The delay in bringing to Parliament the Disability Bill adopting the UN Convention was raised by Opposition member Lawrence Llamas in his budget speech.
He said the command paper was issued months before the last General Election and that it is “simply reprehensible for Government to drag its feet on this one.”
He also noted that when it is finally presented to Parliament he expected “it not to be the watered down version” and it takes on board the work done in preparing the Disability Bill between 2006 and 2011 and representations made by stakeholders with their concerns and advice.
“I truly hope Government listens and adopts the UN Convention in its full version,” he said.
On staff within the Care Agency he said that out of 95 staff 48 of them are subcontracted. He is concerned that these worker receive basic training but are entrusted with tendering to the needs of the most vulnerable members of Gibraltar’s society.
He said there is no independent regulation in this sector and that Government regulates these contracted parties, something that he finds “completely and utterly intolerable, and shocks me to the core.”
Mr Llamas said there “should be a robust body,” as with the FSC, the GRA and the Environmental Agency in their jurisdictions.
On the Primary Care Centre, he said he understands it is a work-in-progress and “no administration has ever got it 100% right.” However, the system is leading to many cases left unattended for days and weeks and that this creates a knock-on effect on the overuse of the A & E department.
On cancelled operations, he said the number “due to bed shortages is staggering” and that he hopes this will diminish with the opening of the Dementia Residential Facility.
Regarding the small boats marina, where “700 lucky owners have been gifted berths to the tune of £34k each” in exchange for which they are liable to pay service charges to a sinking fund for maintenance services. Prompts Mr Llamas to say “if this is not a clear example of the culture of entitlement which we have so often talked about, I don’t know what is.”
On animal welfare issues, he called the Government’s investment into dogs “abysmal” and said the Alameda Gardens dog park is a long way off from being finished, needs resurfacing and basic fencing and gating.
He notes that it looks like no further investment has been provided for, something that will not please dog owners in Gibraltar “especially in light of the 500% increase in dog licenses and a 250% hike in dog registrations as from November.”
Clearly, you’re better off owning a boat than a dog,” said Mr Llamas.
Mr Llamas welcomed the estimate item to include a lift to Parliament.
On a Family Centre he notes there is a delay on this and wishes to see this rectified.
He also said a Care Quality Commission is pivotal to the success of the Care Agency, Elderly Care Services, the GHA and domiciliary care. In addition, he wants stay home unpaid Carers to be recognised by Government in as many ways as possible.
Mr Llamas welcomed the estimates for Project Search, which will “enable young adults to grow within a framework, whilst at the same time supporting employers in with each individual placement.” This will create “awareness and destigmatising the employment of individuals with learning and/or physical disabilities.”
He also welcomed the awareness campaign in fostering and adoption and noted that IVF services are proving successful.
He also asked that accessibility of older people in private accommodation who are unable to access Albert Risso, Bishop Canilla and the upcoming Charles Bruzon House is looked into.
He congratulated the Government on their MS Nurse and the organ transplant program and said he is looking forward to the Oncology centre being in operation.
On Tourism, he praised the increase of air passengers, but said that Gibraltar “is crying out” for more connections to cities in mainland Europe and that he hopes this will become a priority for those involved.
On cruise ships, he urged the Government to motivate cruise liners to stay for longer.
Mr Llamas wants the drop in land frontier figures to be looked into and seeks that the ban on foreign vehicles on the Upper Rock is assessed with the tourists experience at heart and those with disabilities are exempt from the ban.
On Europa Point is another tourist hot spot, he wishes to see a simple provisional landscaping of the site and proper maintenance of the playground.
Speaking about the Port he said: “it is safe to say that approximately £1m of revenue has been lost probably due to migration of business to shores close by, meaning local businesses are also losing out in these trades.”
He called this a “worrying downward trend” and hopes for an upward trend in the future.
He welcomed the new yacht registry being prepared which will see the requirement for vessel insurance amongst other important pre-requisites, together with the Fast Launch Act amendment.
Adding further to his comments on dogs he said the increase in licenses will subsidise the DNA testing to match dog fouling to its owner, but despite the model mimicking the one on Capri, it does not have the 2000 euros fine that exists on the island. He believes, “the money from irresponsible owners should be subsidising this venture and not just the responsible owner.”
He also noted he wants to work with Government on issues of concern such as adequate management and care for feral street cats, breeding and sale of pets, welfare and neglect, and all other areas in which we are underdeveloped and need modernising.