End of month, start of talks:
Formal Constitutional conference with Britain
The long-awaited constitutional conference between Gibraltar
and Britain will take place at the end of this month in
It will be a two-day conference, on 30 November and 1
The Gibraltar delegation will be nine-strong, plus local
The delegation will be led by the chief minister Peter Caruana
and will include the other members of the constitutional
committee of the House of Assembly who drafted specific
constitutional proposals, Bernard Linares, Joe Bossano, Joseph
Garcia, and Keith Azopardi.
Other members will be Chief Secretary Ernest Montado, Daniel
Feetham, Adolfo Canepa, and Peter Isola (Snr).
The following statement was issued by the Government
"As previously stated by the Chief Minister, negotiations with
the British Government on reform Gibraltar’s Constitution will
begin before the end of this year.
The formal negotiation process begins in London at Lancaster
House with formal meetings on the 30th November and 1st
The Government has put together a Gibraltar delegation
comprising three Government Ministers and officials, and six
others, namely the leaders of the three political parties that
contested the last Gibraltar General elections with a view to
forming Government and three past members of the House of
The delegation will be led by the Chief Minister, Peter
Caruana and will include Bernard Linares, Minister for
Education, Employment & Training and Chief Secretary Ernest
The Chief Minister has invited the following other persons to
also form part of the Gibraltar delegation: -
1. Mr J Bossano, leader of the GSLP (and leader of the
2. Dr J Garcia, leader of the Gibraltar Liberal Party.
3. Mr D Feetham, leader of the Gibraltar Labour Party.
4. Mr Adolfo Canepa, a previous Chief Minister of Gibraltar.
5. Mr Peter Isola, a previous leader of the Opposition.
6. Mr Keith Azopardi, previously member of the House of
The delegation will thus comprise 9 persons, and will be
supported by local officials.
Gibraltar must stand firm
The last constitutional conference in 1968 started and ended
in Gibraltar. It is to be hoped that the constitutional talks
that start in London at the end of the month will not be a
long drawn-out affair.
The previous constitutional talks started with conflict, as
the UK delegation made noises against providing Gibraltar with
what was then known as "an unbreakable link with Britain".
The UK wanted to discuss internal change as a ploy not to
address the central issue and what concerned Gibraltar most at
the time: Establishing a link with Britain.
The Gibraltar side did not give in. Eventually, what it was
being told that could not be for a variety of reasons,
including that it was not British constitutional practice,
ended up being agreed in the form of the preamble that took
effect in 1969.
Gibraltar leaders must now ensure that there is no
dilly-dallying from the UK side.
There is nothing unreasonable in Gibraltar aspiring to secure
constitutional reform that is in conformity with a decolonised
status while retaining the link with Britain.
Excuses may be given about not proceeding with one thing or
another, but the bulk of the constitutional proposals,
unanimously approved by the House of Assembly after public
consultation, must be approved.
There is no valid reason why not.
The Reform Party says it just shrugs off what it describes as
a gross implied insult from the GSD Government in leaving out
their leader from the Gibraltar delegation to hold
constitutional talks in London.
In a scathing response, Lyana Armstrong-Emery said:"Among
other people, the delegation includes the leaders of all
present Gibraltarian political parties ( elected or unelected)
with just one exception. Me.
“I have attempted repeatedly to contact the Chief Minister to
discover the reason for my exclusion but he has declined to
speak to me.
“In the absence of his explanation one can only conclude that
this is some sort of personal bias and therefore shrug it off
as the pettiness it is.
“There are vast political differences between our party and
his, however, despite that we regret Mr. Caruana's attitude.
“We feel that the input from our distinctive perspective would
have been relevant in this modern democratic society, and that
another opportunity to demonstrate genuine Gibraltarian
political unity has been lost. I do urge him therefore to
reconsider his decision."
Total ban on private
practice in health service
As part of its current broad initiatives to radically improve
public health services in Gibraltar the Government has
implemented a complete ban of private practice in the GHA.
"This is reflected in a new contract negotiated and signed
with all hospital consultants. Hospital consultants will not
be allowed to engage in any form of private practice on GHA
premises or in GHA time," said an official statement.
The GHA will also employ additional consultants in General
Surgery, Orthopaedics and Paediatrics. This will enable all
historical waiting lists for operations to be eliminated in
all specialities during 2005, once there is access to the new,
expanded operating theatres in the new St Bernard's Hospital
at Europort. This means that during 2005 all of the GHA's
waiting lists will be cleared and fully scheduled services
introduced in their place so that all surgery will take place
within six weeks of the decision to operate by the consultant.
