In the latest exchange in the row over the Gibraltar Government’s £300m deal on public estates, No.6 Convent Place has accused GSD MP Roy Clinton of “scare tactics” and a lack of credibility in his analysis of accounts.
The government said the “equity investment” – the GSD calls it a “mortgage” – had been secured on fixed terms at a time of historically low rates, adding that the wisdom of the move had been underscored when the Bank of England raised interest rates last week.
No.6 also batted away criticism that the government had been opaque in providing details of how it would spend the money.
It said the Chief Minister has stated publicly that the government will make statements in respect of the use of the £300m secured by Gibraltar Capital Assets, the government company that handled the deal.
One investment in Gibraltar International Bank has already been announced and, according to the government, is performing “very well”.
“Mr Picardo has already said that further such statements will be made when the Government is ready to announce relevant use of funds as projects or investments come to fruition,” No.6 said in a statement.
“Mr Clinton will not determine when the announcements are made, however much he might want to.”
The government added that Mr Clinton, in his criticism of the deal, had not mentioned that the company’s profit in its first year was £2.6m.
It added that it was not able to provide details of the private placement notice because this was confidential and, if published, would be a breach of contractual terms.
By way of example, it said the GSD in office had withheld documents for the hospital transaction for the same reason.
“Mr Clinton has been told this in Parliament and is therefore just playing more games with the public by making this suggestion, knowing it puts the government in default of its obligations if it agrees to his request,” the government said.
The government referred too to an interview on GBC in which Mr Clinton, pressed by broadcaster Jonathan Scott, had conceded that the GCA transaction was good value for money and that he would have done it himself, adding that the GSD had done similar deals in office.
That, the government said, was “…a mortal wound to the substance of any criticisms he is purporting to make.”
The government also added that unlike the GSD, it was publishing the accounts of government-owned companies and was catching up on the backlog created by the GSD’s failure to do so while in office.
“Roy is obviously still stung by the huge mistake he made interpreting the accounts of the University,” Mr Picardo said.
“He got on his high horse then and pretended there was a huge increase in the funding of the University.”
“Roy then fell flat on his face when Gilbert Licudi demonstrated his school boy error in the interpretation of the accounts of the University of Gibraltar.”
“That was an embarrassing illustration of Roy’s failure to understand even the basics of his alleged accounting expertise, when he confused capital and recurrent expenditure provisions.”
“An error which would have led him to fail his accountancy examinations, just has his myopic views are failing the people of Gibraltar today without concern as to what damage he might do to our creditworthiness or international reputation by his clumsy sabotage. Another example of the intellectual decline of the GSD today.”