Profit Versus Child Safety and Environment at New Schools
A Together Gibraltar government would place children’s safety at the top of the agenda by allocating parking spaces to teachers and school professionals instead of profiteering from school premises.
The Government has recently released the tender for parking spaces beneath the new comprehensive and St. Anne’s schools. Together Gibraltar questions the wisdom behind such a move and wonders if profit has trumped child safety.
Concerns expressed by worried parents revolve around the risk levels their children will be exposed to from potential terrorist threats, drug pushers and other individuals who might seek to prey on our youth and will have an opening to do so via the underground level parking lot.
As far back as March of this year, party leader Marlene Hassan Nahon asked questions in Parliament about the safety of the parking spots plans underneath these schools and was assured that “government is going to provide the most secure schools possible for our children.”
However, Government did not at the time, or have not to date disclosed the exact levels of security they have in mind and who will bear the cost. Judging from the tender document, it appears that the public (owners of the parking spaces) will be taxed heavily and continuously as they look set to carry this burden; this, after approximately £7million are set to go into the Government coffers for the purchasing of the spaces.
Will the Government reveal its ‘maximum security’ plan and the cost of running it so that the public can be reassured that there will be a robust structure in place to keep our children safe? And will the Government also confirm how they will police any unlawful subletting, as well as whether flipping the spots for speculators will be permitted, which would also give rise to further security concerns?
Together Gibraltar also rejects possibilities of rentals in these parkings for the same reason. We believe there is no price tag that can justify jeopardising the security of the schools and we will continue to question the logic of exposing children to the risks mentioned until we are provided with a viable security plan that works for the entirety of both schools and from every opening of their respective underground parkings.
Finally, and on a separate note, this initiative demonstrates that there is little cohesion in the government’s traffic plan which purports to discourage people from using their vehicles and instead encourage people to use public transport, walk and cycle. How does providing several hundred parking spaces for profit fit into this philosophy?