The Government notes and welcomes the statement issued by the GSD announcing the launch of their outreach programme at estates.
Earlier today the Minister for Housing, the Hon Steven Linares, visited Varyl Begg Estate but without any prior announcement. The Minister and his team have been working tirelessly with the tenants at Varyl Begg, as well as other Government estates across Gibraltar, to ensure tenant’s concerns are adequately addressed.
To this end, following representations from tenants raised directly with the Chief Minister and Minister for Housing during their visits to Varyl Begg estate, the Government ensured that security guards were in place at the estate during the school lunchtime break in order to deal with anti-social behaviour that was developing. Additionally, the Government is now in the process of adding CCTV to these estates to assist further in dealing with anti-social behaviour.
A full refurbishment of Varyl Begg to the standard of the refurbishments carried out in other estates is about to commence, in keeping with the commitment to deliver refurbishments of the standards that will add to the useful life of the flats. Unfortunately, the refurbishment of Varyl Begg carried out by the GSD was not to the required standard and will now have to be redone.
The Government is currently at a very advanced stage in the planning of its next major refurbishment programme to bring other estates such as Varyl Begg Estate, Knights Court, St John’s Court, Coelho House, Willis’ House, Edinburgh Estate and Chilton Court in line with the refurbishments undertaken by this GSLP/Liberal Government to the GSD’s ‘forgotten estates’ at Moorish Castle, Laguna and Glacis. The Government expects to make such an announcement in coming weeks.
The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo KC MP, said: ‘It is not surprising the GSD are announcing the launch of their estate outreach programme now, an election year. I have been visiting these estates, alongside my cabinet colleagues and senior officials every single year since I was elected and not just on an election year. I also carry out my clinics in the estates. I am therefore happy to see my parliamentary colleagues follow our lead on this and I commend this policy to them. I also hope they will now better value the investment we are making in the refurbishments of the estates, spending which they have criticised in the past.”