The GSD notes that Mr Picardo is unwilling to be subjected to any form of scrutiny on how he is utilising £275 million of net cash raised from mortgaging the six housing estates and instead choses to treat Parliamentarians with contempt and attack them personally.
Roy Clinton the shadow minister for public finance said:
“Mr Picardo’s display of contempt for my person is as lamentable as it is laughable. Being unwilling to explain where the £275 million has gone, for which he is responsible as Minister for Finance, he now tries to undermine my credibility as he might with an expert witness in court.
For the record then, I am a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (FCA), a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (FCIB) an Associate Member of the Association of Corporate Treasurers (AMCT) and a member of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (MCSI). I also have a degree in Commerce (BCom) and a degree in Financial Services (BSc). All of which I think proves me far more qualified in finance than Mr Picardo or anyone in his cabinet with or without honorific titles.
He suggests in his press release that in Viewpoint last year I said I would have done the Gibraltar Capital Assets £300 million transaction myself and that it was good money. Mr Picardo may have wished I had said that and puts words into my mouth to that end in a cheap trick, but what I said could never be construed in that way and Viewpoint on 16 February 2017 on the £300 million can be watched on replay on GBC’s website (see minutes 08.47; 21.58; 39.21 and 45.25).
As regards mixing capital and expenditure this is all that I said on Hansard on 2 July 2018 as regards the University:
“..the accounts for the University of Gibraltar for 31st July 2017 are not finalised – and yet we are being asked to approve a tripling in its budget to £1.5 million in 2019 – a tripling, and we have no sight of their financial statements.”
It was in fact his Government who mixed the recurrent expenditure on the consolidated fund with that of capital already expended through the Improvement and Development Fund. So much so, since I had no right to reply, that I tweeted during the Budget session on 3 July 2018:
“Minister for the University needs to attend one of its accountancy courses. Doesn’t know difference between capital spend and recurrent expenditure. Last years capital spend was £1.4 million and £500,000 recurrent expenditure. This year estimated recurrent spend is £1.5 million!”
Mr Picardo is wriggling on his self-made £275 million hook and the more he struggles to bury me and my public finance questions the more desperate and ridiculous he becomes. This is transparency and democracy Picardo style, Gibraltar deserves better in a Chief Minister.”