Sir Joe Bossano’s replies to questions regarding the delays and non-payment of sub-contractors by the contractor of the elderly residential home at Rooke gives rise to serious concern.
Information reached the GSD that sub-contractors have not been paid their bills since about October of last year. The Government has confirmed that the company building the site, GBIC Limited – the joint venture company between the Government and Chinese interests which we have been told forms an integral part of the National Economic Plan – is indeed facing these difficulties which were told arise from cash-flow issues.
“This revelation is shocking. The GSD was treated to evasion and what was clear to us, an attempt at not answering questions in respect of not just the Rooke home but the National Economic Plan as a whole. This is not good; this is not healthy for transparency and for democracy.” Said Damon Bossino.
The facts as they are known to the GSD is that funding for this project is being provided, as least in part, by the Savings Bank. What we learnt yesterday is that as a result of the financial challenges and delays, a call may be made on the Savings Bank for even further funding. Information on what the original finance package was and what the potential further financing will amount to was not provided.
The Government may continue to profess confidence as to the viability of the project and that it will represent a good investment for the Savings Bank, but why should we only take Sir Joe Bossano’s word for it? We are talking about millions of pounds; millions of pounds which the tax payer will have to meet should any of the National Economic Plan investments go belly-up. This is serious business. This is why we need more detail from the Government so that we can also assess for ourselves, on behalf of the people of Gibraltar, what the real situation is. Continuing dodging and skiving of answers may serve the party in power but it ill-serves Gibraltar.
The GSD will continue to probe on this and other issues in the vain hope that fuller, accurate and understandable replies are forthcoming.