The Government is astonished by the statement issued by Together Gibraltar, which fails to reflect the information already provided to the public and MS Hassan Nahon in the Parliament just last week.
Unfortunately, it appears Ms Hassan Nahon was either not listening or has forgotten what the Government explained in meticulous detail in answer to Question 132.
The Chief Minister, the Minister for Public Health and the Minister for Health explained clearly in Parliament just a week ago that a locum will cover the post of Director of Public Health for a month in the interim whilst the current Director is on pre end of contract leave. They also went on to explain that after, that initial one month period, a short term replacement has been appointed for 11 months. It was also further explained in detail that it will be following that one year period it is expected that a Gibraltarian will potentially be available to be appointed to the post.
To have extended Dr Bhatti would have meant that this door to the potential to make this post available to someone from Gibraltar would have been closed.
It would not have been right to deny such an opportunity to someone from Gibraltar and Together Gibraltar and MS Hassan Nahon should realise that.
That is why the Minister’s answer specifically started that there is a “medium-term” plan for replacement which was expected to see a localisation of the post.
It really is as simple as that and all of this was explained in great detail to MS Hassan Nahon in answer to her own questions.
Nevertheless, the Government is fully expecting Together Gibraltar’s inevitable next response that will no doubt accuse us of bullying and being abusive, simply because we hold Ms Hassan Nahon up to the humiliation of her own words seeking answers which she appears to have forgotten in the space of just one week.
It is no secret that Ms Hassan Nahon has been no fan of Dr Bhatti or of his approach, and now questions both the merit of his Medallion of Honour and the terms of the non-renewal of his contract.
The inconsistency of her arguments just does not add up to logical scrutiny one moment attacking Dr Bhatti, the next apparently defending him and the next refusing to support the bestowing upon him of a honour that recognises his great efforts during the pandemic.
The Minister for Public Health, Hon Professor John Cortes, said: “What is clear is that, as the Chief Minister told the Parliament last week, the non-renewal of Dr Bhatti’s contract, in line with the localisation policy that we thought has been agreed by all sides of the House, does not in any way or at all negate the excellent work that he did for Gibraltar during his tenure, under the extreme circumstances of a global pandemic.
“That is what Ms Hassan Nahon completely fails to comprehend.
“It is also abundantly clear that, almost half way through the lifetime of this Parliament, Ms Hassan Nahon has shown that she has not got the strength of conviction to stand up for anything other than what she thinks might be popular on any given day or in any given moment. As a result, she has demonstrated once again that she does not have the ability to lead Gibraltar, as she pretends should be the case a leader of a political party and it is increasingly clear that she knows it, her party knows it and the public know it.”