CONFIRMED: Gibraltar excluded from European frontiers control
by our Political correspondent
Gibraltar is to be excluded from the new European agency for
frontiers control, it was confirmed in Brussels yesterday.
This affects land, maritime and air frontiers.
Although a political decision was taken on 30 March to get the
agency going, a problem arose as Spain was insisting that
Gibraltar should be excluded from it even though it is part of
the European union.
The relevant EU authorities called on Britain and Spain to
resolve the issue bilaterally - and once again the easy way
out has been taken, by simply removing Gibraltar from this
significantly important European accord.
In Brussels yesterday, EU ambassadors were informed of the
Anglo-Spanish decision which will unblock the difficulties
that had arisen and will now allow for the Agency to come into
force on 1 January next year.
The decision will now be ratified in the next meeting of
Interior and Justice ministers which takes place on 25
World media have been giving the news. CNN said that this new
agency will assist in the application of Community legislation
and areas of control and vigilance in the EU's external
Control centres will be opened in each country.
It is obvious that Britain always buckles to Spanish pressure,
not only in this new development but also in other European
matters that should apply in Gibraltar as of right and from
which the Rock gets excluded with impunity.
Thus, the work of the new frontiers agency will not apply to
Gibraltar as if the Rock was not part of the EU external
Britain rides rough shod over Gibraltar's external frontiers
In the wake of its exclusion from the new European frontiers
agency, Gibraltar is concerned that its EU rights continue to
be eroded - with Britain succumbing to Spanish pressure. And
the whole issue of possible cooperation from Spain now being
seen for what it is.
"The British Government has ridden rough shod over all our
arguments and pleas not to participate without us," said chief
minister Peter Caruana.
The Gibraltar Government was informed by the British Foreign
Office last July that the UK had agreed to a limited
participation in the European frontiers agency, but without
Gibraltar whose exclusion from the agency had been demanded by
This marked "a complete departure from the position firmly
adopted by successive UK governments, including the current UK
Government, that as a matter of fundamental principle, the UK
would not accept any suspension or exclusion of Gibraltar from
EU external border measures, including this one," the
Gibraltar Government notes.
The government feels "disgusted" like everyone else at the UK
decision to participate in the agency, but leaving Gibraltar
The Government has been taking "a very serious view of this
unacceptable development" in an area which relates to "the
crucially important issue of external frontiers." But the
Foreign Office has clearly been taking no note, as it has
totally ignored the pleas from Mr Caruana.
He said: "The external borders regime will ultimately express
the physical, geographical definition of the EU."
So where does that leave Gibraltar?
It leaves Gibraltar in a similar situation to that which has
been developing in the air transport issue, with Gibraltar
being systematically excluded from aviation measures.
Last July the Government warned that it was not willing to sit
idly by and see the history of our exclusion from EU aviation
measures repeat itself in the area of external frontiers.
At the time it said that, if the exclusion materialised, the
Government "will mount such immediate legal challenge in the
UK courts as it may be advised it can."
Since this was seen coming, the Government has had enough time
to draw up plans of action. The public expects such plans to
begin to unfold.
These are matters of fundamental principle and importance for
the future of Gibraltar.
It also raises questions about any Government plans about the
airport and aviation matters, as Gibraltar's position was
weakened by the airport deal of 1987 and is now placed in a
more difficult situation, as the airport would be outside the
frontiers of Europe - and people flying to Gibraltar, in a new
airport arrangement, would enter Europe via La Linea!
All political parties in Gibraltar feel that Gibraltar is, and
must be, part of the external frontiers of the EU, but realise
that this position is being eroded in the same way that, years
ago, there was a process of erosion of Gibraltar's aviation
rights within the EU.
Opposition parties are expressing anger and dismay.
MYSTERY OF NUCLEAR
The ESG says it laments the absence of information for the
public which prevails through the current and all other
nuclear safety exercises undertaken by the MoD or those by the
On its visit aboard a nuclear submarine earlier this year, the
ESG discussed this matter at length with the MoD officials and
this was since taken up by the Commander of the Base who
informed the ESG, in writing, that a nuclear information
leaflet had been designed and agreed upon by civil and British
Forces authorities. This leaflet, the group was told, is now
with our Govt. who is responsible for its circulation among
the civilian community.
The group wrote to the Assistant Chief Secretary Mr D.
