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 Birthday Honours

The Colonial Police Medal has been awarded to Deputy Commissioner of Police James McKay in the Birthday Honours, while the Gibraltar Award (Governor’s Certificate and Badge of Honour) goes to Manolo Ruiz and Marie Louise Sacarello for services to the people of Gibraltar.

James McKay

Deputy Commissioner McKay joined the RGP in 1973.

He worked his way up to his present rank in 27 October 2001. He has served in numerous departments, including Operational duties, Crime division, Special branch planning and development and has also attended various courses abroad.

He has 2 Commendations, given by the Chief Justice and by the Commissioner.

He played a vital role in the progress and modernisation of the RGP, earning the respect and affection of his peers and staff.

Manolo Ruiz

There is a special affection at PANORAMA for Manolo Ruiz, who has been a regular contributor for many years. 

He established a branch of the Civil Service, a radio officer association, and worked there until 1974. 

One of the founder members of the Gibraltar Trade Council, he has served on the Labour advisory board, Price control committee and other committees.

In 1996 he was elected Secretary of the DSA, old tyme and modern sequence dance club. 

A year later he was elected president of Senior Citizens Club. In 1999/2000 founded Gibraltar Senior Citizens Association and holds title of president.

Marie Louise Sacarello

She has a long association with the Red Cross and is described as very hardworking. She has been in the Red cross for over 20 years. 

She has the ability and willingness to undertake all manner of tasks that come her way, without seeking any recognition or credit.

A member of the local Red Cross committee since 1983, assuming responsibility for the Society of hospital visiting programme expanding it to include all wards. Now responsible for social affairs within the Red Cross and is closely involved with all of fundraising in the Society along with involvement in other Charitable organisations.

Opposition disappointed that Brussels process is to continue

The opposition says it is disappointed that the Brussels negotiating process, which took us to the brink of a sovereignty deal, is to continue.

They consider that an attempt is being made to water down the significance of the statement on Gibraltar made in Madrid by Europe Minister Denis MacShane. Dr MacShane said that the UK and Spain had better things to discuss than a theoretical sovereignty agreement with zero chance of acceptance in Gibraltar. He also said that it would be at least 25-30 years before there was any likelihood of a change of attitude in Gibraltar and then only if in the intervening period Spain set out to win Gibraltarian support.

"This is not consistent with saying that the Brussels process is going to continue," the Alliance points out.

CLEAR 

It is clear that Spain is desperate to keep Brussels alive even though they had threatened to abandon it in 2001 if it did not produce power-sharing over Gibraltar.

Even if what is on the cards is simply the nominal continuation of the process, as it has been between 1988 and 2001, with no real negotiations taking place, the Opposition still remains totally opposed to it and to Gibraltar's participation in it. It is now clearer than ever before that at the heart of the process lies the negotiation of the sovereignty of Gibraltar in order to reach an accommodation with Spain. These objectives were spelt out clearly by Jack Straw and Peter Hain for all of Gibraltar to hear. It would be laughable for the Foreign Office to expect Gibraltar to participate in such a process, now or in the future, after all that has happened.

REJECTION 

The referendum of 7 November was a massive rejection of Spain and a massive rejection of any form of political links with that country. It is therefore abundantly clear that there is nothing more to discuss insofar as our sovereignty is concerned, and therefore the sovereignty of Gibraltar should no longer feature on the agenda of Anglo-Spanish talks.

It is therefore disappointing that although there has been a change of emphasis in London, they have still not abandoned the process that took Gibraltar to the verge of an agreement on shared sovereignty. Given that the Brussels process was presented to the United Nations as the mechanism through which the United Kingdom and Spain agree the decolonisation of Gibraltar, it seems likely therefore that the consensus resolution between London and Madrid will be maintained this year as well.

The Opposition considers that while Dr MacShane's words were very welcome, "they need to be translated into action and into more than a public relations exercise for local consumption in Gibraltar to get into people's good books before he comes here. It is bad news for Gibraltar that the Brussels process itself is set to continue, and the Opposition commits itself to continue to campaign against it in the future as strongly as it has been doing in the past."

Gib at CPA

The 34th Regional Conference of the British Islands and Mediterranean Region is this year being hosted by the CPA - UK Branch in London and Cambridge (15th to 20th June).

The Conference will be officially opened in Westminster Hall by Michael Martin MP, Speaker of the Houseof Commons.

The Conference will feature addresses by Gordon Brown MP (Chancellor of the Exchequer); Mr Bob Spelle MP (Canada) (Chariman, CPa Executive Committee) and Denis Marshall (CPA - Secretary General).

The Chief Minister, P R Caruana will be addressin the Conference on Monday 16th June.

Some of the subjects which will be discussed in the Conference include: Media influences; Engaging the community in the political process; The role of the CPA in promoting democracy in the Commonwealth an International development.

