STATEMENT BY THE GSLP/LIBERAL OPPOSITION
PRESS RELEASE 308
21 September 2001
The Leader of the Opposition Joe Bossano is today in Seville addressing
students of the International University of Andalucia at the Monasterio de
Mr Bossano will be closing a series of talks which were opened last
Monday by Mario Soares, former President of Portugal.
The underlying theme of the seminar is the transition period in Spain as
seen by the different speakers. Mr Bossano will specifically focus on how
that transition has been seen from a Gibraltar perspective.
The Opposition Leader returns to Gibraltar this afternoon.
UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATION OF GIBRALTAR
Gibraltarians must unite as a people against the blatant threats of the British Foreign Office
19th September 2001
The time has arrived for the people of Gibraltar to unite once and for all, and forget about party political allegiances.
The People of Gibraltar have been witness to a series of very delicate diplomatic maneuvering's over the past few years.
A couple of years ago the First official document of Gibraltar that had received a blow was our driving license. The Gibraltar Driving license is a license that is fully recognised within Europe. Yet we have had the words Government of Gibraltar removed from it.
The second official document that has received a heavy blow is our Gibraltar European Identity Card. This Official document is yet another serious example of what is happening to the
Gibraltarians as a people. The I.D. Card is a European Document that had been fully accepted by the European Union, yet when the British Government wanted to enter Schengen in part (The Free Movement of People throughout Europe) our Chief Minister returned from the UK telling the people of Gibraltar that we have got a good deal from the partial entry of the UK Government into Schengen. The "Good Deal" that the people of Gibraltar received had been the removal of the words Government of Gibraltar from our European ID Cards, because that had been one of the main objections that the Spanish Government had placed on the British Government if they wanted to enter Schengen. Our Chief Minister had no say in the matter and his only defense on what had happened was to return to Gibraltar and tell the people we have received a good deal.
I have been of the belief for several years now that if the People of Gibraltar do not unite as a people and stop playing this dangerous and divisive party political game we play, we will find ourselves in a very detrimental and insecure situation.
The only official document we have left that has the words 'Government of Gibraltar' is our passport. Once those words are removed from our passport, we will in effect, and for all intents and purposes be full British Citizens. Now there must be many out there that are saying at this point that "isn't that what we have always wanted". NO NOT WITHOUT OUR LAND BEING ALSO INTEGRATED.
We are living in a very critical time in our history, and unless we unite as a people we will lose our identity as
When the time arrives (We now know thanks to Mr. Hain that it will happen within 18 months from now) we will no longer be
Gibraltarians but full British Citizens with two options.
1. You will be told that if you do not like the situation in Gibraltar you can return to the UK and the British government will allocate you a council flat.
2. You can remain in Gibraltar and live as a British Ex-Pat just like there are over 300,000 living in the Costa-del-Sol in Spain.
And that will be the end to the Gibraltar problem, and even worse the end of the Gibraltarian as a people.
What I am writing down here is known within political circles but no one has written or explained it in such a clear way, as I know I have a tendency to do.
Quite frankly I am of the believe that whatever happens to us as a people is of our own doing. If what I have explained with regards to what has happened, and what will happen occurs, then it is our own fault for not uniting as a people.
The time has arrived to eliminate this vulnerable party political system that has been created by the British Government to Divided and Conquer the Gibraltarian people, and to unite once and for all and to go forward as a people to look for a solution to the problems we the
Gibraltarians are facing in this very crucial time in our history.
Chairman UNA Gibraltar
PRESS STATEMENT BY THE LABOUR GROUP
Since some of us resigned from the GSLP executive, we have, together with other people of like mind and no previous political affiliation, continued to listen carefully to what the people from a wide spectrum of public opinion have been telling us. The recurring theme is the concern that there is a democratic deficit in Gibraltar with an all-powerful Government and unfortunately an Opposition that has made no headway despite the considerable failings of the Government since the last election. This has reinforced our belief that it is crucial for democracy that at the next general election the electorate is able to vote for an opposition party that is capable of winning that election or alternatively constituting a Government in waiting. We also believe that that alternative should have progressive labour values. We have, therefore, concluded that unless the Official Opposition offers the electorate a credible alternative, it is the duty of anyone who is of like mind to ensure that there is a credible third force in Gibraltar politics by the next election.
