Daniella Tilbury and Abigail Gomez have been co-opted onto the GSD Executive. They now join the currently 28-strong Party Executive Committee that is made up of MPs, elected Executive Members and a small number of life and co-opted members.
Until recently, Prof Daniella Tilbury was Gibraltar’s Commissioner for Sustainable Development and Future Generations after having been the inaugural Vice-Chancellor (CEO) for the University of Gibraltar. Daniella is also an international policy adviser to the UN and EU and has led international negotiations in the area of climate change and education. Abigail Gomez is currently a compliance officer in a local financial services provider and has a first-class honours degree in sports coaching and development. She has also spent time volunteering with the Panathlon Foundation that gives children with disabilities and special needs opportunities to engage in competitive sport.
Leader of the Opposition and GSD Leader, Keith Azopardi said: “I am delighted that the Party Executive has ratified the co-option of Daniella and Abigail onto our Executive. They will be great additions to our team. Abigail has been involved in various sub-committees of the Party as well as in our grassroots work over the last couple of years. Daniella has an impressive career in academia, international policy and public services and almost needs no introduction. They will be real assets and both form part of the strengthening and regeneration of the GSD that I have been keen to prioritise over the last few years. The influx of new people into the Executive and the Party as a whole is making it more diverse, representative, younger and stronger in depth. This augurs well for the talented team that we will – in due course – present to fight the next election as the modern, progressive alternative to the GSLP/Libs.”
Daniella Tilbury said: “Gibraltar needs change now. I would like to live in a place where it is safe to express one’s opinion; where people are listened to and can actively shape government practice; where divergent views are respected and, where Ministries work in a connected way for the better of all and not just a few. Now is the time to stand up and be counted. I am supporting the GSD as the party that will create a brighter and fairer future for Gibraltar.”
Abigail Gomez said: “I was drawn to get involved some years ago. I was worried about my children’s future. It was like nothing seemed fair. Housing, education and welfare were all problems you could see on the streets and on social media. The GHA doesn’t work like it should. I remember looking at each news story thinking, I love our Rock, Gibraltar is a small place, why can’t we fix things? If I see a problem– I really feel the need to get involved. It seems to me that there are many financial or economic issues to fix and the rises in tax and fees are hitting people on low incomes really hard especially in this cost of living crisis. There are big fairness and opportunity issues. It’s all got to change.”
Confirmation Needed on Source Monies of the £90
Eastern beach promenade project will result in a significant loss of much needed beach space
The Eastern beach promenade project will result in a significant loss of much needed beach space. This is the conclusion which many are coming to now that the works are in progress and more people are accessing the beach as the weather improves.
The immediate problem is the significant loss of beach area which the works will result in and which are expected to be paused and then completed after the close of the bathing season. The GSD asks the Government to clarify what it expects to do during the intervening period when the area will be a work in progress construction site.
Many are also concerned because the stores, which will be situated on the actual beach itself will not be able to resist bad weather and storms when they hit in winter.
It is further not clear to the GSD what demand there is for this project with this particular design especially when it entails such a significant loss of beach space which is so sought after in what is already a limited leisure area at the best of times during the summer peak season.
Damon Bossino said: “It will be recalled that this project is being sponsored under the National Economic Plan so it is therefore financed by the Savings Bank yet it is questionable how it makes commercial sense. There is also lack of clarity as to how the process of allocation of the stores will be done.”
The Government is asked to provide a full explanation on these legitimate questions which are being raised.
Cold facts catching up with the Government
The GSD welcomes the now very much long overdue announcement of the tender awards with respect to the affordable housing projects but persists in its observations that the huge and significant delays are unacceptable.
These projects have been used for electoral purposes in 3 consecutive elections with the Government making announcements about them in 2015, 2017, 2019 and now that we are at the doors of the 2023 election.
The difference is that the bare and cold facts eventually catch up with you and purchasers’ patience has quite justifiably run out.
With Government finances under pressure it is also of serious concern that all projects are the subject of increased construction costs, with Hassan Centenary running at an excess now of £30M and the others also the subject of significant increases.
Damon Bossino, the shadow Minister for Housing said: “Despite the attempt at gloss with the now tiresome and oft repeated audit of the number of houses expected to be delivered, the reality is that many families are facing the prospect of all the flats being heavily delayed by many years. This has an impact not just on these families but on future generations who face an uncertain future as there are no further developments in the horizon. A lost generation indeed.”
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.”