Thursday, 1 July 2010

The Budget - Is it as Good as it Looks?

I preface this blog by admitting that they are my initial reactions and preliminary views (although they may remain the same after further consideration). Also, I base it entirely on the summary published by the Chronic this afternoon, so I trust it does not contain inaccuracies.  My professional duties did not allow me to attend Parliament or hear the budget speech live.  If truth be told, just as well, because now I know that I  need to work and earn more in order to pay increased social security contributions, higher commercial rates and increased commercial salt water rates. These are all regressive taxes.  They need to be paid irrespective of whether a business makes a profit or not.
Regressive taxes are a disincentive to commercial investment and a disincentive to employment. Will the GSD be able to boast that employment numbers are only down by 59 jobs next year?  We will need to see what the effect of these regressive taxes will be on businesses in a recessionary climate.  We are told that it has affected us little but will it be the same looking forward?  The increasing value of the pound sterling and the lack of liquidity in the pockets of Spanish and persons of other nationalities must at some stage affect the retail trade in Gibraltar, at least.  The combiend effect of fewer Spanish buyers and more Gibraltarians visiting Spain to make their purchases, as Spain becomes more competitive due to the improving foreign exchange rate, could be a double hit.

I fail to understand why in a budget speech the Chief Minister lists all the capital projects.  Their relevance, save by reference to their cost, is difficult to see or understand, save for the purpose of electioneering. It would be churlish, however,  not to recognise that the list is impressive, although many items are repeats of last years projects (and possibly the year before that and before that and before that ... you get the picture I am sure).  It would also be short sighted not to realise that many of these project, when completed, will result in added government expenditure once they are completed.  Will the GSD be able to keep overall recurrent expenditure increases at 6.3%?   It is noticeable that GDP has grown by 5.5%, so recurrent expenditure has increased at a faster rate, the difference being 0.8%.   Increasing expenditure with falling GDP, if my assessment in the previous paragraph is correct, is not a good omen for the future, as the differential will increase adversely.

On personal taxation ... well the reductions must be commended.  The GSD is keeping its manifesto commitment.  From a working man's point of view part of what is given is taken away by increased employee social security contributions for those earning in excess of £12,000 per year and increased electricity and water tariffs, both essential and unavoidable expenses and so another form of regressive indirect tax.  The other point is that these measure only helps the employed or self-employed.

I see very little giving effect to any social policies,  the building of a new government rental estate is about all there is.   Is something missing from the Chronic summary?  Are there any increases for the unemployed? Or will these be announced as part of the expenditure estimates?  That would be odd because a reduction in tax is a benefit for some and increased unemployment benefits or social security payments is a benefit for those who do not earn due to unemployment, so cannot benefit from the tax cuts. Additionally, if increases in student grants are announced, why shouldn't increases in unemployment benefits and social security payments have been announced also?

The 10% corporate tax rate is also to be commended as another manifesto promise kept by the GSD.  It is an essential element in ensuring the success of the finance centre and so its ability to employ our increasingly educated, trained and sophisticated youth. If this is not done and made a success of, then GDP will also be adversely affected.

I do not agree with the belief that this reduction in corporate tax will lead, necessarily, to a reduced tax take, as suggested.  Company tax for local shareholders is an advanced payment of tax.  It is subsequently credited against their personal tax liability, so the tax receipts from such companies will only be reduced by the amount of profits reinvested in the business of the company, whic will consequently not be distributed or deemed to be distributed. Some larger tax payers that are not locally owned will benefit from the reduction to 10% but that loss of tax could likely be replaced or exceeded by tax collected from locally based exempt companies that will now start paying 10% tax.  We will need to see but if I am right, the justification for the increases in business outgoings will prove not to be right and the Government revenues will be swelled by the increases revenue from this source.

The jury is out on the proposed new locally owned and managed retail bank that the Government  has said it will try to promote.  I am not sure that any government should be involving itself in this type of venture, especially if it is intended to provide more resilience in local mortgage and business lending.  In today's climate of increased capital requirements it proves difficult to produce a profit out of that type of banking, especially if any direct government involvement, and consequently political factors influencing lending policy, is envisaged. 

The same applies to the proposal that Government will fund Phase 1 of the Midtown office development. Is this the type of project that any government should be involved in?  What is the risk?  What is the potential return/benefit?

Well there we are; this is a quick and short analysis by me ... what are your views now?


  1. RV....Would I be right in assuming that 'increased commercial salt water rates' will put up the price of flushing the 'bog' during working hours?

    Is this therefore a crafty ploy to increase productivity and efficiency by encouraging employers to discourage staff from doing what comes naturally???

    PC already chose the supplier of the wiping stuff some years ago....Is he now trying to control when it can be used!!!....Max

  2. As a local I can only say that that budget measures in relation to tax cuts in personal allowances combined with the increases in elec, water, rates & telephone mostly favours those residing across the border.....but of course we have to continue subsidizing the loss of paye revenue resulting from the introducton of the GIB tax system mainly established for our neighbours and foreign workers.

    And what about the introduction of the 10% corporation tax? Totally academic as our Commissioner will make us locals declare dividends 'at his discretion' on undistributed profits and then taxing us on our personal what's so great about this reduction in corporation tax to us locals?

    Now the GSD will become the majority shareholder of the Mid Town Project. This project should already have been started by the allocated developer and on its way to completion. Why has this developer not even started? Don't we deserve more serious developers? No penalty clauses in contracts?
    We need inward investment and stop helping the boys get richer!!

    This budget is crippling on local businesses and I am sure this will be the talk about town for quite some time.

    Time for change?


  3. I was wondering how long it would take before PC or JH would come to the Mid Town developer's rescue.
    Not all businesses are that lucky; as PC said to Gerald Teuma GBC 'some businesses that are not economically viable will not survive'.

    I suppose it depends who they are.

  4. This Midtownn rescue...Any views
    Not much of a surprise here eh?
    Wonder why this has been rescued from oblivion..Hmmm
    Chroniclae extract:


    In an unusual move the Government is also considering stepping into the Mid-Town project – as a shareholder in the first phase – to stimulate the production of office space whilst making the public share in profits generated.