The events of last week, however, have in our opinion made it patently obvious that this is a time for political unity and not further fragmentation. The threats facing Gibraltar's Finance Centre from State Aid provisions have been compounded by an extremely hard line and intolerant message from Mr. Hain. In the face of these external pressures we believe that this is a time to unite to meet these challenges. This is not the time to fragment that unity with further political division at local level. We urge all Gibraltarians, whatever political party they may support, to put these differences to one side, and unite as a people. Strength comes from unity and unless we unite and show unity of purpose others will exploit the divisions within our community to their advantage. We believe that the principles outlined by the Chief Minister in his speech on National Day provide the necessary template behind which we should all unite. Those principles are not compatible with attendance at the Brussels' talks. We therefore urge people to unite behind those principles and unite behind the efforts of organisations such as the Voice of Gibraltar and the Self Determination for Gibraltar Group to ensure that our rights are respected. In order to facilitate further public statements by us on these crucial issues we have decided to call ourselves The Labour Group.
Spokesman for The Labour Group
REACTION TO MR HAIN'S STATEMENT BY THE LABOUR GROUP
Mr Hain's message amounts to nothing more than this: "either you attend the Brussels talks or face the consequences of isolation". In our view this is the 21st Century equivalent of "gun-boat diplomacy". Mr Hain has totally misunderstood the mood of the people and has equally failed to understand or deliberately chosen to distort the position of those of us who oppose the Brussels Process.
The fact is that no one in Gibraltar is concerned about labels. We are concerned about substance. That is precisely what underpins our opposition to the Brussels Process. Those of us who have opposed the Brussels Process have done so because we saw this as a process allowing the UK and Spain to negotiate a formula for the eventual transfer of sovereignty over Gibraltar to Spain. The purpose of dialogue under the Brussels Process is to achieve that objective or lesser objectives commensurate with it. Therefore so far as there are any short-term benefits for Gibraltar arising from such talks they will come at a heavy price. People here in Gibraltar are not extreme in their views. There is no political party in Gibraltar that turns its back on dialogue with Spain but it has to be tripartite in nature and without preconditions or expectations on either side.
The reason why Spain finds dialogue under any forum other than Brussels so objectionable is this. First, it takes the view (rightly) that the Brussels Process is about the decolonisation of Gibraltar through integration into the Spanish State. The Brussels Process therefore not only legitimises its claim to Gibraltar but also on a purely practical level places Spain in a position where it can demand the outcome of any talks even before it has sat down. Second, to talk to Gibraltar directly is in their eyes an acceptance of the fact that Gibraltar has its own legitimate Government representing a people with their own aspirations and with their own identity. That is why the Brussels Process (as Spain has consistently maintained) is a bilateral process between the UK and Spain.
Nor can we ignore the lessons that history teaches us. The Brussels Process has only brought major problems for Gibraltar with absolutely no benefits. The last time the Government of Gibraltar placed its trust in London over this issue we were lumbered with a potentially massive liability in Spanish Pensions and an Airport Agreement, which would have further weakened our fundamental position on sovereignty. The only positive measure associated with Brussels was the supposed lifting by Spain of maritime restrictions between itself and Gibraltar. Although the Spanish Parliament passed the necessary legislation, the measure is effectively blocked at an administrative level by Madrid.
In any dialogue without preconditions and without a predetermined outcome, there would be no need for threats. The fact that we are being told that we must move forward but without ignoring the Treaty of Utrecht really means that the UK now insists on resolving the status of Gibraltar within a Spanish context. The reaction to Mr Hain's statement from Spain is wholly consistent with this analysis. Indeed, we should not forget that whilst Spain had been contending during the 1980s that the Brussels Process entailed negotiations on sovereignty the UK Government refuted that interpretation. Mr Hain's statement makes it absolutely clear that Spain was right all along.
The time has now come for us in Gibraltar to unite. Unity is strength and the sooner we realise that the better. The next few months are sure to test our resolve as a people. Let us rise to the occasion.