The Gibraltar Branch will be represented by the Chief Minister P R Caruana J J Holliday (Minister for Tourism and Transport) and Opposition Members J C Perez and Dr R G Valarino. The Honorary Secretary of the Branch Mr D J Reyes, will accompany the delegation.

Straw asked: Was MacShane speaking for the Government?

EXCLUSIVE
by our London correspondent

THE TORIES have written to Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to demand to know whether Denis MacShane "spoke for the government" when he said the talks with Spain were dead.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Michael Ancram said he welcomed the signs that Tony Blair's government was finally listening to the people of Gibraltar.

But he urged Mr Straw to clear up any confusion surrounding Mr MacShane's comments by stating they were now official government policy.

On Sunday, Mr MacShane, the Europe Minister, said it would be "very dangerous" for democracy if the Spanish and British governments pressed ahead with a deal on joint-sovereignty.

And he described the chances of reaching an agreement that would be acceptable to Gibraltarians as "simply zero".

Mr Ancram said the last comment "could have come from one of my many speeches on Gibraltar, so it goes without saying that I welcome the government's change of heart".

But he wrote: "I welcome the recognition that not only was the referendum a genuine indication of the will of the people of Gibraltar, but that the government is actually paying attention to the result.

"As you can imagine I am looking forward to hearing of the prime minister's response to Jose Maria Aznar's recent letter asking for the co-sovereignty negotiations to resume.

"This clearly is now not an option, especially after Madrid invoked the Article 227 procedure against the UK over enfranchisement of Gibraltar for the European elections.

"I ask you to confirm that the Minister for Europe has indeed outlined a new government position and that you are in full agreement with it."

Speaking to Panorama, a Foreign Office spokesman said Mr MacShane "was speaking for the government" in his comments on Sunday.

But the spokesman insisted the comments did not mean that the negotiations under the Brussels Process were now at an end.

He said: "The Brussels Process will continue with the ultimate aim of seeking an agreement on the future of Gibraltar, which is acceptable to the people of Gibraltar.

"It is a restatement of our position to say that any agreement must have the endorsement of the people of Gibraltar.

"Mr MacShane has said he doubts whether the issue can return to the negotiating chamber, but it does not mean the abolition of the Process as a whole."

BLAIR QUIZZED OVER GIB

LONDON: Tony Blair was quizzed about the MacShane issue when he faced MPs for the weekly prime minister's questions in the House of Commons yesterday.

The UK prime minister said: "There can be no question of any deal going through without the consent of the people of Gibraltar.

"We have always made that clear. That remains the position."

SPANISH RULE

Mr MacShane's remarks caused dismay in Spain, which has said it is determined to make Gibraltar Spanish territory after nearly 300 years of British rule.

In practice the efforts by the British and Spanish governments to reach an agreement for a kind of shared sovereignty over Gibraltar have been stalled for months, since 99% of the people of Gibraltar voted to remain British in a referendum last year, says a report in the BBC.

Officially, British officials say they remain committed to the process of talks with Spain that had earlier led to a framework accord about shared sovereignty.

But Mr MacShane's words suggest that the whole issue could now be put off for a generation.

His Spanish ministerial counterpart, Ramon de Miguel, has criticised the comments as "inappropriate".

In Britain the Gibraltarians receive warm support from much of the media, and the main opposition Conservative Party has attacked the government for trying to "sell out" the people of Gibraltar.

A Conservative spokesman said now at last the government seemed to have realised it should give up that attempt.

Gibraltar’s financial centre complies with international rules, says UK minister

Madrid - Gibraltar’s financial services have been defended by a UK minister. 

On a visit to Madrid, the minister for trade and industry Patricia Hewitt said that the British government is convinced that the fiscal system in Gibraltar complies with the standards of the OECD, the International Monetary Fund and other bodies.

Such international bodies were satisfied with the relevant legislation in Gibraltar. 

However, Britain would take it very seriously if any of its overseas territories engaged in any illegal activity.

In this way, said a report by Europa Press, the minister avoided referring to the EU investigation, on Gibraltar’s tax plans.

Mrs Hewitt held talks with the Spanish economy leader Rodrigo Rato.

Britain is at loggerheads with Spain on a number of EU issues, such as the reform of the agriculture policy which Spain objects to.

Britain tells Spain: Take no notice of MacShane

The British government has told Spain not to take any notice of the comments made by Europe minister Denis MacShane, according to the Spanish foreign minister Ana Palacio.

She said she has received a formal communication from London that the Brussels process will continue. “I stand by the official statement from the government of the United Kingdom,” she said.

It follows the weekend shock comments by MacShane in interviews to two Spanish newspapers.

“ADVANCED STAGE”

But Palacio said that the negotiations with Britain were at “a very advanced stage”, with important questions of detail being thrashed out.

