Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Annex 5, Annex 5

Letter to Ernest Montado, Principal Secretary, Government of Gibraltar, from J J Caetano, Gibraltar Community Care Limited, 5 July 2002


  The Board of Directors met last week when it expressed concern about the statement made by the Foreign Secretary to the Foreign Affairs Committee regarding pensions in Gibraltar. In the light of this the Board agreed that you should be made aware that a meeting was held last January between the Directors/Trustees of GCC and FCO officials including Ian Powell, the Assistant to the Deputy Governor. It was further agreed that I should provide you with details of what transpired at that meeting.

  The FCO team put forward a number of questions regarding the origin of GCC and details of benefits currently in payment. Mr Levy explained that "GCC was established in 1989 shortly after the dissolution of the Social Insurance Fund. This action had given rise to general concern in Gibraltar regarding the protection of senior citizens, with particular regard to household costs such as water and electricity which were very high in relation to other countries in this part of the world. Water was scarce and at the time it had to be imported on some occasions, a particularly expensive operation and the production of electricity in Gibraltar does not benefit from economies of scale. As regards funding Mr Levy explained that originally fund-raising activities from the public at large were undertaken by a number of concerned individuals in Gibraltar with the intention of setting up a charity, which in fact was GCC. A Trust was then created followed by a limited company. There followed substantial contributions from the Government of Gibraltar. In reply to a question from the team Mr Levy added that GCC was a registered charity and that it was run by the Board in accordance with the terms of the relevant Memorandum and Articles of Association without any control over its activities whatsoever being exercised by the Government of Gibraltar".

  I then outlined what benefits were paid by GCC and what criteria was applied when dealing with such benefits. I mentioned the Household Cost Allowance, the employment and duties of Community Officers, special allowances to persons over the age of 80, financial support in connection with the operation of Calpe House in London, and other minor payments made from time to time for the benefit of the disabled and the very elderly.

  The team asked to be provided with a copy of the annual accounts and the Board agreed to consider this request. Subsequently and after the team had left Gibraltar Ian Powell rang me up suggesting that we should meet and I informed him that I would need to clear with the Board whether I should agree to do so. I also informed him that the Board had agreed to make available the accounts as requested, but there was no further contact and the offer, which remains open, was not taken up by Mr Powell.

Gibraltar Community Care Limited

5 July 2002

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