Commenting on this development, Health Minister Ernest Britto
said: "This mean that as from 1 December 2004 there is no more
having to go private and pay to get timely access to health
care. It is clear that all previous attempts to regulate
private practice have not had the necessary degree of success.
The Government has therefore decided on a total ban ahead of
the move into the new Hospital."
Once the new operating theatres and the additional surgeons
are available there will also be an end to waiting lists in
excess of 6 weeks. These measures will deliver a huge
improvement in the quality of access to free, timely health
care and represents another important element of the
Government's reform of our health services, he added.
Remembrance Day service at the
Cross of Sacrifice
The annual Remembrance Day Service will be held at the Cross
of Sacrifice on Sunday 14th November, commencing shortly
before midday. This short service will start at 1200 with the
observation of the 2-minute silence, signaled by the firing of
a gun from Princess Caroline’s Battery by a detachment from
the Royal Gibraltar Regiment.
On parade will be representatives from the Royal British
Legion (Gibraltar and Estepona Branches) and service personnel
drawn from British Forces Gibraltar. Representatives from
civil and military organisations led by His Excellency the
Governor and the Chief Minister will lay wreaths at the Cross
The service will conclude shortly after 1230. Members of the
public are most welcome to join the service.
In order to facilitate the safety and security of the parade,
traffic diversions and parking restrictions will be put in
place by the RGP and there will inevitably be some disruption
to the flow of traffic.
Spanish workers asked to attend
by PANORAMA reporter
Spanish workers in Gibraltar are being asked to attend a mass
meeting to consider what their association describes as
discrimination with their compatriots in social services.
Leaflets about the meeting are being handed over to Spanish
workers as they cross the frontier into Gibraltar.
The aim of the association is to inform not just those working
here but also self-employed and others, with a view to
attracting to the meeting even those who work in Gibraltar but
are not registered as such,
The social and cultural association of Spanish workers in
Gibraltar - ASCTEG for short - held a meeting on Monday with a
PSOE parliamentarian and say they are convinced that both the
Junta de Andalucia and the Madrid government are trying to
find a solution to ensure that social benefits for the Spanish
workers are improved.
The association wants Spanish workers to be informed "about
the situation and about their rights."
The idea is that before Spaniards start working in Gibraltar
they know what is available to them if they are sick, suffer
an accident or when they retire.
They seem to think that such benefits are non-existent in
Gibraltar or are very low.
The issue is being stirred up at every level.
Meetings are due with the Mancomunidad, which groups all the
municipalities in the Campo, with unions as well as with
mayors, political parties etc.
In Gibraltar it has been said that there is no discrimination,
and that those who work here must accept the conditions that
prevail in Gibraltar, otherwise they should not take up jobs
Gibraltar laws online
by Brian McCann
The Laws of Gibraltar can now be viewed by anyone on a new
website launched yesterday by the government’s Legislation
consolidates the many local laws into one easy-to-access
library, and is something that many people – as well as
lawyers – have felt the lack of in the past. Strictly
speaking, at the moment the site contains every law and
amendment up to 1984, which is the bulk of the legal
framework. Web producer Ronnie Miel said that the rest of the
laws are being added as quickly as possible and, once
up-to-date, it will be adjusted immediately whenever there is
any new ordinance, amendment or regulation
The new site was launched at The Eliott Hotel in front of
around 150 guests, mainly representing the local legal
profession but senior civil servants, including
representatives of the customs and fire brigade, could be seen
taking an interest. The audience’s general reaction was to
welcome this development, some saying it had been long
Although open free to anyone with internet access – which
should ideally be ADSL/Broadband due to the complexity of some
of the documents – lawyers did not seem to see it as a threat
to their livelihoods. Legal training and experience may still
be required to interpret the wording, or to know how best to
act on it. But for many people, particular businesses, it will
be a time-saving tool, covering every aspect of the law from
Abandoned Vehicles to Weapons of Mass Destruction (both of
which are apparently illegal on the Rock).
Head of the Legislation Support Unit, Rafael Benzaquen, said
that the move had been inspired by the EU’s equivalent
website, adding that all major economies had taken the same
He said that the last time the Laws of Gibraltar had been
consolidated had been 20 years ago when Sir Joshua Hassan was
Chief Minister. It is this set of laws that are the first to
be put on the site. A main benefit of the finalised on-line
version is that it will always be up-to-date, whereas paper
versions soon become superseded.