Armstrong in early August requesting information as to when
the leaflet was due to be issued. "No acknowledgement of our
letter has been received and more importantly, no evidence of
any leaflet has, as yet, hit the streets of Gibraltar," they
The ESG say: It is therefore appalling for the MoD to suggest
that by carrying out its routine nuclear exercise it is
following "best practices" when the civilian population
remains in the dark as it has been for the past few decades.
We know that best practices means adopting the most up to date
safety procedures, which in this case, includes an informed
and co-operative community.
The MoD and our own Govt must ensure that the standards
adopted in the UK for protection of the population are applied
as rigorously in Gibraltar as they are in the UK, says the
Worst record in the history of
The lack of social housing from the Government is being
condemned again, as new affordable homes have still not been
built which, in many cases, forces people to find
accommodation in Spain. This whole issue has been a recurring
one, but nothing gets done.
The Labour Party has now observed that Gibraltar has witnessed
a huge growth in the speculative development of luxury
housing, "at the same time its very social fabric is being
undermined with more and more of our youngsters having to go
to live across the border."
A statement adds: It should therefore be of no surprise to
anyone, least of all our Government, that there has been a
substantial increase in a number of our people coming to the
Labour Party with their housing problems.
The party says it recognises that the property market requires
to meet demand irrespective of how luxurious a particular
development may be. Private Investment should always be
encouraged. On the other hand Government's own forward
planning continues to be "non-existent in so far as results
are concerned, despite its social obligations and promises."
They add: Even in the difficult days of a closed frontier,
with the lack of land available due to MOD obligations, the
need to import building materials by sea and the reliance on
overseas development, the AACR administrations still managed
to build an average of 35 flats per year. This Government,
after 8 years of relative economic boom, has the worst record
in modern history in terms of delivering on social and low
Labour takes comfort that the social conscious of our people
across the political divide and even among the Government's
own supporters, will never accept the return to the days where
housing shortages were the sourge of our society.
The Government must realise that the electorate's patience is
increasingly turning to discontentment, they warn.
Budhrani named Speaker -
without Opposition support
by PANORAMA reporter
Lawyer Haresh Budhrani has been appointed Speaker of the House
of Assembly - without the Opposition's support. The
announcement was made yesterday afternoon.
A brief statement from The Convent said: "On the
recommendation of the Chief Minister and after consultation
with the Leader of the Opposition, His Excellency the Governor
has, in accordance with the Constitution, appointed Mr Haresh
Budhrani as Speaker of the House of Assembly. Mr Budhrani’s
appointment will take effect from 16 September 2004."
However, it transpired later that the Leader of the Opposition
Joe Bossano was not supporting the appointment, which means
that Mr Budhrani will be taking over the appointment with half
the House not supporting him.
Mr Bossano was with the Governor for about an hour yesterday
afternoon, but shortly after he left, The Convent made the
announcement. This would indicate that the Governor had
decided on the issue irrespective of what views Mr Bossano may
Questioned by PANORAMA Mr Bossano said: Consulting me simply
means the Governor saying to me that the Chief Minister has
proposed Mr Budhrani, and we saying that we do not support it.
And that's the consultation.
When we said that he had been there for over an hour, Mr
Bossano said that other issues had also been disussed.
The bottom line is that irrespective of who the Governor wants
to appoint, unless the governing party supports it, it cannot
happen, he said.
Certainly the appointment must have the Government's majority
vote in the House.
Some aspirants to the post would not take it unless there was
unanimity in the House, with both sides agreeing. Mr Budhrani
has chosen to go ahead with a divided House over it.
Mr Budhrani was born in Bombay, India, in June 1952, and was
educated to 'O' and 'A' levels at a Derbyshire school, later
at College of Law, Guildford, University of London King's
Colege and Inns of Court School of law.
He has been a barrister since August 1975 and is president of
the Hindu Merchants Association.
His appointment brings to an end the saga of who would be
Speaker, which has been going on for much of the summer ever
since it was known that Judge John Alcantara would be vacating
Another lawyer James Neish would have taken it had both sides
of the House agreed with his appointment.
they refuse to answer
When a Gibraltar-registered ship was in the news for the wrong
reason, we put some questions to the Government-appointed
Maritime Administrator. But guess what? He refuses to answer
our questions, which are questions in the public interest
We sent him an email saying that he will have heard that two
former chief engineers of the Gibraltar-registered ship had
admitted falsifying entries in the ship's oil record book to a
US court, and faced maximum penalties of up to five years
imprisonment, a fine up to US$250,000, and probation for up to
We duly informed the Maritime Administrator that we would be
grateful for his answers as we were publishing a story on it.
