The Gibraltar Women’s Association has criticised Justice Minister Gilbert Licudi for his “unacceptable behaviour” in Parliament, which it said was “not becoming from a gentleman or a minister”.
“This is not a gender issue, but one of complete lack of respect for a fellow MP,” the GWA said in a statement as it called for a review on the Code of Conduct in Parliament.
It also called on the government to publish an in-house anti bullying policy with consequences for violating the code.
The GWA was reacting to an exchange in Parliament last week during which Mr Licudi, speaking with his microphone off but clearly audible, swore as he chastised independent MP Marlene Hassan Nahon for getting his facts wrong when asking a question.
The GWA said the use of profanity within the House must never be accepted and that Mrs Hassan Nahon has been disrespected for doing her job.
“Parliament is televised and listened to in homes throughout Gibraltar and threatening behaviour of any kind, shape or form must not be tolerated in local society,” the statement read.
“Ministers must remember the role that they are entrusted in, and as such be accountable for their behaviour at all times.”
The GWA added that it was “saddened” that the Government, which had an opportunity to let Mr Licudi apologise and draw a line under this matter, had “compounded” the situation by laying blame on Mrs Hassan Nahon and accusing her of a lack of professionalism.
This is an example of further bullying, the Association said.
“Furthermore an example of bullying at work is when someone repeatedly victimises, humiliates, threatens or intimidates and their actions create a risk to health and safety. Some examples of bullying are: insulting, yelling or swearing.”
The GWA also called on the Opposition to take a firm stance over the matter and expressed disappointment that, to date, this has not been forthcoming.
As an independent in the house Mrs Hassan Nahon must not be ostracised for speaking out, the GWA said, adding that independents must be encouraged for the modernisation of Gibraltar’s governance and not victimised.
The Association further encouraged the Speaker of the House to be firmer and ensure that there are consequences to this misconduct.
“An apology is the least to expect in such circumstances and blame should not be turned to Mrs Hassan Nahon in any way shape or form,” the GWA said.