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21st June 2024, 20:24

Govt declines to answer questions on Rooke Home following multiple delays

Published by GBC News

The government has declined to answer questions on the Elderly Residential Home on the Rooke site, more than a year after its due completion date.

It says the building is “privately owned and will be privately operated”. It has not said who the owner is.

The works have been hit by multiple delays and have cost £38 million to date.

The Minister for Interior Development, Sir Joe Bossano, first announced the Rooke Care Home project in April 2020 saying it would provide 170 new residences which would then release Government Housing.

The original intention was to move some of the elderly out of Mount Alvernia into the new home, but in Parliament last year, Sir Joe said it was no longer the intention of the government to transfer residents or staff to the next facility.

In a first for Gibraltar, the home would be built using self-contained, prefabricated units shipped in from China which Sir Joe explained would mitigate any potential negative impact of Brexit at the border and that it would be a more cost-efficient way of constructing on the Rock, post-Brexit.

200 containers duly arrived in January 2023, with the minister having said in Parliament that he hoped it would be completed by May or June.

A joint venture company called GBIC Limited was formed between the Government and a Chinese company to construct the home, funded by Community Supplies and Services Limited (also delivering the new football stadium and other projects).

CSSL, of which Hassans Senior Partner, James Levy KC and Partner Anthony Provasoli are Directors, receives its money from the Gibraltar Savings Bank as part of Sir Joe’s National Economic Plan.

However, the Rooke Care Home is now a year behind schedule and the costs are rising.

Sir Joe told Parliament this was due to unforeseen complications

He said there were problems obtaining the supplies for the non-modular parts.

Sir Joe also revealed the construction setbacks have pushed up costs for the home, leading to cash flow problems for GBIC Limited, the company building the site. This reportedly resulted in sub-contractors not receiving payment for months.

This week, GBC asked the Government when the building is expected to be finished, but it declined to provide any answers, saying instead ‘it is privately owned and will be privately operated.’

Earlier on this year, Sir Joe said the intention was to sell the building with one customer willing to pay £50 million for it. He also said he expected it would be ready later this year.

Once the home is completed, the Government says it will take a decision on how it will access or use the facilities.