Year message from GSLP leader Joe Bossano
The government has no sense of direction
Last week saw the start of the 1st year of the 4th century of
a non-Spanish Gibraltar, and the way to make sure our
grandchildren are there to celebrate the next centenary is the
sound management of our collective finances.
Just like in 1988 we laid the foundations for the new economy
that exists today, so now we should develop new initiatives to
ensure the survival of our people into the future, outside the
frontiers of Spain.
The domestic side of this policy is concerned with meeting the
employment, housing and health needs of our people and in
providing financial security for our senior citizens.
No doubt we shall soon again hear a fanfare of
self-congratulation about the opening of the hospital, which
you were told a year ago was then imminent. This hospital is
housed in a magnificent building, which was designed as luxury
offices to attract new businesses to Gibraltar. At a cost of
£55m, excluding its kitchen, which is housed elsewhere, it has
been converted to receive St Bernardís, which starts migrating
downwards, towards the waterfront, next month. Gibraltar could
have had a brand new, purpose built hospital at half the cost
and in half the time and Europort would have still been there
to accommodate inward investment. This kind of poor decision
making costs money, and like in any other badly managed
organisation, it shows up in operating losses.
Because the present Government has no economic policies and no
sense of direction, all we can see is a repetition of the same
electoral promises year after year, of which, through the
passage of time, some get done.
Our job is to get rid of the smoke screens and propaganda and
show you the true picture.
Two years ago I predicted that we would face an early
election. A few months later I accused the GSD Government of
deliberately understating the level of spending in the 2003
Budget. This had predicted for the year of the election a
surplus of £6.7m. In November, when the election took place,
the GSD failed to tell the electorate the true state of
Government finances. A few weeks later, last January, Mr
Caruana told you that in 2004 the Government would increase
revenue, that is indirect taxes, so that they could continue
to operate a prudent policy of healthy Budget surpluses.
However, in the Budget that followed in 2004 he defended the
Governmentís position and said the disappearance of the
surpluses was deliberate and had been planned by the
Government. The contradiction in these two positions is
Of course the situation was not just a case of no surpluses.
It was much more serious, in spite of the attempt to
manipulate the presentation of the figures to hide the true
extent of the difficulties.
Four months after the elections the Government forecast a
deficit of £1.3m, described by Mr Caruana as small, instead of
the £6.7m surplus. However, the true results are much worse.
The £1.3m deficit was produced by keeping another £6m of
deficits in the Employment, Health and Social Services out of
the Governmentís books and pushing them into the following
yearís spending. Moreover, as we recently discovered, as a
result of putting questions in the House, just before the
close of the Financial Year, last February the Government
decided to boost the revenue figure by paying itself a 5%
commission on the sale of 50/50 homes, which had taken place
since April 2002. This commission of 5% of the proceeds
realised by property disposals converts the capital yield into
revenue. This unusual accounting device increased recurrent
income by £0.75m and without it the deficit would have been
From showing over £6.7m profit on the eve of the General
Election to finishing up with a loss of nearly £8m a few
months later, after being re-elected is a discrepancy of
nearly £15m. That is the reason why there had to be an early
Since then Import Duty has been increased to produce £6m a
year, Social Insurance will be going up this week to produce
around £4m and increases in Water charges are to be done by
Regulation and are in the pipeline. No hint of any of this was
given by the GSD in their Election Campaign.
Social Insurance is another example of monumental mishandling
by the Government. In 1997 the Social Insurance Pension Fund
was running a deficit and Mr Caruana promised to transfer
£1.8m from the Short-Term Fund, which pays for things like
Unemployment Benefit, then running a surplus. He failed to do
this and the reserves in the Short-Term Fund grew as a result
whilst the reserves of the Pension Fund kept declining. In
February 2002, he said the Short-Term Fund had too much
money,removed £5m, and used it to facilitate a payment to
This month he is removing another £1m, arguing that it still
has too much money and using it to prop up the Pensions.
However, at the same time the weekly contribution to the same
Fund has been trebled, because it is running a deficit and is
short of money. Again the contradiction in these two positions
We have voted against these moves in the House of Assembly.
In fact, since the Government failed to take steps that they
had promised in 1997 the reserves of the Pension Fund are now
below the levels inherited by the GSLP in 1988 let alone the
levels we left in 1996, which were twice as high.
What these policy shifts and contradictions show is thatwhen
it comes to the management of our economy, Mr. Caruana, at
best, has a total lack of understanding and we all finish up
paying the bill for his mistakes.
Clearly, however inadequately he manages your affairs, Mr
Caruana feels that he has your approval to continue on the
same course since, as he tells me at every opportunity, you
have re-elected him for a third time. The moral of the story,
is stop voting for him.
Until that happens, you can count on us to expose the failures
of the Government and to deal with your individual problems
and concerns, whenever you come to us for help or advice, as
is our obligation , irrespective of whom you voted for.
We look forward to being there for you in the course of the
coming year and wish you all a very happy 2005.
Blimey con los New Year messages, parecian
more like party political broadcasts, verdad Cynthia mia?
Anyone would think que an election was round the corner, pero
let's hope not porque holding an election cuesta mas que un
reception en el Savoy.
I would hope so, corazon. Pero a lo del Casemates le faltaba
un poco de chispa, judging by what I saw en el televisho.
After all, los celebrations era about el New Year, my dear.
Yo me quede en casa por eso del frio, porque hasta el Chief
Ministron ha cogido el flu.
And you will have noticed que otra vez he has asked al Hombre
Paja y a El Morao que pongan fin al Brussels Agreement, which
can only mean que el Brussels esta vivito y coleando, don't
Ya ve, yo hasta me comi unos Brussels sprouts con el pavo to
celebrate, pero El Leon del Spanish foreign ministration nos
qiiere amargar el New Year.
Es que con esto de los vascos la cosa no esta para bollos, I
presume. Lo de nuestro Gibraltar es reduced to insignificance
porque after all we are not part of Zapatero countiy
This reminds me de un anuncio de cigarretes en el airport, que
es mas largo que un dia sin pistolete. I mean, we seem to be
telling the world that Gibraltar is tobacco country.
I don't think it conveys the right impression to our visitors,
after all cigarette advertising is banned in some places, so
it's not fair.
Y segun dicen el Chief se va a Cadiz to talk about el futuro
de los relations entre our Gibraltar and their Spain.
Viva la Pepa! That's what they used to say in Cadiz when they
baptised their first constitution.
I hope que our constitution will not be the last one, porque
esta mas antigua que una colonia.
Let's see how long it takes to take shape, porque Chincotta
has been studying it for a number of years now.
And to think que our present constitution took a week to
complete, en unos tiempos cuando no habian computers y tenia
que hacer la o con un canuto.
Que complicated you become, my dear. It could be que in the
Foreign Office no tienen tiempo to read our proposals y se
pasan el dia leyendo algun mas que otra tragedia de
Con lo que se ha armao una buena es con el funicula que
quieren poner en el Casmates, dicen que se van a tira several
months tunelling por la roca, con lo peligroso que that can
Caramba, como sigamo haciendo mas boquetes por el Rock , the
whole thing could collapse y se arregla el Gibraltar problem.
Y como espantemo a los apes, se puede arma un stampede to
Casemates and beyond, con lo espavilao que esta el new
generation de monos. Anyway, se sea un Happy New Year, porque
el tunneling se carga al silent night.. Ciao.