That was Tuesday. There was not even a squeak from this
As the silence remained, we yesterday telephoned to find out
when we could have answers to our questions.
The person who replied said his name was Tony Nation, and that
he was the acting Maritime Administrator.
Well, how about answering the questions? We were told that the
questions would not be answered in writing - but we could go
over to talk about it.
Since what we wanted were answers to questions, and these were
not forthcoming, we have no option but to make the situation
public. We will leave it there at this point.
The following are the questions we asked:
* How seriously do you see this and what action have you taken
on this matter.
* Have you done anything to ensure the owner has put
procedures in place to stop this happening again?
* Is Gibraltar criminal investigation being taken against the
company under the Merchant Shipping Acts?
* Have you requested a re-audit for ISM (International Safety
Management Code) compliance?
We await the answers!
Morocco exercise for military
from Gibraltar and UK
Exercise JEBEL SAHARA 04 will be the fifth year in which
British Forces, drawn from Gibraltar and UK, join with the
Moroccan Armed Forces (FAR) to conduct joint arid training.
The Royal Gibraltar Regiment will run a series of specialist
courses together with the 2eme Brigade de Parachutiste
Infanterie. Soldiers will train in the reconnaissance, sniping
and manoeuvre support disciplines as well as conducting a live
They are supported by a detachment of RAF Puma helicopters
drawn from 'B' Desert Flight, 22 Sqn RAF based at RAF Benson.
The exercise will take place in the arid conditions near
Marrakech and in the mountainous terrain of the High Atlas
Mountains over the period 15 September to 2 October, said the
Blair government 'willing to revive done deal when time is
The 'done deal' on joint sovereignty could be revived when the
Blair government thinks the time is right. This is the warning
from the European Foundation which talks of a 'precarious
future' for Gibraltar.
"The Government of Gibraltar's insistence on its rights of
self-determination has put off a ' done deal' for the present,
but the Blair Government has shown that it will be willing to
trade Gibraltar for European concessions when the time is
right," says Rob Foulkes, a research assistant at the European
Foundation, who has recently graduated in social and political
sciences from Cambridge University.
He recalls how (in the 1960s) the UN special committee on
decolonisation proposed talks between Britain and Spain over
Gibraltar's future, despite protestations from Gibraltarians
and British delegates that decolonisation could not involve
the passing of any sovereignty to Spain against Gibraltar's
There followed the 1969 constitution and the Spanish
restrictions, leading to the frontier closure, lifted in 1985
after the signing of the Brussels Agreement.
One condition of the removal of the obstructions, negotiated
with Britain in Brussels, was that the two governments would
aim at 'overcoming all the differences between them over
Gibraltar', says the Foundation's official journal.
THE DOOR LEFT OPEN
It adds: "The door has thus been left open for Spain to pursue
its supposed rights in Gibraltar for the past twenty years,
and its Government continues to make clear that nothing less
than shared sovereignty, preferably as a precursor to a
complete transfer to Spain, will suffice."
It was the Blair Government that gave the Brussels process a
new priority and attempted to take it far beyond the terms
agreed in 1984.
Although there is a constitutional pledge over the wishes of
the people, Jack Straw and his Spanish counterpart negotiated
a joint sovereignty deal "over the heads of the Gibraltarian
The Gibraltarians have repeatedly stood firm against external
attempts to undermine their political choice, such as the 2002
"Had the Government of Gibraltar waited for Britain and Spain
to reach an agreement before staging the referendum, they
would in all likelihood have been too late, since Spain openly
rejected the idea of a Gibraltarian referendum and Britain,
although bound by the 1969 Constitution to send any deal to
the people for ratification, had hinted that a 'No' vote would
merely table the proposal for repeated referenda rather than
scrap it," it is concluded.
Clearly, it adds, any expression of Gibraltarian sentiment was
to be a matter of form only: "The Government of Gibraltar's
insistence on its rights of self-determination has put off a
'done deal' for the present, but the Blair Government has
shown that it will be willing to trade Gibraltar for European
concessions when the time is right."
