GSD Cloak Doesn’t Help Picardo

Mr Picardo thinks that surrounding himself with former GSD Ministers will give him an air of respectability. It isn’t working. When is he going to realise that this is about his inability to ringfence his conflicts of interest and to be seen, clearly, by the public as having done that.

Mr Picardo repeatedly saying that Mr Montegriffo was the GSD founder is not a defence to his actions in the same way as hiring Peter Caruana who once described Mr Picardo as “unfit” to be Chief Minister will not provide him with blanket of immunity or absolution.

For Mr Picardo to say that the former Governor approached Mr Montegriffo over a possible GPA role hardly absolves Mr Picardo of responsibility even if it did happen that way. Gibraltar is now used to Mr Picardo’s spin and twist of the facts long enough to be sceptical about his explanations. In any event it should have been plain to the Chief Minister
as well as the former Governor how inappropriate it was to appoint a senior lawyer at Hassans as GPA Chair in the context of evidence being heard in the McGrail Inquiry. Indeed, it is a brazen act in the face of the ongoing inquiry disregarding everything said in it.

Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi said: “The McGrail Inquiry has heard plenty of evidence of the interwoven commercial and ongoing business interests between Mr Picardo and his law firm who have even via corporate vehicles been vying for public contracts from his own Government. It has also heard evidence as to how Mr Picardo then sought to use his influence to impact on decision-making of the GPA. Any reasonable observer would think it would be inappropriate to have a senior lawyer from his law firm in that role. That is because the perception of independence of the GPA Chair is as important as substantive independence.

Under the law the Chief Minister and former Governor had power to ensure that the panel of persons from whom the GPA Chair was chosen did not include a member of his law firm. People will find it hard to believe no one else could have been appointed to that role.

Mr Picardo has taken to surrounding himself with former GSD ministers in the hope this gives him a better appearance. It’s not working and all it looks like is that he is so desperately clutching at straws that he has to wheel out Sir Peter Caruana and Mr Montegriffo to make him look better. He needs to stop digging in his hole.”