what happened in May and June 2020 between Mr Picardo and Mr McGrail are actually relevant to the Public Inquiry or whether they are being deployed as diversionary tactics. Those questions are matters for the Inquiry Chairman. Clearly all allegations relevant to the McGrail Inquiry should be fully assessed by the Chairman of the Inquiry.

Beyond that if there is any evidence of potential criminal wrongdoing or misconduct in office this should also be investigated by the police in the normal way and as necessary the remit of the current independent investigation should be extended by the Governor to cover those issues.”

Government needs to accept responsibility for affordable housing delays

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Government needs to accept responsibility for affordable housing delays
The record with regard to the delays in the delivery of the affordable housing projects needs to be set straight. The Government cannot be allowed to rely on Brexit and Covid in order to absolve itself from responsibility in this area.
The effects of Brexit and Covid hit us in 2016 and 2020 respectively and the GSD acknowledges the very serious challenges that these events represented. The suggestion by the Government that the GSD seeks to belittle their very significant impact is nothing but a crude attempt at turning the tables away from their own failings.
The facts and chronology tell a different story, however and this is why we continue to hold the Government responsible. The facts are that at the 2015 election, that is, 8 years ago, the GSLP/Liberals had already announced the launch of Hassan Centenary Terraces and Bob Peliza Mews, promising to deliver within that term of office. They then repeated the promise in September 2017, this being 15 months after Brexit, and citing completion dates for the first phase of Hassan Centenary Terraces for February 2020 which was of course, a month before the advent of the Covid pandemic. The whole development was scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020 with the first phase of Bob Peliza Mews expected to be completed in June 2021.
In the run up to the October 2019 election, the Government continued to give the impression that everything was on track and that there were no delays to the completion of these developments by making self-congratulatory announcements (i) about the number of applications received for Hassans Centenary in February 2019; (ii) about the sale of flats at Bob Peliza Mews in June 2019; and (iii) then again in July of that year about the sale of flats at Chatham Views,stating,in relation to this development that it would commence in the last quarter of 2019. All of these dates were after Brexit, before Covid and clearly used for electoral gain.
It beggars belief that in January 2020 the Government was still announcing that construction of Hassans Centenary would begin ‘shortly’ when they had previously promised completion of the first phase by February 2020. This last date was, once again, months before Covid hit. With Chatham Views, construction was expected to have started in the last quarter of 2019, again months before Covid.
All the developments are now the subject of substantial delays to the tune of between 3 to 5 years at least, with phase 2 of Hassan Centenary requiring a reclamation to be done and clearing issues still to be sorted out in respect of the second phase of Bob Peliza.
Damon Bossino, the Shadow Minister for Housing said: “The shifting sands regarding completion dates have a huge impact on peoples’ lives, many of whom have had to put them on hold at personal financial and in some cases emotional cost and strain. The plight of these individuals has to be attended to with compassion and flexibility adopted in response to their circumstances. They should not be subjected to a harsh application of the rules such as with regard to the return of deposits if they want to move on with other plans as a result of the delays. That is certainly the approach that the GSD would adopt in Government.”
The tax payer will also suffer given that, despite original denials by the Chief Minister, the construction cost of Hassan Centenary has for now already exceeded £30M and the costs for Bob Peliza and Chatham are on their own admission expected to come in at significantly higher amounts. This in itself is a further reflection of the incompetent handling of this matter.
If all of this were not enough, Phase 1 Hassan Centenary purchasers will also now have to await news as to where the missing 144 spaces will be located given that these will not be available until completion of phase 2 in – it is currently expected – May 2025.
The whole episode is a dog’s dinner of incompetence and mismanagement and the Government has to take political responsibility, stop fooling people and deal compassionately with those who are finding themselves in dire circumstances as a result of these significant delays, not of their making.

Exit of Persons Under Investigation Raises Serious Questions

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Exit of Persons Under Investigation Raises Serious Questions

The exit of former Police Officers while they were under investigation by the Police and the fact that “almost immediate alternative employment” was found for them in Government departments raises serious questions.

In a statement to the RGP the Commissioner of Police, Mr Ullger, has stated that this was having an effect on morale. He stated that he shared the concerns of officers that “some of the individuals who have resigned whilst they have been subjected to a discipline/criminal process…have been provided this alternative employment with what appears to be keeping their salaries.”

The Commissioner has been moved to raise his concerns with the Governor and refers to “persons who breach our Code or even the Crimes Act and are subsequently investigated for those offences but yet exit our organisation to evade our process…”

These are extremely serious statements. The bland statement by Government in answer to GBC questions pointing to the Employment (Public Interest Information) Act 2012 can only be a partial answer to what is happening behind the scenes. That Act protects so-called “qualifying disclosures” being made by public servants – in other words evidence as to potential wrongdoing.

The timing of all this is strange. It’s been an open secret that there was a growing group of former officers that have been shifted to other jobs within Government. It would be stranger still if some of these officers were to subsequently surface in the McGrail inquiry to give evidence in respect of matters that were not central to the original issues that led to the former Commissioner spectacularly falling out with the Chief Minister and being asked to retire in June 2020. Additionally, is this evidence being directly or indirectly encouraged in an attempt to hurl diversionary counter allegations at former Commissioner McGrail in an Inquiry that is politically damaging to the Chief Minister?

If evidence of this type emerges in the Inquiry then the entire circumstances and facts need to be shared with the Inquiry Chairman so that the motivations and enticements as well as the evidence are put before the Inquiry.



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