    “We are not willing to lend taxpayers’ money to developers to allow them to make a profit. So, the Government is negotiating with the developers of the Mid Town Project to become a majority shareholder in the development of the first phase, thus ensuring that taxpayers get their fair share of development profits,” he said.

  5. Whose the developer for the Mid Town project???? Anyone known??

  6. Sick to the Teeth2 July 2010 at 16:56

    It is disgusting the the Govt should now be coming to the rescue of the MidTown project. What a poor excuse. Suddenly they see the light. MidTown should be scrapped completely and the whole area converted into a park and gardens for the use of us all. Enough is Enough! We wll know who the developer is...when will this is sickening!!!

  7. Braveheart's assesment of the budget is spot on but analyses just the tip of the iceberg. The budget verges on suicidal, as though the man wished the party out of office! To say that it cripples the small business fraternity is putting it lightly. We are now going to pay more on rates ,plus reduction on prompt payment discounts, higher utility bills etc. etc., costs which as RVLW rightly says are there irrespective whether you can increase your revenue stream or not.

    But does PC tackle making the government machinery more efficient? Noooooo! Perhaps if this was streamlined he would waste less of tax payer's money and therefore not have to increase collection elsewhere. I am by no means tarnishing everybody with the same brush but come on we all now how much money is wasted day in day out in many government departments.

    And now government becomes a developer in order to ensure that the needs of office space are met for the future. Perhaps his decision to convert prime office space into our state of the art £50 million hospital was flawed? He only talks about the benefits the taxpayer will receive from these developments but says nothing about the commercial risks, and therefore potential loss of money involved.Should we not be asking ourselves why the current developers are not prepared to sign on the dotted line and risk what the banks are asking off them?
    Does PC honestly think that people will not see beyond his nonsensical justifications.?

    Roll on the next election, the man deserves some good old fashioned humiliation!

  8. Llanita from Gibraltar says...

    Does PC pay Dominic Searle's salary?

    Reading his take on the budget, one could be forgiven for thinking his article was printed in the 7 Days instead of the Free-of-bias Chronic!

    At least Mr King, seems to be empowering his interviewers to challenge their interviewees. Hats off to Susan Clifton for an admirable attempt to interview PC, who had clearly agreed to appear on Caruanawatch to issue a proclamation instead of participating in a question and answer session.

    The Clifton Ladies seem to have more gumption than all the other newsreaders put together!

    As for the budget, the rich get richer, the very poor are slightly better off and the hard working, bill-paying, average man/woman on the street foots the bill for PC's grandious ideas!

  9. mike makes a very valid point about the Public Sector.

    Our 'Jobs for life' Civil Service has always been embarassingly inefficient, though under PC's tenure it has also become a bloated Monster! Why does every parent want 'un chapu de Gobierno' for their kids? Simple...It's almost impossible to get sacked no matter how bad you are, Summer hours, lots of sick leave(even if you're not sick), early retirement and a nice big 'regalia' to boot!!

    The amount of Police Officers deemed necessary to keep 'law and order' over a small town is really quite extraordinary. The ratio of Officer to head of the population must be a World record and would suggest that Gib is the modern equivalent of the 'Wild West' though even wilder!! That said, it can still actually be hard to find one when you need assistance!!

    The already squeezed Private Sector is now expected to dig even deeper to fund all this inefficiency.

    And yes mike the 'state of the art' hospital building was perfect office space and a new hospital could have been built from scratch at a considerable saving.

    A colleague of mine recently related to me a mobile phone conversation she had overheard in the 'state of the art' hospital. A new overseas recruit said (to whoever it was on the other end) "This Hospital is a joke and on top of all that I have to pay 50% tax...I made a big mistake coming here"

    I think that just about says it all!...Max

  10. Llanita from Gibraltar - Completely agree with your post!

    It was very refreshing to see Susan Clifton Tucker ACTUALLY challenging PC and attempting to interview him on last nights caruanaWatch! Despite PC not participating in what was meant to be "an interview" his non-participation just served to expose him further - and on LIVE TV as well!

    Hopefully Susan will be allowed to continue to carry out similar interviews. Her sis, Christine, another good journalist interviewed the Chief recently, and (perhaps RV-LW won't publish this and I would understand!) the talk about town is that she is no longer allowed to interview him.

  11. From an environmental view point it was pretty lame to say the least!
    The best single news was the increase from 6% to 30% on import Duty on two strokes scooters(creates the most pollution).

    Cutting the duty on four stroke motorcycles is also welcomed but not happy its just for dealers as private imports will remain at 30%. Zero rated Import duty on solar panels welcomed, but amounts to a token gesture as there will not be many takers for Photovoltaic as one cannot currently feed back surplus energy to the grid as you can in some countries. No duty on bicycles or electric cars- big deal!

    I will be looking at the increase of 3% increase in Electricity and + 3.5% on Water as an easily achievable target to meet by way of reduction in my household consumption.

  12. Honney Bee says...

    One could be forgiven for thinking that the "give with the one hand, take away with the other, better off if you live in Spain" budget is all part of a ploy to try and get the average working family to move in to Spain.

  13. Dear Llanito World and fellow bloggers, I must congratulate our dear Chief Minister on the announcement of yet another budget session. Despite the world recession our dear leader lowers taxes while the rest of europe and most notably the UK increases taxes in order to raise revenue. The only explanation to such measures must be the prudent governance of our public finances during the years when the rest of world enjoyed prosperity.

    Is it unbelievable that despite our year ending showing yet another RECORD surplus in government finances the opposition have nothing better to do than distort the true picture by making statements that cannot be reconciled with the figures provided by our Chief Minister.

    Thank you Chief Minister keep up the good work. A loyal supporter.

  14. Anon 22.16...Your 'dear leader' probably has about a year left in the job so you should really have put your name to your post!!!!...Max

  15. Eeeeeh!
    anonymous 22.16
    You only look at the lowering of taxes but choose to ignore all the other increases across the board.
    I for one have to now absorb serious costs as a result of this supermarvelous budget.
    The rule of "cause & effect" have to be applied here and the positives cannot be taken into consideration without the all important negatives!
    You do yourself no good by referring to PC AKA San Pedro as " dear Chief Minister & leader". You should start questioning his policies and decisions and stop following him blindly. The next thing you'll be suggesting is una estatua en la catedra replacing our patron saint bernard!
    No guesses what political party you belong to miarma.................

