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Government gets petition on Camp Bay facilities

Hundreds of people have signed a petition asking the government to keep certain facilities at Camp Bay open the whole year round - and what they want makes sense.

The petition is by regular users of Camp Bay, and they appeal to the government to keep the toilet facilities and refuse bins available throughout the winter months. Nothing unreasonable about that.

The petition says: Camp Bay offers the best, pollution-free environment for families to use the wide open space and playground facilities all year round and it is ridiculous and hazardous to health not to have a toilet open, if only during the afternoon, and rubbish bins which are emptied regularly.

Surely it is not much to ask in a place like Gibraltar with limited areas for recreation.

The petition adds: One only has to pass by on a Sunday afternoon in winter to see the hundreds of families using Camp Bay, and there is not a bin in sight, and with no toilet available, one cannot blame parents for taking children behind rocks or buildings as, with the one-way traffic, it would take too long to leave, find a toilet and drive all the way round to come back in.

"Nowhere else in a Mediterranean resort would you find a beach/playground facility closing down the toilets as soon as the official bathing season is over - and Gibraltar needs to change if it wants to be recognised as a tourist resort, they say.

And they add: In the same way that the Western Beach problem was resolved immediately, we at Camp Bay, who have been asking Government for years to keep the facilities open, appeal once again and trust that this time our request will be granted.

About 300 people are said to have already signed the petition.

Death after arrest: appeal for witnesses

The police have issued an appeal for witnesses as part of the investigation into the death of Matthew Chichon, 30,following his arrest. Details of events have now been released by the RGP.

At 12.29pm on Saturday 30th August, police were called to the Glacis Estate regarding an allegation of a male being drunk in a public place.

Upon attendance, at 12.40pm, they arrested a 30 year old male.

He was taken to New Mole Police Station where he was placed in a cell.

MONITORED

His condition was monitored and is covered by closed circuit television which was video recorded.

At 5.13pm he was found not to be breathing and First Aid (CPR) was given.

An ambulance was called and arrived at 5.19pm.

He was taken to St. Bernard’s Hospital arriving at 5.30 pm.

Continuous life support was given during the journey and following arrival at hospital.

At 5.55pm he was pronounced deceased.

He was named as Matthew Chichon, who came from the area. An internal police investigation was commenced. On Sunday 31st August, RGP Commissioner, Joe Ullger requested Officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) to take over the investigation.

Detective Superintendent Russell Penny, with a small team from the MPS and a Home Office Pathologist, arrived in Gibraltar on Monday 1st September.

D/Supt. Penny heads Specialist Investigations of the MPS DPS. The unit specialises in investigating deaths following contact with police.

D/Supt. Penny and his team have been sworn as officers of the RGP to empower them to conduct a full investigation.

AUTOPSY

Dr Peter Jerreat conducted an autopsy in the presence of local pathologist Dr Tadeusz Piedrzychi the same day.

HM Coroner, Anthony Dudley will hold an inquest at the conclusion of the investigation.

Further toxicology and histology tests will be carried out before any conclusions are reached as to the exact cause of death.

The police investigation will include the circumstances and manner of Mr Chichon’s arrest and subsequent detention.

Detective Superintendent Penny wishes to trace any witnesses to Mr Chichon’s arrest or his movements earlier on Saturday 30th August. His team can be contacted at the incident room at New Mole House Police Station through 72500, says the RGP.

Independence Party thanked

Mr Albert Poggio, the UK representative of the Government of Gibraltar, thanked the U.K. Independence Party for its support in the recent battle to prevent the British government from transferring 50% of the colony’s sovereignty to Spain against the wishes of the Gibraltarian people. 

Mr Poggio was the guest of honour at a dinner to mark the 10th anniversary of the founding of the U.K. Independence Party, held at Porters Restaurant in London. 

He said that he “thanked the UKIP leadership, its members and the people of Britain for their staunch support in the recent successful battle to prevent the Blair government transferring sovereignty of Gibraltar to Spain”, and added that there was “a growing public awareness in Gibraltar of UKIP”, and mentioned significant newspaper coverage in the Gibraltar press highlighting UKIP’s part in the campaign. U.K. Independence Party Leader Roger Knapman said, “I am enormously encouraged to hear that support for UKIP is growing in Gibraltar as it is across the rest of the UK. UKIP will continue to fight for Gibraltar’s right to self-determination”.

