Gib protest at Faro tripartite talks next week
by our Political correspondent
A plan is afoot to send a coach-load of Gibraltar residents
to Faro next week to stage a demonstration at the tripartite
talks by way of making Gibraltar's presence felt.
The talks are being held on Friday and Saturday of next
week, and will have Peter Caruana as head of the Gibraltar
delegation, Dominick Chilcott as head of the UK delegation,
and Jose Pons as head of the Spanish delegation.
The tripartite forum has important issues on its agenda such
as the airport, the Spanish pensions, telephones, frontier
As the Faro meeting draws closer, there are conflicting
messages being sent out - all the more important to have a
visible presence to ensure that there is no attempt to take
Gibraltar for a ride.
The demonstration is being organised by the Voice of
Gibraltar group. The size of the coach will depend on the
number of people who decide to go.
Since the talks start on the Friday, some people might wish
to make it a long weekend out in the Algarve!
The meeting is being organised by the Gibraltar Government.
Sources indicate that the government may have already sent a
'secret emissary' to the so-called 'neutral' ground to get
There has so far not been any official information about the
location of the talks within Faro.
This would not be the first time that people from Gibraltar
make their presence felt in this spontaneous manner where
talks about its future are being held.
There are, indeed, many people who take exception that
Gibraltar should have to go to Portugal to hold talks
because the Spanish government refuses to come to Gibraltar.
There are those who think that if tripartite talks mean
anything, they mean equality between the three sides - and
that no one should be more equal than the others for any
reason. Otherwise, the talks should be held on 'neutral'
Voice of Gibraltar Group spokesman Paul Tunbridge says in a
PANORAMA interview today that 'most of Gibraltar would
welcome a reduction in tension and an increase in
cooperation, but Spain's aims remain the same."
He adds: I think the government likes having us in the
background - they can say to Spain something like 'we agree
with you but there are people at home who will kick up a
stink'. It's not a matter of not having confidence in the
government, but we still have to put up with Spanish aims.
As a former banker he says he has been to Geneva and Basle a
lot. Perhaps it's a solution but, then, no-one is claiming
the land the airport is built on there.
He goes on to draw a distinction between 'joint use' and
to give written guarantee to Spain about submarines
The MOD has not yet decided to agree to the
Spanish request for a written guarantee about nuclear
submarines in Gibraltar.
Ever since Tireless, Britain has made it known publicly that
its policy is not to repair nuclear submarines in Gibraltar,
but circumstances might make this inevitable.
At the Malaga talks in February, the Spanish representative
formally asked that a written statement be forthcoming from
the UK side, but the MOD remains undecided whether to issue
such a written guarantee which is not the normal practice.
Gibraltar is a British sovereign base and the MOD is
entitled to use it without any hindrance from a foreign
It will be recalled that Britain would not accept any
Spanish interference in the base at the time of the attempt
at sharing sovereignty three years ago.
Likewise, there is also a military dimension to the question
of the airport. Anything that might interfere with sovereign
use and control is certain to be frowned upon by UK military
award costs in criminal cases is not unconstitutional –
says Privy Council
What, in essence, was the ruling of the
Privy Council on Tuesday following a 2-day appeal brought by
the Attorney General back in May.
A Gibraltar government statement recalls that the respondent
in the appeal, Takahashi Shimidzu had been acquitted by a
jury following a 3-day trial in April 2003. Shimidzu’s
Defence Counsel had applied for costs incurred in defending
the case but the Chief Justice held that there was no power
to award costs on an acquittal. Mr Shimidzu appealed to the
Court of Appeal on the basis that the lack of a power to
award costs contravened the provisions of the Gibraltar
Before the Court of Appeal, in which Brian Berllaque
intervened since following his acquittal by a jury in
October 2003 he had also been denied his costs, it was held
that Section 232 of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance was
unconstitutional. The Court of Appeal found that a failure
to award costs on an acquittal infringed the right to a fair
trial (Section 8(1) of the Gibraltar Constitution Order).
The Attorney General appealed to the Privy Council and the
Court of Appeal judgment has now been overturned. The
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, consisting of Lord
Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Steyn, Lord Scott of Foscote, Lord
Rodger of Earlsferry and Lord Carswell unanimously held that
Section 8 of the Gibraltar Constitution Order, which is
drafted in similar terms to Article 6 of the European
Convention on Human Rights, had not been infringed by the
failure of a statutory power to award costs.