At the moment the site contains all details and wording of 846
As well as the recommended ADSL connection, Adobe Acrobat will
be needed to view and print the documents, but this is
available free by clicking on the link on the home page.
Laws can be searched for by keywords – Health, Safety,
Landlord, Tenant, Tax etc but to bring up the complete
document, and details of dates of amendments, it is necessary
to complete an on-line form to specify the exact law required.
This is not 100% straightforward, due to the complexity of the
subject matter, but there is plenty of help available on the
page as well as email links to the Legislation Support Unit.
There are also links for suggestions and for reporting any
errors that might be spotted.
Designer Ronnie Miel is available to any legal chamber or
other interested body who would like him to come along to make
a further presentation on using the site.
Birds from northern
Europe turn up at Gibraltar
The easterly winds last weekend have resulted in an influx of
migrating bird from northern Europe turning up in Gibraltar,
and monitored by ringers at the Field Station at Jews’ Gate in
the Upper Rock.
Over a hundred birds a day have been ringed this last week,
with nearly 200 on Tuesday.
That day birds processed including a flock of Bullfinches,
birds normally from northern Europe rarely seen on the Rock.
Black Redstarts and Robins were the most common birds, with
other northern species like redwings and song thrushes also
GONHS (The Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society)
runs the Gibraltar Ringing Group affiliated to the British
Trust for Ornithology, and mans the ringing station at Jews’
Gate on a daily basis throughout the spring and autumn
migration, with the involvement of both and overseas ringers.
A great deal of scientific information is gathered from every
bird processed and the data are currently being analysed
especially with a view to determining the influence of global
warming on bird migration.
A number of publications in this line will soon be emerging
from the GONHS team.
Fundamental change in
Gibraltar’s supervisory role
The Commissioner’s report on the activities of the FSC during
2003/2004 highlights the major events that the Commissioner
and his staff have been involved in. The Commission’s duties
are also clearly laid out and how the work of the Commission
is geared towards meeting its Statutory and Regulatory
Objectives. The Commission has also, for the first time,
published how it considers that the statutory requirement to
meet UK standards is achieved.
The Commissioner, Marcus Killick, commented that:
“During the year the FSC has begun the process of undergoing a
fundamental change in its supervisory approach with the
introduction of regulatory objectives and an industry-wide
risk assessment process. This has necessitated changes in the
way in which we operate internally as well as the recruitment
and training of additional staff members.
This process is not yet complete but I hope the benefits of
the changes will become increasingly visible as time goes on.
I would like to thank all my staff as well as the Members of
the Commission both for the support that they have given me as
well as hard work that they have undertaken.”
For the first time they have also included how they interpret
the statutory requirement concerning ‘matching’ UK standards.
The Commission is organised by industry groups with separate
divisions covering banking, investment services, insurance and
fiduciary services. These are supported by an enforcement
division whose prime role is to detect and take action against
firms conducting unlicensed financial services activities. The
divisions are also supported by both administrative and strong
The work of the Commission is designed to fulfil its statutory
These duties are set out in the Financial Services Commission
Ordinance and include:
(a) to keep under review both the operation of Gibraltar
legislation relating to financial services and the
effectiveness of the supervision of institutions licensed to
provide any financial services.
(b) in respect of financial services in those areas where
Community law applies, to monitor the extent to which
Gibraltar legislation and supervision of licensed institutions
(i) comply with Community obligations; and
(ii) establish and implement standards which match those
required by legislation and supervisory practice governing the
provision of financial services within the United Kingdom.
(c) to seek through the provision of effective services for
the supervision of finance business to protect the public
against financial loss arising out of dishonesty, incompetence
or malpractice on the part of persons engaged in finance
business in Gibraltar;
(d) to advise the Government of Gibraltar and the Government
of the United Kingdom on matters concerning financial
services, having regard, in particular, to any matter arising
in the course of the discharge by the Commission of its duties
under paragraph (b) above, and to the need for timely and
effective implementation in Gibraltar law of Community
The Commission has recently undertaken a review of how it
meets its statutory objectives and, as a result, has enhanced
its procedures for monitoring relevant developments in the
European Union and its processes for advising the Gibraltar
and UK governments. To identify where Gibraltar legislation
has not kept pace with the UK the Commission conducted a
comparison between Gibraltar legislation and the UK Financial
Services and Markets Act and is currently working with the
Gibraltar Government on the updating of key regulatory
Ordinances. The Commission has also introduced various
improvements in order to ensure it matches UK standards of
supervision. This has included the introduction of regulatory
Chamber lashes out against
Union: “Horrified” by Postal strikes
The Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce is horrified at the current
industrial action being taken by the Postal Grades of the
Gibraltar Post Office.