Civil servants union not prepared to have its members lambasted by expert

The GGCA Branch of Prospect says it is not prepared to sit back and have its Civil Service members targeted and lambasted in the media by another so called ‘expert’ from the UK. Mrs Marilyn Boggust, Health Care Development Team Programme Director is out of order in her condemnation of the Human Resource department, Information Technology department and Management Structure within the Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA). "We are not aware that she is an ‘expert’ on the Gibraltar Civil Service, General Orders, Colonial Regulations and Gibraltar Employment Legislation. As always the Civil Servants are an easy ‘whipping post’ and yet take away all clerical and administrative grades from their desks and Gibraltar would grind to a halt," says the union.

It adds: No mention of any other department, no doctors, consultants, nurses, technicians or industrials to name but a few, have been highlighted by Mrs Boggust in her media reports. Therefore the statements made by Mrs Boggust must be publicly retracted and nothing less than a public apology to those affected by the comments made. 

Mrs Boggust should be made aware that the Civil Servants in post at the GHA have never shied away from their duties knowing that patient’s lives would be at risk should they do so. In this respect the excellent work carried out by the clerical and administrative grades working within the constraints of General Orders and Colonial Regulations, as far as the GHA is concerned, should be commended and not criticised, says the union.

Mrs Boggust questions the lack of expertise and management skills in the Human Resources department of the GHA, yet the Human Resource Manager came from Government’s Personnel department after serving there for some seven years. The Human Resources Manager within the GHA deals with all aspects of managing a staff of over 700 with a complement of just four, including herself. Mrs Boggust should have made comparisons with other Government Human Resources departments who also find themselves under great pressure with far more resources and staff, before condemning the Human Resources department at the GHA. If Mrs Boggust is to criticise the Human Resources department in the GHA, she should do so objectively and present all the aspects of the department. 

The union adds: As for the comment relating to the Information Technology department having ‘very limited knowledge of information technology’, Mrs Boggust failed to comment on the fact that there are 150 computers within the organisation of which approximately 130 are networked making this perhaps one of the largest computer networks in Gibraltar. This has been achieved by pure dedication of the GHA clerical/admin staff with the technical support of one IT Officer. It should also be noted that the management within the GHA had highlighted long before the Clinical Governance Team or Mrs Boggust’s presence in Gibraltar, that more technical support was needed. 

More serious are the comments made about the Management Structure, which Mrs Boggust has not clarified to any length. We must point out that the ‘Management Structure’ within the GHA is made up mainly by clinicians. Any criticisms in this area levied against the Clerical and Administrative side of the Management Structure are unjustified and this association will not allow these to go unchallenged. The general public can be assured that the management team are not only capable but also professional within the constraints placed upon them. Comments like ‘we do believe there are some areas around the leadership and management of the GHA where their needs to be greater capabilities’ without any clarification of what this means is unhelpful at this stage to say the least.

We are aware that very little, if any, information was sought by the Team from the Clerical and Administrative grades with direct reference to the work practices and overwhelming workloads that the officers have to cope with on a daily basis. Therefore, the comments and ‘findings’ of the Team in these areas are questionable as no substantial groundwork or investigations have been carried out in support of these. We take great exception to the fact that the GGCA Branch of Prospect has not had the opportunity, as other unions, to be invited to meetings with the Health Care Development Team, and contrary to Mrs Boggust’s comments in the Gibraltar Chronicle (28th August) we have not been given a copy of the draft Executive Summary.

British campaign for George Cross Medal’ comes to Gibraltar

A SOUTH WEST DELEGATION will be meeting the Chief Minister Peter Caruana next Thursday - to lobby for his support in a British campaign to award the people of Gibraltar the `George Cross Medal` for nearly three-hundred years of loyal service to the Crown.

Members of the Golden Hinde Association will be out on Main Street again during National Day celebrations. 

And, collecting signatures from the people of Gibraltar in support of the Rock being given Britain`s highest honour. Especially, for gallantry for the men & women of Gibraltar who served Britain in WW2, when Britain stood alone. But specifically, for nearly three-hundred years of loyal service to the British nation being celebrated next year.

Kevin Kelway said: "Supporters are hoping MPs, MEPs, Gibraltarian politicians, War Veterans, community and pressure groups will support the campaign. Which will move on across the UK. 

And crucially, ending on the floor of the House of Commons and a motion being put down by Westminster MPs. 

If the (UK) Government gave the people of Gibraltar the `George Cross Medal` it would heal some of the political wounds of the last few years. But underline, how the British people feel about the Rock and our Gibraltarian allies".

AIRLINKS WITH THE ROCK

Meanwhile Plymouth campai-gners will also be lobbying for Exeter Airport to be chosen for a new air link with the Rock to build on future business, commercial, political, and tourist opportunities with the territory. Exeter in Devon is being pushed to set up the valuable route which is in the centre of the region. 