  16. Anon 22:16

    With all due respect, "Our Chief Minister", "Thank you Chief Minister" sounds a tad obsessive and I find it quite scary to say the least!

    "A Loyal Supporter" - Loyal is good, but Loyal Supporter of a Political Party...dunno, for me when I read that line it has negative connotations. "Loyal supporter", yes, to your family, friends, but to a Political entity??? Loyal refers to "unswerving in allegiance". Lets assume the Chief Minister has done everything right and properly up until now. If he actively chose to do the contrary to what was good or correct, would you still remain a "loyal supporter"?

    Governments / Political parties, need not "loyal supporters" but a critical thinking electorate to applaud them when they do things right for the State, and to criticise them when they do things wrong!

    In my humble opinion, a "loyal Supporter" of any political party, be it in Gibraltar or in Timbuktu cannot be objective or critical and so will never criticise that which might be wrong.

    Loyalty is a positive trait, but definetely not when applied to a political entity! Politics does not need loyalty - on the contrary that can be dangerous as World History has showed us on many ocassions! Politics needs critical thinking and nothing else, so that we can all work to improve our communities!

    And NO, I am not in any way affiliated to the GSLP or PDP or GSD. In fact, I still don't know who will get my vote, but I know for certain who won't!

  17. Dear Anon 23.42...political and ecomonic objectivity reasons with the hard work endured by this Administation to bring about prosperity to all. It is thanks to the political vision of Peter Caruana that raised Gibraltar from policical and social wilderness.

    A loyal supporter.

    PS We should petition Her Majesty to confer a knighthood on Peter Caruana.

  18. anon 00:15

    Perhaps PC asked for a sainthood when he last went to visit the Holy Father...surely he's beyond a mere knighthood???

  19. Anon 00.15...Assuming you are the same Anon 22.16, can you please stop grovelling and have some dignity!! Put your name to your posts and you will surely be rewarded for such slavish loyalty!!...Max

  20. Anon 00:15

    A knighthood for Caruana! Even if he did all that you state without fault, why a knighthood, for doing his job??? Unfortunately this is the type of thinking that PC likes to see in Gibraltarians - little critique, objectivity, etc. It is really quite disturbing that you elevate him to a god-like status in your posts! No wonder PC treats Gibraltar as if he owned it!

  21. Fred says:

    LoL!!! "Our Dear Chief Minsiter"?! "Dear Leader"?!

    Have I woken up in a Rip Van Winkle-esque manner and now find myself in North Korea?!!!

    All heil Caruana-Jong-il

  22. Going back to the subject of the Budget....

    Don't think anyone has mentioned. I am far from retirement age (unfortunately lol), and know little about taxes and the likes, but speaking as someone who would notice a fair fewer pennies in his pocket, and thinking about the retired Folk;

    Pensioners don't pay taxes right?? So they don't benefit from reductions on Personal taxation / allowances or whatever the term might be. Nonetheless, they will see a number of day to day necessities increase substantially - namely water and electric bills. Surely they will be at a loss won't they! And our elders unfotunately cannot just go out there and try to secure a "part time" to make up for any shortfalls in their household budgets!

    also, RV-LW mentions something about the unemployed. The Budget doesn't. How long has it been since Financial assistence for the unemployed was reviewed. I don't know about figures, but the last I heard a few years ago, the help offered wouldn't even buy you a quarter basket down at Morrissons!

    Since we are doing so well y parece que nos sobra el dinero, and unemployment is virtually non-existant, shouldn't the Government look at improving Financial help to those who are not fortunate enough to be in employment! There are very genuine cases of people who are unemployed. It seems a number of companies, agencies and entities will leave Gibraltar as a result of a change in our Tax Status - as a result there will be job losses! Perhaps PC forgot about this group of people?? I really hope he forgot to include this in the equation. I would hate to think it is as a result of a snobbish attitude or to the "small town" thinking that if any of us were to lose our jobs we shuld turn to the family, cos being a small community "nunca nos va a faltar un plato de comida por delante"! If people have worked and have unfortunately lost their jobs as a result of cuts especially, Govt should look at assisitig these, especially considering "que nos sobra el dinero"!

  23. The Midtown development site was given away for free of charge in exchange for the developer half funding the leisure centre and the
    as-yet-to-be-seen new school and park. The site - probably the largest site that has passed from public to private hands in the last 16 years (not including the east side which isn't really land as such) wasn't put out to tender.

    You will recall that at the time the CM explained to Parliament that there was no need to put it out to tender because the developer was offering Gog "precisely what it wanted".

    When times were good, and with a site handed over free of charge, the developer could simply borrow money from the bank to fund the leisure centre (less than half the cost as it turned out).

    Now times are tough the developer can't borrow money from the banks (perhaps not because it can't but because it doesn't want to borrow at tough interest rates AND/OR put up proper security for the loan). The developer can therefore no longer continue with its obligations or development of the site.

    Ordinarily the Government would swoop in and say "thanks very much chaps but you are unable to perform your side of the bargain so we'll just have our site back". Many local businesses will be familiar with what happens to them when they are unable to perform a contract.

    But not so for these chaps, oh no. Uncle (or is it cousin or gets so confused) Peter will swoop in and save the day. Uncle Peter will pay for the first phase of your development thereby avoiding the awkward necessity of you defaulting on your contractual obligations, and by the time the first phase is done WHOOPY DOO the world will be out of global recession and the fat cats can carry on with phase two and start making money again.

    Of course the tax payer should not fret about any of this because all the Government’s forays into the development world are carefully guided by the expert advise of a highly regarded private consultant. No doubt any contract entered into by GoG for phase one of the midtown development will be watertight with the public interest solidly at its core. We don’t even need to worry about any delay in the spending of our tax payers money because the developer and the private consultant are all ready very well acquainted. Indeed they’re the same person. Oh what fun.
    Ching ching, ching ching.

