Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Government condemns Montegriffo for “disgraceful" attack on HA CHIEF

GSD and GSLP/Libs clash in new health row

The Gibraltar Government says it roundly condemns GSLP/Liberals Health spokeswoman Mari Montegriffo, for “her unscrupulous personal attack” on Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA) Chief Executive, Dr David McCutcheon, in the House of Assembly during her contribution to the Budget debate.”

In a strongly worded statement Chief Minister Peter Caruana described Miss Montegriffo’s remarks as “disgraceful and scandalous” and a breach of a “long established parliamentary principle that such personal attacks are never directed at named officials personally.”

“Miss Montegriffo has shown the depth to which she and her colleagues in the Opposition are prepared to stoop in order to criticise and tarnish everything that the Government does,” said Mr Caruana.

“We have total confidence in Dr McCutcheon and Gibraltar is fortunate to have for its health service a Chief Executive of his seniority and experience. The improvements being introduced under his leadership are there for all to see.

It is regrettable that the Opposition’s political frustration at seeing our health services transformed for the good, should lead it to try political smokescreen after political smokescreen.”

A Convent Place spokesman said:

“Miss Montegriffo carefully wove her comments to give the impression that Dr McCutcheon had left his job as Chief executive of a hospital in Dublin under a cloud following a decision by the Irish Minister for Health to appoint a team of Management Consultants, Deloitte & Touche, to conduct an independent review of the Hospital Budget and Service Planning.

In fact, Dr McCutcheon did not resign from his job until six months later and that was to take up a new post in a much larger facility in Toronto, Canada to which he had been recruited.

Miss Montegriffo then went on to quote a headline in a Canadian newspaper which said “Top Health Official dismissed” without making it clear that this headline did not refer to Dr McCutcheon, but instead reinforced the insinuation of a connection by quoting that Dr McCutcheon had “quietly announced that he is leaving his job” his job in Canada.

It is disgraceful and scandalous that the Opposition Member should set out in a House of Assembly to personally discredit a civil servant who, unlike the elected members of the House is unable to stand up and defend himself in that forum.

This breaches the well and long established Parliamentary Principle that such personal attacks are never directed at named officials personally.

It appears that not content with Miss Montegriffo’s scandalous and shameful attack on Dr McCutcheon in the House of Assembly, the GSLP has now embarked on a smear campaign on Dr McCutcheon by its now well known and often used false and malicious rumour spreading machine.

It has been reported to the Government that during the public demonstration in support of the MOD workers on Wednesday 29th June, another Opposition member, Steven Linares, was heard at Casemates spreading this malicious and false rumour that Dr McCutcheon had been dismissed from his last two jobs.”

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