It has excellent communication, train, and motorway links and the Capital of the County. Supporters have written to the Regional Development Agency requesting they now intervene to start off the processes. Already, other political parties across the region are beginning to step up the campaign for airlinks with the Rock to be established. 

Kevin Kelway said: "I am meeting Marielou Guerrero, chairman, of the Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses to lobby for Exeter. And talk about the tourist & business opportunities such an air link can bring for our region. The air bridge outside of the London area is now vital and strategic for the new Euro seat".

CELEBRATIONS 

Mr Kelway, group coordinator, added: "I am looking forward to taking part in National Day celebrations with the VOGG, and other community & pressure groups. I am looking forward to cracking open a bottle of champagne to celebrate our new political links with the Rock, especially with my Gibraltarian friends".

Opposition slam Spain over athletics issue

The Opposition welcomes the news that Spain has failed in its bid to undermine the position of Gibraltar in the World Athletics Federation. 

"We congratulate all those persons from the Gibraltar Amateur Athletics Association who were involved in scuppering the Spanish assault," says a statement.

The Opposition recall that many years ago a political edict was issued by Spain's Consejo Superior de Deportes instructing all Spanish sporting associations to object to any membership application by the corresponding Gibraltar Federation. 

This has led to problems for the Gibraltar Football Association's attempt to join FIFA and in a separate development even for membership of the International Olympic Committee. 

There have also been problems in cases like this one where Gibraltar is already a member.

APPLAUDS 

The Opposition applauds the decision of 107 of the 156 countries present to vote against the amendment proposed by the Spanish federation to change the rules by removing the word "territory" from the title. 

This would have excluded Gibraltar from membership because we are not an independent state as such, and is similar to the tactic used by the Spanish Football Federation to exclude Gibraltar from FIFA.

SHAMEFUL

The Opposition add that it is "shameful that Spain should continue to use its membership of world sporting associations to exclude or eject Gibraltar. 

This mixing of politics and sport is deplorable and shows up the undemocratic attitude of the Spanish Government and their hostility to Gibraltar."

A GSLP/Liberal Government would be totally committed to support Gibraltar's sporting associations interested in obtaining membership of their corresponding European and international body. We are committed to back financially any legitimate legal action that may result as a consequence of objections by Spain.

Gibraltar scholars rewarded

Fifteen Gibraltar scholars - a record number - were rewarded yesterday for their fine exam results. They each achieved a minimum of three 'A' level grades in one sitting.

Their achievements were celebrated yesterday with a presentation of certificates and £100 each. Education minister Dr Bernard Linares presided at the happy event.

Top of the list was Lianne Vella who has the distinction of having been among the top ten students not just from Gibraltar but from the whole of the UK to attain the highest grade in English literature.

Well done to her and to the others: Elicia Bravo, Stephanie Butron, Georgina Caruana, Michael Chevasco, Arianne Falero, Paul Garesse, James Gordon, Joelle Hernandez, Richard Key, Janine Montero, Louis Olivero, Robert Pallas, Aaron Payas and Emma Seruya.

Reform goes green in Lancaster

The Reform Party has been invited to attend the Autumn

Conference of the Green Party at St.Martin's College, Lancaster.

The guest-speakers will include Reform Party Leader Lyana

Armstrong-Emery, London mayor Ken Livingstone, Billy Hayes

(general secretary of the Communication Workers' Union) and Mark

Serwotka (general secretary, Public & Commercial Services Union).

Reform Party Leader said she looked forward to re-emphasising

Gibraltar's case among such a distinguished gathering...

Plan to undermine the Gibraltar Government

The recent conclusion by a UK judge about ‘state-created crime’ has lifted the lid on what the authorities can get up to, not only in crime matters but also in political issues.

It “undoubtedly came as a relief to the foreign office and M16 that Judge Bathurst-Norman made no reference to the key role played in the ‘sting’ during the early 90’s by the ‘spooks’ who were then looking for compromising information about the government of Gibraltar which could make it more amenable to a settlement with Spain” reports Private Eye.

But Spanish court records suggest that a fugitive British gangster - named in the Finch/Bossino trial - was not only the Yard’s but also M16’s secret weapon in an undercover operation by the foreign office to undermine the Gibraltar chief minister Joe Bossano, says the report.

‘DIRTY TRICKS’

There have always been allegations of ‘dirty tricks’ campaigns, not only against politicians.

The Spanish court records are the only public evidence of dirty tricks aimed at the Gibraltar government.

The British fugitive revealed that he had used a false passport supplied by UK police to obtain information against the then Attorney General John Blackburn-Gittings. It is alleged that Gittings was falsely accused, had his telephone tapped and subsequently resigned but only after the foreign office withdrew the allegations and paid him £100,000, He went on to Botswana as a high court judge.

