Gibraltar-registered company in Dublin property
A dispute over Dublin Corporation's handling of an application for planning permission to carry out additional restoration works on an 18th century Georgian house in Dublin's Merrion Square - home of the late fashion designer Sybil Connolly - has come before the High Court.
In an affidavit on behalf of a Gibraltar-registered company, Illium Properties Limited, which bought the house last year, businessman Mr Dermot Desmond spoke of his life-long fascination with Georgian buildings and was critical of the Corporation's handling of Illium's application for planning permission for certain restoration works on Ms Connolly's former home at 71 Merrion Square, reports the Irish Times.
There was now a unique opportunity to restore this house. Ms Connolly had not had the resources to do so but the applicant company had made available the necessary resources and had engaged leading architects in design and restoration to carry out the works.
However, he said, the project had been dogged by difficulties in dealing with Dublin Corporation.
Mr Desmond's affidavit grounded an application by Illium for leave to take proceedings against Dublin Corporation.
Moving the application, Mr Michael O'Donnell, for the company, said all Illium wished to do was restore it to its original condition.
Mr Justice Kelly granted leave to the company to seek an order quashing the Corporation's request of September 10th for further information about the planned restoration scheme.
He further granted leave to the company to ask the court to find that a decision to grant planning permission in accordance with plans and documents already supplied to the Corporation was deemed to have been granted. The matter was returned to November 6th.
to speak in Madrid
The Leader of the Opposition Joe Bossano travels to Madrid next week to
give an address to the Forum 2000. The theme of the address will be "The
future of Gibraltar."
The format is similar to the Club Siglo 21 which has also been addressed
by Mr Bossano in the past. A lunch has been organised with an invited
audience during which the Leader of the Opposition will give his presentation. The lunch will be followed by a debate and questions.
Mr Bossano said that the opportunity would be taken to point out why the
future of Gibraltar does not lie in the relaunched Brussels process but in
following the same path towards decolonisation followed by every other
colonial territory through the principle of self-determination.
The Opposition considers that this visit by the Leader of the Opposition
to Madrid provides an ideal opportunity to counteract the propaganda being
put around by the Spanish and British Governments in order to secure
Gibraltar's participation at the coming round of talks under the Brussels
inspector faces tobacco charges
A senior police officer in
the Gibraltar Services police has been in court, charged with
stealing large quantities of tobacco.
Randall is charged with stealing 20,000 cigarettes the property of
the Services police on 9 November last year. He also faces charges
of having stolen the same quantity of cigarettes on three other
The case has been
adjourned until December, with Randall granted bail.
It has also emerged
that two other police officers have been suspended from duty
following an internal investigation. (26.10.01)
ignores ombudsman's findings
Opposition is extremely concerned at the manner in which the
Government is approaching findings of the Ombudsman which are
the complainant and which are adverse to the Government itself.
A number of individuals have complained to the Opposition
that after the Ombudsman has found in their favour or considers that
there is a case for
the Government to answer, the Government has obfuscated and avoided
dealing with the issues raised by the Ombudsman. Indeed, on some occasions,
the Government has reached agreement with the Ombudsman in relation
to the manner in which a claim should be settled only to
subsequently attempt to unilaterally revoke those agreements.
Opposition member Juan Carlos Perez intends to raise this
issue in questions at the meeting of the House of Assembly which
will take place on
5 November. This is the first opportunity that the Opposition have
had to question the Government since April this year.
Mr Perez will ask that where in a case investigated by the
Ombudsman the result has been either that a Government department or
agency found to be acting wrongly that the Government should state
what action has been taken to correct it. Mr Perez also intends to
enquire whether there are any entities or persons taking legal
action against the Government where the
Ombudsman has found in their favour and the Government has done
nothing to give effect to his findings.
The Opposition has
received a number of complaints from members of the public
indicating that there are instances where the Government has not
acted on the recommendations made by the Ombudsman. (26.10.01)
Rights campaigners clash with chief minister at London School of
campaigners have clashed with the Chief Minister Peter Caruana at
the London School of Economics - and accuse him of being economical
with the truth.
At his address on
self-determination last night, Mr Caruana said that Gibraltar has "some
of the best gay rights laws in Europe", and that Gibraltar's laws on homosexuality "conform to European
human rights law".
A Gay Rights release says: He made these surprising, untrue claims at his keynote
address on "Gibraltar's right to self-determination" at the London School of Economics.
Under questioning from a member of the audience,
Wendyl Harris of the gay human rights group OutRage!, Mr Caruana initially suggested that the Gibraltarian
age of consent for gay and heterosexual relationships was equal at "16 or 17". Then, fumbling, he admitted
he wasn't sure.
