The GSD and Independent MP, Marlene Hassan Nahon, yesterday clashed over the Gibraltar Government’s handling of the Brexit situation.
Mrs Hassan Nahon initiated the exchanges with a statement in which she blasted the GSD after it suggested that comments made by UK Brexit Minister David Davis regarding Gibraltar were a “slap in the face” for the Gibraltar Government.
She said she was “shocked” and “ashamed” by the GSD’s remarks and called on the party to ‘grow up’ and work together with the Government for the good of the community.
This drew immediate flak from the GSD who accused Mrs Hassan Nahon of ‘looking increasingly like the 11th member of the GSLP Government’ and constantly finding excuses for them.
“Why should Mrs Nahon Hassan be shocked and ashamed by the Opposition highlighting the Government’s current public mismanagement of the Brexit situation?” the GSD asked.
“She should be shocked and ashamed that the Government have had to be brought to task by English Minister for BREXIT, David Davis, so publicly.”
Earlier, Mrs Hassan Nahon had said that the role of the Opposition is not to ‘gloat’ at any perceived sign that the UK may not be supporting Gibraltar’s attempts for an ideal or satisfactory scenario for a post Brexit solution on the Rock, “but to pull together and help”.
Hitting back, the GSD insisted that it was not gloating but doing its democratic task.
The GSD added that it cannot “pull together and help” unless it is included in that task by the Government.
“To date that has not happened, additionally this does not include hiding errors of the Government from the electorate.”
In her statement, Mrs Hassan Nahon said that if Gibraltar is affected badly it is not solely the Government that will suffer but all of Gibraltar including the members of the GSD.
“But what we see instead is the GSD Opposition chastising the Government at any opportunity it gets, and this is simply petty and highly lamentable,” she wrote.
“Any objective onlooker analysing [Mr] Davis’s comments will note how warm his sentiments towards Gibraltar are, and that his comments are in no way intended to “rein in” Mr. Picardo as the GSD is cynically suggesting.”
“What exactly is the GSD Opposition hoping for?” Mrs Hassan Nahon asked.
“To find that the UK Government is ‘not fighting our cause’ so they can stick their political tongues out at Government and say ‘I told you so?’ How exactly would this benefit our community?”
“And do they really think any potential negative outcome would buy them more votes from the electorate?”
For its part, the GSD said that the Chief Minister “has taken every photo opportunity available to enhance his own image, whilst not always improving Gibraltar’s case; in fact on several occasions, as highlighted by the Opposition, he has caused detriment.”
It is the role of the Opposition to objectively review what Government does and to criticise when criticism is due, the GSD added.
“It is precisely in this way that an Opposition ensures that a Government will not do badly for Gibraltar: supporting adverse acts is to the detriment of Gibraltar,” it said adding that Mrs Hassan Nahon ‘gets this wrong’.
Mrs Hassan Nahon had concluded her statement by remarking: “In the years that I have followed and been involved in politics, I have never witnessed such a shameful and infantile strategy from an Opposition towards a Government especially at such a delicate crossroads in our history where we all stand to lose.”
Finally, she called on the GSD to “drop the vitriol” at this crucial juncture in Gibraltar’s political history.
“If there were to be a slap in the face from the UK government towards Gibraltar, the GSD needs to understand that it would be a slap in the face to us all.”
The GSD, however, said the Independent MP evidences her “lack of experience in politics by making the comments she has made, so her years of experience in politics are obviously few, as shown by the naivety that she is displaying.”
“The GSD understands that a slap in the face for Gibraltar from the UK Government is a slap to us all: it is for this reason that it constructively criticises the Government and tries to get Government on the right track,” the Opposition said.
“Mrs Hassan Nahon forgets to look at herself before criticising the GSD,” it added.
“She forgets that it was her, within six months of the General Election, who betrayed the GSD electorate, by resigning, without regard, also, to the distraction that her resignation would cause to the campaign, being run in Gibraltar at that time, to remain in the EU.”
“She betrayed the electorate by resigning her membership of the GSD without taking the attendant step of resigning her seat in Parliament to allow for a by-election in which she would stand as an Independent; so who does she speak for now? “
“She compounds her betrayal of those who voted for her by looking increasingly like the 11th member of the GSLP Government constantly finding excuses for them that do not bear scrutiny,” the GSD said.