The former attorney general says he believes there was an attempt to discredit him “because he refused to toe Whitehall’s line against Bossano” says the report.

PRESSURE

In Gibraltar political circles it is often said that chief ministers who refuse to do as they are told end up facing all kinds of pressure from shady figures who think they can act as they please in the “UK national interest”, they deciding what that interest is.

Relations with Spain. and the striking of a deal with Spain, represent hot political potatoes, then and now.

Bossano was against giving up sovereignty, and Caruana has also taken a lead against any sharing of sovereignty with Spain. It is not known if Caruana is, or has been, under any pressure.

KNIGHTHOOD

It is said in political circles that it was once hinted to Bossano that he could receive a Knighthood if he softened his stance on the Spanish issue. and that Bossano refused.

The alternative was an attempt at discrediting him.

Integration demonstration plan denied

The Integration movement say they are not organising a pro-integration demonstration on National Day.

The denial follows rumours circulating that the IWBM is organising such a demonstration.

"This is totally untrue and false. The IWBM is not organising a demonstration of any kind – the IWBM is a peaceful non-partisan movement," PANORAMA was told by chairman Joe Caruna, who obviously thinks a demonstration is not a peaceful event.

The IWBM will be celebrating as everyone else in Gibraltar on the 10th September as the 35th anniversary of the 1st Referendum, which voted for Gibraltar to remain British.

"We are advising our members and friends to commemorate this significant day with the theme ‘Keep Gibraltar British Forever’," the IWBM says.

However, they then disclose that the IWBM will be holding a public meeting on the eve of National Day on the theme of ‘Keep Gibraltar British with Devolved Integration’, which could have sparked off the rumours.

Opposition response to Rajoy:Give Spain no hope

The Opposition predicted yesterday that the new leader of Spain's Partido Popular Mariano Rajoy would be no different to his predecessor Jose Maria Aznar on the Gibraltar issue. 

This analysis has now been proved correct.

It is highly significant that in his first keynote speech as leader-designate of the Partido Popular, Mr Rajoy has not wasted a moment in restating what he described as Spain's "permanent claim" to Gibraltar.

The Opposition consider that it would be unwise to expect any changes in Spanish policy when Mr Rajoy takes over from Mr Aznar. 

ANACHRONISTIC CLAIM

It is obvious that none of them have understood that in the modern democratic Europe that we are living in, it is the Spanish claim to Gibraltar that is an anachronism.

The way forward can only be through the right to self-determination of the people of Gibraltar.

In a separate development, the Opposition consider that the inclusion of Gibraltar as part of Andalucia by Izquierda Unida is nothing more than wishful thinking because it will never happen.

The party yesterday announced their policy on the reform of the Constitution of Andalucia in a move towards a federal structure for Spain. 

This included changes to 26 of the 75 constitutional articles of Andalucia's statute of autonomy. In the second article on the reform of these statutes Izquierda Unida included "the enclave of Gibraltar" as part of the territory of Andalucia.

The Opposition consider that they must be living in cloud cuckoo land if they think that there is the slimest hope of Gibraltar ever becoming part of the neighbouring region of Spain in any shape or form. 

The people of Gibraltar have made their wishes known in two referenda in 1967 and 2002 and this is clearly not going to change.

IMPORTANT 

The Opposition consider that given this scenario it is all the more important to give Spain no hope. This requires the rejection of any discussion of sovereignty and a rejection of the Brussels negotiating process. 

It is significant that the Partido Popular on the right of the spectrum and Izquierda Unida on the left both have similar long term objectives which involve incorporating Gibraltar into Spain. 

This is why the Opposition has long maintained that it is important to stimulate contact with those responsible political parties in Spain that are sympathetic to Gibraltar and to the principle of self-determination. 

This is the easiest and most sensible way to get our message across to the Spanish political classes.

Garcia tells Liberal newsletter of Euro-voting situation

The latest edition of "LI-News", the newsletter of Liberal International, includes a contribution from Liberal Party Leader Dr Joseph Garcia informing readers of the latest developments in relation to Spain's actions following the enfranchisement of Gibraltar for European elections. 

In the article he says that the right to vote is a fundamental democratic right.

CIRCULATION 

The newsletter is widely circulated by e-mail to Liberal politicians all over the world and the Gibraltar item has been incorporated as the first news item in this edition. Other items in a global agenda cover the Liberal International internal elections and the political situation in Burma and Cambodia.

Dr Garcia explains in the newsletter that the people of Gibraltar have for many years been the only EU nationals resident in EU territory who do not vote in elections to the European Parliament. 