The statement says that Mr Caruana was corrected by gay human rights
campaigner Peter Tatchell, who was also in the audience. Mr Tatchell interjected to complain that
"Gibraltar has a discriminatory age of consent of 18 for gay men, compared to 16 for heterosexuals".
The Chief Minister responded by claiming that
Gibraltar was a "very tolerant place for homosexuals",even implying there was no discrimination at all.
"If you are so tolerant towards gay people, why do you refuse to meet gay rights groups in Gibraltar?", asked
Despite being asked three times, Mr Caruana declined to explain why he was unwilling to engage in dialogue
with Gibraltar Gay Rights, which has repeatedly been refused meetings with the Chief
Minister, says their press release.
Mr Caruana invited Wendyl Harris to meet him after the meeting to discuss her concerns. But when Harris
turned up to meet the Chief Minister, he was "too busy" to talk to her. Harris's way was barred by
security staff. They detained her in a corridor and
called for reinforcements to have her ejected from the LSE.
"Mr Caruana personally invited me to join him for a discussion after the meeting", said Harris. "When I
arrived I was confronted and threatened by security guards. I never
got to speak to Mr Caruana. He was clearly not interested in having a genuine dialogue.
His behaviour confirms the complaint of gay rights
groups in Gibraltar that he is unwilling to sit down
and talk with them. He made an offer to me, then broke his word".
Peter Tatchell said Mr Caruana's claim that Gibraltar has "some of the best gay rights laws in Europe" was
laughable. "Gibraltar is one of only five out of 42 European countries to retain a discriminatory age of
consent for gay men. The laws against buggery and gross indecency, which carry maximum penalties ranging
from two years to life imprisonment for consenting behaviour, are the harshest in Europe. The buggery law
dates back to the early sixteenth century and the gross indecency law is based on the same legislation
that was used to jail Oscar Wilde in 1895".
Mr Tatchell also poured scorn on Mr Caruana's
suggestion that Gibraltar's laws on homosexuality
"conform to European human rights law": "How would he know? He was not even aware of the gay age of consent
in his own country", noted Mr Tatchell.
"Four years ago, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that maintaining a discriminatory age of consent
for homosexuals is illegal. But Gibraltar continues to defy this ruling by enforcing a discriminatory age of
18", added Mr Tatchell.
"Despite a European Court judgement in 1999 that
discrimination based on sexual orientation is
unlawful, in Gibraltar is it still legal to sack gay
people from their jobs and to evict gay tenants from
their homes. Those who suffer this discrimination have no legal redress".
"Mr Caruana's government has taken no steps towards implementing Article 13 of the EU's Amsterdam Treaty,
which requires the outlawing of employment discrimination against homosexuals by 2003 at the
"Lesbian and gay couples in Gibraltar have no legal
recognition or rights. Their relationships do not
exist. They are not acknowledged as next-of-kin. If
one partner dies, the surviving partner has no right
to inherit the deceased partner's property. A foreign
partner of a gay Gibraltarian is denied the right to
live in Gibraltar with their lover. These laws are
cruel and inhumane".
"The Chief Minister demands Gibraltar's right to
self-determination, yet he is not willing to respect the human rights of his own lesbian and gay citizens", said Mr
back to normal
Gibraltar port is
now back to normal after action by disgruntled staff which led
to ships being turned away.
yesterday, port minister Joe Holliday, on return from London,
tackled the issue after the union requested a meeting. The
industrial action which took place on Tuesday and Wednesday was
lifted before the meeting took place.
Issues of concern
to the staff were discussed and further discussions are due.
The row had been
simmering since the summer after concern was expressed at the number
of years some staff members have been on 'acting' duties without any
attempt by the employer to regularise their positions. The
issue of manning levels, with the employment of junior ranks, was
being highlighted. (25.10.01)
threatens government with demonstration over Building & Works
The Transport and
General Workers Union has called on government to reconsider a
decision over Building & Works "as we will not hesitate to
repeat the events of a few years ago when a similar situation arose
and members demonstrated their discontent at Convent Place."
The issue is the
refurbishment if two govenment flats by a private contractor and not
the department of Buildings and Works.
Union members are
fully opposed to this contractorisation and will take the necessary
action against this decision, said the union.
Building and Works started work on the two flats last July, the
works now nearing completion. "All of a sudden and without any
explanation, the refurbishment done by these employees was
stopped," says a union statement today.
Two months later
the government has placed an advertisement in the press, tendering
for the works. The union says it cannot understand why work which
can be undertaken by their members has been out out to tender.
They say they do
not accept in principle that these works be given out to a private
contractor, without even a process of consultation. They also ask
why should taxpayers pay twice for the same job.
