Together Gibraltar’s accusation that the Chief Minister has lied to the people of Gibraltar is as absurd as it is untrue and should be immediately retracted. The defamatory lie is the statement made by Ms Hassan Nahon and only serves to further demonstrate both her lack of understanding of the situation and her lack of political tact in seeking to pick apart and disparage a commercial agreement that has been vital to the ability of Gibraltar to battle the pandemic and save people’s lives.
As previously explained, the GHA has had an agreement with Francisco Navarro since the beginning of the pandemic when it was impossible to source LFTs from any other supplier and has continued to purchase LFTs from them at the prices quoted. When the GHA started to use LFTs in earnest, Francisco Navarro was the only supplier who could provide these tests reliably in the quantities required, within the timelines required and at the cheapest price. The GHA was, indeed, approached by many other potential suppliers who could not meet our demands or time frames potentially putting the people of Gibraltar at risk. At that time, tendering was not possible given the time constraints applicable and people should not forget the fretful situation that Gibraltar was in at the time. The Government and the GHA have always made it clear the needs of the people of Gibraltar must come first and at times override the tender process in the interest of Gibraltarians, as the very rules establishing the tender processes actually provide for.
Francisco Navarro have always been reliable in their supply of LFTs to the GHA, within the required timelines and at the best price, even in the face of global shortages and so the agreement has remained in place. Over time, as the volumes required by the GHA increased, Francisco Navarro engaged Basewell as an import agent without changing their agreement with the GHA in any way. To be clear, the engagement of Basewell by Francisco Navarro did not impact the types of LFTs supplied to the GHA or the price of these tests. The commercial agreement between Francisco Navarro and Basewell is a private matter between the two companies, the details of which the Government is not and should not, be aware of.
The Minister for Health, the Hon Samantha Sacramento, said: ‘If she had any sense of proportion and any interest in the truth and wasn’t just trying to tarnish the Government and the GHA for her own selfish, political interests, Ms Hassan Nahon should immediately retract her untrue and baseless accusations that we would lie to the people of Gibraltar. The absurdity of the matter is that I was not aware, and neither should I have been, of the use of Basewell as an import agent acting privately as an import agent for Francisco Navarro. The Government and the GHA have been entirely transparent at all times, and provided all the information available to the media when asked. Ms Hassan Nahon is spreading constant lies and reaching incongruous and baseless conclusions about an agreement that has only benefitted Gibraltar and which we need to maintain in good standing. In fact, Ms Hassan Nahon should perhaps reflect on how Gibraltar’s tourist industry, workforce resilience and healthcare provision are entirely dependent on a totally reliable supply of Lateral Flow Tests; her unwelcome interference could have very easily placed this lifeline of a supply route in jeopardy to the detriment of the whole of Gibraltar. In fact, if we had not had tests, at any price, she would be complaining that we had no reliable supply of tests. Her views are not ‘based well’ but baseless as she pretends to be an angel of truth when in fact she is simply a peddler of snake oil solutions based on malicious falsehoods! The Government is hoping that, as the pandemic hopefully wanes in coming weeks, we will be able to have a full tender process for future supplies of tests by local suppliers, as is the case for all GHA supplies.’