The Government notes that Together Gibraltar continues to make wild and baseless accusations against the Chief Minister and the Government, generally based on rumour and innuendo.
LATERAL FLOW TESTS: HASSAN NAHON AGAINST FREE TESTING?
In fact, neither the Chief Minister nor any other member of the Government has lied to the public about the Lateral Flow Tests procured by the Government during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. In making her aggressive and unfounded criticism of dishonesty against the Government, Ms Hassan Nahon conveniently forgets that it was impossible to get those tests anywhere at the height of the pandemic. Ms Hassan Nahon’s campaign seems, in effect, to be for people to have to pay for LFTs to be done privately instead of these continuing to be available free as they are now. For now, the only thing that Ms Hassan Nahon’s campaign seems to have achieved is an investigation in Spain against the party that has diligently supplied Gibraltar during this difficult period, as reported in the regional press.
PROPER PROCUREMENT OF CONTRACTS UNDER GSLP/LIBERAL GOVERNMENT
Additionally, Ms Hassan Nahon is completely wrong, as usual, to say that the Chief Minister was going to grant a contract to 36 North or to Bland Limited and that this reflects opaque practices in respect of contracts.
What the Chief Minister was in fact ASKED to do by Bland Limited was to agree that the work that Bland had been doing as a result of the extraordinary frontier queues caused by former Spanish Foreign Minister, Snr Margallo, should be assigned to 36 North as a result of an initial agreement between them. The work in question could not be more transparent. It is, amongst other things, the provision of the cameras that the public have had access to since the days of Snr Margallo to see the frontier queue. At the time the work was done and Bland undertook it, the Government explained that we were setting up the cameras and the reasons for it. It was also publicly known that Bland were doing that work for the Government, rendering Ms Hassan Nahon’s allegations of anything opaque entirely nonsensical and unsustainable.
In the circumstances, Ms Hassan Nahon is wrong in every aspect of what she said about the grant of Government contracts. All Government contracts are now, under the GSLP/Liberals, granted under the tender or three quote system, with exceptions being carefully prescribed, in keeping with our law and the guidance notes issued by the Chief Secretary and the procurement offices of the Government. These guidance notes have been provided in Parliament in Ms Hassan Nahon’s presence, but she appears to have forgotten this or not have realised.
Ms Hassan Nahon may also forget that the use of the tender system (which is now largely managed via a digital platform) is a change introduced by the current GSLP/Liberal Government in order to cure the position under the GSD, the party whose votes saw her originally elected to Parliament, which granted contracts even totaling OVER ONE BILLION POUNDS without going to tender and in breach of EU and Gibraltar law. That is the track record Ms Hassan Nahon has previously defended and conveniently tries to forget and which further undermines any credibility she may pretend to have as a politician.
The Government will continue to act in the best interest of Gibraltar and the Gibraltarian taxpayer with honesty, integrity and diligence, as our track record objectively shows, despite the many baseless accusations it repeatedly faces from Ms Hassan Nahon.