GSD visits flats in deplorable conditions


The GSD has visited some flats in the centre of town on the invitation of Action for Housing. The Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi and the shadow Minister for Housing, Damon Bossino were taken round some tenements by Mr Henry Pinna and AFH committee member Zohra el Gharbaoui. The conditions of these flats were disgraceful and the people the GSD met were living in inhumane conditions.

“Many of the tenants we met were elderly and have given a lifetime of service – most in excess of 50 years – to Gibraltar and it is an indictment on us as a society they should be living in the way they do. GSD MPs have over the years made representations to Government in respect of some of those we met and it is with desperation that we see that they experience little to no movement on the Housing Waiting Lists. That some people should live in cramped and humid third-world conditions (and now in summer, the sweltering heat) with outside toilets and washing areas is a travesty for a place that often boasts it is an economic power- house.” Said Damon Bossino.

As a responsible political party, we are fully aware of the pressures that landlords face as they cannot afford to improve living conditions on the very low statutory rents their tenants pay. Both landlords and tenants are then caught in a frustrating vicious circle which perpetuates the misery and squalor some people live in. Many of these tenants simply cannot afford to pay much more in rent as they survive on an almost hand to mouth basis with very low government pensions.

However, it is incumbent on the Government to act and show leadership in this area. This cycle of third world conditions will not be broken on its own. In government the GSD would take measures to resolve the plight of these, our fellow Gibraltarians and to raise them out of these conditions. That will require imaginative policies which we are prepared to carry out. Some of the people we met have waited far too long already and action cannot come soon enough for them.