Govt 'selling off' our land
|A year ago I highlighted the discrimination against resident pensioners that was being planned as part of the Cordoba Deal.
Spanish workers withdrawn in 1969 by the frontier closure have ended up being rewarded by getting bigger pension payments, than anyone else that paid the same number of stamps.
Last month surviving relatives of such pensioners have received payment as well.
I said last year, that the right to receive equal treatment was not affected by Community Care, which was not a relevant factor.
In the election campaign the GSD told you that I, as ?the architect? of community Care, should know better.
I am the architect and I?ve been proved right.
Since last April our pensioners, quite rightly, receive increases in both, Social Insurance pensions and Community Care payments.
The December increase in Community Care, incidentally, has been paid from the reserves that Community Care has left from the ?60 million we provided in 1996.
Clearly, if the right thing now is to increase both payments, then it must be wrong not to do the same for Social Insurance pensions paid before last April.
The majority of our pensioners know this and agree.
Mr Caruana has once again expressed his gratitude to those pensioners who voted for him.
I am not surprised that he is so grateful.
Clearly if none of the discriminated pensioners had voted for him there would have been a change of government.
The result we now face is a Government who does not even acknowledge that it has made a single mistake in the last 11 years. Other Governments make mistakes.
Thus the Theatre Royal, we have now been told, was not an error of judgment but the best investment Gibraltar ever made.
The proposed airport terminal is a vision thing which requires courage.
Courage is normally needed when you do dangerous things which can go badly wrong if you make an error of judgment.
The buildings going up at public expense are not a white rabbit being produced out of a hat by a magician. In their propaganda exercise the Government fails to mention all the land and buildings they inherited in 1996 and all the land and buildings released to the people of Gibraltar by the MOD since, which they have been selling off. These inherited or gifted sources of capital are now fast running out.
One of our policy differences has been the giving of a public building for the Cervantes Institute. Let me say that I do not know anyone who has said that the Cervantes Institute is a Trojan horse. Clearly whoever says this must have even less knowledge of Greek mythology than of Spanish culture.
I am sure you are familiar with the story.
Troy was being besieged for, say, 16 years by the Greeks who cut off, movement of goods and people to the city.
The Greeks then realised that the Trojans were not going to give in and changed strategy.
They offered dialogue and friendly, neighbourly co-operation and departed leaving behind a wooden horse as a gift.
The Chief Minister of the City of Troy was overjoyed at the change of heart on the part of his nasty neighbours. He rushed out to open the doors of the city and bring in the wooden horse for which he provided a public pedestal. However, the poor man was so naive that he didn?t suspect for one moment that the horse was full of Greeks.
In our case it is different; we all know the Institute is going to be full of Spaniards. Their declared objective in bringing the Institute into our city is to win the hearts and minds of the Gibraltarians; to pave the way for a successful take-over.
We are convinced that the majority of Gibraltarians do not want to see this end result and will not change their minds. So, even though it is not a Trojan horse, I fail to see why there is a need to welcome the Institute by providing it with a building owned by the people.
Influences from outside Gibraltar can change our society over time. The frenetic luxury developments for outsiders and the get rich quick mentality is creating a new element in our population that may not think like we have traditionally done.
The ever increasing number of our young families having to live across the border exposes a new generation of Gibraltarians to influences that were not there before.
The traditional family we believe in is the one that cares about our own, not the one that passes judgment on minority views and seeks to suppress them.
We reject outright the notion that to provide all our people, irrespective of their sexual orientation, with equal treatment constitute an attempt to introduce an extraneous ?politically correct?, view.
We reject that such equal treatment is what is causing the problems faced by societies in other parts of Europe.
The love of one?s neighbours as they are and the respect for their rights, is the basis for the moral code of a modern, caring society and not the cause of its downfall.
We have more confidence than this in the solidity of the traditional family. We do not accept that such a family is put at risk by accepting that in a democratic society different people may chose to develop their relationships in different ways, which they are perfectly entitled to do.
I want to end this New Year message therefore by wishing the whole spectrum of our people, including all those of you who may not share my views, a very happy and prosperous year over the next 12 months and my support in any problems you may have.