GSD Accuses Government Of “Lack of Transparency” on Stadium Project

The GSD says that, the more the Government say on the stadium project “the more questions are raised”, adding that the “lack of transparency” of the proposed scheme is “staggering.”

A statement continued: “On Monday the Government said that the Savings Bank investment in the new stadium was £100M over 18 months. Yesterday in a GBC Viewpoint interview Sir Joe Bossano said the new stadium would have an estimated value of £100M but the cost of the building would be lower but refused to spell out the cost. Why not? And why not confirm what the Savings Bank investment is?

“The GSD repeat the call that the Government should set out clearly what the costs are; what the Savings Bank are investing; what the profits of the development are expected to be and who is benefiting from the scheme given that the Savings Bank will only receive a small rate of return of 6 or 7%. In short, the specific financial arrangements need to be published so all can judge whether there is value for money to savers and to the taxpayer given that the development will take place on land sold in 2016 by the Government without development rights and therefore sold by the Government for no value beyond the sale value.

“A company called Community Supplies and Services Limited is intimately involved in the development. On the programme last night Sir Joe accepted that this entity was ultimately a charity that is controlled by the Government. It has taken the Government over two years to admit that it controls this entity. Previously the Government had point- blank refused to say who was behind this structure. CSSL is being used on the stadium project, the Rooke elderly home, Laguna estate housing project, Eastern Beach promenade and Coaling Island project. Structuring projects in this way is just a device of the Government to keep matters as opaque and intransparent as possible. It is the opposite of accountability. CSSL is also behind Wonderworks Media Limited that is being used by the Government to employ persons in Government departments.

“On Wednesday Roy Clinton was invited to debate the stadium project with Sir Joe Bossano on Viewpoint. He accepted. However, the Government pulled out of the debate yesterday without any good reason. Why was the Government unwilling to debate the issue with the GSD?”

Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi: “This is a Government running scared on this issue, twisting and turning on the facts and making statements as to cost, profits and who is interested in the project that are totally unsubstantiated. Gibraltar has learned not to take the statements of this Government at face value. Additionally, the project once again involves the opaque structure set up through Community Supplies and Services Limited which the Government now accepts it controls but is clearly a vehicle for it to handle projects in a less than transparent way. The public deserves clear explanation when savers and taxpayers monies are used, when valuable public assets are sold or developed and when public investments are structured. The lack of transparency is unacceptable especially with a Government who is now handling hundreds of millions of pounds of projects without proper accountability.”