GSD’s Bossino questions Government’s bragging on cruise calls

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GSD’s Bossino questions Government’s bragging on cruise calls

The Minister for Tourism’s statements concerning cruise calls cannot be left unanswered. This is unfortunately the case when it comes to statements generally made by this Government.

The Minister sings his own praises with regard to a supposed increase in cruise-liner inaugural calls. In doing so, he dismisses his wider department’s efforts as he claims all the credit (if there is any credit) for himself and himself alone. He should have greater humility and be more thorough in his analysis and if he had done so he may not have sought to blow his own trumpet – once again.

The facts are that the numbers of cruise passengers in 2022 are still some 126,000 less than they were in 2019 pre-pandemic levels and about half of the numbers which arrived in 2016, the year he claims to have beaten in inaugural calls. Why does he fail to refer to these statistics?

The Minister has also singularly failed to properly refurbish the cruise liner terminal in time so that the enduring image that many of these passengers on these inaugural calls he boasts about will have is of a third-world, badly maintained terminal.

The Government furthermore fails to refer to many of the other issues which affect the cruise liner industry as identified by entities like the Chamber of Commerce such as the incapacity of our transport infrastructure to properly service passengers and the variety of excursions. The Chamber rightly refers to stiff competition which Gibraltar faces from Cadiz and Malaga stating that we are lagging ‘further and further’ behind.

“Rather than brag about a specific statistic, Gibraltar would be served better by a Government which has proper focus on what needs to be done to improve the cruise offering and that of the tourism product as a whole.” said the GSD’s Damon Bossino.

The recent disruption at Gibraltar airport gives rise to further cause for concern

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The recent disruption at Gibraltar airport gives rise to further cause for concern, especially following a spate of incidents which call into question its resilience.Whether it is staff related issues which has on more than one occasion caused flight diversions, flight changes caused by bad weather and the ensuing disruption to non-Schengen passengers to now a telephone line fault, the concern is that Gibraltar’s ability to function a normal airport is being put into question.There will be many different strands to this, not least the fact that this is an MOD airport but the reality is that transport and communication are basic ingredients for a successful economy and everything must be done to ensure that we have the resilience to meet as many of these challenges as possible, so that one of our economic lifelines is not continually put into jeopardy.“None of this is welcome, particularly in the wake of the COVID lockdown or weeks after the aviation conference held in Gibraltar. One area which Gibraltar should surely be able to easily address is the information which is given to passengers of flight delays and disruption. There have been complaints that passengers have been kept in the dark for many hours and this is unacceptable. We see no reason why this information cannot be given in a timely manner.” said Damon Bossino for the GSD.

 

2022 Christmas Message from the Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi

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2022 CHRISTMAS MESSAGE FROM THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION, KEITH AZOPARDI

As we reach the close of the year it’s obvious so many people have less. Less money for your families. The price of everything in the supermarket is shooting up. Your electricity bills have risen. If you’re a home-owner or tenant your mortgage or rent may have gone up. Everyone has seen their tax go up. Workers wages are effectively shrinking. If you’re a small business owner you’ve seen extra costs levied over your running costs at a time when you are simply trying to survive. Everyone is being squeezed with higher social insurance, fees and charges. And the rises in taxes and fees have not been a one-off. The government announced rises in 2021 and did so again in this year’s budget. The result of all this is that some people are struggling just to make ends meet.

Mr Picardo told you in 2019 that the age of entitlement was over and promised a dawn of a new age of responsibility.

This was another of his false dawns because where is the Government’s responsibility and discipline? Of course, they can’t control interest rates or the trickle down of global recession or inflation but they can control waste and financial abuse and stick to their own budget. And if they did that it would benefit you as a citizen because it would mean there would be more money for public services or for protecting the less well off from tax rises.

But there’s little evidence of that era of responsibility. In the year of the worst financial crisis ever the Government borrowed 100M to pay its bills and wages. It taxed you more because it has a big hole in its budget and to make it all worse it could not even keep to its own departmental budgets. The Government overspent by tens of millions of pounds and borrowed more making the overall debt even higher and the hole in our finances even bigger. Instead of getting to grips with the financial crisis it allowed the freefall to go into a swifter downward spiral.

And all that matters because there is less money around and because the squeeze on you is harder because of 11 years of financial mismanagement. If Mr Picardo had done what he said 11 years ago and halved the gross debt there would now be more financial leeway to help you and your families out of the cost of living crisis.