She said she was fully confident in the UK commitment to continue making progress in a process which was both complex and not easy.

She made a reference to a statement issued by the Foreign Office following the comments by MacShane, which reiterated commitment to the Brussels negotiating process.

Under Brussels, Britain and Spain have concurred on a Gibraltar deal which includes the sharing of sovereignty over the Rock.

The deal has not been finally agreed due to differences over control of the base, the holding of a referendum and joint sovereignty not leading to full Spanish sovereignty.

DETAILS

Details are being worked out to try and overcome the difficulties.

The Spanish socialists had earlier urged Palacio to give details of what was going on.

But she insisted that the comments by MacShane were “irrelevant”.

The Spanish prime minister Aznar wrote to Blair on 17 May requesting the negotiations continue. He has also said, as PANORAMA reported, that Gibraltar is an unmovable Rock.

“ZERO”

In his own comments, MacShane said that the prospect of a deal stood “zero” chance if the Gibraltarians were against it.

MacShane told UK radio that there was no possibility of a deal in the timeframe envisaged by Spain. He urged a “period of calm”, after Palacio spoke of a final deal within a year.

Caruana tells Spain: No change in our talks policy

The chief minister Peter Caruana has told Spanish regional radio that his government’s policy on dialogue remains unchanged.

In principle, the Government is in favour of dialogue. It is a policy we have always had and will continue to maintain, he said.

But it must be a process viable for all, where Gibraltar can take part without the danger of bilateral agreements being reached behind our backs or over our heads, a reasonable process.

He takes it that Mr MacShane was speaking on behalf of the British government, and it was not a personal view. If the British government has accepted the democratic realities and rights of the people of Gibraltar, it will be well received in Gibraltar.

It offers all the prospect of a new start, via a different channel, which can be more constructive, viable and effective than the one that has been followed in the last 2 years.

Watch out for any fraudulent inclusion in Register of Electors, public warned

The Opposition calls on people to register in the new register of electors that is being compiled in order to play their part in the democratic process in Gibraltar at the coming general elections. "It is also important to ensure that those persons who are not legally entitled to be on the register are objected to and excluded," says spokesman Dr Joseph Garcia. 

He adds: These two actions will ensure that the final register is as accurate as possible which is a positive and essential ingredient of any healthy democractic society.

The House of Assembly published a notice on 13 May which gave details of the production of the new register of electors. The closing date for applications and amendments is 13 June. Entitled persons can check whether they are included or not at several official buildings as well as on the Government website. The criteria that needs to be fulfilled in order to qualify for inclusion in the register has also been made public. People in the book have to be British Citizens, British Overseas Territories citizens, British Overseas citizens, or British subjects under the 1981 Nationality Act. They will also "have been resident in Gibraltar for a continuous period of six months ending on 1 June 2003 and intends to live in Gibraltar either permanently or indefinately." In addition to this they must be aged 18 or over or will reach the age of 18 before 1 June 2007.

REPORTS 

The Opposition has already received several reports of people who voted in the referendum last year who are not included in the draft register that has been published. It is therefore imperative that persons check that they are included as they will not be able to vote unless their name is in the book. Inclusion should not be taken for granted.

It is also the duty of every citizen to check that those who are included in the register are legally entitled to be there. Part of this entitlement is that persons in the register must have been resident in Gibraltar for a continuous period of six months ending on 1 June 2003, and intends to live in Gibraltar permanently and indefinately. 

ELECTORAL FRAUD

"This means that anyone who did not live in Gibraltar permanently before 1 December 2002 would be committing electoral fraud if they include themselves in the new register of electors as they would not qualify to either stand or vote. The same applies to persons who live in Spain or elsewhere outside Gibraltar who should not be in the register at all. It is also electoral fraud under the rules for persons who live in Spain to register at an address in Gibraltar and pretend that they live here permanently. It is the duty of every citizen to object to their inclusion," says the statement.

The Opposition considers that it is important to realise that the residential qualification used for elections is different to that used for the referendum. The draft register will be published at some point after 13 June. At that time there is a period during which any citizen can object to the inclusion in the draft register of anyone who may not be legally entitled to be there. In the same way, it is the practice for anyone who is legally entitled to be included to have their last chance to list themselves in the register during this window.

The Opposition believe that in order to ensure that the register is as accurate as possible, persons should make an effort to include themselves if entitled, and to challenge those who should not be there when the time comes.

New MOD contractor reinstate ECS workers for 2 months

The TGWU/ACTS says that the union members at E.C.S. Ltd will be going back to work following intensive negotiations between all sides involved in this dispute.

“As we have previously mentioned in our press releases, pressure from the unions, and the Gibraltar Government has led to a reversal of the decision taken by Inframan to terminate all existing contracts with E.C.S. Ltd, which led to 120 members being out of work,” said the Union.