The inhabitants of Gibraltar have long been accustomed to
invasion and siege, but the threat they face today, from their
own governors who seek to alienate this prosperous and
strategically vital territory, is relatively new.
The enemy for Gibraltarians is not the British people, nor
Parliament, nor even the Labour Party as a whole, all of whom
have expressed support for continued British sovereignty in
Gibraltar. It is instead a core of policymakers for whom the
incontrovertible and democratically expressed will of British
subjects takes second place to the considerations of the
European project, it says.
And adds: The anniversary celebrations must serve as a source
of strength for the will of Gibraltar, to hold out against
this new diplomatic siege until a government takes power in
Britain with conviction in its principles of
self-determination, and pride in its British identity.
The European Foundation says it wishes to congratulate the
people of the Rock and to wish them the best for what
promises, even by Gibraltarian standards, to be "a precarious
Police arrest Julio Pons as 'welfare case and pensioners' are
by PANORAMA reporter
Social worker Julio Pons was arrested by the RGP yesterday for
obstructing police, and later cautioned.
It followed the decision of the authorities to act against
tenants at Laguna Estate who have built extensions to their
homes without permission.
However, the Laguna Tenants Association have come out
expressing disappointment with the way the matter is being
handled, with just one person, a welfare case, having been
summoned by the Ministry of Housing.
In a Press statement, Julio Pons and Jessica Collado say that
"what is quite unacceptable is that Mrs Redondo has been
penalised and has been selected as 'victim' when there are so
many similar structures everywhere in Gibraltar and
particularly in the area of Laguna estate."
They allege discrimination and add that tenants are
"particularly angry as they perceive that Mrs Redondo, in view
of her welfare status, has been chosen by Government as being
the 'weak link in the chain.'"
Another wall to be demolished belongs to a couple of
STATEMENT IN FULL
The following is the statement in full:
The Laguna Tenants Association would like to express our
disappointment with the handling of the matter pertaining to
the patios in Laguna Estate, namely the fact that one of the
tenants had been summoned to appear in court due to a
complaint by the Ministry for Housing.
In the first instance let us say that it is quite common in
this Estate for those persons who live at ground level to have
appropriated a piece of land directly in front of their flats.
These areas have been enclosed to different specifications and
heights and are for the exclusive use of the dwellings'
tenants. Not to mention those tenants that live above. This
has been a long-standing practice in the Estate and it be
assumed that the pertinent authorities have permitted this
practice as no action appears to have been taken to remedy the
Many families have appropriated pieces of land adjacent to
their ground floor flats and constructed all sorts of
extensions to their flats. These take the form of gardens,
patios and other types of enclosures. Some have been totally
enclosed so that in fact an extra room has been added to the
flat whilst others have not been totally enclosed and its
tenants have used different methods to demarcate 'their' land
such as wire, netting hedges and brickwork of different sorts.
In 1997 the GSD Government adopted a policy decision of not
permitting any extensions in the future. If the Government had
decided to adopt such policy, then it would seem appropriate
that they should have made it widely known. It could have been
done via the Agency's Buildings Inspectors or through the
District Wardens, who could have advised all those Government
tenants who live in ground floor flats and have already
appropriated a piece of land adjacent to their flats that
enclosing flats would not permitted and immediate action taken
in the event of non-compliance.
Ms Redondo is a welfare case. She resides at 12 Devon House.
On or about the middle of February 2003, she was served a
summons issued in the Magistrates Court restraining her from
continuing with the construction of a wall she had built on
the perimeter of the flat occupied by her. This area was to
become a shed in the same manner and for the same reason as
numerous other tenants in Laguna Estate have similarly
constructed sheds for their own use, to which the Housing
Department has turned a very blind eye. This matter came up
for mention in the Magistrates Court and the lawyers acting
for both sides, Ray Pilley for the Housing Department and Levi
J Attias for Ms Redondo, agreed to have this matter set down
for hearing for the middle of June 2003. This date would have
allowed us ample time to try to resolve the issues amicably
and without the traumatic steps of the forced demolition of
the said wall.
On the meeting held at the Minister's boardroom on the 24th
October 2003, we expressed our concerns and it was decided
that letters will have to be distributed on the procedure to
be used by tenants for the construction of sheds and
alterations, as this matter had a detrimental effect on
everyone's living environment. The letter stated "that it is
forbidden to take over any area of the Estate without prior
written permission. Therefore all new illegal works will have
to be removed, even if we have to pursue the matter through
After Ms Redondo was served a summons to appear in Court many
tenants have built illegal sheds and patios. This matter has
been reported to the Ministry for Housing and it is to our
knowledge that no-one have been summoned to appear in Court.
