26th July 2021, 19:09
The budget session has come to an end with the budget passed by Government majority. The Chief Minister delivered his budget reply, saying public servants know they can thank only the Government for continuing to get paid because it will carry the appropriation bill forward.
Budget replies are not known for their brevity and today's was just under six hours. Fabian Picardo said this year's Opposition budget contribution contains more conjecture and untruths than ever before, and it's not fair that Gibraltar should have to deal with this in the most important budget since the closed frontier years.
Mr Picardo said the Opposition leader's speech had no gravitas, substance, or analysis of public finances, and all he had done was to regurgitate PDP press releases from before 2011 to now attack the Government.
The Chief Minister accused Keith Azopardi of having his fingerprints all over the worst deal in Gibraltar's history when he was health minister, namely the agreement for the new hospital, which disqualified him from now criticising any rental agreements for buildings from private landlords for Government use.
Mr Picardo said the GSD was also disqualified from accusing the Government of having preferred contractors, when they lent seven million pounds to their preferred contractor, OEM, which they then lost.
The Chief Minister continued to knock what he called the 'seven green bottles' on the Opposite side of the House.
Fabian Picardo accused Elliott Phillips of being obsessed with the Midtown Park - which he said compared favourably to the £12.5m the GSD spent on the Theatre Royal and surrounding area. He also pointed out that the Government had not sought the donation from Trusted Novus Bank to pay for the Park.
On Health, Mr Picardo attempted to rubbish Mr Phillip's claim that there was no mental health budget, and said all clinical psychologist posts are filled.
Turning to Together Gibraltar Leader Marlene Hassan Nahon, the Chief Minister said he was 'shocked and disappointed' by what he called her 'mercenary' approach. He accused her being inconsistent, ineffective and unprepared for election to high office. Nice enough, but not good enough.
Mr Picardo said Marlene Hassan Nahon had politicised Gibraltar's 94 Covid Deaths, which described as 'unforgivable. And on her assessment of public finances, Fabian Picardo accused the Together Gibraltar leader of having no understanding of complex financial issues.
He said he would not let Gibraltar down.
The Budget was passed by Government majority with the GSD Opposition voting against and Marlene Hassan Nahon absteining.