Thursday, January 27, 2005

Government resorts to smokescreens to hide the truth, says Bruzon

Supply care workers row

GSLP/Libs has accused the Gibraltar Government of resorting to smokescreens to hide the truth in the on-going row over the cancellation of induction courses at the Social Services Agency.

Opposition spokesman Charles Bruzon said it is “lamentable that Government should call me and the people that complained liars. The public can judge for themselves who is telling the truth.”

Mr Bruzon continued:

It must be obvious to the general public that the reaction of the Government to the issue raised by the Opposition of the starting and subsequent abandonment of induction courses for Supply Care Workers in the Social Services Agency is no more than a smokescreen to hide the truth. The issue is what has taken place in 2005 when persons aggrieved by the action of the Government approached the Opposition with their grievance and we raised the matter publicly in discharging our duty to scrutinise the policies of the Government.

It is absurd for the GSD Government to seek to justify its deficiencies, which it claims are not true anyway, by making wild unsubstantiated accusations about what allegedly took place in 1996. The previous Government in 1996 did not seek to justify any matter then by comparing it with what have happened in the Social Services in 1987. It would have been absurd to do so. What is most unfair and reprehensible, is to cast aspersions on the quality of the care provided to children by the public servants employed at the time in 1996.

What is also true is that, as the Government itself has said in the House of Assembly, the provision of resources to look after children taken into care, is demand-led, and there is much more demand now because more children are now in care than in the past, something we should all wish should not be necessary. To suggest that the children who were looked after in the home in 1996, were somehow ostracized and had any kind of stigma attached to them, is an insult to those young people affected and to this community, which has never attached any stigma to those brought up as apart of a home provided by the State. None of these issues, of course, are relevant to the original complaint, they are issues raised by the response of the Government.

The original complaint was based on first-hand information provided by affected parties and not, as the Government claims, on hearsay or rumours. The facts are that the vacancies for supply workers were advertised on 3rd November 2004. The applicants who responded were interviewed and selected and given a schedule covering five weeks when they were required to attend on a roster one home each week to learn the ropes. This induction process, which is no more or less than what has been the usual practice carried out by Social Services, was discontinued after one week and the applicants told that there were no funds to complete the exercise.

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