My responsibility within the GSD is to enhance democracy by changing the existing system with the objective of improving government. I have had a passion to achieve this for all my working life as a lawyer in Gibraltar. I have not been a lawyer exclusively, however. I have engaged in trying to achieve my passion for enhanced democracy and good government for many years from the outside.
In 1972, I advocated student grants for all in a letter to the Chronicle, which did not happen until the late 1980’s. Early in my career, in 1978, I started the “Ratepayers and Taxpayers Association” to lobby governments for their rights. More recently I appeared before the Parliamentary Commission on constitutional advancement that led to the 2006 Constitution. I pushed for improved democracy.
I did not believe the 2006 Constitution enhanced democracy,so I joined and led the “NO Campaign”, arguing that the 2006 Constitution should have allowed for more democracy. I believe that transferring more power to our Parliament and Government required more democratic safeguards. Soon afterwards in 2009, I wrote for 2 years an independent blog,“Llanito World”. This influenced policies in the 2011 General Election but has not led to meaningful reforms.
Today the GSD have given me a platform from which to push for systemic democratic changes as a frontline candidate. The GSD is a cohesive team under the indefatigable leadership of Danny Feetham, who is maligned, unfairly. The GSD is a team made up of individuals of unmatched judgment and knowledge in each of their fields.
You have a choice of visions: the GSD offer a better vision for Gibraltar. It is an inclusive party with moderate policies but without fearing radicalism, where it is needed. Its policies include democratic safeguards, fairness, openness and transparency and a return to good government. Our vision means a return to prudent public spending, no, not austerity,but, yes, cutting unnecessary expenditure and waste.
The GSD will achieve its vision through all its policies but will cement its vision through a systemic reform of administrative, governmental and democratic processes. We will establish open and transparent processes in tendering for public contracts, including those of government owned companies, and in employment direct into the public service. We will seek the enforcement of laws dealing with and introduce systems to prevent corruption and cronyism. We will foster a sense that all MPs on a cross-party basis can work together on fundamental issues, such as international affairs. We will protect against lying in Parliament. We will ensure the electorate feel a part of the democratic process by a petition system and financing challenges asserting fundamental rights and breaches of the Rule of Law. We will introduce a separation of powers and improve accountability with checks and balances, and thus counteract the perception of an all powerful Chief Minister. We will resource the Opposition. We will review the Ministerial Code and MPs’ Code of Conduct. We will publish a Civil Service Code, after consultation, to protect Civil Servants by re-establishing lines of separation between Ministers and Civil Servants.
The GSLP have failed in all these areas despite their manifesto promises. They have little interest in constructive reforms to better democracy and government beyond tinkering at the edges: more meetings of Parliament but not answering questions! They squander money to please and get the support of part of the electorate. Overspending must stop; it weakens Gibraltar’s ability to defend its interests, especially in the international arena.
The GSD is intent on reversing the GSLP’s destructive course. I have fought for improving democracy with the AACR, the GSLP and, even, the GSD, when each was in government. For me this opportunity to join frontline politics, which the GSD have given me, is but the next stage of my lifelong campaign to achieve my passion.
Vote for the GSD at the forthcoming general election: we will deliver what we say.