Whilst we appreciate having the sheds demolished and a new
concept instituted, we believe that using a welfare case, i.e.
Ms Redondo as an example is more than unjustified and mean. We
are somewhat concerned at the fact that many people in the
area have built sheds with the evident knowledge of the
Housing Department's tacit consent. Tenants of the area are
particularly angry as they perceive that Ms Redondo in view of
her welfare status, has been chosen by Government as being the
"weak link in the chain." To add insult to injury Ms Redondo
was informed by a Housing Inspector that she said will be
demolished by Gibraltar Community Projects on Monday 17th May
2004. Further more the Ministry has also decided that another
wall will be demolished on the same date, to which we have to
stress that this wall belongs to a couple of pensioners.
What is quite unacceptable is that Mrs Redondo has been
penalised and has been selected as "victim" when there are so
many similar structures everywhere in Gibraltar and
particularly in the area of Laguna Estate. Discrimination is
clearly at play here. It is difficult to assess why she and
the pensioners have been selected but the truth is that they
have been selected to the exclusion of everybody else. We
would find it inconceivable (but possible) for Government to
move in to demolish Mrs Redondo's and the pensioners structure
when so many others remain in place. This Mrs Redondo who is a
divorcee and welfare case and also to pensioners.
Chairman Julio Pons
And member of the committee Jessica Collado
closing? "Speculation," says Morrison
Widespread rumours that the Safeway supermarket is to close
down or be sold are described as "speculation" by their new
owners, Morrison Supermarkets.
The rumours are prevalent within the store and also in town.
Customers say they note that shelves are often empty and that
the store is not operating as they would expect it to.
This has led people to draw the conclusion that the new owners
are not interested in the Gibraltar store.
Morrison's purchased the Safeway stores in the UK. They are
selling some of their Safeway stores in UK to Tesco and other
stores to Asda, as required by the competition authorities
Such 'monopoly' rules would not apply in Gibraltar, so that,
even if some stores are sold in UK, they need not be sold in
Gibraltar for the same reason.
People within the store say that an announcement appears
There has been talk of a buyout by a group of local
Local businessmen got the Checkout stores going with Tesco as
their main brand. But already their Main Street store is
With so many rumours doing the rounds, PANORAMA did the right
thing: We contacted Morrison's Headquarters in the UK.
A spokesman said: "It's all speculation. There is nothing to
report on the Gibraltar Safeway store."
Caruana's secret ambition: To solve the Gibraltar issue with
Peter Caruana's secret ambition is out: He wants to go down as
the Chief Minister who solved the Gibraltar question with
This explains his eagerness in starting talks with the
Resolving the Gibraltar question is on his wish list. "Of
course I would love my personal legacy to be the resolution of
the Gibraltar issue," he told The Business newspaper.
He also spoke about the European Commission having ruled that
Gibraltar is a region of the UK and therefore cannot have a
tax regime that is different.
Mr Caruana believes that winning the battle "is the most
important challenge facing the Rock at present."
He says: The idea that Gibraltar is a region of the UK is
geographically, politically and legally a complete
misconception of Gibraltar's status.
He wants to take Gibraltar to the next level of the journey of
its political development towards the greatest possible
measure of self government. The fly in the ointment is Spain.
Here is a chunk of what he told the paper:......
The solution to the "Gibraltar question" won't be a deal
struck between the UK and Spain. Gibraltarians have
consistently taken a dim view of bilateral discussions between
Spain and Britain over the Rock's future. In a 2002
referendum, Gibraltar's residents voted almost 99 to 1 against
the idea of joint British and Spanish sovereignty. The UK
government has now publicly stated that "the chances of
achieving an agreement for the future of Gibraltar which is
not accepted by the Gibraltarians are simply zero".
Resolving the Gibraltar problem is on Caruana's wish list.
When asked what achievement he would like to be remembered for
in another 300 years, he says: "Of course I would love my
personal legacy to be the resolution of the Gibraltar issue.
