AOP says ‘this is a time to stand by Govt and People’
‘There are many issues of concern that need resolution for civil society,’ Action on Poverty (AOP) has said today in a statement to the press. The organisation has been campaigning for deep reform of the social security and pensions system for a number of years now.
‘As a campaigning group that has been passionately advocating for Gibraltar’s recognition of the existence of poverty and hardship in Gibraltar’s midst, and on behalf of the necessary protection of social sectors most affected by an under-performing welfare system,’ a Spokesperson for the group today said ‘we are keenly aware of the many related issues that need to be addressed, but which are still not finding resolution to date. Housing and welfare poverty as well as underlying long-term flaws in a retirement age income system that has evolved with increasingly evident structural errors, these are just a few of the real grievances finding expression on the streets today. And, because of the multi-faceted elements that cut across a number of social sectors on these concerns, we have reiterated throughout the years that solutions are unlikely to be reached in other than a wide holistic setting engaging broad stakeholder swathes.
‘And, as Action on Poverty, we continue to urge government to seriously think long-term and find deep solutions before the economic wave begins to really hurt the social fibre of this society. The early response from civil society voices to the perception of no progress on these questions is wholly understandable, and wisdom requires they be listened to now, not later.
‘All this said, AOP continues to look at Gibraltar with an eye of responsibility not only to the present, but to the middle and long-term. Not only is this a time of unity for today, but indeed a time of unity for our very future that requires we give the best of all of us as we participate in its construction.
‘And this will necessitate a foundation of two elements: on the one hand, the unity and engagement of Government with the people and their very real worries and concerns, and, on the other, that of the people with their government in facing a potential for Gibraltar that could lay down the foundations for overcoming entrenched impediments and distrust in order to build a more secure future for a Gibraltar reciprocally engaged with our important neighbours as a small but modern self-determining people in charge of our own choices.
‘The negotiations over the EU ‘Schengen’ Treaty represent a milestone for this government and this country, one replete with both risk and promise. It is time to face the possibility of progress rather than to remain impeded by the past.
‘AOP recognises the important work that has been done by both the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister in navigating these choppy and difficult waters. We therefore extend a hand of support to the Picardo government as it faces these challenges, fully understanding that very real waves of concern exist, and that there is a burden of reciprocity which hangs over government at this time; one which the Executive still must step up to the plate on. Because this is a time for government and people to stand close together in the practical politics of shaping a solid future for Gibraltar,’ the statement ended.