The promised new era of responsibility has not fared well. The Government doesn’t stick to its budgets or promises. The disconnect is palpable. It seems to think that splashing out savers money on a new football stadium without serious regard to whether it is value for money is the cure to its crash in popularity. But an empty stadium however glamorous won’t pay your bills or fix the health service.

The promised end of the era of entitlement does not appear to extend to the privileged few in the close circles around the Government who seem to believe that they are entitled to carry on benefiting from lucrative contracts. We need an effective crackdown on cronyism, conflicts of interests and trafficking of influences. That’s why the proposed anti-corruption law presented by Mr Picardo is too little too late because it tackles none of those things. It is simply an attempt to silence public clamour about yet another unfulfilled promise that festers since 2011.

 

Mr Picardo’s administration has tolerated practices that have been deeply corrosive of fairness and democracy and cheated the taxpayer of value for money.

The reality is that the Government led by Mr Picardo is now part of the problem and they are an obstacle to reform because they think they are doing it right. Unless there is a change of Government there won’t be decisive and radical reform.

What is needed is a clear plan to get out of this public finances crisis and this will be at the core of our manifesto for the next election. A plan to balance our books and to deliver value for money, transparency and standards. A plan to cut waste, abuse and corruption.

Only by addressing all that will we get out of this spiral and fix the broken systems, provide value for money and improve public services – in health, social services or housing. There would then be more money for you and your families.

And in the slipstream of this directionless Government many people are being left behind – those struggling to make ends meet in this cost of living crisis; those just trying to get a break or an opportunity for meaningful, stable employment; those tired of being ignored by the Government – those who wait and don’t get answers on housing issues or disability allowance applications or employment claims or face long delays for hospital surgery or appointments.

This is a Government that has lost its way. Election year cannot come soon enough for those people. It cannot come soon enough for anyone hoping that Gibraltar will get back on track. Together with your help we can do that.

On behalf of myself and my colleagues I wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmas

 

Danny Feetham MP Questions for December Parliament Session

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Danny Feetham MP  Questions for December Parliament Session

Parliament is scheduled to meet on Wednesday 23rd December 2022 @ 3.00pm
  1. Mr Speaker, how many convictions or fines issued have there been in each of the last 4 years for failure to register or licence a dog in Gibraltar?

 

  1. Mr Speaker, how many convictions or fines issued have there been for dog fouling in each of the last 4 years?

 

  1. In relation to any convictions and/or fines for dog fouling, how many have resulted from the Government’s DNA testing program?

 

  1. How many DNA samples of dog faeces have been tested since 1st January 2018 and how many fines have resulted from that testing?

 

  1. How many checks for unregistered dogs have been made since 1st January 2018 and how many fines have been issued?

 

  1. How many convictions have there been in each of the last 4 years for crimes associated with carrying or injuries caused by the carrying of knives, guns or other offensive weapons in Gibraltar?

 

  1. How many convictions have there been in each of the last 4 years in respect of (a) the importation and (b) the supply of cocaine, cannabis and heroin in Gibraltar?

 

  1. Mr Speaker, how many vacancies are there within the GDC ?

 

  1. How Many vacancies are there within Government agencies and authorities identifying the agency and authority?

 

  • How many vacancies are there within Government owned companies identifying the company?

 

  • How many vacancies are there within the civil service?

 

  • In relation to all the questions just asked about vacancies in the public service and Government owned companies please identify the grade the vacancies relate to and the date the vacancies arose?

 

  • How many bullying claims have been made against the Government or the GDC and how many have the Government settled, and for what amount?

 

 

Roy Clinton MP Questions for December Parliament Session

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Roy Clinton MP  Questions for December Parliament Session

Parliament is scheduled to meet on Wednesday 21st December 2022 @ 3.00pm
  1. Can the Government please provide the total Gross Debt, Aggregate Debt after application of the sinking fund to Gross Debt, Cash Reserves and Net Debt figures for Public Debt for the following date? 1 November 2022

 

  1. Can the Government advise the balance on the General Sinking fund on the following date? 1 November 2022

 

  1. Can the Government confirm that the Gibraltar Bankers’ Association consulted it on the withdrawal of cheques by 31 December 2023 and if so why does it agree this should occur in Gibraltar before the United Kingdom where this was shelved due to objections from stakeholders?

