The GSD walk out this afternoon is a second gross failure by the party to respect the democratic parliamentary process.
This is the second walk out by the GSD since we formed Government.
The first walk out was when the GSD was led by Daniel Feetham in 2013.
The Chief Minister said: “As a citizen, I am really disappointed by the actions of the GSD. In a mature, parliamentary democracy, the Opposition should hear arguments from Government, put its arguments and hear the response in debate. They should then vote or not vote as they wish. Today the GSD wanted to avoid voting because they did not want to take a position. Their walk out had nothing to do with any democratic failures and everything to do with their failure to have a coherent policy on the issues that arise in respect of Community Care.
The reality is the GSD want to pretend to support the Community Care Action Group but not stick their colours to the mast voting for or against them. That is the ‘cop-out’ that the Leader of the Opposition represents.
That is the real reason he walked out and led his group out. Ms Marlene Hassan had clearly pre-agreed that she would walk out also, no doubt not to face the litany of contradictions on Community Care that she has uttered in the past year. All of this serves no purposes other than to continue the uncertainty created in respect of the independent charity.
As a mark of our respect for Parliament and for democracy, we nonetheless did not use the GSD’s absence to simply vote the motion through. Instead we replied to all the Opposition’s arguments, even though they had walked out.
We ensured that all arguments had a proper response and we ensured that the Oppostion will be able to understand why and how we disagree with them. That is a demonstration of our deep respect for our Parliamentary process and our democracy.
In the end, despite the silly bluster, the GSD let Gibraltar down today again by copping out on the debate and copping out on voting. They stepped out to be filmed by GBC and then promptly returned to have tea in the ante-Chamber, await the end of one debate and then re-enter to continue debating other matters. That shows what a cheap stunt the walk out was.
Whilst the GSD want to dupe the Community Care Action Group we want to protect the persons who make up the Community Care Action Group – even where we have to disagree with them.
As the elected Government, we believe, for reasons that are debated openly and for those that cannot be, that our motion today is important and that the GSD has once again failed Gibraltar.”