But for that to happen, there has to be respect for the fact
that London and Madrid can't sit together in smoke-filled
rooms hatching plots between themselves. There has to be
respect from Spain that the political future of Gibraltar can
only be decided by the people of Gibraltar exercising free
will, and that there is no point in trying to oppress us into
a solution that we don't want. There should be a genuine
democratic political process, which might at some stage result
in an end to the historical problem. I don't think I'll
achieve it, but you asked!"
The Opposition considers that the Government have failed to
provide any explanation as to why the local postal rate has
been increased by 40% as from yesterday.
The long and complex statement issued by Minister Joe Holliday
covers only the increase in international postal rates and not
the increase in local postal charges. This will serve only to
increase overheads to the local consumer and to the business
community and the very least that the Minister should do is
provide an explanation.
In the latest figures debated at budget-time in the House of
the Government estimated that they will collect £900,000 from
the sale of stamps in the current financial year, whereas last
year they collected only £650,000. No explanation was given
why they expected extra revenue but it is interesting to note
that the projected increase is nearly 40%. It raises the
question as to whether the Government had already decided to
increase postal rates but conveniently forgot to say so during
the budget debate. It is quite incredible that the Government
should claim to have been losing so much money on overseas
mail and yet they have not realised it until now.
Mr Holliday has announced that the cost of a letter from
Gibraltar to Europe (excluding the UK) will cost 40p for the
first twenty grammes. Mail for the United Kingdom will cost
38p for the first twenty grammes. This compares unfavourably
with the cost of sending the same letter from Spain to the
United Kingdom or from Spain to the rest of Europe.
The Spanish Post Office charges 0.52 euros, which is about 36p
for sending a letter anywhere in Europe, including the United
Kingdom, provided this is under 20 grammes. This is 2p cheaper
than Gibraltar for mail destined for the UK and 4p cheaper
than Gibraltar for mail destined for the European Union. The
issue is therefore not that the cost of sending a letter from
the United Kingdom to Gibraltar should cost the same as
sending a letter from Gibraltar to the United Kingdom. This is
irrelevant. The issue is that Gibraltar has become more
expensive and one cannot blame local businesses for taking
their mail across the border and posting it there.
"It would appear that this is part of the Government's
indiscriminate attempt to raise money wherever it can and must
be seen against the statements made earlier that they also
intended to increase electricity,
water and residential rents earlier this year," said the
Speaker saga continues
by PANORAMA reporter
The Speaker saga continues. After the chief minister almost
appointed Haresh Budhrani as Speaker on television, nothing
further has been heard.
Questioned yesterday afternoon, the Convent said that Mr
Budhrani had not been proposed officially to the Governor. So,
what's going on?
Under the Constitution, it is the Governor who appoints a
speaker in consultation with the chief minister and the leader
of the opposition.
In his TV interview, Mr Caruana presented Mr Budhrani almost
as a fait accompli, as Mr Bossano has pointed out.
It doesn't matter what the opposition thinks, it was said on
the TV interview.
Perhaps it doesn't in that, at the end of the day, it is the
Government majority in the House of Assembly that will decide.
But the Constitutional position is the Constitutional
Mr Caruana spoke highly of Mr Budhrani, of his unimpeachable
Mr Bossano has been saying that the opposition will not vote
in favour, and that if the name goes forward, he will give his
reasons in the House.
That the Deputy Governor has been out for a meal with Mr
Budhrani might explain that the situation is not plain
The opposition seems to think that a Speaker need not be a
lawyer, as Mr Caruana seems to think.
In fact, a strong body of opinion also say that it should not
be an ex military man, someone who has spent a lifetime
full-time in the military, as this would be going back to
If you exclude lawyers and military personnel, this would not
seem to exclude a wide range of other people who could be
considered. Not everyone is a lawyer or a military person.
As time moves on, and the saga persists, it is to be hoped
that a wholly wrong choice is not made at the last minute...
Success of PANORAMA
Allow us to say how proud and pleased we are, as a newspaper,
to see our campaigns bear fruit.
In connection with last Thursday's Freedom of the City
ceremony, it was the intention to have 'appointed' minister
Beltran as acting Mayor.
Comments in PANORAMA drew attention that this, if proceeded
with, would make a mockery of our Constitution and our
Parliament, as a mayor cannot be 'appointed'.
Mayors are elected by the House of Assembly - and the House
could not meet as there is no Speaker at present.
In the end, common sense and logic prevailed and the minister
carried out the ceremony as a minister and not a Mayor, which
he was not.
