Row between two new parties

by our Political correspondent
A row has erupted between the two new parties, the NGD and the PDP, with the former describing the latter as a "GSD splinter group" and lashing out against their leader Keith Azopardi.All this is happening in the context of the budget.

New Gibraltar Democracy, led by Charles Gomez, gets the ball rolling by saying that they are pleased to note that, for the first time in many years, there is a vigorous public discussion on the government?s budget and the economy.

"For too long the debate on the economy has been hijacked by the government?s abuse of its propaganda machine and the official opposition?s sometimes less than sincere point scoring tactics," they say.

As a result, the true real state of our economy and our city?s future prospects have been clouded.

On this occasion, a number of bodies have made valuable contributions to the debate. NGD has highlighted the government?s over reliance on the sale of land assets which can never be replaced, thus mortgaging our future to the GSD?s short term propaganda agenda.

The evident lack of general forward planning has been picked up by several bodies as well as NGD.

They go on to say thatit is important that this renewed emphasis on bringing the government to account and not relying on the PR efforts of the main parties, should be conducted in a politically honest manner.

After saying this, the NGD adds that"it is disingenuous for the GSD splinter group led by Mr. Azopardi to imply that until he left the GSD, the government had ?the necessary social agenda? which it has since dispensed with. The fact is that during the time that Mr. Azopardi occupied the influential position of deputy chief minister and minister for trade and industry, the government had no housing policy and neglected the services required by the more needy sectors of our society. Prior to that, when he was minister for health he was happy to make up for the deficiencies in the health service by relying on the services provided to the GHA by Spanish hospitals."

Mr Gomez has another swipe at Mr Azopardi: Given that during those periods the chief minister was pre-occupied with fending off the Anglo Spanish joint sovereignty proposals, it should be plain to all clear-thinking citizens that substantial blame for the government?s failure to address local issues falls fairly and squarely on Mr. Azopardi himself. It is therefore laughable that he should now adopt a position of accusing the government of mistakes that he was partly responsible for. The people of Gibraltar expect much more credit and respect.

It is clear that there is no love lost between the two party leaders, with Mr Gomez taking the lead in attacking Mr Azopardi. With the newcomers seeing themselves poised to attract votes from elsewhere, it could be that one wants to shout the other down in the hope of not losing votes in an election.