Headlines Press Releases Views-Features Letters Poll

 
 

CONFIRMED: Gibraltar excluded from European frontiers control agency

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 October.

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 borders.

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 frontiers.

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 Spain.

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.

Disgust

The government feels "disgusted" like everyone else at the UK decision to participate in the agency, but leaving Gibraltar out.

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.

Airport

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 LEAFLET

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 civilian authorities.

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.

No reply

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 add.

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.

Protection

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 group.

Worst record in the history of Government housing

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."

Poor record

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 cost housing.

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 have had.

CONSULTATION...

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.

DIVIDED

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 the post.

Another lawyer James Neish would have taken it had both sides of the House agreed with his appointment.

The questions 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 three years.

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 Government-paid official.

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 QUESTIONS

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 firing package.

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 MOD.

Blair government 'willing to revive done deal when time is right'

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 will.

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 people."

The Gibraltarians have repeatedly stood firm against external attempts to undermine their political choice, such as the 2002 referendum.

"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 ENEMY
GIBRALTARIANS FACE


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 future."

Police arrest Julio Pons as 'welfare case and pensioners' are targeted

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 pensioners.

STATEMENT IN FULL

The following is the statement in full:

Dear Sir,

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 situation.

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 legal means."

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.

Yours faithfully,
Chairman Julio Pons
And member of the committee Jessica Collado

Safeway 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 there.

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 imminent.

There has been talk of a buyout by a group of local businessmen.

Local businessmen got the Checkout stores going with Tesco as their main brand. But already their Main Street store is closing down.

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 Spain

Peter Caruana's secret ambition is out: He wants to go down as the Chief Minister who solved the Gibraltar question with Spain.

This explains his eagerness in starting talks with the Spaniards.

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!"

Revenue-raising by Government

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 Assembly,

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 opposition.

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 position.

Mr Caruana spoke highly of Mr Budhrani, of his unimpeachable character.

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 sailing.

The opposition seems to think that a Speaker need not be a lawyer, as Mr Caruana seems to think.

AGAINST MILITARY

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 colonial times.

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 campaigns

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.

International Nursing Conference

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.

SIREN

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 incidents.

"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 ours.

OUR HOMELAND

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.

CLEAR

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 said.

He went on to speak about unity, and the collective determination that only the people are masters "of our own destiny."

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 square.

Message for 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 Casemates yesterday.

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.

DETERMINED GIBRALTARIANS

The next speaker, LibDem David Chidgey, said it was a great day, fantastic!

The resolve and determination of the Gibraltarians for centuries, above all independence, was highlighted by him to cheers.

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 to cheers.

You don't have one MP representing Gibraltar - we are all representing Gibraltar and we will stand up for you.

YOUR DECISION

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.

UK veterans 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.

 

LAST WEEK'S STORIES 

Search





 

  • Books

  • Magazines

  • Posters & Prints

Top