    NB there was a special offer on Fair Trade bananas on at Morrisons on budget day.


    Gross public debt £446 million

    Net public debt £139.1 million

    Does that means that we have £306.9 million in cash reserves/realisable assets?

    Answer CANNOT BE.

    We have borrowed £250 million from the banks - with another 5 to 10 years of bond to go.

    We have borrowed £245 million from debenure holders - indefinite and uncertain because we could be called upon to repay.

    Is the Chief Minister saying we have cash reserves/realisable assets(to pay off this debt)of 355.9 million (leaves us with his so called "net public debt" of £139.1 million?

    We only have a recurrent surplus of £29.7 million.

    The critical question is how on earth are we going to pay off the real public real and how?

    Can the GSD government or aspiring GSLP government explain this or perhaps any of their sycophants?

  25. Congratulations LW on yet another topical and interesting blog.

    There have been signs in recent weeks that the current administration is taking note of public opinion and making efforts to claw back disgruntled voters. I therefore consider this Budget amongst the first salvos in a long election campaign that will culminate at the latest opportunity next year. The question therefore is: Is this a Budget slanted more towards political rather than financial aims and which part of our electorate benefits the most from it?

    At first glance, another reduction in personal taxation is to be applauded. Those in the public sector will continue to be insulated from the world wide economic malaise by having guaranteed pay rises over the next few years.

    Many in the already under strain private sector, however, are wondering what has possessed Government to inflict the type of burdens that they will be expected to endure as from 2011. Up-front taxation in the form of increased rates, social insurance way above the rate of inflation, electricity, water... these are unnecessary further burdens on local businesses operating in a declining economic environment with an unstable Euro exchange rate. Resentment regarding this issue is compounded by the continued inefficiency of many sectors of our public sector. To echo the sentiments of others above, there continue to be severe problems with the working cultures, practices, equipment and service offered by many in the public sector. Mr Vinent, Minister for Housing, only yesterday said as much regarding the dire need for change of the working culture within his Ministry to improve standards.

    So is anything likely to change for the better in the public sector? On the basis of this Budget, probably not. Things in public service will continue to rumble on as usual with people drawing ever increasing salaries, cocooned from the financial reality of the outside world. Therefore, will the political calculation to keep the large public sector happy by increasing salaries and reducing personal taxation contribute to keeping the present administration in office? Time will tell.

    On a slightly different note, I was less impressed with how the CM's appearance was handled on GBC. Mr Caruana wasn't really asked any searching questions, more clumsy efforts to elicit a headline ("will this be the last Budget before an election...?"). I also thought that the rushed and aggressive tone of the interview came off as bizarre.

    For once that the CM makes a welcome live appearance, GBC should have allowed sufficient time for a proper interview. Newswatch should either have been extended substantially in running length or had a specific discussion programme regarding the Budget. After all, it's not as if anyone really bothers to watch the ubiquitous non-local interest programmes that GBC churns out (the dubbed Korean documentary on sea turtles shown earlier in the week being a good example!).

  26. Braveheart says....

    Just woke up to all this talk about giving PC a knighthood!!!!

    I am sure he will defineltly receive the same medal Serruya the 'Palomo abuelo' got from the Spanish.

    Oh by the way should we not have a statue of PC in the Sun dial? In line with that of Christopher Columbus in Barcelona pointing towards America.....obviously our knighthood contender would be pointing with one arm towards Spain and with the other holding that horrible brief case containing this marvellous 2010 budget!!!

  27. Mark A, Independent Commentator3 July 2010 at 15:35

    Agree with Paco. Susan's aggressive tone when interviewing the CM live was bizarre. Maybe she was trying to get back at him for allegedly making her sister, Christine, cry after a certain interview at No. 6 some time back but she was aggressive in the wrong place i.e. cuando no venia al caso because her last question was, as the CM pointed out, unanswerable.

  28. I remember the time (not so long ago)when Caruanawatch reporters 'gushed' at the privilege of listening to the mighty one.

    If GBC is now adopting a more objective/impartial view on local politics that is to be applauded, or do they realise that PC's time is up?? ...Max

  29. Dear Bloggers

    How can you all be so narrow minded and critise Peter Caruana after all that he has done for us. How can you all be so ungrateful? Peter Caruana continues to work for all Gibraltarians including the working class and the middle classes. He has done a lot (as previously stated) to redress Gibraltar's image internationally and yet the only thing you can do is mock him. Shame on you.

    A loyal supporter

  30. Every time Caruana appears in a GBC interview all we get is a political broadcast. The only two GBC interviewers who have at least tried to get PC to answer somewhat awkward questions are the Clifton sisters, the rest just pay lip service to him.
    I suppose that is the last time Susan like her sister, will be allowed to interview PC

  31. I read in the chronic the bit in the Budget concerning the new tax compliance initiative.
    Perhaps not so little but certainly too late.
    Why does the Govt not apply the existing legislation to bring to court the directors of those big construction companies who have left millions of unpaid PAYE & social insurance payments?

    As to tax evation / avoidance by you know whos', we will see if anythng is really done to stop this, as it will affect you know whos'

  32. Fred says:

    Anon 3rd July 09:02, I liked your post. It is obvious that you are correct in your analysis of the situation in relation to the MidTown Eyesore. Perhaps we should take piles of bananas to the next meeting of Parlaiment?

    RV, regarding the budget, and in simple bullet point terms:

    What has Caruana bought himself with it? (is it 2500+ civil servants for starters),

    and, qui bono?

    PS - let's say that the MidTown Project is intended as a catalyst for businesses to come to Gib, does this mean that these are already lined up, or are we going to end up with another empty building?

    PPS - what happened to the projects that the Marrache's had lined up with that London developer?

  33. llanita from gibraltar said...

    to anon 01:22 (the loyal supporter)

    the last time I looked, Gibraltar is a DEMOCRACY, which means, just in case you've forgotten, everybody is entitled to their opinion and, every opinion is valid, even if you and the rest of your cronies agree with it or not.

    Earlier in the blog, Spartacus, made a brilliant point about how politicians should always be judged objectively every day and not followed 'loyaly' despite their performance.