The new operator Turner Ltd has agreed to reinstate the existing contract for a period of 2 months, as with all other subcontractors working with the previous W.S.M. The Union reserves its position regarding this extension. The purpose of this two months period is according to Turner to be able to make the necessary assessment of all subcontractors, not just E.C.S. Ltd. There is an existing contract not controlled by Turner but by M.O.D. Defence Estate, which will be discussed separately.

The Union considers that the return to work of its members without anyone being made redundant is a positive move, and welcomed although it will continue negotiations for a permanent solution with all the parties involved to be established.

Liberal friends of Gibraltar 'astonished'by MacShane's statement

Richard Copus, former parliamentary candidate for Exeter constituency Liberal Democrats who has campaigned vigorously within his party for self-determination for Gibraltar and who took an active part in our Referendum campaign, has welcomed enthusiastically the news flowing from what Denis MacShane said.

"It was with total astonishment that I read Denis MacShane's statement in the national newspapers," said Mr. Copus. "Not astonishment that the Labour Government has climbed down, but astonishment at the tone of the statement. ".....the possibility of achieving an agreement that would be accepted by the Gibraltarians is simply zero" - "Madrid and London have far more important matters to deal with" - "we no longer live in the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries" - and bringing Ceuta and Melilla into the equation. This is not the wishy-washy politics of Straw and Hain. It seems that the Government has at last bowed to the overwhelming pressure of the Gibraltarians and the British people to allow The Rock its democratic right to carry on its own, special way of life as it has done for centuries.

He added: "We must not lower our guard. Nothing is final in politics. But it seems pretty certain now that joint sovereignty has been thrown out of the window for a long time and, with Europe changing fast, I do not think we will see it raise its ugly head again."

The friend of Gibraltar went on to say: Together with Hilary Wines, Simon Hughes MP and Paul Keetch MP, and all those in the British Liberal Democrats from the top brass to the grass roots, who have nurtured your cause for the last eighteen months, we congratulate you and are proud to have been part of your fight for self-determination. Now for European representation. South-West constituency or London? Whichever, you can be sure we will all fight your corner in this Europe of the twenty-first century.

Call for Govt to concentrate on local issues

In the aftermath of the Dr Macshane’s statement, the Labour Party has called on the Government to concentrate on local issues. “We must now start concentrating on local issues” said the Leader of the Labour Party Daniel Feetham.

“Gibraltar faces many problems on the domestic front and whilst we appreciate that the last 18 months have been difficult for Gibraltar there really is little excuse for the situation to have deteriorated to the extent it has. Problems range from road traffic chaos to the state of our beaches and from the state of our health service to the return of a chronic housing problem despite the many Government flats that lie empty. We believe that although the GSD came to power in 1996 boasting an all-star election team in every department, the Government has sadly become a one-man team with the Chief Minister assuming responsibi-lity for the most minor problems affecting his administration. No wonder things do not get done”. 

“The high levels of pre-election public spending can only create problems for future generations and is designed to mask the failings of Government over the last few years. For instance, over recent weeks we have asked the Government to come clean as to the cost to the taxpayer of effectively rebuilding the Theatre Royal.

The Government has still refused to answer our legitimate questions. However, our information is that the estimated cost to the taxpayer ranges from £7 to £8 million.

That may or may not be accurate but it is up to the Government to be accountable to people by keeping the public informed. If the cost to the taxpayer is anything like £8 then that represents a massive outlay that the Government has simply not justified. The people of Gibraltar pay very high levels of tax and the Government needs to justify to those people the expenditure of their hard earned money. Ultimately we should be moving to a position where instead of spending people’s money, the Government should be giving some back to the people through tax cuts. 

That will be impossible if the Government continues to spend at the rate it is spending. At the very least we question the judgment of spending millions on a theatre while there are other areas which need the Government’s immediate attention”.

Photographic Society show off their best shots

The Gibraltar Photographic Society was officially opened last Monday evening by Bryan Powel of the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain, who was as the well the prizes adjudicator.

Featuring 240 prints and nearly 60 slides, the exhibition is divided in Colour Prints, Monochrome Prints and Beginners’ sections, stretching along the John Mackintosh Hall Gallery’s walls with remarkable snapshots of wildlife, landscapes, flora and various portraits.

For the year 2003, C. Cruz took home the Society Cup, the Fotolab Cup, the Harper Cup, the Crown Resources Cup and the Guerrero Memorial Cup, scooping first prize in the Monochrome Prints, Colour Prints, Slides, Slides on Gibraltar and Portrait Prints sections and second place in the Night Photography category, won by W. Watson who was awarded the Risso Memorial Cup.

W. Watson was also first runner-up in the Monochrome and Slides sections.

L. Linares was second runner-up in the Monochrome Prints and Slides section and first runner-up in the Colour Prints.

P. Redfern won the Booth Trophy and the H. Linares Cup for Beginners Portfolio and for Beginners Monochrome respectively.

