As usual the Government’s reaction to the GSD statement on the music festival has been nothing but spin
after spin without actually wishing to be open about how money is being spent.
Mr Picardo says that the net losses for the 2017 Festival may not be £3.1M because other losses from
previous years may have been booked as an accountancy exercise into this year’s expenditure.
Presumably then the reverse is also the case and some costs from last year have not been paid and the
losses could even be higher than last year.
GSD Leader Keith Azopardi said: “We are not going to play accountancy games. The basic point is that in
overall terms the Music Festival has resulted in a net loss to the taxpayer since inception of £9.3M. If the
Government say that last year’s festival did not lose £3.1M then we challenge them to publish a full
breakdown of the costs spent on each year’s festival and when these were paid and to whom. We remind
the Government that this is taxpayers’ money and not theirs. There should be transparency and
accountability in the use of public monies. Until that happens it is impossible to accept anything that they
say on the festival. ”
As for the fact that the Chief Minister has now conducted his own “review” of distribution of VVIP tickets
to Ministers one would be forgiven for thinking this happened off the cuff and in reaction to the GSD
statement. We reiterate that in Government the GSD would not have a grace and favour private enclosure
for friends, family and party activists. There is no case for the Chief Minister to lord it over the rest of
paying customers as is the case every year. It is clear from his statement that that practice will continue.
Will the Government publish the list of invitees to its VVIP enclosure?
“In Government we will make sure there is an open tender that achieves greater local control and
influence and that public monies are used transparently and more efficiently at any future music festival.
People are entitled to expect that cultural events are organised responsibly and not on the basis of
reckless abandonment of any basic regard for affordability. The massive losses must stick in the throat of
people on zero hour contracts or facing economic uncertainties” said Mr Azopardi.