 

  1. Can the Government advise if the manufacturers of the modular units in China, or any other entities, are providing any special financing arrangement for the purchase of these modular units and if so what are the financing arrangements?

 

  1. Can the Government advise the remuneration paid to each of the directors of GBIC Limited?

 

  1. Can the Government advise if the directors of Community Supplies and Services Limited have been paid any fees as directors or lawyers and if so please identify the amount since incorporation?

 

  1. Can the Government advise which Government owned company or companies, Gibraltar Savings Bankowned company or companies , or Gibraltar Development Corporation owned company or companies have purchased loan notes from Community Supplies and Services Limited and in what monetary amount and for what tenure and interest rate ?

 

  1. Can the Government advise what security has Community Supplies and Services Limited given in respect of loan notes purchased by Government owned company or companies, Gibraltar Savings Bank owned company or companies, or Gibraltar Development Corporation owned company or companies?

 

 

  1. Can the Government advise what role does GSBA Limited play in the National Economic Plan?

 

  1. Can the Government advise why GBIC Limited is the preferred contractor on building projects in its national economic plan?

 

  1. Can the Government advise what role does Gibraltar Properties Limited play in the National Economic Plan?

 

  1. Can the Government advise why Community Supplies and Services Limited has not registered as a charity?

 

  1. Can the Government advise the estimated cost to date of the National Economic Plan and how much of this will be financed by the Gibraltar Savings Bank?

 

  1. Can the Government provide the details of the monetary value, interest rate and term of the loan notes to be purchased by the Gibraltar Savings Bank in respect of the proposed Victoria Stadium development?

 

  1. Can the Government please provide a breakdown of where and how all the monies deposited in the Gibraltar Savings Bank have been invested and the rate of return on each of these investments as at 31 October 2022?

 

 

  1. Can the Government please provide a breakdown with maturity details, monetary amount and interest rates of Gibraltar Savings Bank Debentures or other debt security as at 31 October 2022?

 

 

  1. Can the Government advise the monetary value of Government deposits with the Savings Bank for the following date:?31 October 2022

 

 

  1. Can the Government advise the monetary value of Government deposits with the Gibraltar International Bank for the following date:?31 October 2022

 

 

  1. Can the Government please advise the total liquid reserves figure and its constituents namely Consolidated fund, Improvement and Development Fund, Government Owned Companies, deposits, contingencies and other funds for the following date?
  2. 1 November 2022

 

  1. Can the Government please advise how total liquid reserves are invested/held given details of all bank/savings bank accounts and cash held for the following date? 1 November 2022

 

  1. Can the Government please advise what is the interest rate structure of the 5 Year Fixed Term HM Government of Gibraltar Monthly Income Debentures held by the Gibraltar Savings Bank?

 

 

  1. Can the Government please advise what is the interest rate structure of the 5 Year Fixed Term GSBA Limited Monthly Income Debentures held by the Gibraltar Savings Bank?

 

 

  1. Can the Government please advise what is the interest rate structure of the 3 Year Fixed Term Gibraltar Properties Limited Monthly Income Debentures held by the Gibraltar Savings Bank?

 

 

  1. Can the Government please advise what is the interest rate structure of the 3 Year Fixed Term Gibraltar National Mint Limited Monthly Income Debentures held by the Gibraltar Savings Bank?

 

 

 

 

Elliott Phillips MP Questions for December Parliament Session

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Elliott Phillips MP  Questions for December Parliament Session

