GSD Accuses Government Of “Misinformation” on Freedom of Speech and Power Cuts

The GSD has said that Minister Isola has sought to defend the Government’s record on freedom of speech “but their actions prove the opposite.”

A statement continued: “The GEA have stated that since the beginning of the year there have been 30 power cuts already. Yesterday the Government through Minister Isola rubbished that as “nonsense” instead referring to an answer he gave in Parliament that there had been 27 power cuts since 1 Jan 2019 and 7 this year. It raises questions as to why Gibelec who handle the administration of electricity generation should be disbelieved and as to the source of the information the Minister gave to Parliament.”

Leader of the Opposition Keith Azopardi said:

“Clearly there needs to be an explanation as to why the difference between the statistics being given by the Government and GibElec. But the bigger issue is that whether there have been nearly 30 power cuts or 60 power cuts since 1 Jan 2019 it shows that there is something seriously wrong with the vulnerability and resilience of the system and its back up. The Government should be getting that message clearly and do something about that which decisively improves the situation. It can’t be that falling manuals, rats or broken cables bring down the whole network. It must be possible to review the electricity infrastructure to see what more can be done to improve back-ups so that the whole network doesn’t come down if there is a fault in one area. In any event, the numbers quoted, whichever are believed, are unacceptably high.

“As for the suspension and reinstatement of the worker the GSD stands by its statement on freedom of speech. This is a Government that preaches one thing and then does another. It is ultra-sensitive to criticism and is quite happy to do what it can and use any method at its disposal to silence critics via legal threat, disciplinary action or public embarrassment as we have recently seen with Prof Burke, Henry Pinna, the Community Care Action Group and many other individuals in our community who have felt the heat of the undemocratic streak of Mr Picardo.

“Mr Isola has referred to my time in Government as Deputy Chief Minister. I can tell him that never in my years as a Minister did I instruct lawyers to write threatening letters to people or seek injunctions because I didn’t like what they had said publicly or because they were whistle-blowers. Mr Picardo has done so repeatedly and that will be seen as part of his less than attractive legacy.

“As I said a couple of days ago this situation raises wider issues of the Gibraltar we want and we have become. Freedom of speech is something to be protected. This culture of fear instilled by the Government’s habit of squashing its critics or whistle-blowers is repugnant to me and not what we want to see in Gibraltar. That is not what a future GSD Government led by me would do.”