    Anon, you may be one of the favoured few, and you are willing to turn a blind eye to the all the above that has been debated in depth, perhaps you are gaining from these policies, unlike the rest of us. Perhaps, even, you would prefer it the CM was venerated in the same way Franco was in the good old days but those days are over, in the same way as everybody else (unless you are in the public sector) is renumerated and kept in employment based on their performance, it is time for politicians to catch up with the real world.

    So please, stop patronising us and joining in this blog with a reprimand. We have our own minds here - live with it!

  34. The idea of a Gibraltarian retail bank is an interesting one, however, one wonders where the liquidity for the lending will come from. Most banks have acces to funding windows operated by central banks - which we haven't got. Although the Gibraltarian bank might resort to the capital markets, such an option is all but closed for the time being, and will continue so for as long as the credit crisis continues in the UK, US and Euroland. Just how will it be funded!

  35. Was'nt the idea of Govt having a retail bank Joe Bossano's?. I recall the GSLP coming up with this a long time ago.

  36. loyal supporter 01.22...

    If your 'Idol' was as perfect as you obviously believe he is we would have nothing to talk about here would we?? Instead of 'mocking' him (as you say) we would presumably,like you, be asking for him to be knighted!!!!

    To even suggest that constructive criticism is an affront to YOUR leaders 'superhuman' status is sycophancy at it's worst.

    I have never voted for your 'dear leader' and never will.I can however accept that the previous administration made some mistakes, but which Government doesn't? Your answer to that will of course be 'Sir' Peter's!

    Be a man (or woman), get off your knees and stop being such a 'loyal' crawler. Recent opinion polls suggest that PC's days are numbered and I am not surprised by that.

    Polticians are elected to serve us and not vice-versa....You need to wake up and realise that....Max

  37. First Mid town project, another blot. Do we really need all these offices? There are frequent adverts in the chronic offering offices (even in Europort). Will we end up having these offices used for Govt Departments?
    All this to get the 'special developer/ govt advisor' out of a fix.

  38. Isn't the brand spanking new Waterport Office Building still lying empty?? There have been adverts for office space within the new building in the Gibraltar Comical for months now!

  39. Dear Max

    You write quite correctly that the previous GSLP administation made some mistakes and you end that by saying which Government doesnt.

    Lets comment about the mistakes of the GSLP admininstration while in Government.

    1. Fast launches;
    2. Riots;
    3. Gibraltar on the brink of direct rule;
    4. A Gov who told Police Commissioner not to enforce the law of the day and to turn a blind eye on the tobacco trade;
    5. A Gov who encouraged unlawfulness; and
    6. A CHIEF MINISTER, Joe Bossano who told Bayside Year 6 students that he was not here to teach morality to them.

    Roll on Peter Caruana for another 30 years!

    A Loyal Supporter

  40. my question to all of you is, who do you trust more with our money (and more so in the current climate), PC or Picardo and his brigade?
    I know my answer, do you?

  41. Loyal supporter (sycophant?)...

    You trot out the same old tired and worn out arguments used by the GSD in 1996.Fast launches operated when Hassan (presumably another of your heroes) was in power but in those days it didn't matter as the FCO had him in their pocket!

    The 'Riot' (not riots) was a minor scuffle compared to those seen elsewhere on a regular basis and would never have happened had it not been provoked by those with a wider agenda.

    Direct rule....? Don't make me laugh!! That's what your 'dear leader' would have us all believe.

    Tobacco trade?? The amount of tobacco NOW smuggled into Spain is far more than in 1996. Difference is that it is now done in a 'sneaky' and dignified way!!!

    So Bossano told Bayside students that he wasn't going to teach them morality? I don't think it is any CM's brief to do that....what about their parents??

    If that's the best you can do then get ready for major disappointment...Nobody listens to that nonsense anymore, or are they conned by it!!

    The GSD are sinking fast and you had better believe it!!...Max

  42. Loyal Supporter:

    Don't you think it is time to move on?

    It all happened more than 14 years ago. The GSLP/Lib line up is changed almost entirely. The world and Gibraltar have moved on. The electorate has changed, old ones have died and new ones have reached the age to vote. Let us get back to, at least, a semblance of democracy and start looking at policies.

    Next you will be talking about the war ... the 2nd World War!

    Let me just refer you to the list of GSD Government mistakes raised by Fabian Picardo in his Budget Address 2010:

    1. £5,000,000 spent on the Theatre Royal;
    2. A housing waiting list soaring to eight times what it was in 1996;
    3. Reports of (a) water ingress at Waterport Terraces and (b) the need to replace windows and shutters at Cumberland;
    4. Loss of money by Gibraltarians on Waterport Terraces bridging loans due to delays;
    5. Loss of PAYE and social security contributions owed by a co-ownership scheme contractor and a second contractor undertaking a number of government related projects;
    6. heritage lost in the form of the Rosia Tanks;
    7. Eastside reclamation at a standstill;
    8. Clifftop House planning mistake;
    9. Slum conditions in Upper Town;
    10. Criticism of Principal Auditor of weaknesses in the control and management of certain capital projects that result in increased cost;
    11. £241,000 of public monies wasted on a futile defence of the lesbian couple and more now being incurred on the age of consent case;
    12. Hundreds of thousands lost on cases fought and lost in the Industrial Tribunal;
    13. Hundreds of thousands paid to the "7 Days" newspaper;
    14. Hundreds of thousands paid in cash and property settlement of the Rosia Cottages right to light case;

    ... and then there are all the manifesto promises that have not been kept. Will the GSD make the same promises in their next manifesto? We all know "el story de la buena pipita". At some stage the GSD will have to say ... "we promised too much to be able to deliver" but will the electorate forgive that after 16 years?

  43. Fred says:

    Loyal Supporter,

    Three points:

    1. The tobacco trade continues, albeit in a more discreet fashion. I won't mention names so that RV is not forced to censor, but I will say that these individuals often find ancillary businesses "convenient" for accountancy purposes; good connections to the Church also help.