The union wants the
tender notice withdrawn, adding that if the works are not carried
out by their members, they will have no alternative but to suspend
the existing incentive scheme. (25.10.01)
meets on Guy Fawke's Day
The next meeting of
the House of Assembly will be on 5 November - Guy Fawke's Day!
This follows a long
summer recess. The last meeting was on 30 April. Business from one
meeting gets adjourned and adjourned, and this avoids questions from
the Opposition who are only allowed to put questions for a meeting
as such and not for adjourned meetings.
Three bills are
down to go through all their stages. The chief minister has a bill
to amend the Leisure areas (Licensing) ordinance. The
employment minister has a bill to transpose EC law on transport of
dangerous goods, and another in respect of misleading advertising.
Caruana goes to UN for 'domestic political reasons', says Bossano
Further to the allegations contained in an
article published in the
Panorama newsweekly on Monday written by Mr Bryan Zammit, and Mr Caruana's
subsequent reaction, the Hon Joe Bossano, Leader of the Opposition,
says he would like to make the following observations:
"I think Mr Zammit is telling the truth and that Mr Caruana believes that
going to the UN is a waste of time. I do not believe he would be going if I
had not challenged the United Kingdom in 1992 and gone there against their
wishes. Just before this year's attendance at the UN 4th Committee Mr
Caruana rung me up at home to suggest neither of us should go. He told me
he felt that against the background of the twin towers attack in New York
our moaning about frontier queues might seem inappropriate. He felt that in
this context we could not argue Gibraltar's case with sufficient passion.
He also believed that public opinion might welcome an agreement between us
to skip the 4th Committee appearance out of respect for the tragedy of the
Twin Towers and that in any case we would be having another opportunity
next year before the Committee of 24.
I told him that the thought had not crossed my mind but that if he wanted
me to consider it seriously I would give him an answer in 24 hours. But
that my gut feeling was to go. He said that if I went he would have to go
as well which I said I understood. I said that if we decided not to go
Spain would have the field to themselves. He said what if Spain agreed not
to go would that influence my decision. I said I did not trust Spain. Mr
Caruana said that I did not trust anyone, Spain or the United Kingdom. I
told him that he was right and that I did not trust him either. We left it
at that on the basis that we would both go.
I have to say that unlike Mr Caruana I do not feel ashamed of Mr Zammit's
contribution. I think it is valuable to have non-governmental organisations
and lay members putting their views to the United Nations when they demonstrate the basic unity that there is in the population over the right
to self-determination. UN Associations participate from other colonies. At
the 4th Committee meeting on this occasion there were several individuals
and organisations from Spain who were there speaking in support of the
Polisario on the question of Western Sahara. It is not the case that
Governments have the monopoly in appearances before the UN as Mr Caruana
likes to make out. In fact the UN welcomes non-government and individual
views being put to them and does not expect every petitioner to come along
with a QC.
It is worth recalling that in this year's seminar at Havana in Cuba, it
is possible that without my participation the Government might not have
taken part. It is the case that Mr Caruana has not attended seminars for a
number of years and that the year previous he missed out in the Pacific
seminar. It is quite possible that had he been there the clause which seeks
to treat Gibraltar different from other territories because there is a
claim over its sovereignty from Spain, would not have been slipped in.
I honestly believe that Mr Caruana goes to the UN because he feels that
he has to for domestic political reasons and not because in the UN we are
making inroads on our case. I believe this is wrong and that he should
continue to go and that he is making an impact as I did before him, although clearly I wish he would be opposing the relaunching of the
Brussels agreement which regrettably he has not done."
between the Rock and a hard place, says former Foreign Secretary
Former foreign secretary Sir Geoffrey Howe writes an opinion piece in The Times today. It was he who signed the controversial Brussels agreement with Spain in 1984, agreeing to discuss the sovereignty of Gibraltar for the first time. This is what he says:
The words 'always' and 'never' must be forgotten by Spain and Gibraltar
When Peter Caruana, the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, delivers a speech in London today on the future of the Rock, his words will have a very nostalgic ring for a former Foreign Secretary. For 17 years have passed since Fernando Moran, my Spanish opposite number, and I believed that we had made a breakthrough on the dispute over sovereignty between his country and my own.
And it all started very well. Or so it seemed. The frontier at La Linea — closed by Generalissimo Franco’s blockade — was opened for the first time for 20 years. And the way was cleared for Spanish accession to the European Community and for her full participation in Nato.So what went wrong? We had not, I think, sufficiently teased out differences. Above all, we had not achieved a common view of the very different timescales involved.