In a Press Release it seems incomprehensible that only one
year after a much heralded agreement having been thrashed out
by the Chief Minister himself and Post Office staff the
situation of years gone by has suddenly re-emerged.
“This strike not only affects our members but the community at
large and consequently cannot be condoned. Whilst in days gone
by parity may have been a fair mechanism to set wages in the
public service, today it no longer seems relevant as there are
many cases where employees in the public service arc receiving
remuneration in excess of their colleagues in the UK. The Post
Office would seem to be it case in point," they say.
Nevertheless should parity be the mechanism that prevails then
all aspects of UK employment practices should be adopted
including the laws governing the conduct of disputes and
The Chamber says it condemns the threat made by the TGWU to
employ secondary tactics including power cuts as wholly
unacceptable. It welcomes that at least this time around the
Union hasn't threatened to black cruise liners given the
roller coaster ride that this business has had to endure this
year. The Chamber further asserts that secondary action only
serves to prejudice the employment prospects of the Union's
very own members in the private sector. It is precisely for
this reason that secondary action is banned in many other
developed countries. It is easy for the Union's members in the
Public sector to contemplate walking out in support of the
Post Office workers as they are not at the driving edge of the
economy. The TGWU should be prepared to face up to the
economic consequences of its actions.
If the TGWU is convinced that it has a valid case the Chamber
asks itself why the Union is not willing to accept the offer
made by the Government to go to binding arbitration before
escalating the dispute any further, they add.
The Chamber therefore asks both sides of the dispute to agree
to the ACAS arbitration as soon as possible “before any
further harm is done to Gibraltar, its traders and the
community at large."
Sovereignty talks in next
Anglo-Spanish meeting, claims Andalusian chief Manuel Chaves
Britain and Spain will talk about sovereignty at the next
Anglo-Spanish meeting over Gibraltar - whatever the chief
minister Peter Caruana says.
This was stated by the president of the Andalusian regional
government Manuel Chaves who was responding to a statement by
Mr Caruana yesterday where he said that he would not go to
talks to negotiate the transfer of sovereignty to Spain.
Sr Chaves said he would remind Mr Caruana that he (Caruana) is
not the person who decides the order of the day or the
contents for discussion at the meeting.
Sovereignty will be discussed, irrespective of what Mr Caruana
may want or not want.
Such discussions are not incompatible with the policies of
cooperation between one and the other side of the 'fence'.
Speaking at the World Travel Market, he also expressed support
for the idea of 'two flags, three voices'.
Sr Chaves saw the joint use of the airport as developing
within the process of cooperation.
• Christmas gift
Meanwhile, another PSOE politician, Campo MP Salvador de la
Encina, has said that by Christmas the question of the airport
should be on the way to a solution.
He said there are various projects, with the technical issues
being "very advanced".
He added that, for him, what is important is the political
agreement where "a spectacular advance has been achieved."
He did not wish to give dates, but thought that by Christmas
"we could find ourselves with a big gift."
Dialogue between three,
The Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Peter Caruana, has made the
following statements in response to those made by the
President of the Junta de Andalucia, Sr Chaves.
“It is important that everybody be quite clear about the basis
for the possible new forum for dialogue envisaged by the two
foreign ministers with the agreement of the Chief Minister of
This is not about a bilateral process between Spain and the
United Kingdom, but a process in which three parties take
part: Spain, Gibraltar and the United Kingdom under the
formula ‘two flags, three voices’ (or parties). Consequently
the dialogue will be between three parties. It will be of no
use for anyone to try and pretend that it is a structure for
dialogue and co-operation on a bilateral basis between Spain
and the UK. It will be about a tripartite forum for dialogue
under a formula acceptable to all three parties.
It is also important that the difference be clearly understood
between ‘open-agenda dialogue’ (in which of course any issue
can be raised for discussion including sovereignty) and ‘a
negotiation about sovereignty.’ There is an important
difference between a process of dialogue and a process of
negotiation. This would be a process of dialogue and always
with three parties.”