The Pardo Cup for beginners was awarded to P. Redfern, closely followed by S. Freyone.

The Annual Competitive Photographic Exhibition has been held at the John Mackintosh Hall since 1965, when the Society was constituted, and used to feature only black & white prints.

Nowadays, the Society owns the hardware necessary to introduce members to the world of digital imaging. “We now have two computers, a small printer, a flatbed scanner and a film scanner. A number of Monday sessions are set aside for members to work with the equipment and software and as a result a few members have now become quite skilful in this medium. A number of prints in the exhibition have been produced this way” Society Chairman A.W. Harper explained.

The Photographic Society meets every Monday evening at the premises they were allocated in 1986 at Wellington Front, where there is a darkroom, officially inaugurated on the 26th November 1990 for the Silver Anniversary of the constitution of the Society.

They also organise courses for beginners and are affiliated to the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain, whose exhibitions they take active part.

The Exhibition is open to the public until Friday 20th June at the John Mackintosh Hall.

Government welcomes MacShane’s statement

The Gibraltar Government says it warmly welcomes the statements made in Madrid by Foreign Office Minister Denis MacShane.

The statement represents “a recognition of the democratic reality and also respect for the position of the people and Government of Gibraltar.” His statement also represents success for the Government’s intense and carefully deployed political campaign during the last 18 months and upholds the will of the people of Gibraltar, as reflected in the March 2002 Demonstration and the November Referendum, says the Government.

The future of Gibraltar must reflect the freely and democratically expressed wishes of the people of Gibraltar, exercising our political rights as a people. It cannot be the product of a desire to settle Spain’s anachronistic sovereignty claim on the basis of negotiations predetermined to transfer any part of our Sovereignty to Spain, and at the expense of our political rights as a people.

Commenting on the above, the Chief Minister said:

“This would appear to be a very good day for Gibraltar. It is due reward for the intensity and dignity with which Gibraltar has argued and defended its position during the last 18 months. We look forward to Mr MacShane’s forthcoming visit to Gibraltar.”

MacShane's policy must now be taken to its logical conclusion:
Abandon UN resolution, scrap Brussels

The Leader of the Opposition Joe Bossano has told the Spanish press over the weekend that the Opposition "is delighted and warmly welcomes" the policy announcement on Gibraltar made by Europe Minister Denis MacShane during his visit to Madrid. "This now needs to be taken to its logical conclusion which is for the United Kingdom to abandon the consensus resolution on Gibraltar at the United Nations and to scrap the Brussels negotiating process once and for all," said an Opposition statement.

Mr Bossano has already written to Dr Macshane to thank him for his comments.

The position adopted by Dr MacShane tallies with what the Opposition has been calling for all along. It would have been a shameful disregard of the wishes of the people of Gibraltar had the United Kingdom proceeded with negotiations to share any of our sovereignty after this principle had been overwhelmingly rejected in the referendum that took place last year.

REJECTION 

Dr MacShane's statement, says the Opposition, is a clear rejection of the announcement made by Ana Palacio that she expected to renew the negotiations and reach a sovereignty sharing agreement in a year. In response to this London has told Madrid that there is no prospect of having sovereignty discussions in less than 25 to 30 years from now and that even then the only basis on which this could happen is if the Gibraltarians were in favour. It will be recalled that this is exactly what the Opposition has been saying. We have said that the November referendum was a massive rejection of any sovereignty discussions with Spain, and that no more discussions can take place unless this is sanctioned beforehand by the people of Gibaltar in a future referendum.

The Alliance adds: Indeed, in his welcoming address to the new Governor Opposition Leader Joe Bossano repeated the advice that discussion on sovereignty should end. Mr Bossano also said the same thing to the Committee of 24.

The Opposition considers that this respect for the democratic rights of the people of Gibraltar should remain the central plank of British policy. In the context of the relaunch of the Brussels process the then Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Pique said that Spain would only continue with Brussels on the basis that specific power sharing arrangements were agreed with UK over competence in Gibraltar. Spain was not interested in mere words for the gallery but in substantive negotiations that would be concluded in a fixed period of time. The Spanish Foreign Minister also said that Madrid would terminate the Brussels process if these objectives were not met. The ball is now back in Spain's court.

"Given that the United Kingdom has now abandoned sovereignty discussions and that Spain has said it would not continue with the Brussels process if this happened, the best thing for Gibraltar now would be for the negotiations to be confined to the dustbin of history where they belong," they add. "Now it is more important than ever that we present the new decolonising constitution to the United Kingdom and that we push for the end of the United Nations consensus decision and the final scrapping of the Brussels process itself. The Opposition commits itself to campaign on these issues.