Two fundamental objectives should have been recognised as very long term — one of them, indeed, as effectively
unattainable. For Spain, the objective — almost the only one — was, and remains, the recovery of sovereignty over what they see as an integral corner of their continental landmass. It is, they suggest, as though Britain had been obliged to tolerate a 300-year-old Spanish “colony” in
Penzance. And for the 30,000 inhabitants of Gibraltar the objective is close to being the flip side of Spain’s. Like almost every other former component of the Empire they yearn for independence or, at least, for something close to that. Yet independence is the one thing that has to be regarded as beyond
reach. Why, exactly? Because of the Treaty of Utrecht (1713). Britain’s title to the Rock, depends upon that document. But so too does the Spanish claim. For the treaty provides that if ever Britain should wish to dispose of Gibraltar — even to the Gibraltarians themselves — “the preference of having the same,” says the treaty, “shall always be given to
Spain”. Gibraltar’s leaders have come to understand that. So Peter Caruana calls now not for independence but for virtual autonomy — still under British
sovereignty. What about the Spanish case? Why, many Spaniards have asked, should there be any real difficulty in securing British agreement, for example, to some form of sharing sovereignty with Spain? There, too, the roadblock springs from history. For in 1969, when the people of Gibraltar were besieged by Generalissimo Franco, they secured from Britain a pledge, enshrined in their constitution, “never” to agree to a transfer of sovereignty without their
consent. Those two words (which modern statesmen struggle to avoid): “always” in 1713 — Spain’s eternal right to the reversion; and “never” in 1969 — Gibraltar’s equally immortal brake on such change, have created enduring gridlock. This has all too often been perceived in Spain as no more than a cloak for British obstinacy.
But nothing could be further from the
truth. We all now live in a democratic Europe, where frontiers can be changed only with popular consent. This principle is, for example, at the heart of the Anglo-Irish peace process. So it has to be for any sharing of sovereignty in Gibraltar, which rightly expects Britain to be robust in its defence.
Spaniards often cite Hong Kong as a precedent. But the cases are very different. There is no time limit on British sovereignty over Gibraltar. In Hong Kong the “handback” of sovereignty was unavoidable, when our 99-year lease ran out in 1997. Even so — and even in the absence of democratic institutions — opinion in Hong Kong was fully canvassed on the acceptability of the terms we had
negotiated. Happily there are signs that constitutional realities in Gibraltar are becoming better appreciated in Spain. Madrid will need to win Gibraltarian acceptance of any shift of sovereignty. Any attempt to coerce opinion would, as always in the past, retard that prospect. Now is the time, said a perceptive Spanish leader the other day, for our government to start wooing the Gibraltarians. For years I have longed to hear such wisdom.
This is where the shorter-term agenda assumes importance. There is a raft of positive measures waiting to be put into effect. They would be good for Gibraltar, Spain and Britain alike.
Spain has for some time been ready to respect the right of Gibraltarians to retain British citizenship, if they wish. She should now be ready to end the restrictions that have for too long inhibited free movement of traffic into and out of Gibraltar: by sea and air as well as by land.
Disputes over driving licences, passports and so on should become a thing of the past.
Gibraltar, too, must be ready to move. Opposition to joint use and development of the airport must be set to one side. Some variation of that project has long been commended by Gibraltar’s Chamber of Commerce. And rightly so. Progress here could do much to foster the necessary climate of mutual
goodwill. It could, moreover, diminish the recurrent Anglo-Spanish obstacles — of which neither can be proud — to wider European Union agreements. This in itself might help to ease longer-term issues onto the
agenda. As Peter Caruana himself has, not so long ago, acknowledged: “You cannot expect to engage Madrid in a process of dialogue in which they are not free even to raise the matter that is of most interest to them, and that is sovereignty.” But it will only be when the parties have been working together for some time on all the practical issues that they might be willing to start considering proposals on the sharing of the powerfully mystical concept of sovereignty.
foreign secretary Howe in 'brainwashing' exercise to get Gibraltar
to do deal with Spain, says opposition
The article about Gibraltar published by
former Foreign Secretary Lord Howe in today's edition of "The Times" is
part of the brainwashing exercise designed to convince the Gibraltarians to
compromise our fundamental beliefs by doing a deal with Spain, says
a statement from the labour/liberal opposition in Gibraltar's
They add: It is significant to note that Lord Howe sees the Brussels process as the vehicle
for this to happen eventually producing concessions on sovereignty. The comments made by Lord Howe vindicate the views of the Opposition that
Gibraltar should not participate in talks with Spain under the Brussels
It is clear that as part of the campaign to create a climate in Gibraltar
with which the Gibraltar Government would be comfortable in attending the
coming talks, a whole series of past and present political figures will be
paraded before the people of Gibraltar to sell us the concept of attendance.
