June 05 - Parliamentary and Democratic Reform Report Tabled in Parliament
Yesterday morning the Commission for Parliamentary and Democratic Reform’s report was tabled in Parliament. A number of recommendations were laid out before MPs with both the Governing and Opposition parties giving their views on each matter. Leader of the Opposition, Daniel Feetham insisted that his party had always been in favour of the recommendation to expand the seats available in Parliament, he suggested that the current 17 seats be expanded to 25, allowing for a section of back benchers who would focus primarily on constituency work.
The PDP recognises that much like last year the GSLP/Liberals budget at first sight reflects a balanced budget that does deliver to some extent for both business and the individual. It appears to be a prudent budget and the PDP is happy that economic indicators are positive. It is fair to recognise that the Government on the figures have continued to deliver the robust economy whose foundations were laid by its predecessors. The PDP are pleased to see that this budget delivers extra financial help to many sectors of our community who need it most such as the lowest paid, the disabled, the sight impaired and single parent families to name a few.
However if one starts to drill down on these figures there are some areas of concern:
On the macro picture whilst the CM seems to give it little importance, the increase in Government recurrent expenditure of 5% of £22 million is not insubstantial and goes a long way to potentially wipe out the increase in revenue of £28 million or the reported surplus of £37m. The Government should be careful not to allow recurrent expenditure to spiral out of control as any threat to our economy whether it be Gaming or otherwise, may make it difficult for Government to keep paying its obligations without raising taxes. Very quickly surpluses can turn to deficits and the Government would do well to remember that the economic curve does not always go up.
The PDP have had an initial read of the Report prepared by Dr Chris Tydeman and Indrani Lutchman. The electorate will recall that Dr Tydeman is in fact the same expert that criticised the British Government in April this year in a British Parliamentary Select Committee for failing to provide the necessary support to our RGP to allow them to patrol Gibraltar Territorial Waters.
June 04 - GSD Urges Picardo to Open Register of Electors
As the debate regarding Parliamentary and Democratic reform continues in Parliament this morning, the GSD has claimed that it is within the power of the Chief Minister to open the Register of Electors, in order to allow those who may not have registered, to do so.
The party notes that they have been approached by many people who have not yet registered to vote. Former Chief Minister Peter Caruana opened to the register during the 2011 General Election, with the support of former leader of the opposition, Fabian Picardo.
The Government is today publishing the independent expert report on The Management of Marine Living Resources in the Waters around Gibraltar, which has been produced by the working group set up last year to consider and report on these matters.
June 03 - GSD Questions Why Government Has Not Yet Published Fishing Report
The GSD has today called on the Government to make public the Fishing Report. A spokesperson said: “It will be recalled that the Government has had a copy of the report since December of last year. During Parliamentary Questions and Answers, the Minister for the Environment, John Cortes, said that the Government could not provide the Opposition with a copy of the report because it needed to be ‘formatted’ but that it would be published shortly. The GSD Opposition would like to remind the Government that it has been saying that it will publish the report shortly for some time now. When further asked why the Opposition had not been briefed on the report when the Mayor of La Linea had, the Minister denied that Ms Araujo had been briefed.”
Yesterday, members and supporters of the Defenders of Gibraltar ventured out into the Bay of Gibraltar aboard a privately owned vessel. The aim of the outing was to make what they described as an “unequivocal visual statement as to who the waters surrounding the rock belonged to, and to prove that we as Gibraltarians will never be bullied by the Guardia Civil be it on our land or in our waters.”