We don't know if Mr Caruana knows what on earth is going on as
regards the prospect of talks with Spain.
The Spaniards are losing no opportunity to stress that
sovereignty will be on the agenda. And we now hear from a
leading PSOE member, Manuel Chaves, that sovereignty is up for
discussion whatever Mr Caruana may or may not want.
The whole situation gets more confusing by the day.
The problem is compounded by the fact that the new talks forum
has not yet been fully concluded. What was announced in Madrid
stated clearly that the mechanisms were subject to further
The last thing Gibraltar wants is to attend formal talks with
so many loose ends.
Mr Caruana himself has been saying that he will not attend
talks unless he is given a veto, whereby nothing can be agreed
over his head.
In the past, such requests never materialised and he refused
to attend talks.
Being given a voice is not like being given a veto. Everyone
knows this, including Mr Caruana.
The chief minister has come out strongly defending what was
agreed in Madrid and presumably he expects that the agreement
will be completed in a satisfactory manner. This is not the
case so far.
It is known that both Britain and Spain feel that Mr Caruana
ought to be at any talks, given that the past has shown that
London and Madrid by themselves cannot reach agreements
acceptable to Gibraltar.
Given the new spirit that seems to be permeating relations
over Gibraltar, it is to be expected that Spain will go the
extra mile to allow for Gibraltar to be present at talks, and
this can only mean acceptance that nothing will be done over
our heads. That is what a veto is all about.
The danger is that Gibraltar cannot afford to go under the
wrong premises. All we need is a repetition of what everyone
now describes as "the infamous Brussels Agreement."
JUNIOR HERITAGE AWARD
Awarded this year to 1st/4th Gibraltar (Marquis of Milford
Havens) Scout Group for their enthusiasm, hard work and
dedication in undertaking the seemingly impossible task of
clearing accumulated rubbish and refuse from Witham’s
When the Scout Association (Gibraltar branch) announced its
tercentenary programme, one of the subjects on offer was the
preservation of Gibraltar’s heritage.
The 1st/4th Group asked the Trust to advise on a suitable
project, which they could undertake.
The Trust suggested the clearing of an accumulation of rubbish
and refuse in this area and they promptly agreed to undertake
This work entailed members of the Group working hard over a
number of Saturdays, an obligation undertaken with great
The Group removed more than 200 bags of rubbish.
After a break over the summer months the Group has resumed the
task on an ongoing basis.
SENIOR INDIVIDUAL AWARD
Awarded to John Murphy in recognition of his active
participation and constant enthusiasm in the preservation and
promotion of all aspects of Gibraltar’s heritage.
A richly deserved award, which brings to the fore the interest
he has always shown in all matters of historical and heritage
He is well known for his organised tours of the Northern
Defences of Gibraltar as well as his nature walks. Always on
the lookout for infringements of the law affecting our
heritage, he has never hesitated in bringing these to notice.
Awarded to the Ministry of Defence (Gibraltar) for the care
and attention to detail devoted to the heritage-friendly
refurbishment of Carter House (formerly ‘E’ Block), Naval
Hospital Road. It is gratifying that property owners are
becoming much more aware of the need to preserve our heritage
and the Ministry of Defence (Gibraltar) now joins former
recipients of the Award as heritage-conscious landlords,
supporting the preservation of Gibraltar’s heritage.
Walkout workers outside No.6:
Explosive situation, says union
GJBS staged a stoppage in pursuance of their claim to narrow
the gap with craftsmen in the public service.
Yesterday they staged a protest outside No.6 Convent Place,
the union saying that management had locked out three
employees which "worsened the already explosive situation."
The rest of the workforce came out in support of those locked
Postal Workers were also there.
What would Spain have to do to change the opinion of
We are not going to talks to negotitate the
transfer of sovereignty, says Caruana
The formula for talks with Spain is not very different from
'two flags, three voices', but with the novelty of an 'open
agenda', chief minister Peter Caruana told the Spanish daily
Asked what he thought an 'open agenda' meant, he said that it
would represent a sufficiently wide formula that can
incorporate the positions and aspirations of all sides, but
without compromising any of them to the objectives of the
It is not an initiative for a negotiation over the transfer of
sovereignty, he said because everyone knows what is the
position of Gibraltar.
Spain can put forward any matter she likes, including
sovereignty, and both ourselves and the UK would equally be
free to put forward other matters as well as replying to the
Spanish objective, which is sovereignty.