Parliament is scheduled to meet on Wednesday 21st December 2022 @ 3.00pm
  1. Further to Q282/2022 the Minister confirmed to me in writing that £1,483,238.47 of the total mental health budget was attributed to Counselling/Psychologists and Psychiatrists.  Can the Minister now confirm how the balance of the £5.7 Million Mental Health Budget (less the £1.48M odd) is spent?
  2. Can the Minister for Health confirm how many people are now required to pay for their own prescriptions in light of the change in prescription policy at the GHA?
  3. Can the Minister for Health confirm how many people have waited over 3 months in 2022 for radiological scans namely; (i) x-rays; (ii) ultrasound; (iii) CT and (iv) MRI?
  4. Can the Government state when it intends to erect a memorial to those that were lost to Covid 19?
  5. Further to question 461/2022 can the Government state how much money it will place at the disposal of the Ministry of Transport in order to deploy its cycling strategy?
  6. Further to question 461/2022 can the Government state how much the strategic document for mobility cost to commission?
  7. Further to question 463/2022 can the Government state how many representations were received and by what group, organisation, or agency?
  8. Can the Government state how many people registered with the GHA and normally resident in Gibraltar are receiving treatment for cancer locally or with tertiary providers abroad broken down to cancer type?
  9. Can the Government state how many people registered with the GHA and normally resident in Gibraltar are receiving treatment for (i) heart disease or (ii) respiratory disease local or with tertiary providers broken down, in respect to heart disease,  to acquired or congenital heart disease or in respect of respiratory disease type.
  10. Can the Government state what progress it has made to recover the sums expended on defective or otherwise faulty PPE in respect to Gibraltar’s Covid-19 response?
  11. Can the Government state why it has paid over £129,440 to Benzaquen Associates over 8 months in 2022 with no Public Health Bill appearing before this House?
  12. Can the Government state why the Government is paying the Rt Hon Alexander Downer £3,000 a month in respect of legal fees?
  13. Can the Government state what legal services were being provided by the law firm Hassans, for the Government to pay the same £3.09 Million odd in legal fees over the last three years so far?Can the Government state what legal services were being provided by the law firm Isolas, for the Government to pay the same £2.87 Million odd in legal fees over the last three years so far?In 11 months in 2021 11,900 children aged 16 and under were seen by GPs at the PCC does the Government have the statistic for 2022 so far?
  14. Can the Government state the number of complaints received in respect of verbal of threatened physical abuse occasioned by members of the public towards GHA staff in 2022 so far?Can the Government state how many complaints it or the Environmental Agency has received in respect of dust emissions?
  15. Can the Government state what action the Government or the Environmental Agency has done in respect to breach of the Environment (Control of Dust) Regulations 2010 by individuals or companies?
  16. Can the Government explain why an Ambulance caught fire in late November 2022?
  17. Can the Government state when the promised new Ambulances will arrive in Gibraltar?

 

 

 

Damon Bossino MP Questions for December Parliament Session

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Damon Bossino MP  Questions for December Parliament Session

Parliament is scheduled to meet on Wednesday 21st December 2022 @ 3.00pm

  1. Please state how many units will be released to the Government rental housing stock broken down to the number of rooms when the affordable flats become available to tenants.

 

  1. Why does the Minister for Housing not reply to letters sent to him by the Chilton Court Committee?

 

  1. What update can the Government provide in connection with the expected disruption in flights from the UK due to industrial action in the UK over the Christmas period?

 

  1. How many new pupils are expected to be enrolled into St Martin’s school in academic year 2023/2024 broken down into ages?What was the cost of the recent aviation conference held in Gibraltar to include the amount that the Government paid in respect of it, broken down into the following headings:

accommodation;

travel;

entertainment; and use of conference facilities.

  1. Who, precisely, is the Minister for Tourism meeting when he refers to the “wider Wizz team”, when is he meeting with them and when does he expect to welcome the airline back to Gibraltar?
  2. Please provide the total number of museum visitors by year and month since the last time this information was updated on 11th December 2019 in table T.3 of the online Government statistics.
  3. Where and when will the workers’ hostel be constructed and by which company?

 

  1. When will the Housing Ministry publish the promised booklet setting out the policies regarding Government rented flats and what will it contain?

 

  1. When does the Government intend to refurbish the toilets at the Coach park?

 

 

  1. The pedestrian entry via the frontier remains in a deplorable state, how long will it take the Government to fix this embarrassing eyesore once and for all?

 

  1. Why was the time for the submission of expressions of interest in respect of Rosia Bay so short?

 

  1. What work does Community Services and Supplies Limited do for the Government?

 

 

 

  1. Are employees of Wonderworks Media Limited working in Government departments and if so how many, in which departments, the duration of their employment contracts and why are they working there?

 

  1. Are employees of Wonderworks Media Limited working in Government departments and if so how many, in which departments, the duration of their employment contracts and why are they working there?

 

  1. How does the Government propose to deal with the on-going issue of motorbikes which illegally park at the Mid-Harbours estate parking?

