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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GSD News

Government Should Commit to Reform of Parliament

By | News

It is incomprehensible that a Government that used to say before the election that the Parliament should be reformed should now attempt to pretend that Parliament works well in independently scrutinising the Government. If it believes in reform it should get on with taking the steps necessary to change the working practices of Parliament in the interests of the public and accountability of their decision-making.

Leader of the Opposition Keith Azopardi said: “Trying to justify what is going on by counting the number of times the Parliament has come together last year and comparing it to what used to happen before 2011 is to put a cloak over the truth. In fact, some of those times the Parliament has come together to simply adjourn sessions for 5 minutes or to take Ministerial statements or legislation only but no questions. We can all play the game of comparisons with the past but I thought Mr Picardo did not want to be compared to the GSLP of the 1990s? He said he would do things differently. He knows I have been campaigning to reform of Parliament for longer than he has been GSLP Leader. It doesn’t help him to pretend otherwise or twist the facts.

How does Parliament work when Ministers have not answered questions in Parliament for 5 months? How does Parliament work when Ministers cannot be probed on issues of public importance? The Government is avoiding the accountability of questions from Opposition members and instead sometimes chooses to put out answers by press release which then overtake Parliamentary questions and avoids scrutiny.

The Government knows that we have made significant allowances for the BREXIT and COVID issues. But until mid-December COVID was largely under control and neither that nor Brexit can constantly be used as a shield against accountability. People want to see the Government answer questions in Parliament. If laws are passed without proper scrutiny they can detrimentally affect people’s lives. If the Government think that they are helping their cause by issuing that type of reply they are sadly mistaken. Their attempt to defend themselves by referring to the recent deaths of COVID victims in the same press release is disgraceful.”

It is a fact that in the Unlock the Rock Document the Government said that the Select Committees on various issues would meet after May last year and have not yet done so. They haven’t met since the election in fact. The assertion that the Opposition is somehow taking a lazy approach to Bills is simply false. The Opposition never knows which Bills the Parliament is actually taking on the day. Imagine being asked to attend a meeting and not knowing what subject will actually come up. Under the constitution a Bill cannot be taken before 6 weeks have passed from the date of publication. This is to allow the public to be aware of proposed legislation and allow proper scrutiny. If a Bill is urgent the Chief Minister can certify it as urgent and a Bill can be taken earlier. We have no issue with this practice but there are times that we do not even know that a Bill has been certified as urgent. Recently the Parliament considered the Competition Bill which was over 350 pages with the Opposition only being told on the day that the Bill would be certified urgent. When the Government rams legislation through in that way it does not lead to proper scrutiny of important measures affecting members of the public. That then leads to bad decisions affecting people’s lives.

Laya Comments Unacceptable

By | News
Spain cannot decide who enters Gibraltar and there should not be Spanish officers exercising jurisdiction or control in Gibraltar.
The comments by Spanish Foreign Minister to El Pais as to Spain exercising such powers under the political agreement announced on New Years Eve would be unacceptable if true.

The GSD has not seen the political agreement entered into on 31 December and we make allowances that the Spanish Foreign Minister may be giving issues a gloss for her domestic audience but the Government needs to make clear what it has been prepared to agree.

This once again raises the issue of the need for greater knowledge of the details and the uncertainty that may make the period until a final legally binding Treaty emerges. For the public to be drip fed information over the next 6 months at a time and of a nature of Spain’s choosing will be counterproductive.

Ms Laya has also again emphasized the bilateral nature of the agreements between the UK and Spain. Again this would be unacceptable and was not the understanding the Opposition were being given that this part of the process was trilateral in nature.

 GSD welcomes Wizz Air flights but seeks information

By | News
The GSD shadow Minister for Tourism, Damon Bossino, welcomed the commencement of the twice weekly Luton to Gibraltar route by Wizz Air.

“The inaugural flight on Friday evening of the Wizz Air Airbus A320 was a welcome sight, particularly in circumstances where the aviation industry has suffered a huge blow as a result of the pandemic. Gibraltar relies significantly on aviation links with the UK for tourism, financial services and the business sector generally. The air bridge is also a life-line for our students in further education and those individuals who need to use health services outside of Gibraltar and Spain.” said Mr Bossino.

Mr Bossino has sought clarification from the Government, by way of a Parliamentary question, as to whether it has provided any financial incentives in order to secure the flights to Gibraltar and awaits a reply.

 

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