Garcia tells The Times: No sovereignty talks

The Leader of the Liberal Party Dr Joseph Garcia has said that the comments made by Europe Minister Denis MacShane have raised expectations in Gibraltar that discussion of our sovereignty with Spain will be abandoned once and for all. Dr Garcia has made these comments in a letter sent to "The Times" newspaper.

The Liberal Leader tells the newspaper that in the same way as the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands is not a matter for discussion with Argentina, the sovereignty of Gibraltar should not be matter for discussion with Spain either. This was in fact the position over Gibraltar until implicitly the signing of the Lisbon Agreement in 1980 and explicitly the signing of the Brussels Agreement in 1984. It is good to see London move away from the disastrous plan to share sovereignty in a show of respect for the wishes of the people of Gibraltar as expressed in the referendum in November 2002.

Dr Garcia has said that Mr MacShane's comments are welcome, but what the Foreign and Commonwealth Office must do now is support the democratic decolonisation of Gibraltar in accordance with the right of the Gibraltarians to self-determination.

Spanish anger at MacShane’s comments 

The comments by Europe minister Denis MacShane have caused anger in official circles in Spain, with his Spanish counterpart Ramon de Miguel criticising them as ‘inappropriate’.

The Spanish official expressed ‘surprise’ by the comments, which he thought were out of place, given the spirit that permeates the Spanish and British government on the question of Gibraltar. He saw them as a desire to break the negotiations.

MacShane’s linkage of Gibraltar with Ceuta and Melilla has caused a particular stir. He had told El Mundo that Gibraltar is historically linked to the UK in the same way that Ceuta and Melilla are with Spain. 

People in Gibraltar felt British in the same way as those in Ceuta and Melilla felt Spanish.

PERSUASION 

The way forward is by persuasion and not by applying pressure, by cooperation and not by confrontation, said the Foreign Office minister. He called for a period of calm, of friendly relations “in this corner of Europe” and, in years to come, we can carry on going forward.

Gibraltar could be part of a new and dynamic regional Europe in a corner of Spain, said de Miguel, who added that an advance by one side should not be seen as defeat by the other.The line taken by MacShane, also in El Pais, is that he doubts that the people of Gibraltar are to welcome an important change in their status. He called for a long period of improved relations.

OFFENSIVE 

The Opposition PSOE party wanted a firm response from the Spanish government to what they saw as “offensive and dangerous” remarks by MacShane. It was dangerous to compare Gibraltar to Ceuta and Mellilla, he added. He saw MacShane’s remarks as a reply to the recent letter sent by Spanish prime minister Aznar to Tony Blair, calling for further negotiations. He though MacShane was pulling a fast one on Spain. But the initial reaction from a spokesman for the ruling PP party said it was ‘nothing new’. The shock statement by MacShane is being used by the opposition in Spain to try and show that the Madrid government are failing in many areas. de Miguel has meanwhile said that at the meeting last Friday there was no reference to Gibraltar’s negotiations. 

He could not understand how a European colleague could not understand the difference between Ceuta and Memilla, and Gibraltar. Ceuta and Melilla, he added, are integral parts of Spain and thus are part of the EU, while Gibraltar is a non-selfgoverning territory, is a colony subject to a process of decolonization, which features in the EU treaty as a non-self governing territory.

Ceuta and Melilla have never been colonies, he added, and are not colonies.

An opportunity for Foreign Office to fall in line with democratic principles, says SDGG

The SDGG welcomes certain public statements made by the Minister for Europe, Denis MacShane on Saturday following his meeting with the Spanish Minister for Europe Ramon de Miguel, and will be writing to him to that effect. The statements we welcome are:

Firstly in answer to the question :”A year ago the UK was willing to sign at least a declaration of its intention to share sovereignty with Spain even if it were rejected by the Gibraltarians; is this still the position?” He answered, “Once again my opinion is that in modern democratic Europe it is very dangerous to do things without the democratic consent of the people”. 

Secondly in answer to the question “All this implies that the offer of an agreement over Gibraltar which London put forward has been withdrawn, does it not?” he answered : “It happened that it was not possible to reach a satisfactory agreement. I think it was a positive year, since it allowed London and Madrid to examine their differences in great depth, but we no longer live in the 18th or 19th centuries, when diplomats could sign treaties and peoples had to obey them. We live in a world of modern citizens, where anyone has the democratic right to express his or her point of view and, for the citizens and Parliament of Britain, the chances of achieving an agreement which is not accepted by the Gibraltarians are simply zero. 

I think it is honest to say this, because I hold Spain in affection, I like this country, I think we did a good job together, but I have been in politics for too long to waste my time banging my head against a wall.”