Last month we campaigned to make the organisers of the
holding-hands event see sense, as the people of Gibraltar
would have been unwittingly ridiculed had the GFSB gone ahead
with their Coca-Cola hats nonsense. This would have debased
and demoted such an important event.
In the end, the event was held with the dignity it deserved.
We were all agreed that the holding-hands was an excellent
idea, but NOT wearing Coca-Cola hats!
The influence of this paper again prevailed.
As everyone knows PANORAMA puts Gibraltar first. Always.
An International Nursing Conference is being held in John
Mackintosh Hall on 16 and 17 September. It has been jointly
organised by the Gibraltar School of Health Studies and the
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Sheffield.
The purpose of the Conference is to provide a forum for
national and international delegates to disseminate research
and examine innovative and health care practices. The
Conference has attracted eighty delegates coming from twelve
different countries that include Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore,
Finland, South Africa, Australia and Malta as well are the
countries of the United Kingdom. We are particularly proud to
announce that five delegates have been chosen from Gibraltar
to speak at the Conference.
The title of the Conference is “Changing Practice: Changing
Care” and it will provide an opportunity for delegates to meet
and share experiences of nursing and midwifery from an
international perspective. Members of the Gibraltar Health
Authority have been invited to attend and it will, therefore
provide a continuing professional development opportunity for
them, especially as many of the speakers will be addressing
the issue of the functioning of a health service, and the
provision of staff educational opportunities, within a small
community that has similarity and relevance to Gibraltar.
On Thursday 16 September the Conference will be officially
opened by Mr Ernest Britto - Minister for Health , and Dame
Betty Kershaw - Dean of the School of Nursing and Midwifery,
University of Sheffield. During the next two days there will
be addresses from five key-note speakers who will be speaking
on topics relevant to the issues of changing practice and
changing care followed by a selection of concurrent sessions
from which the delegates can choose to attend.
Nuclear incident exercise
British Forces Gibraltar will be conducting an exercise this
week to test their procedures for dealing with the unlikely
scenario of a nuclear incident in Gibraltar. The Harbour is
equipped with a "Z" Berth that is authorised to accommodate
nuclear powered vessels. Safety is paramount and that is why
British Forces Gibraltar regularly practices reacting to
different types of emergency, said an MOD press release.
Exercise Rocky Sparrow will take place on 15 September and
there will a siren sounding from the South Mole at 9am.
The MOD’s input in this exercise is regulated from the UK and
a team of experts will be on hand to advise and evaluate the
reaction of the British Forces Gibraltar to various simulated
"The exercise underlines the commitment of the British Forces
in Gibraltar to modern, flexible and forward looking
organisation seeking best practice," said the MOD.
Good neighbours - but not at the
expense of sovereignty or self-determination
by PANORAMA reporter
We can be good neighbours - but not in exchange for
sovereignty or self-determination to decide our own future.
That was the message from the chief minister Peter Caruana at
yesterday's rally at Casemates. And when he spoke about
friendship with Spain, there was a cooling off in the
audience, as if people are suspicious about the olive branches
being offered by the Spanish all of a sudden.
He started by saying that the people of Gibraltar are masters
of "this our homeland" as well as of its destiny.
National Day was important every year, but this year it was
specially important because it coincides with the tercentenary
of our British sovereignty.
He spoke of Gibraltar's relationship with Britain. The fruits
of our relations with Britain for 300 years is everything we
are and everything that we have. We are part of Britain's
heritage. The relationship has been mutually beneficial and in
the interests of both of us.
Mr Caruana added: This year we are commemorating our history,
and we are entitled to celebrate it as we please, with
whomsoever we please.
The world now knows that when we do something together and
collectively we do it with dignity and we do it well.
Just as the history is ours, so too the future of Gibraltar is
We come together to tell the world that this is our homeland
and only we - with the exclusion of everybody else - can
decide its own political future.
The 30,000 balloons send that message to the world. The
challenge and the determination in defending those rights.
His speech was punctuated with applause and cheers, but when
Mr Caruana started to talk about Spanish desires to be
friendly, there was a cooling off.
He was saying: If Spain genuinely wants our friendship, and
wants genuinely and sincerely to respect us as a people with
our rights, and our wishes, and if Spain wants to deal with us
as civilised friendly Europeans neighbours, we will respond
positively, we in Gibraltar have always been good neighbours,
we have always been willing to be good neighbours and we will
continue to be good neighbours, despite all the provocations
to which we are subjected.