The Labour Group
Gibraltar Liberal Party
P R E S S R E L E A S E
1096 - 19 September 2001
The International Officer of the Gibraltar Liberal Party Rebecca Faller leaves for Slovenia next week to participate in the annual congress of the European Liberal Democrats (ELDR) at a senior level. This is the first time that the Gibraltar Liberals participate in this forum as a full member with full voting rights. The theme of the congress will be "The future of the Union".
The five day conference takes place in the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, and will be opened by the Liberal Prime Minister of Slovenia Janez Drnovsek. In addition to this, keynote speeches will be delivered by the former German Foreign Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher and the President of the European Liberal Democrats Werner Hoyer, who is also from Germany. There will be working groups on the question of "Globalisation and the European Union", and the "Deficiencies of EU Foreign and Security Policy". Several resolutions will be debated and internal elections will also take place.
The Mayor of Ljubjana will be hosting a reception for the delgates at Ljubjana castle and the Prime Minister of Slovenia will be holding a dinner for those taking part.
The European Liberal Democrats (ELDR) are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. It comprises full and affiliate member parties from inside and outside the European Union. It started as a federation of European Liberal political parties and is now progressing towards becoming a pan-European political party. The Treaty of Nice provides a legal basis for the formation and financing of parties at a European level. The ELDR in the European Parliament, who have their own group, also participate in meetings of the Party.
Rebecca Faller said that it was very important for somebody from Gibraltar to be present at events of this kind. It provides an insight into the direction that the rest of Europe is moving, as well as giving an opportunity to make contacts and put across the Gibraltar point of view. She said that, as always, she would do her best to put Gibraltar on the European map at a time when others are trying to take us out of it.
Local Participation at London Charity Abseil
Gibraltarian, David Parody will be taking part in a sponsored charity abseil down a London building in October.
David, who is presently on secondment to the UK's FSA from the Financial Services Commission, has been in London for five months. Just weeks before he is due to return he is hoping to raise funds for the Cancer Research Campaign (www.crc.org.uk). The event consists of an abseil down a 150 ft London building, Beaufort House.
When asked why he was thinking of this he replied "Readers who know me will know that cancer is a subject that is very close to my heart. Cancer, in one form or another, is estimated to affect one in three lives and most people will know of someone who has suffered from it at some time or another. The Cancer Research Campaign is a worthy cause that does not receive Government funding. Any funding to investigate the causes and prevent the disease deserves everyone's attention."
David has never undertaken an abseil and hence why the event has an added edge. "I am not normally the adventurous type but a bit of an adrenaline rush would be a welcome change from the London commuting routine", joked David.
Gibraltarian sponsors, particularly corporate sponsors, are being sought for the event that takes place on the 21th October. Those readers and organisations wishing to make a contribution should contact Mark Dellipiani on Tel 71611 during working hours or David Parody (e-mail
email@example.com) on 0044 20 7351 1912 in the evenings.
STATEMENT BY THE GSLP/LIBERAL OPPOSITION
PRESS RELEASE 305 19 September 2001
The Opposition believes that it is an absolute scandal that Spanish diplomatic sources are now confidently predicting that Gibraltar will be Spanish in twenty five years time as a result of the new approach announced by Mr Hain. It is clear that Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain has done a huge diservice to Gibraltar because it is quite obvious that instead of getting tough with Spain and requiring them to abide by their legal obligations he has chosen in stead to convince the Gibraltarians to give in to Spain.
The way that democratic Europe should resolve all the problems that Spain has created by blocking things in the EU is not to bully and pressure the people of Gibraltar but to bully and pressure Spain to live up to the rules of the club that she joined thirteen years after we were members. It is significant to note that Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Pique welcomed what Peter Hain said as evidence that Britain is pushing Gibraltar in their direction.
It is also clear from the latest public statements made by the Spanish Foreign Minister that Madrid is envisaging a kind of power-sharing agreement for Gibraltar. Areas disputed by Spain in the EU would be shunted to a joint Anglo-Spanish Committee which would then give Spain a say as to how and when Gibraltar's membership of the European Union will be applied. This means that while use of the word "sovereignty" could be avoided, in a practical sense Madrid's control over these issues would be tantamount to shared sovereignty or power-sharing and would be a surrender of our legitimate legal rights.