 

  1. When will Government fix the significant issue faced by users of the Mid Harbours garage regarding water penetration?

 

  1. When will Government, as a matter of urgency, refurbish the Cruise Liner terminal and surrounding area?

 

  1. Who is funding the proposed development at the Chilton Court Youth Club?

 

  1. Is the development of the Chilton Court Youth Club exclusively for residents of Chilton Court and if not who will be able to access and use its facilities

 

  1. Who is developing the new parking facility at North Mole Road?

 

  1. For whose use is the new parking facility at North Mole Road been constructed?

 

  1. What amounts have been received since the introduction of the overnight stay tax of £3 per person, since the measure was introduced

 

  1. What is causing the delay regarding the review of the Housing Act?
  2. What measures are in place for passengers on flight diversions to Malaga to be able to cross the frontier to catch flights there and leave the aircraft to return to Gibraltar?When will the Government upkeep and clean the entry point into the City centre, namely Landport Tunnel?
  3. Why has the Government not already negotiated the construction prices for Bob Peliza Mews and Chatham ViewsWhich company is employing clerks at the GHA?
  4. When was the construction costs agreed in respect of Hassans Centenary broken down in respect of each phase?
  5. Please provide an update as to when the Government expects to publish its National Disability Strategy?

 

  1. Does the Government have any plans for the area of the old airport terminal and if so, what are they?
  2. Does the Government have any plans to refurbish Arengo’s Palace?
  3. Please list which events (to include music concerts) the Government or its agencies is planning to hold, sponsor and/or promote during the course of 2023.

 

  1. Please state whether the plans and designs for Chatham Views have been changed in order to accommodate current residents of the old Westside school.

 

 

Leader of Opposition Keith Azopardi Questions for December Parliament Session

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Leader of Opposition Keith Azopardi Questions for the December Parliament Session

Parliament is scheduled to meet on Wednesday 21st December 2022 @ 3.00pm

1. Has the Gibraltar Football Association or any other entity paid or agreed to pay a premium for the development of the current site of the Victoria Stadium, if so which entity and in what amount?
2. How many Strep A cases have been diagnosed in Gibraltar by Gibraltar Health Authority personnel at 13 December 2022?
3. What measures are the GHA taking to make the risks and symptoms of Strep A better known in the community and what is it doing to deal with any cases that arise?
4. Can Government set out the current process in respect of the exportation, recycling, collection and treatment of household waste?
5. How are articles of household waste that are able to be recycled treated in comparison with other non-recyclable articles and where are they sent to once they are collected and leave Gibraltar?
6. How is the Government going to address the dispute with civil servants in ITLD?
7. How much money has been spent on:
(1) hardware;
(2) software;
(3) personnel;
(4) equipment;
(5) contracted services; (6) consultants
8. in connection with the computer or information technology infrastructure of the Government or its digital systems or e-government services over each of the financial years 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/21 and 2021/22 broken down by financial year and by each of the six individual items in the question?
9. How many people are currently employed within the Gibraltar Development Corporation at 13 December 2022?
10. How many vacant administrative posts in Government departments were there on 13 December 2022?
11. How many officers were occupying administrative posts in Government departments on an acting or temporary basis at 13 December 2022 broken down by particular clerical grade?
12. How many vacant posts were there in HM Customs at 13 December 2022 including those filled by officers on an acting basis or on temporary promotion?
13. How many vacant posts were there in the Borders & Coastguard Agency at 13 December 2022 including those filled by officers on an acting basis or on temporary promotion?
14. Why have child welfare payments been delayed in December?
15. How many of the 54 vacant posts in the Gibraltar Health Authority arising from the answer to Q293/2022 had been filled at 13 December 2022?
16. Has the Government spent or used any part of the additional £25Million which the Minister for Financial Stability confirmed in answer to Q491-2/2022 had been borrowed this financial year and if so how much and on what?
17. How many 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom apartments are projected to form part of the new Victoria Stadium development?
18. What is the sum that the Savings Bank intend to loan or invest in the new Victoria Stadium project?
19. How many expressions of interest have been received for the residential development on the Rooftop Level of Midtown Car Park and has the Government identified a preferred bidder?
20. What is the annual rental cost that will be paid in respect of St Mary’s School?
21. Are there any current arrangements in place or proposed arrangements being contemplated in the event of an EU-UK Treaty on a future relationship in respect of Gibraltar that would allow Gibraltar dialysis patients to obtain dialysis treatment while away temporarily in EU Member States?
22. Does the Government intend to review the current COVID self-isolation periods?
23. What measures are being considered by GHA in response to the recommendations made by the Coroner in relation to the recent case of an emergency response in a case where a 36-year-old man died?