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The government has made “loud” representations for blue card holders to enjoy the same rights as red ID card holders, although these have been unsuccessful.

This according to the Chief Minister who took the floor to answer questions in Parliament for the majority on Thursday afternoon.

Fabian Picardo also revealed that the contractor is expected to hand over the airport tunnel on August 16, with work expected to take 12 weeks to be carried out in the area thereafter. He said they were now in the final stages of rigging and testing.

Parliament has heard talks have been held for a new managing director of Gibraltar Joinery and Building Services Limited with Michael Estella who is due to retire on June 30. The government says it has pledged to put in place a new structure to ensure the continuation of GJBS after a review it commissioned found the company’s financial problems were due to the impact of Covid , exchange rate fluctuations and limited construction work.

Speaking in Parliament, the Chief Minister said all businesses are subject to assessments which can then identify a need for resets, restarts and recovery. Fabian Picardo added that there may be further senior management changes following retirements and that structural changes may be introduced to ensure that GJBS will be even stronger and brighter over the next 30 years.

Also in Parliament, the Chief Minister sought to reassure the people of Catalan Bay that the Eastside project will not have adverse consequences for them. He said there was genuine good faith on the part of the developer to ensure the best for Catalan Bay and said images on social media of what the project will look like are not necessarily accurate.

Floating pollution incidents in the harbor near Victoria Keys have been attributed to damage to silt curtains after last month’s storms with ongoing repairs. An explanation was however given of the process Eastside rubble goes through and how it is cleaned up before and after being transported to Coaling Island for Victoria Keys. So far around 121,000 tonnes of rubble have been moved at a cost of around £1,697,000 which the government paid from the Improvement and Development Fund. A new agreement will now mean that only the rubble necessary for the construction of the second phase of Hassan Centenery Terrace will be moved as the rubble will now remain at the Eastside for reclamation there. No agreement has yet been signed with the developers of Victoria Keys with further discussion and proposal needed due to changes in rubble availability.

In response to questions, the Chief Minister also revealed that there had been considerable interest in buying berths at the small craft marina, adding that the government was now considering the best way to sell them.

The news for dog owners was not good and although the commitment to build a dog park remains on the table, Environment Minister John Cortes said other areas of public spending should be prioritized.

The parliamentary session also revealed that tobacco worth more than £1,330,000 had been confiscated and destroyed over the past three years.

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