This was commenced by Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain in
September, and it backfired on the Foreign Office. It was then followed by
Lord Garel Jones, who is well known for his pro-Spanish leanings, and now
by Lord Geoffrey Howe, whose views are hardly surprising given that he was
the co-signatory to the Brussels Agreement in 1984. The Foreign Secretary
Jack Straw will soon add his name to this parade before he meets the
Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Pique on 20 November. The Opposition believe
that these machinations are transparent.
Lord Geoffrey Howe would do well to continue his retirement and his
silence on the Gibraltar question, says the
'MOST UNPOPULAR FOREIGN
During his tenure, he became one of the
most unpopular Foreign Secretaries that Gibraltar has ever known. He
abandoned the traditional UK position in defence of Gibraltar at the UN in
1985. He abandoned the threat of a British veto on Spain's EU entry unless
the restrictions were lifted. He capitulated on the granting of advance EU
rights to Spaniards before they joined Europe which had previously been
rejected. He agreed the payment of revalued pensions to former Spanish
workers and expected Gibraltar to foot the bill.
recall that Howe did a complete u-turn in agreeing to exclude Gibraltar airport for the first time from EC law in
1987 six months after be condemned the Spaniards for demanding this. While
Madrid safeguarded her own position, that of Gibraltar was completely sold
out by Lord Howe.
Moreover, the Opposition recall that Lord Howe was the first British
Foreign Secretary willing to explicitly negotiate the sovereignty of
Gibraltar and to recognise that there were two issues of sovereignty, in
the plural, instead of one. He therefore surrendered a vital point of
principle for which the Gibraltarians had been prepared to endure sixteen
years of siege and hardship. His track record as regards Gibraltar was
characterised by its weakness which also includes the closure of the naval
dockyard and the 1987 airport agreement. We are still suffering the
negative consequences of Lord Howe's tenure at the Foreign Office to this day.
BETRAYAL OF GIBRALTAR'S
opposition: In the light of his poor track record and his betrayal of Gibraltar's
interests on so many occasions, a recommendation by him to support the
relaunch of the Brussels process should be sufficient reason by itself for
not going. The message from the Opposition to Lord Howe is thank you Lord
Howe but no thanks.
The port at
Gibraltar is paralysed, with ships being turned away and other
services not being operated by port staff.
It comes after
months of growing discontent among port workers, who say they are
fed up with years of acting duties and double shifts to counter a
number of posts which remain unregularised.
Matters came to a
head during the summer, but action was withdrawn when their union
intervened and said that meetings would be held with government.
However, with no
solution in sight, the issue has now resurfaced.
The cruise liner
Sundream arrived today but was not allowed entrance to the port. It
was this afternoon at anchor in the bay. Two more cruise liners are
due in the next two days.
Other ships have
also been turned away. The port lookout is not manned and
communications and not operational.
Sources close to
the men said that the employment of three junior ratings would help
solve the problem, but the government has so far not met such
The port is an
important lifeline in Gibraltar's economy. port minister Joe
Holliday, who returned from London today, is expected to tackle the
issue. The chief minister Peter Caruana returns tomorrow after
Gibraltar Day in the city of London. The crisis requires urgent
family rescued from blazing yacht near Gibraltar
A British family were
rescued when a fire swept a luxury yacht berthed at Sotogrande,
Spain, near Gibraltar.
Rescued were Simon
and Merete Gulliford, their children Grace, 11, and Frederick, 8, Mr
Gulliford's brother Jonathan and Mrs Gulliford's sister Karen, as
well as the crew, according to reports.
The fire broke out
after midnight, when Spanish rescue services broke into the vessel
to pull out those onboard. Speedy action by fire service avoided the
4,000-litre fuel tank catching fire and leading to an explosion. It
was not until close on 6am that the fire was fully extinguished.
The vessel has been
named as the 'Martikka', a Sunseeker model flying the British flag.
Day in City of London
Gibraltar Day was
being celebrated in the city of London today.
It opened with a
media briefing onboard The Grand Turk by tourism minister Joe
Holliday, thanking the UK travel industry for their contribution to
the Gibraltar economy. There was lunch, music and entertainment -
the buglers from the Royal Gibraltar regiment were in attendance.
The lord Mayor,
represented by a duty Alderman and the Sheriff of the city of
London, hosted a lunch for the Chief Minister and the Director of
the Gibraltar Office. This took place at the Old Bailey.
This evening, over
450 people were invited to a reception at the Drapers' Hall hosted
by the Chief Minister. This included a fanfare by the Royal
Gibraltar regiment and an address by Mr Caruana.
reception, those invited to a dinner moved on to the Court Dining
On Wednesday, Mr
Caruana is addressing students of the London School of economics on
the right to self-determination, followed by questions and answers.
