Saturday, January 29, 2005

Small Businesses lash out at over-regulation

* Bossano turns down Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses (GFSB) invite

Marilou Guerrero, chairperson of the GFSB, has hit out at the red-tape and “over-regulation” that has been introduced into Gibraltar’s banking system. She told a gathering of the business community that it was easier to open an account anywhere else.

In a brief speech to introduce the key speaker – the Chief Minister Peter Caruana - she made clear that the Federation will continue to campaign for action on the many areas where it wants Government to provide a supportive environment.

And it emerged that the Opposition Leader Joe Bossano had declined the invitation to be present at the dinner. It is understood that the Opposition had got wind of the fact that the Chief Minister was using the occasion to criticise the Opposition but the GFSB does not have the tradition that the Chamber of Commerce follows of alternating between the Chief Minister and Mr Bossano at their functions.

Meanwhile the GFSB revealed that a survey of its members shows that 66% are in favour of the controversial funicular project.

In a statement the GFSB said that its Board of Directors, whilst having their own ideas and feelings as to the proposal, felt that it was necessary to obtain the consensus of the members before confirming their position. They sent a circular to members asking for their opinions and can now confirm that based on the responses the members of the Federation are in favour of the project in the ratio of two to one. For both those in favour and those against there were many similar comments and also opposing comments.

In general terms GFSB highlighted below some of the more interesting comments:

• Tourism is the future mainstay of Gibraltar
• Competition is good for the community and business.
• Further details need to be made available to ensure that all parties have full knowledge of matters that can be considered of public importance.
• Existing facilities need to be improved and we need to create new innovative products.
• Heritage and environmental aspects must be considered by experts in the field.

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