Mr Caruana went on to say that if you agree to negotiate it is
supposed that you are ready to cede.
But that was not the case of Gibraltar. "Gibraltar will not go
to those meetings to negotiate the transfer of sovereignty to
Spain," he added.
He went on to refer to the "infamous Brussels process" - he
was against a repetition of what happened in that process.
The UK, he added, does not have the minimum intention of
returning to joint sovereignty - and we have the guarantee
that there will be no agreement if Gibraltar does not accept
He was not concerned with the Spanish government raising the
question of sovereignty. "What I fear is that it be imposed on
me," he clarified.
But Spain could think that it is Gibraltar that benefits from
such a policy. "There may still be people in Spain who think
that unless we give in we have to be strangled," he said.
What needs to happen, or what would Spain have to do, to
change the opinion of the Gibraltarians?
I don't know, said Mr caruana. All I know is that the people
of Gibraltar will never allow that its right to decide their
political future should be trampled upon.
Oldest English-language daily carries story: Twinning plan
for Ballymena and 'Rock'
A SPECIAL "twinning" arrangement between
Gibraltar and Ballymena could be developed as historic
relationships - forged in the battle of World War Two - are
Hundreds of Gibraltarians were evacuated during the war at
camps near Ballymena and ever since there have been links
maintained between the areas.
Now, Ballymena DUP mayor Hubert Nicholl has visited Gibraltar
and has reported back that The Rock's Chief Minister Peter
Caruana said he would like to examine the possibility of a
formal twinning mechanism being put in place, reports Nevin
Farrell in Belfast's "The Newsletter", which is the world's
oldest English-language daily.
The suggestion has been given a warm welcome by Ballymena
Mr Nicholl was in Gibraltar for the annual conference of the
Confederation of European Councillors.
Mr Caruana hosted a reception in honour of the delegates and
presented the Ballymena mayor with a replica of the keys of
Gibraltar and in return received a Ballymena plaque.
Mr Nicholl told his Ballymena colleagues that during the trip
he met many people who had links with the 'Gib' evacuation
camps in Co Antrim.
He said the Chief Minister's gift was to show the "gratitude"
of the Gibraltarians for the way they were treated by
Ballymena people during the war.
The mayor said: "He said he would like to develop
relationships further with Ballymena. He said they don't have
a twinning arrangement and they would like to think about
Mr Nicholl said that as part of the links it was hoped a
regimental band from Gibraltar will travel to Ballymena next
year, said the paper ysterday.
Volleyball Association elect new president
The Gibraltar Volleyball Association recently
held their Annual General Meeting at the John Mackintosh Hall.
The event was attended by over 30 members representing the 14
teams/clubs that will be contesting this seasons domestic
competitions which once again are sponsored by Lipton Ice Tea.
Soon after the pertinent issues opened for discussion the new
Committee for season 2004/05 was elected.
Outgoing President Tony Avellano opted to decline re-election
on the grounds that new blood should helm the Association’s
affairs resulting in his proposal of Eddie Yome to take up the
position. However, Tony was prepared to take any post for a
further season coinciding with the Association’s 30th
The following were elected into office for the oncoming
President - Eddie Yome
Vice-President - Michael Pecino
General Secretary - Tony Avellano
Treasurer - Victor Reyes
Fixt. Secretary - Joe Enriles
Committee Members - Peter Ignacio, Peter Sardeña, Guillermo
Mascharenhas, Daphne McGrail-Trico, Nina Kislova, Kyle Pecino
Dozen go for
This coming weekend, 12th to 14th November,
sees a group of 12 participants, currently attempting the GOLD
AWARD level, travel to Spain in order to carry out the first
of three practice camps for the Expedition Section of their
The participants will be travelling to the "PARQUE NATURAL
SIERRA DE GRAZALEMA" located near Ronda. For some of the
participants this will be their first taste of outdoor
activities with the Award and therefore activities will
include learning the basic outdoor skills of camp craft and
However, together all the participants will undertake team
building activities in addition to carrying out some night
navigation on the Saturday.
On Sunday the participants will be undertaking a short hike of
about 12 kilometres so that they can start to build up their
“expedition legs” since the qualifying expedition will require
them to hike a minimum of 80 kilometres in 4 days.
The participants, whose ages range from 17 to 24 will be self
sufficient during the venture carrying all their equipment and
food requirements. Their activities this weekend will take
them through some of the more picturesque areas of the Sierra
and which can only be reached on foot.