This is the second
occasion that Gibraltar Day is celebrated in London.
port affected by industrial action
The Gibraltar port has
been affected by industrial action, and there are reports that ships
are being turned away.
The crisis has been
simmering for some time now as previously reported by us
exclusively. The problem stems from staff having been on
acting duties for several years without their positions being
regularised. Other grievances are also being mentioned.
The port is an
important lifeline for Gibraltar and the Government, which controls
it through the port authority, will be shaken that the port is
virtually closed for all intents and purposes.
Just prior to the
September 11 attack in the USA, staff put off their action precisely
because of the international situation. Action taken earlier
this year was also stopped when their union said it was going to
tackle the Government about it. But on this occasion, the action is
Sovereignty deal 'a mistake',
says Spanish senator
It would be a mistake to do a deal on the sovereignty of Gibraltar at present, said Spanish senator Jose Carracao.
He feels that, despite all the years that have elapsed, the moment is not right to strike a deal on sovereignty.
Sr Carracao thinks that it is important that there is first a policy of good neighbourly relations.
On the airport however he felt that the 1987 agreement should be accepted, not only because it provides economic benefits, but also because of its underlying political consideration, as Spain did not cede the isthmus area under Utrecht and hence Spain cannot recognise British sovereignty over it.
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is to visit Gibraltar imminently. When chief minister Peter Caruana held his meeting with Straw in London recently, they went over possible dates for the visit.
Today, Monday 22 October, had been pencilled in, but the chief minister is flying to London this evening to attend Gibraltar Day. He will be back later in the week.
Although UK sources in Gibraltar have been saying that today's visit has been postponed due to the international situation, it is known that Straw wants to visit Gibraltar before the next round of Brussels talks, now scheduled for late November, and preferably before Blair and Aznar meet at Chequers on 9 November.
Caruana is on record as saying that there is no point in Straw visiting Gibraltar unless he first agrees to his conditions for attending Brussels talks. Such conditions must give the chief minister a veto, not only on matters of sovereignty, but on everything else. The veto agreement will have to be published in writing.
The opposition are against legitimising the Brussels talks by attending it. They say it is scandalous that Gibraltar should hear from elsewhere about planned Anglo-Spanish meetings about Gibraltar's future, while the Government has remained uncharacteristically quiet.
The Spanish foreign minister Josep Pique sees the relaunch of the Brussels process as providing advances on sovereignty in tandem with other progress. He is offering telephone lines and possibly softening frontier controls to sweeten the pill.
But the joint aim between London and Madrid is to strike a deal on sovereignty before next year is out, and to put in train a series of measures and meetings between now and then to make it possible.
must tell Gibraltar what he knows about Spanish moves, says
The Opposition says
it considers that the Gibraltar Government should say publicly how much it knows in relation to the preparatory meetings taking place
leading up to the next round of talks with Spain under the Brussels agreement.
It is significant to note that the Chief Minister had a long
meeting with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in London prior to the session of
the UN 4th Committee from which no detailed information has emerged.
Instead, Gibraltar has found out through the Spanish press that Prime
Ministers Blair and Aznar are due to meet on 9 November and that the next
round of talks at Foreign Minister level are due on 20 November. It has
also first been reported in Spain that technical talks at coordinator level
between London and Madrid are taking place today.
In a statement
today, the Opposition add: The coordinator talks taking place are reminiscent of the structure in place before 1988 when
coordinators from the two countries met to discuss the way ahead.
The Opposition reiterate that it is totally unacceptable that there should be
so much diplomatic activity going on and that the people of Gibraltar have
to rely on Spanish press reports to find out what is happening.
The Opposition also notes that whatever London and Madrid are planning,
with or without Mr Caruana's blessing, must be controversial given that
Opposition Leaders in Britain and Spain are being briefed in advance
presumably to obtain their support in the face of probable strong Gibraltarian opposition. It would be inconceivable and totally wrong that
British and Spanish Opposition Leaders know what is in store for us and the
Gibraltar Government should itself be kept in the dark. The Opposition
considers that Mr Caruana should share whatever he knows with the rest of
It will be recalled that the strategy of briefing Opposition Leaders in
order that they tow the line in Parliament was also used at the time of the
Anglo-Irish agreement in relation to Northern Ireland. This resulted in a
series of power-sharing committees between the North and the South which
gave the Republic a direct input into what happens in Northern Ireland.
There have already been suggestions that the type of framework envisaged
for Gibraltar will be modelled on Northern Ireland, with Anglo-Spanish
joint committees being set up in a number of areas through which Madrid
will be able to have an input into what happens here.
