The GSD insisted yesterday that the Gibraltar Consultative Council would amount to an “elite unelected parallel government”.
As the row over the new council continued yesterday, the Opposition blasted the Government’s reply to its criticisms as “self-conscious and defensive in its insulting terms”.
The GSD insisted that its concerns centred on an issue of importance to democracy.
The Gibraltar Government, GSD said, “…defends a law creating an elite unelected parallel government that cannot be compatible with the ideals of a party that describes itself as ‘socialist’, ‘labour’ and ‘liberal’.”
“The Government defends this council, composed of people chosen by the Chief Minister, in the main made up of appointees who will be unpaid and can style themselves as “The Honourable” and “Councillor” to distinguish them from mere mortals.”
It added that comparisons with Civil Servants signing secrecy oaths are “wrong” and “badly made”.
“Civil Servants are not engaged by the Chief Minister but by independent means,” the GSD said, adding they are guided by a written code.
“Civil Servants assist in implementing policies and law; they do not devise them beyond advising on specific areas.”
“In the main, Civil Servants apply the law once passed by our elected parliament.”
All this is very different from the wide political remit of the Consultative Council whose members are obliged to sign secrecy oaths on pain of imprisonment.
The GSD further highlighted criticisms of the Consultative Council made by others in the media.
“The ‘New People’, a newspaper closely associated with the GSLP, has criticised the Consultative Council as “unnecessary” and that ad hoc advice is always available,” the GSD said.
Criticism of it has come also from Felix Alvarez, Chairman of the Equality Rights Group, in an opinion piece for the Chronicle.
Mr Alvarez wrote: “The answer then is not a Consultative Council underwritten by the perpetuation of a political aristocracy, their voices enshrined with a ‘forever right’ to be especially heard above all others by new legislation. This ill-conceived facsimile from the Privy Council Middle Ages could not be more democratically distasteful or out of sync with modern Gibraltar.”
The GSD asked: “Are they ‘infantile” and “unintelligent” also?