He adds that the issue was taken to the European Court of Human Rights in February 1999 and the Court ruled Britain in breach of the Convention. 

Dr Garcia traces how London's attempt to amend European law were blocked by Madrid.

The Liberal Leader explains in "LI-News" that in May 2003 Britain changed its own European electoral law in order to combine Gibraltar with one of its own Euro-constituencies. He explains that this was passed throughParliament with the strong support of the British Liberal Democrats. 

Dr Garcia then informs readers of the newsletter that Spain has filed acomplaint with the European Commission on the matter, and that the UK, for its part, has said that it is confident of its legal position and will robustly defend the action.

ACTION 

"The next elections to the European Parliament are due in less than a year in June 2004. 

This action by the Government of Spain has created further uncertainty as to whether Gibraltarians will finally be able to vote for a voice in a Parliament that has an increasing say over what happens there. 

This is a fundamental democratic right," Dr Garcia has told.

The mayoress from Gibraltar

A Gibraltarian wife is the mayor's wife of a London borough. She is Lucy Cahill, nee Ryman, sister of the well-known stamp designer Freddie Ryman, now deceased.

"I believe that she is the first Gibraltarian to attain this post of mayoress in UK and most certainly in London. 

For those Gibralterians who have lived in the area, Havering consists of Horncurch, Romford and Upminster in the main. 

There are many other smaller areas," says her husband.

Havering became a London Borough in 1965 and is the second largest of the 32 London Boroughs with a population of 230.000.

They married in 1958 at St. Joseph's Church in Gibraltar whilst he was in the local Police.

"We returned soon afterwards to the UK.

We have visited many times to see the family, Marivy , Freddie's wife, still lives in Schomberg House," he told us.

Spain claim

In his speech on taking over as PP party leader, Mariano Rajoy spoke yesterday about Spanish foreign policy objectives, including "the permanent claim to Gibraltar".

As predicted in PANORAMA yesterday, PP policy on Gibraltar will not change because there has been a change of leader.

Gibraltar included as part of Andalucia in proposed new status

Gibraltar has been included as part of Andalucia in plans for a new Andalusian status. It comes as Spanish political parties and regions start to take up positions as pressure to re-draw the political map of Spain gains momentum.

The Basque leader Juan jose Ibarretxe yesterday called on the new PP leader Mariano Rajoy to be less 'intolerant and authoritarian' than Aznar, confirming that he will be presenting his 'free association' plan towards the end of September.

REFORM

Although Rajoy, when taking up his new post, appeared to be as inflexible as his predecessor, the question of reform to the autonomies is being taken for granted by regional politicians.

The left-wing Izquierda Unida has come up with reforms to 26 articles of the 75 that make up the current Andalusian autonomy status.

Spokesman Antonio Romero said that as Catalunya, Galicia and the Basque country made moves, so should Andalucia as otherwise it would be left behind in new self-governing measures.

In article 2 of the left-wingers reform plans, Gibraltar has been included as part of the territory of Andalucia.

INTEGRATION

It shows that Spanish politicians remain immersed in their hope to incorporate Gibraltar as part of the Spanish state in whatever shape or form. Such a concept of integration with Spain has been rejected even by those few nearest to doing a deal with Spain, as they seem to draw a distinction between striking a deal with Spain, as a separate entity, and becoming an integral part of the Spanish state.

Reacting to right-wing ideas that the Spanish constitution is there for all, and that there cannot be break-away moves, Sr Romero is one of those who says that, in seeking reform, it cannot be said that the constitution is untouchable. He speaks of Spain as a federal state.

CONSTITUTION 

As the Spanish regions themselves make moves for greater self-government, it is obvious that Gibraltar itself, in its relationship with Britain, cannot remain stuck in an old constitution that has been overtaken by events since 1969. - JOE GARCIA.

Traffic trial becomes permanent

The traffic arrangements that were introduced at Cornwall’s Parade and at the south end of Engineer’s Lane, on a trial basis, to improve the traffic circulation and general safety in the area have proved successful, says a Government press release. Therefore, Government has approved that these measures be implemented on a permanent basis. 

The works commenced on Tuesday on the widening and repaving of the footway along the east side of Cornwall’s Parade, from the junction with Engineer’s Lane to Benzimra’s Alley and will take 5 weeks to complete. 

This will be followed with the laying of infrastructure and paving at Engineer’s Lane from the junction with Cornwall’s Parade and the access road to the car park at Engineer’s Lane and the erection of permanent traffic signals. The second stage will have a duration of 4 weeks.