    2. Yes, under Bossano we almost had Direct Rule from the UK. But, what you have obviously failed to notice is that Mr Caruana is mis-managing relations with the MoD and the FCO, and then trying to posture as a Gibraltarian nationalist to sell it to us - nothing to do of course with getting more lands released for "development". We may not be close to direct rule, but Mr Caruana should do Gibraltarians a favour and stop alienating the MoD.

    3. I do not take lessons in morality from politicians of any hue, so at least Mr Bossano had that right.

    PS - I hope you are not a "loyal supporter" briefed by the new propaganda supremo!

  44. Hi Loyal Supporter:

    You may also want to answer Neil Costa who in his Budget address said:

    "I need not know what happened in 1996 to know that young Gibraltarians are still waiting for affordable homes under his successive administrations, that he has wasted millions of our money on a theatre project that has never materialised, that our cemetery has fallen into an utter state of disrepair clearly not caring that ordinarily the cemetery is visited by elderly widows and widowers who require its upkeep at the very minimum for their own safety, I do not need a memory that spans beyond thirty minutes to know that under the Hon the CM’s stewardship our roads are daily in insufferable and endlessly frustrating gridlock, that there is clearly very little forward planning in traffic and other areas, that operations continue to be cancelled as a result of something as straightforward as lack of beds, that women still wait months for appointment for breast screening and then months for their results, that a new residential home for the elderly has yet not been built leading to a bottle neck of beds at the hospital for our elderly who require care but not hospitalisation leading, by their very own admission to operation being cancellations, that there are homeless people waiting for homes notwithstanding empty government flats that could be used if the necessary works were carried out, the lack of a half-way home for men and for women who are left with no place to go. You see how 30 minutes is sufficient Mr Speaker.

    And when one considers the way that this Government has conducts our affairs, it is clear that they have lost all real concern for how their policies affect Gibraltarians. If people really mattered to them, then, instead of spending money on say a VIP lounge at Gatwick or Heathrow or unnecessary trips and conferences, that money could be allocated for the speedy refurbishment of government housing so that not one single Gibraltarian is out of a home, so that not one elderly person feels a burden to society, so that young people can feel proud in being able to buy a home or live independently in government housing. How did we in Gibraltar slip so far Mr Speaker that even one person has to live in a car? How in a population of almost only thirty-thousand people with ten ministers can we not resolve homelessness.

    And do not let the Hon Members opposite think that for a second that I begrudge them their trips and VIP lounges, but before they go out to spend our money let’s invest it in getting our house in order first. Once that is sorted, then they can all fly around the world to their heart’s content.

    Fourteen years is certainly a long time to have got on with things and got them done Mr Speaker!"

  45. Dear Loyal Supporter,

    How many more times are the GSD and their supporters going to bring up the tobacco smuggling/fast launch issue? 14 years have elapsed and as RV rightly points out the GSLP have almost completely changed their line-up since those days. This argument is irrelevant and of no concern to the majority of the electorate now because we have more pressing troubles to contend with. To continue with this smear campaign is about as ridiculous as if the Labour Party in the UK would have brought up the Tory Poll Tax fiasco as a good enough reason not to vote for the Conservatives. But in the UK, parties are judged on their present-day actions and policies and it's about time our political parties be evaluated on the present too.

  46. Costa deserves a knighthood...PC deserves nothing except directions to the exit door.Which will be duly supplied by the electorate next year!!!...Max

  47. Dear Loyal Supporters & others

    Your scaremongering tactics don't work any more.
    You either argue with hard facts or shut up!

    No more empty threats please. Picardo's brigade, as Carlito likes to put it, is as good and capable to govern as PC's mob.
    Roll on the next elections and as Ozzy Osbourne says "let the madness begin!"

  48. This "loyal Supporter" smacks of either being really really young (pre-18yrs) or an adult who has suffered a lobotomy and is incapable of independent thought! I haven't read ONE original line in any of his comments - merely regurgitated Caruana lines!

    Personally I voted GSD back in 1996 and then again as econd time. I then decided NOT to vote again because in my opinion they are not performing and very important to me, I am NOT HAPPY with their style of Government.

    This time round I will agian NOT VOTE GSD. I am as yet undecided who will get my vote, but unfortunately due to our current system, I can see myself having only one choice. I say unfortunately, because ideally i would love to have greater choice merely becasue I think a democtraic systemm should be more open to allow greater choice.

    And "Loyal Supporter", if you're a guy, grow some chest hair and MAN UP MATE! You sound like a little flunky! Like many Gibraltarians, I too suffered the Dark Days of the Tobacco, launches etc. Like many families, mine was split up due to this, and to this day, the complete family hasnt yet healed and grown closer again. I was also unfortunate enough to have witnessed at first hand my school mates challenging teachers and walking out of school after causing major havoc and disruption. Nonetheless, its been 14 years sonce, and I like to think we have evolved as a society and community. We demonstrated how quickly we evolved and stood up back in 1996. We don't need to hold the GSDs hand any longer, or allow them to make us feel like infants who still need to have their hands held by the GSD!

  49. Brown Cow said...

    The tobacco launches / riots were 14 years ago. But in those 14 years the GSLP has failed to come with any sort of reasonable explanation for permitting it to take place at all.

    Saying "oh it was 14 years ago" is simply not good enough. Nor is saying "our line up has almost completely changed". That line invites the electorate to conclude that with a different line up there is no chance of a return to the tobacco smuggling days. Is that because the current GSLP/Lib candidates think that tobacco smuggling is/was wrong? If so they should say that. What is wrong with saying that?

    The fact that they don’t actually come out and say that worries me greatly. Is it because they actually think it is fine, or is it because they don’t have the balls to say it was wrong because the person that led the GSLP into that disgraceful period is still today the leader of the GSLP and will still be standing for election next time round?

    In my view whether you are GSLP, Liberal, PDP or GSD, you should have no difficulty in agreeing that tobacco smuggling was, and remains, wrong. Gibraltar laws were flouted on an hourly basis with express support by the GSLP Government of the day. Gibraltar’s ability to build an alternative to an MOD economy was undermined because we were projecting an image of general lawlessness. The difficulty of teaching our children the benefits of working hard to be successful when any moron with a boat and a couple of brain cells could make a killing tossing boxes around - these are only a few of the reasons why the tobacco era was manifestly a bad time for Gibraltar.

