Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Picardo to quiz Government on Cammell Laird Grit

* Garcia questions midtown move

Opposition spokesman for the Environment Fabian Picardo will raise the issue of the grit mountain at Cammell Laird shipyard during the meeting of the House of Assembly which starts on Thursday.

Mr Picardo has asked how much of the grit has now been removed and what the cost of removal has been to date.

He has also asked Government to confirm that works on the vessel Rotterdam are in fact continuing, and if so, to explain the delay in the expected completion originally stated to be due by September this year.

Mr Picardo who is also Financial Services spokesman will also ask what "appropriate arrangements" Government is considering entering into with UK in relation to the Savings Directive, and exchange of information generally.

He also wants Government to tell the House whether the Chief Minister has now met with the Financial Services Commission (FSC) and clarified with him the issue of the FSC providing information on pending applications for banking licences and the outcome of those discussions.

Mr Picardo has also tabled a number of questions on law and order issues. He has asked Government to state how many child welfare reports have been prepared in 2003-4 and 2004-5 by Social Services for court hearings involving access to children and will also ask Government to explain delays experienced in the last three years in respect of child welfare reports in matrimonial matters before the courts.

Garcia probes Midtown

Meanwhile, Shadow Minister for Trade and Industry Dr Joseph Garcia will be asking whether there have been any departures from the announced deal between the developers of the Mid Town project and the Government.

Dr Garcia has tabled over 130 questions in total for the Government to answer. Dr Garcia will ask the Government whether they will be carrying an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in relation to the Mid Town project, and will also want to know what criteria has been established to determine whether or not the project comes within the “threshold of significance” which would require an EIA. On the same subject, he will also ask the Government what advice they have received from utilities, heritage, environmental, town planning and any other Government departments which may be relevant in respect of the Mid Town project, including any advice which might relate to the height of the proposed tower and to the dome to be erected on King’s Bastion. The Opposition spokesman for planning also wants to know who has been commissioned to conduct the aeronautical study into the Mid Town project and at what cost, and as well as the stage of production of the actual study itself. Dr Garcia will also ask how many amendments to the draft development plan have been made following the draft Environment Report by Land Use Consultants of Bristol.

On other matters, Dr Garcia will ask what has been the response of the British Government to the letter received from the Spanish Foreign Minister dated 15 June regarding the environmental implications of the East Side project. He will also seek confirmation from the Government on whether they have been involved in attracting an international company to locate an industrial park in Los Barrios.

Dr Garcia will ask how many EU directives were pending transposition into Gibraltar law according to Government records as at 30 June 2005, and how many of these were pending transposition before that date. He will also ask how many infraction proceedings are open by the European Commission against the United Kingdom for the non-transposition of directives in Gibraltar and how many such cases are currently before the European Court. He will ask Government what action they have to take in order to comply with the ruling of the European Court of Justice in relation to mutual assistance between member states in relation to the payment of VAT and other direct taxes.

The Shadow Minister for Trade will ask the Government whether the Gibraltar or British Governments have received representations from the United States of America regarding on-line gambling from Gibraltar and if so on what date and with what purpose. He has also asked Government to say how many persons are employed in the betting industry in Gibraltar giving a breakdown by company and nationality.

In his capacity as Shadow Minister for Heritage, Dr Garcia will ask whether the new Heritage Ordinance or amendments to the existing one have now been drafted and considered by Ministers. He will also ask whether Government has now taken a policy decision to request the UK to include all or part of Gibraltar as a World Heritage Site.

Dr Garcia has also tabled a number of questions on tourism matters, the Port, Government tenders and commercial affairs.


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