The Attorney General, Ricky Rhoda QC appeared in person
before the Privy Council, together with Mrs Sharon Peralta,
Crown Counsel. John Leighton Williams QC together with David
Hughes appeared for the Respondent, Takahashi Shimidzu.
goes 'native' as unions do battle with MOD
The buzz word in union circles yesterday was
that the Governor and Commander-in-Chief Sir Francis
Richards had gone 'native' as the unions went into battle
with the MOD. Nothing could be more complimentary to a
Governor from a Gibraltarian point of view.
The Governor was to receive a delegation after the
demonstration reached the Convent. He was handed a petition.
The Convent issued the following statement: "His Excellency
the Governor today received a Union delegation, led by Luis
Montiel TGWU district officer.
"Mr Montiel explained the unions concerns and handed over a
petition expressing opposition to the MOD proposals to enter
negotiations to introduce an Integrated Service Provider.
"The Governor said he was aware of the unions views and the
strength of feeling expressed in the petition and undertook
to convey these to the Ministry of Defence in London."
Earlier, union leader Luis Montiel had said that the
Governor was "sympathetic to Gibraltar's case."
There was a feeling as the meeting in The Convent took place
that the union leaders were speaking to someone who fully
understood the concerns of Gibraltar.
Sir Francis is, of course, in a difficult situation, wearing
the hats he does wear. There will be those in Whitehall who
will begin to question which side of the fence he is
defending, but the Governor will no doubt carry out his
duties with the required balance and perception.
It is not surprising that on different issues successive
governors in the recent past are said to have sided with the
people of Gibraltar, for reasons we will not go into at this
The people of Gibraltar do not see the MOD as their enemy,
in fact there has always been great affinity with British
causes, as the people of Gibraltar place themselves within
the British umbrella. But what Gibraltar wants is for the
MOD not to behave as if Gibraltar was its enemy!
Contractorisation gets big 'NO'
by CHLOE ANNE LODDO
Many Gibraltarians gathered in Casemates Square yesterday
morning to support the TGWU and Prospect unions against
contractorisation at the naval base.
Spirits were high as Casemates rang with the theme of the
immensely popular Crazy Frog ring tone. Michael Tampin,
Prospect/GGCA secretary began the proceedings by expressing
his gratitude towards all those who had made the effort to
appear at the demonstration and to all those organisations
and political parties supporting the trade unions against
‘MOD plans of cheap labour and worsening conditions of
He then went on to say that ‘The MOD workers must see or
feel that they are not alone in this fight, that they have
the support not only of their fellow workers but of all
political, economical and social organisations’. His speech
came to a conclusion by declaring that ‘the message to the
British government should be loud and clear, no
contractorisation!’ which was followed by rapturous
Luis Montiel, TGWU district officer, who has just undergone
surgery, came forward to give a passionate speech, which
heightened the spirits of the crowd present even further. He
began by saying ‘Workers, people of Gibraltar, time and time
again, British ministers take decisions from afar and
generally go against the interest of Gibraltar and its
people’. He then went on to say how ‘we will not sit back
and allow the MOD to undermine the living standards we have
worked so hard to achieve’. Montiel then proudly spoke of
the unions having won rights, the right to prosecute the
secretary of the state of defence in the Gibraltar Supreme
Court. The unions were also awarded costs.
With unwavering passion and conviction in his beliefs
Montiel called for the ‘Gibraltar government to immediately
replace all colonial laws’, which was preceded by deafening
applause and shouts of approval and agreement. Promising to
fight all the way should their appeals be ignored, Montiel
wished to thank the Chief Minister and the Leader of the
Opposition for their unequivocal support and encouragement.
Banners flaring in the light breeze bearing messages such as
‘Fascist MOD’, ‘MOD, stop all your hidden agendas against
Gibraltar’ and ‘Please give equal rights to my mum and dad
and stop privatisation’, the mass of people, young and old,
marched towards the Convent to present the Governor with a
petition containing over 10, 000 signatures. Chants and the
tune of the Crazy Frog filled the air as the demonstration
finally arrived there, where they were greeted by Joe
Bossano and Peter Caruana..