The Opposition considers that nobody has yet explained why the discussion
of neighbourly relations with Spain should necessitate courage on the part
of those involved or the briefing of the Leaders of the Opposition at
Westminster and in the Cortes in Madrid. It is clear that there is a
pre-determined plan of action and a programme of events that is about to be
unleashed on the Gibraltarians and Mr Caruana has a duty and an obligation
to tell us what, if anything, he knows (22.10.01).
Gibraltar off to Miss World
Miss Gibraltar, Luann
Richardson, has left to take part in Miss World contest in South
Africa on 16th November
Gibraltar is changing. No longer is this two-and-a-half-square-mile British protectorate on the southern top of Andalusia merely a Ministry of Defence garrison with duty-free attached for Costa del Sol daytrippers in search of cheap booze and ciggies. Most of the army, navy and air force have gone. Barely a thousand of them rattle around in the peninsula's maze of fortifications. Of Gibraltar's 30,000 inhabitants (of mixed Genoese, Jewish, Spanish and British ancestry), a mere 6 per cent now earn a living from the MoD, down from 60 per cent 16 years ago. With the loss of its number one employer, and with it 70 per cent of its income, Gibraltar has been turning instead to offshore banking and betting and to the development of tourism, writes Jonathan Dyson in The Independent on Sunday.
He adds: In the past few years, all the Rock's hotels have been refurbished, thanks to £5m in 'soft loans" from the government. New cruise-liner and coach terminals have been unveiled, as well as a new marina and the first phase of "extensive beautification works". The aim? To transform this curious protrusion of Jurassic limestone, this endlessly argued-over scrap of empire, into 'the next Monaco".
Well, that is the theory, now backed up with a £1m-a-year marketing campaign aimed at a new type of upmarket short-stay visitor. But what is the reality? First impressions on a flying visit were not altogether encouraging. 'The Silk Cut Café and Terrace' at the tiny airport, with its disturbingly short runway, was as low-rent as it sounds, more Skegness than South of France. The drive out to the Caleta Hotel on the quieter, eastern side of the Rock was also pretty grim.
Support for Euro vote and Self-Determination
The Vice President of the British Group of Liberal International Peter Billenness has said that British Liberal Democrats stand firmly on the principle of self-determination, and fully support the right of Gibraltarians in the European Union. Mr Billenness was in Gibraltar this Saturday where he was met by the Leader of the Gibraltar Liberal Party Dr Joseph Garcia.
Mr Billenness said that in particular, British Liberal Democrats supported the enfranchisement of Gibraltarians for European elections, in accordance with the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights. He added that he would like to see Gibraltar represented in the European Parliament either on its own with a single member or by voting within the South West region of England at present represented by seven MEPs.
On the question of self-determination, Mr Billenness said that British Liberals firmly support self-determination for all countries and territories as evidenced by the stand taken in 1992 over the Falkland Islands. He explained that this is a view common to Liberals worldwide, as evidenced by the Liberal International resolution of March 1999 which endorsed the right of the people of Gibraltar to determine their own future.
Mr Billenness welcomed the increasing electoral position of Liberals in Gibraltar. In the United Kingdom he explained that the Liberal Democrats had obtained 52 seats, which was six up on the previous result and an 18 per cent share of the vote. He said that in both Gibraltar and Britain third parties suffered from electoral systems which are far from proportional in their outcome.
For his part, Dr Garcia said it was the policy of the Liberal Party of Gibraltar to encourage visits here by as many politicians from abroad as possible. He said that there was no equivalent to people coming out here and seeing our problems for themselves in order to engage them as supporters of our cause.
Mr Billenness, who is also the Treasurer of the European Group of the Liberal Democrats, was accompanied by his wife Margaret, who is a Liberal Democrat Town Councillor. They were very grateful to the Tourist Board for a very useful and informative Rock Tour. Mr Billenness ended by expressing the hope that an increasing number of British Liberal Democrats will exchange views and give mutual support to the Liberals of Gibraltar.(22.10.01)
calls for international recognition of self-determination
The Chief Minister indicated recently that the Government, in its attempts to investigate whether we could bring a court action in an international tribunal in order to challenge the validity of the Treaty of Utrecht, was performing all sorts of "mental somersaults". The picture, which Mr Caruana seemed to paint, was that this was virtually impossible, says The Labour Group which says it does not share Mr Caruana's bleak analysis.