"During the works at Cornwall’s Parade, there will not be any traffic implications and pedestrians will be diverted accordingly. Prior to starting the works at Engineer’s Lane, information will be released on the traffic flow and restrictions that will be implemented as the area to be paved will require road closure," added the statement sent to PANORAMA.

Sports trophy

As in previous years a number of sports events have been organised by sports associations each competing for the Gibraltar Trophy sponsored by the Government of Gibraltar, as part of the National Day Celebrations.

Nineteen different sports are organising events this year which will involve many hundreds of Sportspersons in competition. The Minister for Sport will be visiting most of the events and will this year be presenting the Gibraltar Trophy, for each sport, and miniatures for the winners at the Mount on Monday 8 September.

Message to new PP Leader - Gibraltar belongs to the Gibraltarians

The Opposition welcomes the fact that Mr Aznar leaves office with the dubious distinction of being added to the long list of Spanish Prime Ministers who have failed to obtain the sovereigny of Gibraltar. The news that Mariano Rajoy will replace Jose Maria Aznar as the Partido Popular candidate for Prime Minister of Spain in the 2004 elections suggests that there will not be any change in the policy towards Gibraltar.

It will be recalled that the relaunch of the Brussels negotiating process in July 2001 was the mechanism through which the outgoing Spanish Prime Minister attempted to get his hands on Gibraltar. His accomplices were the British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, and the then Europe Minister Peter Hain. "The possibility of such a deal being done has still been left open on the basis that they reach agreement on the three so-called red line issues," says a statement. "These were the duration of the shared sovereignty settlement, the military base, and the status of a referendum whereby the Gibraltarians chose to accept or reject the deal."

FIERCE OPPOSITION

There has been no agreement within the Brussels process since the 1987 airport deal, the implementation of which was stopped by us in Gibraltar. When the last agreement was reached, it was because the Gibraltar Government supported Brussels and participated in it. There can be no doubt that the fierce opposition to the resumption of the Brussels talks since July 2001 has been a major factor in preventing a deal being done this time.

The GSLP/Liberal statement adds: There can be no doubt, however, that Mr Aznar has been the Prime Minister that has come closest to obtaining a share of Gibraltar's sovereignty precisely because of the connivance of the British Government. The message that we must send to Mariano Rajoy must be the same message that we sent to his outgoing predecessor. This is that Gibraltar belongs to us, to the people of Gibraltar, and that we do not want to be a part of Spain in any shape or form, or in any measure of share now or at any future date.

The Opposition consider that events in Spain make it all the more important that we stand our ground firmly. The British Government has declared that shared sovereignty remains their policy objective. We cannot allow them to shelve shared sovereignty and shelve the Brussels negotiating process only to take it off the shelf in ten years time. The Opposition is committed to work towards the definitive destruction of the shared sovereignty concept and of the Brussels negotiations that helped to bring it about.

SOVEREIGNTY 

"For this reason the message from the Opposition to the new Partido Popular leader is that the sovereignty of Gibraltar is not a matter for discussion with Spain. The referendum last year has effectively removed our sovereignty from the agenda of any talks. The Opposition will strive to ensure that the policy of no talks on sovereignty that the UK maintains over the Falkland Islands, is extended to Gibraltar as well," they say.

Top Tory is official patron of GGR

Equality Rights organisation, GGR, says that top Conservative MP and Frontbench Spokesman on Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs, Alan Duncan, has become an official Patron. 

Felix Alvarez, GGR Chairman, welcomed Mr Duncan,saying that "not only is it a pleasure to welcome another Conservative to patronship of GGR, but also one as distinguished as Alan, first emerging on the political scene in the General Election of 1987, and making his mark through various appointments - notably as Private Secretary to the Chairman of the Conservative Party - to eventually becoming vice-chairman of his Party, and Parliamentary Political Secretary to the Leader of the Conservative Party. 

Most noteworthy of all, however," Alvarez added, "is Alan's current Frontbench post which makes him particularly relevant to us in Gibraltar. 

In actual fact, Alan lived in Gibraltar in the 1960s, when his father was Commanding Officer in the RAF of 224 Squadron (Shackletons) and remembers his time on the Rock with fondness.

All in all, Alan Duncan will not only be a great asset to GGR in our campaign for respect and diversity to be enshrined in the legal rights of all citizens on the Rock, but to Gibraltar as a whole." 

For his part, Mr Duncan said that he was pleased to join GGR's other MPs and MEPs as an official Patron of the organisation. 

"It is important," he said, "that the rights of all citizens to self-determination and sovereignty be implemented and delivered.

As a Conservative, respect for the individual is of utmost importance to me, and that is why I am supporting GGR in Gibraltar and at Westminster," the statement ended.

