Gibraltar’s new air terminal, or the Caruana Gin Palace as I prefer to dub it, is a monument to one man’s vanity.
Like the man himself it is all glitz and glass but inside it is empty and clearly not fit for the purpose. It is a tribute to Peter Caruana’s ego but has still yet to fully function for the purpose it was supposedly built – as Gibraltar’s new air terminal.
The fact that the then Supreme Leader should have designed and constructed a colossus to match his ego is no surprise. However what is clearly unacceptable is his belief that you the people of Gibraltar should pay for it.
If anybody was in any doubt that the former Supreme Leader acted like an Eastern Bloc despot of old it is the project that Gibraltar never needed yet which has ended up costing you, the Gibraltar tax payer, 85 million euros and counting. Here is a building fit for Ruritania and its empty corridors shall for ever be roamed by the political ghost of Peter Caruana. Be careful when you sit in one of the numerous loo cubicles, his ghost could be sitting on your knee. His rictus grin of “therapeutic” satisfaction at his poisoned legacy to his nation is enough to cure anybody’s constipation.
When the GSLP Liberal coalition came to power Caruana was quick to insist that the new government should not look back but go forward. This is of course what a government has to do: it has to govern for the now and the future and Fabian Picardo and his team have been engaged in just that.
There were those who support the new government who wanted to look back, to see blood on the carpet, but as I have stated here before the now and future comes first but justice for the sins of the past will come in due course. For Caruana and his GSD junta it is coming slowly but surely.
When the airport terminal started out the budget was put at 24 million pounds that has now spiralled to 85 million euros. Such a spread can only be put down to incompetence by the GSD government in mismanaging the creation of the building that Gibraltar never needed.
Incompetence is one thing and Caruana and the GSD are in the dock for that. However the former Supreme Leaders’ ego trip to create a Gin Palace in his own image and likeness has cost Gibraltarians many millions of pounds. My question is this: why should you pay?
I accept the government (which is really you) is saddled with the major part of the bill but the “Clerk of Works of the Casemates” then run amok with nobody to keep him in check. His vanity had to be fed at any price because he knew it was you who would pick up the tab – but why should you?
On June 6 I asked in Panorama – Should Caruana be prosecuted? It wasn’t a politically motivated question: it was a legal issue. I asked two questions: should the former Chief Minister Peter Caruana be prosecuted for breaking the 1991 Nature Protection Act? And, why didn’t the Royal Gibraltar Police enforce that law from 1997 until the present GSLP Liberal Government was elected to office last November?
This prompted an email from a Panorama reader named Paul saying: “In the case of Community Care, my understanding is that it was (and is) a charity set up for the benefit of Gibraltar pensioners. I also believe that it had many millions of pounds in the bank when the GSD came into office. What I am not clear about is how Caruana managed to gain access to those funds and then spend them all. It may be that he was a trustee; in which case he has flagrantly breached that trust...”
So looking back as Caruana begged the government not to do we find the list starts to build up and believe me it will grow longer. In the case of misspending on the airport project my argument is simply this. GSD incompetence you the taxpayer are saddled with. However where Caruana on his ego trip personally intervened to send the costs spiralling then those items should be for his own account and not yours.
Caruana misspent millions of pounds of your money on this folly? Does it matter? Every million pounds wasted on the Gin Palace is a million that cannot be spent on the health service, community care, our roads, the police, creating jobs, on housing, the young, the elderly plus all the other needs our society is crying out for. So now you tell me: does it matter?