They add: We also consider it extraordinary that almost 2 years after first announcing in the House of Assembly in November 1999 that the Government had obtained interim legal advice on the validity of the Treaty of Utrecht, that he has not yet received final advice on the related issue of gaining access to a tribunal. We are of the firm opinion that whether you believe in a negotiated settlement with Spain or decolonisation through the exercise of self-determination, it is establishing the right to self-determination through an international tribunal that represents the best opportunity for real progress on the issue of Gibraltar's constitutional development.
The fact is that the Declaration of Unity and the Chief Minister's speech rule out a negotiated settlement with Spain. In any event, the Labour Group believes that the Spanish Government is not interested in engaging Gibraltar in any real dialogue because it is only interested in one thing: a total transfer of sovereignty after a period of years or alternatively making progress on issues commensurate with that overall goal. At the heart of any negotiated settlement is the concept of compromise and Spain has simply shown no willingness to compromise. That is why Spain (to date) refuses to accept the Government of Gibraltar's conditions for attendance at the Brussels talks. Further, it can afford to do so safe in the knowledge that the UK will not consent to Gibraltar's constitutional status being altered in a way that would infringe the Treaty of Utrecht. At the same time, it continues to apply pressure on Gibraltar at EU level to force us to capitulate. Therefore, unless Spain sees that there is a real risk that Gibraltar will be allowed to decolonise through the exercise of
self-determination, her attitude towards Gibraltar will not change. Whatever our own views on whether any particular constitutional solution infringes Article X of the Treaty of Utrecht, the reality is that virtually every solution short of an accommodation with Spain have been ruled out. The reasons are always Utrecht related. This also creates a huge practical difficulty for decolonisation through the exercise of self-determination because ultimately any new constitutional status has to be negotiated with the UK. And as long as the UK adheres to its position on Utrecht, it makes constitutional reform extremely difficult, if not impossible, short of deciding to unilaterally change our constitutional status with the grave consequences that that would entail.
The group adds: That is why whether one believes in a negotiated settlement with Spain or not, it is international recognition of the right to self-determination through an international tribunal that provides the best opportunity for us Gibraltarians to truly and finally determine our own future. With that objective in mind our members remain ready and willing to engage the Government and the Opposition in dialogue to expand upon any points that they might consider an impediment or a difficulty in pursuing this course of
CHARITY ABSEIL RAISES £5,500
Gibraltarian, David Parody, successfully completed the abseil of a 150ft City Of London building on Sunday. In the process he managed to raise approximately £5500. The sponsored abseil was in aid of the Cancer Research Campaign.
David said he was delighted at the response from sponsors. "In light of the 11th September events and the fundraising that has taken place for that in recent weeks, I was not expecting to raise more than £500. Imagine my surprise when the sponsorship money started to pour in. I cannot believe the generosity of Gibraltarians and businesses who time and again contribute to worthy causes".
Conditions were far from ideal for an abseil with pouring cold rain falling on participants for an hour before they undertook the abseil as they received safety instructions and training. David took about two minutes to abseil down the 150 feet. "Turning your back on the edge and the walking back were the most difficult bits of the abseil" said David. "After that, I seemed to get the hang of it!"
Finally, he said he wished to thank both the sponsors and the help he received to collect these.(21.10.01
Fraud charge man's trial 'unfair', appeal is told
CONVICTED financier George Finbar Ross did not get a fair trial, the Appeal Court in Belfast has heard.
A lawyer for Cork-born Ross said Lord Justice McCollum, the judge at Ross's trial a year ago, was so unbalanced in his words to the jury as to be unfair, reports the Belfast Telegraph.
Ross (55) is appealing against his conviction and two-and-a-half year jail sentence after he was found guilty of deception by unlawfully procuring investments for his Gibraltar-based company, International Investments Ltd, which crashed in 1983 owing depositors around £7m.
Ross, who is on bail, was in court to hear his barrister Arthur Harvey, QC, say the trial judge had misstated to the jury the effect of the evidence of one of the most significant witnesses in the case.(20.10.01)
weather finally sets in: Goodbye summer!
Wintry weather has finally
set in - with resistant folk getting he message that summer is
Men are still
dressing in shirt sleeves and women in summer dress, as if hoping
that the long, hot summer will prevail.
But these last
couple of days, heavy downpours coupled to strong winds dominate the
weather situation. Winter is here!
As always happens
when the first heavy rains come down, roads and other areas are
flooded. It was pouring cats and dogs today, with the Rock
fully covered by clouds - and vision across the bay to the
Spanish port of Algeciras impaired by more clouds and misty
If the rains
persist, the Trafalgar Day ceremony on Sunday morning is bound to be
cancelled. This ceremony recalls the defeat of Spanish/French forces
by the British, under Nelson (who met his death), in the Battle of
Trafalgar off Gibraltar. The ceremony is held annually at the