    So long as the GSLP/Libs fail to either i) provide a reasonable explanation for their tobacco smuggling past policy, ii) confront the issue head on and agree that it was wrong and should never be permitted to happen again, iii) COMPLETELY change the line up from that offered in 1996 (ie say bye bye Bossano) the GSD / PDP are perfectly entitled to keep on saying “remember the launches”.

    The GSLP themselves have the power to confine this issue to the history books but they have chosen not to. If the GSD want to maximise political capital they should exploit the “failure to confine to the history books line” which is CURRENT rather than "remember the launches", which is too retrospective.

    Similarly, the GSLP could take a giant leap forward in the eyes of people who are reluctant GSLP voters by saying “the tobacco smuggling was wrong we will not return to those days”. Eating humble pie is a theme that the GSLP will want to exploit against the current administration as we go into the next election. But before they can do that properly they may have to eat some themselves.

  50. Honney Bee says...

    Brown Cow... We should be looking at solutions to the many problems that we are afflicted by today and not those that were rectified back in `96 when we voted for a change in Govt.

    As you rightly say the tobbaco smuggling was wrong AND it continues to be wrong today, even though the trade still continues. It seems the height of hypocracy to me that many of the ex `winston boys` are today legit `business men` some of whom have gone on to do extremely well. And they say crime doesn`t pay... I beg to differ. No questions asked.. and the Tax man turning a blind if you want to invest your ill gotten gains.

    Tell me.. Brown Cow... is there that much difference ?

  51. Hi Brown Cow;

    I think there is a major difference between "permitting" and "not prohibiting". You also forget much of Gibraltar's history in your analysis and the effect this may have had on opinions at that time. Smuggling by sea had been a long term past time, not that I personally approve of that or any form of smuggling.

    There is no need to "return to the tobacco smuggling days". These have never gone away. They have gone underground and still continue today, more so than ever. If you doubt that have a look at import duty revenues. You seem satisfied with certian behaviour so long as it is not in your face. The hypocrisy of such a position is palpable.

    What laws were flouted? The demonstartion was precisely about that: the need to PASS laws. It was the GSLP Government who put this legislation on the statute book, albeit forced into it. The whole mess was cleared up before the GSD got in to government.

    Issues do not get consciously and positively confined into the history books: it just happens without any positive act. the fast launch episode is gone for ever. The world moves on and Gibraltar has moved on.

    If the GSD still rest their election success on this memory, may god help them. Certainly the Labour Party in England did not rely, for long on the Conservative Party government failure, on the Poll tax failure by the Conservative Government to eventually get into power. They invented New Labour and revamped the Party. Something that the GSLP/Libs have done, with one exception that remains to be done, which is the replacement of the party leader.

  52. Brown Cow said

    Honey Bee - I agree that today's issues need to be tackled and that harping on about '96 is not good policy for the GSD. That is why I suggest they deal with the current issue which is that the current GSLP/Lib alliance choose to keep "96 and all that" alive as long as they fail to deal with it definitively one way or another. I have more to say about the GSD but the post was not about them.

    Llanito-World - I do not think that my position is hypocritical. My view is that tobacco smuggling is and was wrong. I have said that in my post.

    The most important political distinction between tobacco smuggling today and under the GSLP administration, is that the GSLP expressly endorsed tobacco smuggling. Amongst other things, through their rhetoric (I happened to be present at Bayside Comprehensive when Mr Bossano endorsed it in front of students there) and by permitting laws to be broken (for example the prohibition on exporting tobacco from any other place except Waterport Wharf).

    I think the difference between “permitting” and “not prohibiting” can be semantic – and in respect of the GSLP’s approach to tobacco smuggling it was semantic. They resisted changes in the law to the extent that intervention by the United Kingdom was necessary in order to bring about changes in the letter and enforcement of the law. Those changes proved massively popular with the electorate at large, and were part of a wave which subsequently saw the GSD swept to power.

    I would distil the theme in my earlier post to these thoughts. The GSLP’s past policy in respect of rampant tobacco smuggling is a matter of public record. The majority of the electorate made their position clear on the GSLP’s past policy in the 96 election. These days the number of people engaged in rampant (ie boxes on boats) style smuggling is very small.

    Coming out publicly and saying expressly “on tobacco smuggling we got it wrong in 96 – we won’t go back there” seems to me a no brainer to me – it is certainly not a vote loser – it is a vote winner. So why not do it? The answer in my view can only be that the CURRENT GSLP either i) don’t think it was wrong or ii) don’t want to admit they got it wrong in ‘96.

    If it is the former well that is self evidently bad news for Gibraltar. If it is the latter well then do the GSLP really offer a CHANGE to the current “no-humble-pie-for-me-I-never-get-it-wrong” style politics - they claim they do – and/or is it merely a question of not having the balls to have it out with the current leader (who was also the leader back in ’96).

    As I said at the top – this post, and my original post, are about the GSLP not the GSD. I agree that the elections should be fought on current issues. But I think I present a strong case that the way that the CURRENT GSLP/Lib alliance are dealing with the GSD’s “remember ’96 and all that” approach leaves a lot to be desired. It is a crude but effective stick which they will beat the GSLP/Libs with for the next 12 months. The GSLP/Libs could deal with the stick effectively and, in my view, turn a negative into a positive.

  53. Brown Cow......

    Do you have an idea how much the government is collecting in duty from tabacco?

    This past year it will be in the region of 35million and it could be higher.

    Do you know where that money goes?
    Into the consolidated fund where most of the government monies go to.

    Do you know what this money is used for?
    I will let you into a little secret FOR EVERYTHING.
    Tabacco smuggling is wrong and benefitting from the ill gotten gains of tabacco is also wrong. And as you say endorsing it is also wrong.
    What do you think is happening today?
    Do you think that those 35 to 40 millions are from the tabacco we consume?
    Or the tabacco that is legally sold to tourist?

    Where do you live Brown Cow?
    In Disney Land?