The youngsters will be supervised by experienced leaders
throughout the trip.
The Award would like to thank Bland Limited, Toyota
Stockholdings Limited and the Gibraltar Youth Service for
their continued support with the transportation requirements.
Government accused of environment cover-up
Shadow Environment Minister Fabian Picardo has
challenged his opposite number Fabian Vinet in relation to the
government's amendments to the Pollution Prevention and
Control Ordinance 2001.
Mr Picardo said: "The interpretations attempted by Mr Vinet in
reply to my press release on this issue are designed in order
to justify the unjustifiable and are a transparent attempt to
hide the fact that the government have, in effect, allowed a
further 3 year period for industrial polluters to operate
without a permit."
"The fact of the matter is that if Mr Vinet had really wanted
simply to criminalize pollution, as he has stated, in order to
strengthen enforcement, all he had to do was amend Section 9
of the Ordinance to bring operating without a permit within
its ambit. Instead, the reality of the situation is that
whereas industrial polluters had to have a permit as from 2001
and could only apply as from 30th October 2004, they can now
operate without a permit until 30th October 2007."
Mr Picardo added: "Indeed, the fact is that although Mr
statements on this matter are a clear misrepresentation, taken
at face value they actually amount to a clear admission that
the original Ordinance as presented to the House of Assembly
by the GSD was an ineffective paper tiger. The industrial
polluters must be delighted with the GSD's repeated inability
to get legislation right!"
In relation to air quality, Mr Picardo said that Mr Vinet was
treading on thin ice: "Mr Vinet has to be careful. The reality
is that the GSD has known from its Environmental Agency that
since March 2000 its air quality monitoring equipment "is
antiquated and incapable of meeting present standards or
requirements; that the government is in breach of the 1995 Air
Quality Rules and the Directives they transposed in that the
concentration of the listed pollutants are not being measured;
present Directives, though not yet transposed, cannot be
implemented either due to lack of suitable equipment ......
[and] assessments of air quality in response to present
complaints about the power station or other similar situations
cannot be carried out either.""
Mr Picardo added: "In particular, the GSD has been aware since
1998, from the Environmental Agency Air Equality in Gibraltar
Report (at point 18) that 'based on the situation in the UK
and other European countries it is likely that with new
methodology for monitoring particulate matter, the PMI0 [which
is the carcinogenic diesel particle mass in the fine particle
range of 10 microns or less in diameter] will be exceeded' in
Gibraltar". [See report of case CS/57 of the Ombudsman. Copy
available from Fabian Picardo].
Mr Picardo concluded: "For at least the past 6 years since
that report, the GSD have preferred to spend tax payers' money
on other less pressing matters instead of purchasing earlier
the equipment necessary to measure and assess the impact of
these carrier cancer causing pollutants in the air in
Gibraltar. Mr Vinet's party has got its environmental
threat today and tomorrow
Postal grades have threatened to strike today
and tomorrow, with no delivery or collection of mail, said the
Post Office. It is as a result of differences over a parity
payment. The Government said in a statement this morning that
the community would not be held to ransom.
The Gibraltar Post Office confirmed that postal grades have
threatened to take industrial action today and tomorrow. In
the view of the Gibraltar Post Office "any strike action would
be totally unjustified."
The chief executive officer of the Post Office recalled that
in March 2003 the Government agreed a new pay deal with postal
grades which delivered earnings greatly in excess of parity.
This was done in order to achieve the "next day delivery
service", which has worked very well.
In 2004 the UK Post Office reached a pay restructure agreement
with its staff. One element of the UK deal was that basic pay
would increased by 4.5% plus £26.28 per week to bring the UK
basic pay up to £300 p.w. But under the UK deal the payment of
the £26.28 per week was in exchange for certain other changes
in the pay structure and working conditions. Even after the
New UK pay agreement, Gibraltar postal grades still earn much
more than their UK counterparts.
Nevertheless, the Government says it has still offered to pay
the 4.5% p.a. and the extra £26.28 per week as in the UK
provided that the changes applicable in the UK to qualify for
this payment are introduced in Gibraltar. This was rejected.
The Government then offered a sum less than £26.28 in exchange
for only some of the UK conditions. This was rejected as well.
