The ‘best brains in Gibraltar’ will work together for the common good under plans for a proposed Gibraltar Consultative Council. The aim is to set up a permanent forum that will work along the same lines as the UK’s Privy Council, providing non-partisan advice to the Chief Minister of the day on issues of national importance, reports the Gibraltar Chronicle.
Details of the proposal were set out in a command paper published last week and on which the government has now invited feedback before a bill is presented in Parliament. Under the proposal, the council will include the Chief Minister, the Deputy Chief Minister, the Minister for Justice and the Leader of the Opposition.
It will also include as life members all individuals who have held the post of Chief Minister and deputy Chief Minister.
Up to 10 other individuals may be appointed by the Chief Minister on an ‘ad hoc’ basis. The council would meet at least once every 12 months or as convened by the Chief Minister. Its deliberations would be ‘absolutely confidential’ and members would be required to sign the Official Secrets Act.
The council would provide information on matters of broad importance to the community, including the governance and public interest of Gibraltar, its international obligations, or any other issue impacting on public affairs, peace and order.
“This is a seminal piece of legislation,” said Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.
“I think it is important that there should be a permanent forum created which allows for the best brains in Gibraltar to work together on issues that can affect all of our community regardless of party political allegiance.”
“I believe that the UK Privy Council model is a good one for us to follow in establishing such a body.”
CM Picardo had committed himself to setting up the council during his budget speech last year and said he was keen to pass the legislation. The draft act “…makes provision for us to have the proper forum for confidential discussion between our nation’s leaders on matters where we cannot afford to quarrel and bicker,” he said.
“I sincerely believe this is the right thing to do and I hope the whole of the community will support this initiative and that the Consultative Council will become a permanent and enduring feature for the good governance of Gibraltar.