Forces open day on Saturday

Preparations are well in hand for this year’s Forces open day which will start at noon on Saturday at HM Naval Base.

The aim of the Open Day is to enable the community to get a better insight into the role and activities of the British Forces here in Gibraltar. 

The proceeds from the event will go to Forces and local charities. 

British Forces recognises the historical defence link with Gibraltar and continues to invest in the community.

Entry to the event is free and all are welcome to attend. 

Free parking will be provided at the Navy number one ground and a shuttle bus service will be available from there to the Naval Base starting at 11:45 am.

RAF band adds a high note

A Ceremonial Guard Mount will take place outside the residence of the Governor this coming Saturday, at midday. Members of ‘I’ and ‘B’ Company of The Royal Gibraltar Regiment will provide the old and new guards on this occasion. 

The Guard Commander for both guards will be Lieutenant Ernest Danino. Sir Francis Richards will take the salute from The Convent balcony. 

The Band of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment will be joined by the central band of the Royal Air Force to provide the musical accompaniment.

The Royal Air Force Band are coming to take part in a series of events based around the annual Battle of Britain commemora-tions. The principal engagement on this short visit will be a charity concert in St Michael’s cave on Sunday 7th September. 

The proceeds from the concert will be shared between service charities and the Lady William’s Centre in Gibraltar.

Scotland Yard investigates death of arrested man

A team from Scotland Yard are in Gibraltar investigating the death of a man who had been arrested by the RGP. Their arrival is at the request of police commissioner Joe Ullger.

A police spokesman told PANORAMA that it is standard practice, in such circumstances, to request another police force to carry out an investigation.

The death of Matthew Chichon, aged 30, was in the early hours of Saturday. He had earlier been arrested by police.

An RGP statement said: "In the early afternoon of Saturday 30th August, Mathew Chichon, aged 30 years, of Lime Kiln Steps, was pronounced dead at St Bernard’s Hospital.

"Mathew Chichon was earlier arrested and had been in Police custody.

"The Commissioner of Police has requested the assistance of the Metropolitan Police Service to investigate this case."

A Post Mortem was carried out yesterday afternoon.

More support for electoral decision

The Voice of Gibraltar Group of Gibraltar has also welcomed the report of the Electoral Commission. "In our submission to them we indicated a preference for the South West region. It is also refreshing to see that in this case the Gibraltarians were properly consulted and not simply told what is 'good for us' as was the case with Mr Hain, the previous Governor and others," says a Press release to PANORAMA.

Britain and the British can be proud of the thorough job that was undertaken by the Electoral Commission.

They also commend Kevin Kelway of the Plymouth party who has campaigned strongly for this outcome.

"We look forward to welcoming him and his delegation to the National Day celebrations," says the group.

However, it should not be forgotten that although there is synergy between the South West region and Gibraltar, this is a compromise solution to having our own elected representative and the sovereignty of Parliament itself to decide on this issue is being questioned by the Government of the Kingdom of Spain.

On the 10th September we will again celebrate National day, and the VOGG says they call on everyone to 'Fly the flag' this year more than ever because as a result of the publicity a larger contingent of press and VIPs from Parliament are expected.

First time in Miss Latin World

Bianca will be flying off once again to represent Gibraltar in another International Beauty Pageant, this time in Toronto, Canada in October of this year.

This will be the first time that someone from Europe will be participating in this prominent pageant. Up until now there have only been representatives chosen from Latin American Countries. “It was a great honour when I received this invitation, which I accepted immediately. It is always a privilege to represent Gibraltar Internationally, and when I made further inquiries I was told that Gibraltar would be the first country to enter the pageant outside of Latin America, this was an obvious plus factor for me to take the plunge. I could not believe that I had been invited prior to a representative from countries like Spain, France or even Italy.”

This will be the second time that Bianca will venture out to represent Gibraltar in an International Beauty pageant. Last year Bianca went to the prestigious World finals of Miss Tourism International 2002, held in Sri Lanka. This pageant was held over five weeks and against a lot of tough competition, Bianca won the title of Miss Rising Star. This title is one of the most outstanding prizes given at the show which was given to the model that showed the best catwalk, poise, presentation and elegance, but most of all the model that showed the most promise of taking her career to a professional level.

FIREBIRD AT THE GIBRALTAR WEEK CONCERT

One of the centrepieces of the Gibraltar Week Concert, presented by the Government of Gibraltar with the assistance of the Gibraltar Philharmonic Society, will be Stravinsky’s music for the ballet the Firebird. The piece will be performed by the South London Philharmonic conducted by Karel Mark Chichon.

The Firebird was the work which, more than any other, launched the career of Stravinsky as one of the great composers of the twentieth century yet was very nearly never written.