This explains why the British Government say that Spain's approach opens a new window of opportunity. The only new element that the Opposition have been able to identify is that instead of wanting all of Gibraltar back in one go, lock, stock and barrell, Spain is now willing to regain control over our country stage by stage and over a period of time. The irony of all this is that while the Matutes proposals envisaged a period of fifty years, the so-called new departure offered by Mr Pique has reportedly been set at twenty-five - so much for the window of opportunity! The only window that this opens is the window to a Spanish Gibraltar.
In this context it is important to note that the Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Pique has said that Spain will never accept Gibraltar's right to self-determination nor will she drop her claim. He said that these are the parameters or the limits within which Spain is prepared to operate and that this position is final. The Opposition's view is that Gibraltar belongs to us and that it is neither Spain's to claim nor Britain's to give away. That applies to the whole of the territory from the lighthouse to the frontier fence and we do not accept that there are separate issues of sovereignty. The Opposition will never agree to make concessions to Spain in exchange for perceived economic benefit nor are we prepared to allow Spain a foot in the door in anything which should be ours by virtue of our membership of the European Union.
The Opposition maintain that the future of Gibraltar can only be decided by the people of Gibraltar in accordance with the principle of self-determination, whether Mr Pique likes it or not. What Mr Hain and the British Government should do instead of seeking to brainwash the people of Gibraltar with their meaningless propaganda is to tackle Spain in the European Courts and wherever necessary. It is Madrid that is breaking the law and not Gibraltar.
CAVALCADE COMMITTEE GIBRALTAR
Three Kings Cavalcade 2002
Three Kings Cavalcade 2002 will take place on Saturday 5th January. This is an early reminder to all members of our community that it is your cavalcade. Every year the Cavalcade Committee does its best to encourage as many groups, organisations and individuals as possible to take part. Once again we hope to be able to provide accommodation and financial support but we do need your co-operation and participation. Gibraltar cavalcade has been with us since 1957 and nobody wants to see it die but over the last few years there have been fewer and fewer taking part. It cannot continue in this way so the Cavalcade Committee would like to appeal to the people of Gibraltar to help us in anyway you can. We want large floats on trailers, we want small floats on any suitable vehicles, we want walking groups and we want individuals to take part.
This is an early reminder about Cavalcade 2002. We shall be issuing more information and details about how to take part, later in the year.
If you would like any further information please contact Cavalcade Secretary Francis Rumbo on 75020.
Specialists from Fort Rinella in Malta visit 100-Ton Gun
7th September 2001
There were only four 100-ton guns ever made. Two were destined for Malta and two were delivered to Gibraltar. After one of the guns, initially at Napier of Magdala Battery was damaged, the second gun was removed from its location at Victoria Battery (the site of the present-day Fire Station) and again re-sited at its current location at Napier of Magdala.
In Malta only one 100-ton gun remains, it is sited at Fort RinelIa and for a number of years now has been under the stewardship of the Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna - the Malta Heritage Trust. Mario Farrugia is the Trust's Executive Director and one of Fort Rinella's attractions is a re-enactment of Victorian garrison life at the 100-ton gun site. They have a heritage interpretation group, which is made up from volunteers with an interest in fortifications, historic weaponry and military history in general. Within this, they perform at all Victorian Garrison Days at Fort Rinella in full dress uniform and any other similar activities held by the group around the island. Furthermore, they "man" Fort Rinella on occasions, where they act as period uniformed guides.
During the last week, a team of specialists, led by Mario Farrugia, have been on the Rock with the specific aim of documenting and measuring all the missing parts from the Maltese 100-ton gun and related machinery for possible reproduction. As part of this study, the specialists have discovered intact mechanisms which are the only ones in existence. During the week they have been meeting with representatives of the Heritage & Planning Division, who have been helping to coordinate the group's activities and have also met with Gibraltar's own Heritage Trust and Tourism Board.
For further information, please contact Dr Darren Fa at the Gibraltar Museum.