June 10, 2021
Political decisions can be self-serving or not. With hindsight, aided by new technology that gives us the possibility to record and to retrieve material much later, one now has the ability to separate the chaff from the wheat. Was a specific decision, or even a political stance altruistic or self-serving?
Go back, look at a specific politician and attempt to discern what his or her priorities were, and dig. We commence to discern the whys and wherefores of words and deeds.
I call this political archaeology.
The New People has a potent team of contributors and researchers that will ensure that it will outlast Azopardi’s attempt to control his unruly tuft and his unethical way of trying to carve out, what is an impossible path to No 6. Our potential in the field of disabusing those abused by present aspirants and those prior to Dec 2011, is unlimited. Be assured. Our aim to help the unfortunate and make our society more just for all, transcends all politicians who are elected to serve this purpose and not vice versa.
Everything Azopardi does or says, all his manifestations, are intended to achieve his political goals, and he could not care less if the guy who has just received a three quarters of a million pounds gratuity is included as Community Officer or not. His main concern though, is not to be overtaken by Marlene and TG by attempting to make political capital as he trudges along. His every posture on every issue is intended to allay this.
Now the stamping of the passports by the Spanish authorities at the frontier is due to our government’s failure to conclude negotiations with the EU! When it comes to negative propaganda Goebbels was just an apprentice.
“Mr Azopardi says that Gibraltar is the only British place without a deal,” the Government said. “He seems not to know that none of the Overseas Territories of the United Kingdom, or indeed of the European Union, were covered by the UK-EU TCA simply because the EU refused to engage with the UK on their inclusion.”
But there is so much more that Azopardi wills to ignore in pursuance of his bid to get to No 6. But to get back to the subject matter or COA which is where Azopardi is going for the kill, he hopes.
In 1992 the GSLP Minister for Social Services the late Robert Mor said, in What is now called Parliament “In 1988, we promised to introduce a social wage for those retired males over 60 but under pensionable age. This has resulted in the creation of Gibraltar Community Care Limited which has in turn produced community officers. These officers run Community Care Limited themselves and provide about 80 hours of community work per month. This organisation ensures that the quality of life of all our other senior citizens is enhanced and this work will continue and be further developed as necessary. Mr Speaker, the message that we have for our senior citizens is that they need have no fear that the GSLP is here. As has been previously pointed out in this House…” And that was the aim then, until political expediency corrupted the pristine principles set out. It was never intended to provide windfalls or perks for greedy individuals who should be grateful that their massive pensions and gratuities are being financed by those earning much less than they have earned all their lives, much less than is earned in the private sector, the Cinderella of this equation.
But since the GSD has no political philosophy, and fewer principles to guide them, unlike the GSLP, they are known to blow hot and cold on the same subject as it suits or affects them.
In January 2011 Caruana said in Parliament “….in the past, Community Officers were only recruited from persons aged over 60, who were registered as unemployed and their inclusion was therefore on the basis that the persons concerned were unemployed, able to work and seeking employment and that they ceased to be registered with the Employment Service at the end of the thirteen week of benefit on engagement as Community Officers.”
But since Caruana’s hold on power was becoming weaker, more tenuous, he decided to turn tax less pensions, free bus rides for all and Community Care payments as part of his campaign bribes to remain in power. It failed and was kicked out nevertheless.
The principle for which Community Care was established was totally corrupted as Caruana admits in Parliament “However, the change introduced in 2009 by which persons already in full-time employment or in part-time employment could then take a second job with Community Care, if their existing earnings from employment was below £20,000, has led to a huge increase in those engaged in this capacity. This has led the Charity to argue at the tribunal that, since it has a problem in finding work for those engaged given the numbers involved, frequently they are required to do not more than one or two hours a week if at all, hence the view taken that since no work is demanded in exchange for the payment they are not really employees at all. It was primarily on this basis that the tribunal concluded it had no jurisdiction under the Employment Act.”
There we have it from the horse’s mouth. Community Care ceases to be what it was intended to be to become a vote catching gimmick for the GSD at a time when Caruana was desperate to cling on to power. Community Care lost its character and its essence to become a tool in the hands of the ruling party for the re-election of Caruana and the GSD.
Soon he was to despair of the greed and selfishness that he had unleashed and decided to do away with Community Care all together. Even people who had taken £1,000,000 gratuity cheques and most retiring doctors, some who have never lived in Gibraltar, were tapping COA but managed, by hook or by crook, to show a local address for convenience and are now planning to send their children to UK universities at our expense. Once you open Pandora’s Box the sky is the limit.
Joe Bossano, in February 2010, pointed out Caruana’s inconsistency of opening the flood gates to Community Care and providing no funds to keep it going. “A few weeks ago, the Hon Member criticised me because I had said that the Government had allowed Gibraltar Community Care to run out of money. He then revealed, for the first time, that the fact that the private charity had no money left was no accident. Not a question of benign neglect. Not an oversight but the result of a 15-year policy not to provide funds to the charity so that when the reserves, which they had built up before 1996, ran dry, as they were bound to, as the charity started using up its capital to pay beneficiaries, the Government would replace the support that the charity had been providing to our pensioners since 1989, with alternative arrangements.”
But Joe continued, “Moreover, if the plan was to put other arrangements in place, then I presume the Hon Member must have informed Community Care Trustees at some stage, especially after he announced in a previous budget that he had asked them to extend the employment of part-time Community Officers to persons aged 60 to 65 even though they already had full-time employment. A new obligation which the charity took on, which in effect was bound to increase the use of their much depleted reserves and which resulted in an increase in 80 in the number employed as part-time Community Officers in October 2008 and, as we have learnt today, a further 196….”
In January 2011 Caruana announced the following, “Mr Speaker, I have said before that the Government is committed to reforming pensions and Community Care, among other reasons, to avoid the threat of a future legal challenge for which we could no longer hold the UK responsible, and which may be a financial threat to future generations. Gibraltar is past the stage where the financial support that is given to our elderly people needs to be in the form of charity. It would be much more compatible with the dignity and respect in which we hold our elderly in the modern Gibraltar that their financial support be a matter of legal, statutory right and not charity. Accordingly, with effect from next year Community Care payments will become a statutory right and will be paid in conjunction with old age pensions. Everyone will continue to receive the same amount of money as they do now. There will be no losers. No one will lose out or receive less. But it will be a legal right and not a matter of charity.”
Yet he had increased the number of Community Officers and totally corrupted the principles of the charity. How was he going to cater for those not yet sixty-five who were still working albeit making less than £20,000 by the new reckoning and would certainly not be entitled to OAP? How was his supposedly new arrangement going to allay his proverbial ticking time bomb? Did he have a plan to separate the chaff from the wheat without, to use the phrase again, setting off the time bomb? Would this plan be foolproof?
He simply had no idea whatsoever!