    You post is factually incorrect. I want to believe, that you have been misinformed and that you are not maliciously fabricating evidence against the previous administration.

    I will pick a paragraph at random, for eg the following. "They resisted changes in the law to the extent that intervention by the United Kingdom was necessary"
    That is not only incorrect it is a blatant lie.
    Brown Cow do you use any of our services, walk our streets ect. ect.
    You would do well to remember that part of those ill gotten gains go towards the above mentioned.
    I could pick other paragraphs in your post but I think it is enough for now.

    LW ........ have you been cought napping, I think you should have a further look at the above letter.

  54. Brown Cow...........
    The revenue from tabacco for the government coffers last year was in the region of 35 to 40 millions.

    Do you know where this money goes?
    It goes into something called the consolidated fund, where all government monies go to.

    Do you know what this money is used for?
    I will let you into a little secret, EVERYTHING.

    You say tabacco smuggling is wrong, I agree with you entirely. I even go further, smuggling, whether tabacco, watches ect.ect. is wrong. To endorse it is wrong and to benefit from it's ill gotten gains is also wrong.

    What do you think is happening today?
    Do you think that the amount of duty collected is from tabacco we Gibraltarians consume?
    Or do you think that tourist buy enormous amounts of tabacco and take it legally across the frontier?

    Where do you think you live Brown Cow in Disney Land.

    Do you use any of our services, walk our streets ect. ect.?
    Well now you know were part of the money comes from endorsed by the government and all of us.

    Your post is full of factually incorrect statements. I will pick one at random, you say "They resisted changes in the law to the extent that intervention by the United Kingdom was necessary". That is not true, I want to believe that you are misinformed and not that you are maliciously inventing slanderous comments about the previous administration.

    LW ...........have yoiu been cought napping, the Anon post 5th July at 20.2. should be carefully read.

  55. Brown Cow said

    Spririt – thanks for posting two slightly different versions of your lecture.

    It seems that we agree that all smuggling is wrong. If Gibraltar is, in part, living off the ill gotten gains of smuggling then we are living beyond our means, and perhaps yes we are living a little in Disney Land. Our budget surplus might come in handy after all.

    Feel free to pick more “facts at random”. But before you do, perhaps you can temper your participation a little and enter the spirit of debate rather than stating that my recollection of 1996 and all that “is not only incorrect it is a blatant lie” without offering further explanation. Otherwise you’ll forgive me if I find you rather guilty of offering your opinion as incontrovertible fact (something regular posters on this blog often accuse our holier-than-thou current Chief Minister of).

    So perhaps you can explain why it was that an administration that had previously expressly endorsed tobacco smuggling turned 180 degrees overnight – introduced laws banning RIB launches, scooped them out of the water. At the time you will recall that it was such a surprising turn of events it caused what have been described as riots (but perhaps mini riots is fairer) – but still the worst public unrest in our living memory.

    My understanding is that their hand was forced. But perhaps your explanation is that the GSLP suddenly saw the light – in which case we can all look forward to their public acknowledgement that they got it wrong on tobacco smuggling in ’96 very shortly.

    PS Spirit – should I apply the content of the speeches by Messrs Picardo and Costa to your good self?

    PPS LW … caught napping? What on earth does that mean?

  56. Brown Cow,

    Just before the last election, there was a live televised question and answer session in the John Mackintosh Hall with Peter Caruana, Joe Bossano, Keith Azzopardi, Charles Gomez and Richard Martinez. The fast launch/tobacco smuggling debacle was raised once again by a member of the audince to Joe Bossano in this televised event and contrary to what you are saying Mr. Bossano admitted on air that he made a mistake on his handling of the matter. By doing so he expressed a certain humility, we can only dream of with Mr Caruana, because let's face it, when was the last time Mr. Caruana admitted he made a mistake? and he has made a few...

  57. Brown Cow.....

    The fact that I sent two nearly identical post, is because, the toddler I was holding, decided to thump on the mouse and I thought I had lost the first one, before I had corrected it. In the second I removed the words "blatant lie". If you consider that an insult, my apologies, but you have certainly not heard "our dear CM" in parliament or you would not think for one moment of refering me to the contents of the speech of Messrs Picardo and Costa.
    For your information, the law was not passed overnight. As to the ribs being scooped out the water, all at once, the decision was taken by the then Commissioner of Police, as he himself admitted in a recent TV programme, not very well thought out if I might add.

    As to the "mini riots" being the worst public unrest in living memory, you are once again wrong. The worst public unrest in living memory, are the "Palomo Riots" still remembered by our parents.

    It was not my intention to give anybody a lecture, but I doubt you or anybody else would want to debate from an incorrect premiss.

    Going to your last comment I do not believe that I have insulted you in any way, well maybe blatant lie,

  58. I am sorry but as long as Bossano remains leader of the GSLP or insists on staying on in order to prevent his successor from doing crazy things then his record in office is relevant. Also as the CM said, it's ok for members of the opposition to state what a wonderful socialist Government the GSLP was but no one can then point to the massive mistakes made. Some of you really are blind.

  59. Will anyone respond to ANON 3 July 2010 11:02?

  60. Mr Bossano:

    Comparing GDP, Gross Public Debt, Cash Reserves, Net Public Debt in 1996 and 2010
    the figures show:

    GDP has increased 2.5 times
    Gross Public Debt has increased 7.4 times
    Cash Reserves have increased 4.9 times
    Net public debt has increased 30 times

    The GSD has used up the £63 million of community care reserves and £19 million of the social insurance fund. Cash reserves have gone down by £82 million in 14 years.

    The questions for Mr. Caruana:

    How much is the GDP likely to grow in the next years and based precisely on what?

    What are the precise commercial terms on which you have borrowed the £250 million from the banks?

    What precisely have you done with the £250 million borrowed from the banks?

    Mr Caruana you can answer, ask the audience, try 50/50 and even call a friend PERO SIN INSULTOS Y GROSERIAS and using a white board and a pen!

  61. Anon 19 August 2010 01:02 read:

    and come back if you have any other questions!

  62. The more one looks at the figures the more one appreciates there's been no searching debate on the economy with many important matters not raised, explained or questioned.