Equality Rights group GGR - Citizenship in Democracy EQUALITY RIGHTS GGR

News and Information from Gibraltar on Equality, Human, Gay and Social Rights

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Tragic death - we call for a full public investigation

Equality Rights Group GGR has today called for a full and independent public investigation into the role of the Social Affairs Minister and Social Services regarding the untimely and tragic death of a 26 year old woman at Harbour Views yesterday.

“Barely a week after we were treated to Minister Bernard Linares' 1984-style version of Government concern for people’s rights, we are today faced with the tragic outcome of the reality that flies in the face of Government hype,” the statement says.

“Whilst we are aware of the identity of the person and of the circumstances surrounding her situation prior to her death, we refrain from mentioning those details out of respect for the family and the police investigation under way.”

“However, the few facts that have been made public may point to the involvement of Social Services, the responsibility for which rests with the Minister for Social Affairs, Yvette Del Agua and not with its staff who labour under the Minister's policies. This being the case while a police investigation to rule out untoward liability is correct and necessary, it is equally correct and necessary that the responsibilities of the Minister as head of both her Ministry and as responsible for the care of disabled and other persons in our community be objectively and independently clarified. GGR calls for a full and public investigation to clarify whether any failure of treatment for this individual has played any role in her death. Should this be the case, the decent thing is for the Minister to resign.”

“People are not mere ‘voting capital’ for the politicians. They are human beings that need to be cared for and for whom policies have to be built which invest in their well-being and quality of life. The Chief Minister and his Government must assume responsibility for any failure which may have occurred in this tragic case and do the decent thing by instituting an independent enquiry free of political influence or intervention. Following such an act of transparency – or even before it – the decent thing in any democratic State is for the Minister concerned to resign as acknowledgment of Government’s moral responsibility for the welfare of its most vulnerable citizens. Failure to do so would be read by the people of this community as flying in the face of decency and respect. When individuals in this community suffer quietly and unseen on a daily basis, politicians must pay the price for their failure to promptly and unequivocally address their needs.”
“Governments of Gibraltar whether in the present or in the future, and of whatever political colour, must learn that while they may enjoy parading in the ‘big’ headlines, it is the everyday reality of real people – who are not mere voting capital – that should dominate both their thinking and their action every day of their political term. Citizens should draw their own conclusions and not be driven by the hype and gloss that politicians are so professional at putting out before Elections instead of attending to the many in our community whom so many appear to consider an inconvenience.”