The postal grades demand that Government should pay the extra
£26.28 p.w. in full without any of the changes and conditions
which resulted in that extra money for postal grades in the
UK. The Unions says that parity means parity of basic pay and
leave entitlement only. This is plainly not correct, says the
The Government has also offered the Union to submit the issue
to independent arbitration by ACAS to test whether the Union's
view is correct or not. The Government has agreed to pay the
claim in full, without any of the UK conditions, if the
independent ACAS Arbitrator supports the Union's*
interpretation of the Parity Agreement.
"This offer of Arbitration has been refused by the Union which
has said that it will accept nothing less than acceptance of
the claim in full, without any of the conditions applicable in
the UK, regardless of whether that claim it is justified or
not. This amounts to holding the community to ransom and is
therefore not acceptable to the Government," the statement
The Government says it regrets the inevitable inconvenience to
customers that will be caused by any action that the staff may
The Government discloses that it has received information
"that certain elements within T&G Union are preparing to bring
a series of unrelated, unjustified and rejected claims to a
head together through the orchestration of combined and
simultaneous industrial action in support of each other."
It adds: The Government's position will remain that claims
from employees are considered on their merits and not on the
basis of threat or effect of industrial action. Nor does the
Government impose its view on the Union. When there are
differences of interpretation of principle, (as in the Postal
Grades claim) Government offers to submit to professional,
independent arbitration. Government regrets that the T&G has
chosen not to accept this offer, which is very favourable to
them if indeed their claim is justified.
Spanish nationality choice for Gibraltarians, says plan
The choice of Spanish nationality for the
Gibraltarians is one of the offers included in an 8-point plan
put before the Campo Mancomunidad and the Junta de Andalucia
by the deputy chairman of the Mancomunidad, and ex mayor of
Algeciras, Patricio Gonzalez.
In the first place, he wants the frontier eliminated and that
the Gibraltar airport should be for domestic use within the
There should be a maritime service between Algeciras and
Gibraltar, while the Rock should be subject to EU directives
on maritime and land pollution.
He also wants Gibraltarians' university studies to correspond
to those in Spain and that Gibraltar should be included in the
transport consortium for the Campo area.
plans to open office in Gib
The Spanish government is toying with the idea
of opening an office in Gibraltar as part of its plan to woo
the people of Gibraltar.
The office would be a branch of the 'Cervantes Institute'
whose role is to promote the Spanish language and Spanish
Madrid has long been thinking of having a presence in
Gibraltar that would help it disseminate hispanic values to
The idea has not made progress in the past due to the state of
relations. However, if the new plans for dialogue and
cooperation make progress, the Spanish will raise this
possibility at some juncture.
The 'Cervantes' institute is currently the front-runner in
official Spanish thinking.
There are people in Gibraltar who remember that Spain had a
proper consulate in Gibraltar until it was closed down by the
Franco regime in the 1950s as part of Spain's reaction against
the visit in 1954 of the Queen.
There are those who say that a consulate would be seen in
Gibraltar as the right and proper course of action to take if
relations are to be seen to be normal. It would offer a wide
range of facilities as any other consulate would.
A Cervantes institute, on the other hand, would be seen by
many as a sort of 'disguised Trojan horse', as someone put it.
Certainly, Spanish thinking is that an office ought to be
opened in Gibraltar. It remains to be seen what exactly
frontier guards given orders for one hour queues
by PANORAMA reporter
An interesting insight into frontier queues has emerged at the
tobacco trial in Algeciras which concerns 17 Spaniards,
including civil guards.
One of the accused civil guards told the court that his
superiors instructed him that the frontier queue at the
frontier could not be more than one hour.
One of the frontier guards who had not heeded such
instructions was sent an order which said: You were told that
the cars had to be allowed through even if the tobacco was
sticking out of the windows.
Another was told that it was as important that there be no
queues as it is to impede the passage of tobacco.
The case is about alleged smuggling of tobacco across the
frontier with the connivance of a number of civil guards.
The civilians involved in the case have been refusing to
answer questions form the prosecutor, only answering questions
from their lawyers, while denying that they had any links with
the civil guards.
The civil guards are accused of accepting different sums of
money for turning a blind eye as the alleged smugglers went
through the frontier.
Two of the civil guards have denied any participation in the
claimed smuggling ring or of having received any money.
A total of nine civil guards are giving evidence.
The case continues today when it is expected that tape
recordings of telephone converations will be heard.
There are three witnesses from Gibraltar which the court wants
to call to give evidence.
There have been allegations that an undercover civil guard was
employed in a Gibraltar store where the tobacco is said to
have been acquired for a long period of time.