These comments, the departure of Sir Emyr Jones Parry, an architect of the failed process, and the arrival of a new Governor are three factors which together give current diplomats in Foreign Office an opportunity to alter the F&CO attitude to Gibraltar to fall in line with democratic principles. The SDGG has made a proposal, now with the United Nations decoloni-sation Committee and, separa-tely, with the Foreign Office, that this is a time for a third way to “resolve all differences” between the UK and Spain over Gibraltar; namely seriously contemplating a campaign to remove the “national wish” for sovereignty over Gibraltar from Spanish public opinion which was instilled through the school curriculum during the years of the non-democratic regime. 

The group will be pressing for such a strategy to be adopted and supported by others, and continuing to work itself in its implementation.

Labour welcomes Ceuta and Melilla comparison

Reacting to the news in El Pais newspaper suggesting that Mr. Macshane had poured cold water over the future of any negotiations based on joint sovereignty and that he had told his Spanish counterpart that the people of Gibraltar are as British as the people of Ceuta and Melilla are Spanish, Daniel Feetham, the Leader of the Labour Party said: “We welcome the fact that the British Government appears to have finally accepted the results of last November’s referendum on joint sovereignty and finally recognised that the people of Gibraltar will not sell their homeland.”

WOUNDED

Dr Macshane should reflect on the fact that the people of Gibraltar have been deeply wounded in the last 18 months, more so by the disloyalties of the Blair Government to the loyal people of Gibraltar, than by the actions of the Spanish Government, whose obsessive and undemocratic attitude against us we have endured for decades. 

They add: We hope that this more robust attitude is translated into a formal withdrawal in Parliament, of last year’s Westminster Declaration in which the Foreign Secretary agreed to share sovereignty in principle. That declaration was an offensive and gratuitous concession in circumstances where nothing was gained by the British Government in making it. A withdrawal of that statement would go some way in rebuilding a climate of confidence between Gibraltar and the British Government.

The party believes that re-creating that climate is essential.

Despite the shameful way in which the British Government has treated Gibraltar over the last 18 months, the reality of the situation is that our greatest friends during the same period have been British Parliamen-tarians and the British people.

Britain continues to be our only friend and ally. 

It is absolutely imperative, not only for Gibraltar, but for the British Government, that the British and Gibraltar Governments rebuild the shattered confidence of the last 18 months and create the basis of a working relationship that takes into account the interests of both Governments. 

The fact is that it is in the interests of both Governments to rebuild that relationship. In this respect we also welcome the statements made by Governor last week that he sees the rebuilding of mutual trust and confidence as a priority for him. 

DANGEROUS

They say they also welcome the comparison between Gibraltar on the one hand and Ceuta and Melilla on the other. It is not surprising that the PSOE’s secretary for intenational relations, Sr Martin, believes that this comparison is a dangerous one for Spain. 

It is dangerous on two levels. Firstly it exposes the hypocracy of Spain’s position when it seeks to distinguish between its claim to Gibraltar and Morroco’s claim to its North African territories. Secondly, Spain has always relied on the argument that Ceuta and Melilla are an integrated part of Spain and whereas Gibraltar is a colony. 

We believe that integrating Gibraltar into the United Kingdom would shut the door firmly on Spain’s claim to Gibraltar and there would truly be absolutely no difference between the three territories. Sr. Marin obviously knows that to be the case. The people of Gibraltar would do well to reflect that they should not agree to relinquishing their colonial status for any less secure than that enjoyed by Ceuta and Melilla, to which Dr Macshane compared Gibraltar. 

Again we also welcome last weeks statement by the Governor that it is for the people of Gibraltar to decide whether they wished to be decolonised by integrating with the United Kingdom.

The smallest versus the biggest!

By Joe Garcia

Trying to get statistics in Gibraltar can be an uphill task. Apart from what is a statutory requirement, a range of statistical information is tucked away, which raises the question as to why so much public money is spend in producing the statistics if they become a precious, private commodity.

How much trade goes on between the USA and Gibraltar? If you want all the details ask the US government!

Information we have acquired shows how one of the smallest economies (that's us) fares with the world's biggest!

The balance of trade is in America's favour, that's no real surprise. Figures for the last 5 years show that, last year for example, there was a balance of over 24 million dollars in their favour - although in 1999 we actually exported more to the USA than they exported to us!

How did we achieve such an incredible situation? The mystery is to be found in 'commodities and transactions', which accounted for almost all our exports to them. How about that!

U.S. EXPORTS

Fuel oil is the biggest U.S. export to Gibraltar, jumping to over 12 million dollars last year, compared to around 5 millions the previous two years.

Alcoholic drinks have been increasing, from 84,000 dollars in 1988 to 226,000 dollars last year -so the Americans are intent in getting us drunk!

American cars reached a new peak in 2000, but they have been racing down since then from 370,000 to 84,000 dollars.

Tobacco has also been going down, from nearly 1.5 million dollars in 1988 to 68,000 in 2001 - although they went up last year to 227,000 dollars.

Jewellery and computers are on the increase, but rice has gone down to zero. So have 'logs and lumber'.