Serge Diaghilev, the Russian impresario of the “Ballets Russes”, made the decision in 1910 to present to the Paris public a ballet based on Russian themes. His choreographer, Fokine, brought together two Russian folk tales, “The Tale of Ivan Tsarevich, the Firebird and the Grey Wolf” and “The Self Playing Zither” to create the story of the ballet and Diaghilev started the process of commissioning a composer for the music.

The commission was turned down by four composers, Tcherepnin, Liadov, Glazunov and Sokolov before Diaghilev, in desperation, turned to the comparatively young and inexperienced Stravinsky, who had worked with Fokine on the arrangement of some Chopin pieces for the ballet, “Les Sylphides” in the previous year. The rest, as they say, is history. The Firebird launched a collaboration which produced some of the most adventurous and famous music of the first half of the twentieth century and made the name of Igor Stravinsky one to be remembered (which is more than can be said for the four who turned the commission down!). 

The music tells an everyday story of love, magic, good and evil. The hero, Ivan, is wandering in the magic garden of the evil Kashchei where he meets the Firebird and steals a feather from it. He leaves the garden and meets a group of beautiful maidens, one of whom he immediately falls in love with. The maidens are under the thrall of the magic of Kashchei, who forces them back to his castle. Ivan follows but is captured and is about to be turned to stone when he waves the stolen feather to summon the Firebird. The Firebird helps Ivan to escape and destroy Kashchei and his evil spell. Ivan marries his maiden and everybody lives happily ever after.

The concert is presented at the Alameda Open Air Theatre at 9pm on Sunday, September 7th. Tickets are £10 each and are on sale at the House of Sacarello and the premises of Solomon Levy, with credit card purchase available on telephone number 78267 ext 234.

Housing: Up goes home ownership down go private rentals

Despite huge advances in home ownership, 44% of households in Gibraltar are still Government rented and 14% are private rentals. There are a total of 9717 dwellings in Gibraltar. This emerges from an analysis of the latest Government figures that are now available.

GOVERNMENT RENTED

The 2001 census showed that 4276 dwellings are available for rental from the Government. This represents a drop from 4694 flats in the previous census of 1991. The decrease is said to reflect an increase in vacant flats, flats under repair or due for demolition.

There has been a huge drop in the proportion of Government rented flats that make up the total number of dwellings in Gibraltar. In 1970 these accounted for nearly 61% of dwellings. This figure has now dropped to 44%.

OWNER OCCUPIER

The next largest component of Gibraltar's housing market are owner-occupied flats. There were only 253 of these in 1970, representing about 4% of the total number. This figure increased slightly to 361 dwellings or 5% of the total in the years up to 1981.

However, it was in the period leading up to 1991 that home ownership underwent a breakthrough with the number of owner occupied dwellings going up from 361 (1981) to 1152 (1991). This grew to represent 15% of the total number of dwellings in Gibraltar.

LAND RECLAMATION

The increase in the period up to 1991 is explained by the land reclamation and largescale housing projects that were constructed in that time. In the period up to 2001, the number of home owners nearly doubled (as more projects came on stream) from 1152 in 1991 to 2366 in 2001. This means that the latest figures show that nearly one quarter of dwellings in Gibraltar are now owner-occupied.

This represents a startling sociological revolution as more and more people decide to take out mortgages and own their homes. There is an obvious knock-on effect as home-owners with mortgages find that they have less money to spend elsewhere in the economy. It was probably with this in mind that the first time home owners allowance was introduced by the GSLP administration and then continued and extended by the GSD. This compensates home owners, through tax concessions, to allow them more disposable income to spend elsewhere.

PRIVATE RENTALS

There are still a large number of flats rented from private landlords, although the figure has fallen over the last thirty years. In 1970 there were 2170 private rented dwellings, representing 35% of the total. By 1981 the figure had dropped to 2063 and 30% respectively. The number of private rented flats fell further by 1991 to 1758 or 23% of the total.

There can be little doubt that the opening of the land frontier with Spain for pedestrians in 1982 and then for vehicles in 1985 had an effect on these figures. Those who felt that Gibraltar was too expensive to rent accommodation now had the option of renting at cheaper prices in Spain. The downward trend for private rentals has therefore continued, with the 2001 figures showing that the number of private rented dwellings has fallen further to 1388 or 14% of the total.

The concept of co-ownership does not appear in the figures until 2001 and in all probability reflects the 50/50 scheme where the Government is a part-owner of the dwelling. The figures show there were 1655 of these flats in 2001, representing 17% of the total housing stock. With moves presently underway for the sale of the Government share of the flat to those tenants who want it, this figure is set to fall further.

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