The return to cheers came when he added that something must be
absolutely clear: None of that can be thought by others to be
in exchange for sovereignty or our right to self-determination
to determine our own future. "That is out of the question," he
He went on to speak about unity, and the collective
determination that only the people are masters "of our own
He added: Gibraltar is our homeland , only the people of
Gibraltar can decide their future.
The red and white balloons went up across the blue skies. The
intonation of Gibraltar's national anthem engulfed the crowded
Moratinos over 'how' and 'when'
The Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos recently
said that talks about Gibraltar were about the 'how' and
'when' of joint sovereignty, as reported in PANORAMA earlier
this week. He received the answer at the political rally in
Expressing pride that it had been the self-determination for
Gibraltar group which had initiated the National Day
celebrations, chairman William Serfaty referred to Sr
Moratino's statement and added: To 'how' we say No Way; to
'when' we say Never!
Mr serfaty said it was time to move forward and to decolonise
through an act of self-determination. "The future belongs to
us," he added.
He spoke about some of the battles won. One of the MEPs we had
elected through the Euro-vote, Liberal Democrat Graham Watson
was in the rostrum.
When Mr Serfaty is asked how can achieve self-determination
with both London and Madrid against, he replies: We have the
power of democraccy. The power of the voice of the
overwhelming majority of the people of Gibraltar, young and
old, the greatest power of all.
The next speaker, LibDem David Chidgey, said it was a great
The resolve and determination of the Gibraltarians for
centuries, above all independence, was highlighted by him to
Through all the sufferings the British people "have been with
you", he added. And then went on to draw a distinction between
the British Government and the British Parliament.
He said: We in the British Parliament will not walk in front
of you because we are not your masters; we will not walk
behind you because because we are not your servants, but we
will walk with you because we are your friends.
DRESSED IN GIB FLAG
Conservative MP Eleanor Laing, dressed in a Gibraltar flag,
said "we are here to celebrate Gibraltar's great past and
great future to come."
She spoke of 300 years of partnership and friendship and
support. "You stood by us and we will stand by you," she said
You don't have one MP representing Gibraltar - we are all
representing Gibraltar and we will stand up for you.
Lindsey Hoyle, Labour MP and chairman of the all-party
Gibraltar group, asked if the people wanted joint sovereignty
with Spain: There was a loud No.
He spoke of the answer being No for the next 300 years.
It is your self-determination, your decision, he said, later
expressing thanks for the Freedom of the City conferred on his
father Lord Hoyle and also on Lord Bethel.
Your future is what matters. No surrender from Gibraltar.
Gibraltar has given steadfast support for Britain, "we must
give steadfast support for Gibraltar."
He was also applauded.
Wild flowers in stamps
A new very colourful Gibraltar Definitive Set of stamps has
been issued that will replace for the next 5 years the current
Definitive Set depicting HM Queen Elizabeth II Royal Cipher.
The new Definitive Set depicts the Wild Flowers of Gibraltar
and consists of 13 stamps which now reflect the new postal
rates introduced by the Gibraltar Government. The new values
are the following; 1p, 2p, 5p, G, 10p, Gl, S, E, UK, U, 50p,
£1, £3. The new set also features non value indicator stamps
and the letters represent the following services and values:
G = 7p Gibraltar standard letter 50g
Gl = 7p + 5p per additional 50g
S = 28p Surface Mail 20g letter (All countries)
UK = 38p UK 20g letter
E = 40p Europe
U = Rest of the World 10g letter
With over 600 species of plants recorded in Gibraltar; our
diversity, in relation to our size is astounding. More and
more measures are being taken to ensure the protection and
enhancement of wild areas and to the creation of new areas of
green. The future of Gibraltar Wild Flowers seems more secure
than it has been for centuries. It is with this in mind that
the Wild Flowers have been the topic chosen for our new
Definitive Stamp Issue.
minister in Gib today
Mr Ivor Caplin, MP, Under Secretary of State and Minister for
Veterans is visiting Gibraltar today and tomorrow. His
programme includes visit to staff of the Headquarters, the
Royal Naval Hospital and welfare and housing support staff. He
will also meet veterans from the Royal Gibraltar Regiment
Association and the Gibraltar Branch of the Royal British
Legion. Daniel Feetham.