Parts for civilian aircraft totalled nearly 3 million last year, but this was a one-off, as this is not something we bring over on a regular basis.

And suddenly last year, trucks and buses accounted for 48,000 dollars. What's going one?

The year 2000 was a good one for American pleasure boats, rising to 1.5 million dollars, but this has tapered off.

GIB'S EXPORTS TO USA

And when it comes to what we sell the USA, this totalled just over a million dollars last year, although the previous year it was twice that. And we have hit the 9 - million dollar mark.

But what do we sell them. since we do not produce anything?

A surprise last year was 586,000 dollars worth of paper and paper products, something we had never exported before. If you think that's strange, what about the 171,000 dollars worth of zinc we sold them the year before?

And two years ago we sent them an aircraft's engine, this was worth 239,000 dollars.

Industrial machinery used to be good business, but it went down to zero in 2001, although last year it rose to 4,000 dollars, when we also exported 97,000 dollars worth of computer accessories - how about that!

The furniture business went up in 2001 to a staggering 834,000 dollars. And in 1999 we sold them stone worth 28,000 dollars. They are not taking away the Rock, are they?!

This is regular business:

Coins. That stood at 762,000 dollars in 1988 - and has been going down ever since, reaching 255,000 last year.

And another regular feature in 'exports' is listed as "US goods returned", which totalled over 8 million in a recent year. It must be that we buy from them and then return the goods to them! That must be the secret of our success as exporters to The USA!

Britain rejects any early solution to Gibraltar issue

MADRID: Europe minister Dents Macshane has rejected any notion that there can be an early negotiated solution to the Gibraltar issue, he said here.

It confirms that the meeting on Friday with his Spanish counterpart Ramon de Miguel did not feature Gibraltar as a main topic, as PANORAMA forecast before the meeting, It shows that Britain has taken due note of the referendum result which does not allow room for manoeuvre, and backs the view of those in Gibraltar who say that if there is a strong No from Gibraltar, there is no hope of Britain engaging in a transfer of sovereignty to Spain.

'I doubt that at the present time we can seriously expect the Gibraltar question to be returned to the negotiating table in the hope of achieving results,' he told the daily El Pais.

The minister was rejecting any prospect of the people of Gibraltar approving any important change to their status. He called for a long period of calm and friendly relations with Spain.

He did not think any movement would come during his tenure of office or even before several successors, pointing at short-term solutions being out of the question.

'IMMOVABLE'

Mr MacShane has described the UK position on retaining sole control of the base as being 'immovable'.

Meanwhile, there has been a political stir in Spain to the remark that Gibraltar is to Britain what Ceuta and Melilla are to Spain. This has provoked the opposition PSOE party to adopt a critical stance against the Spanish government.

Gibraltar in Parliament

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Gibraltar and Morocco: Territorial Waters

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty’s Government: Whether any talks have taken place between the United Kingdom and Spain in relation to the territorial waters between Gibraltar and Morocco

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: No.

DISCUSSIONS

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with his Spanish counterpart concerning Gibraltar, and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ingram: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence has not had any recent discussions with his Spanish counterpart concerning Gibraltar.

QUESTIONS

PATROLS

Mr. Bernard Jenkin (North Essex): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent representatives he has received from the Spanish Government in respect of British and NATO warships patrolling the straits of Gibraltar.

CONSTITUENCY

Mr. John MacDougall (Central Fife): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when he expects to make a decision on which constituency is to include Gibraltar for the next European elections.

ANGUILLA

Andrew Rosindell (Romford): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations the British Government made to the recent meeting of the UN Decolonisation Committee in Anguilla.

ASSESSMENT

Andrew Rosindell (Romford): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for the remaining British colonies resulting from the recent meeting of the UN Decolonisation Committee in Anguilla.

STATEMENT

Andrew Rosindell (Romford): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make a statement on the recent meeting of the UN Decolonisation Committee in Anguilla.

GIB VISIT?

Andrew Rosindell (Romford): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what plans the Minister for Europe has to visit Gibraltar.

QUEEN’S VISIT

Andrew Rosindell (Romford): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with Buckingham Palace regarding a potential visit to Gibraltar by Her Majesty The Queen.

Liverpool-Gib link mooted

The possibiliy of establishing links between Liverpool and Gibraltar has been considered by visiting Liberal Democrat city councillor Kiron Reid and Liberal party leader Dr Joseph Garcia.

First link established: That Dr Garcia supports Liverpool Football Club! 

The LibDems control Liverpool city council.

Mr Reid was briefed by Dr Garcia on the events leading up to the referendum and was given a 5-page briefing paper on the political situation in Gibraltar.

Dr Garcia explained that the future of Gibraltar could only be decided by the people of Gibraltar in exercise of their right to self-determination.

LAST WEEK'S STORIES 

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