Before the petition was taken inside the Convent to be
handed to the Governor, the Chief Minister, who received
thunderous applause, spoke of how ‘The Ministry of Defence
is faced with a responsible trade union movement in
Gibraltar and it will make a grave, grave mistake if it
doesn’t accept the demands of the unions for reasonable,
civilised discussions and negotiations.’ He then went on to
say that ‘The Ministry of Defence is a hugely welcomed part
of our community but they’ve got to behave in the same
reciprocal manner to us as we do to them’. His final words
to the crowd were ‘Let us show the Trade Union that they
have the support of all of Gibraltar’.
Opposition leader Joe Bossano also supported the
demonstration and spoke in what was a day of political
treasure leads to talks with Junta
FLORIDA: The discussions between Odyssey
Marine Exploration, the Kingdom of Spain, the United
Kingdom, the United States, and the regional government of
Andalucia, regarding the British warship HMS Sussex, as well
as cultural interests and underwater archaeology in the
region, are ongoing. Greg Stemm, co-founder of Odyssey
Marine Exploration, has returned from talks with
representatives of the Junta de Andalucia, where he was
accompanied by representatives of both the U.S. and UK
"The discussions with the Spanish authorities have been very
cordial and helpful in settling some issues that had
resulted from erroneous media reports. After the talks, I'm
confident that all issues relating to our upcoming work in
the Western Mediterranean will be dealt with in a timely
fashion," commented Stemm upon his return from the talks in
The Odyssey Explorer has joined the Company's chartered
side-scan survey vessel to work in the 2005 "Atlas" search
area. (For operational and security reasons, Odyssey Marine
does not disclose the geographical location of its targeted
search area). Since announcing the start of the "Atlas"
search project on May 4, 2005, Odyssey has identified
approximately 275 targets and inspected 127 targets with
ZEUS, one of the Company's Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV).
Because Odyssey's new, cutting-edge side-scan sonar system
allows crews to map the seafloor twice as fast as previous
searches, having a deep-water ROV on a second ship to
visually inspect targets will result in a more efficient and
productive search process. In addition, the weather window
for the "Atlas" project typically ends in the fall while
work can continue on the Sussex project year-round. The RV
Odyssey remains in the western Mediterranean available to do
preliminary work on the Sussex site until the Odyssey
While performing search, survey and archaeological work in
the western Mediterranean, the Company located 23 shipwreck
sites, produced 14 pre-disturbance photomosaics, and
completed preliminary excavations on 7 sites. The
archaeological work, accomplished under the direction of
Odyssey archaeologists Dr. Hawk Tolson and Neil Cunningham
Dobson, resulted in the recovery of a substantial number of
artifacts which are undergoing conservation and study by
Odyssey's research department to aid in identification of
Perjury! Lies! Con!
House of Horror stories as Budget debates end
Tempers in the House of Assembly yesterday
were in keeping with the hot weather outside, as the Budget
debates came to a close and the House started to consider
the Estimates, head by head. Earlier, it seemed that some
heads might roll!
Members from both sides of the House had concluded their
speeches, and it was now the turn of the chief minister
Peter Caruana to have his say. This was a non-stop marathon
session, from the morning, through the lunch break and
ending as the clock inched to 3pm. And the members were back
There was a series of attacks and counter-attacks from Mr
Caruana, but what incensed him most were allegations made by
Opposition member Fabian Picardo. What makes him think I am
unreliable, let alone untrustworthy and a perjurer? cried Mr
What made Mr Caruana so upset is published in the next page.
Mr Caruana thought that had Mr Picardo said that political
commitments had not been honoured that would have been all
"But, No! No!," cried Mr Caruana. That is not what he was
doing when he gave his speech, describing Mr Caruana as
unreliable, untrustworthy etc.
It looked like a House of Horror stories - Perjury! Lies!
On the Theatre Royal, the Government has decided to 'pause'
in response to criticism that they had got their priorities
wrong in proceeding with the theatre before the housing and
He told Mr Picardo he must have known that the government
had so decided. It was not a question of unreliability. The
hospital? Well, the hospital was scheduled at that time to
be ready in late 2003.
The lie would have been if it had not been scheduled.
Rescheduling did not make the original scheduling a lie.
Delays to public projects are normal.
And so went the arguments.
Why does that make me unreliable, let alone untrustworthy or
a perjurer? asked a clearly incensed chief minister.
As regards the North Mole affordable housing project, this
had been delayed for a variety of reasons. But would Mr
Picardo be persuaded that "I am not a liar?" said Mr
When he makes me a perjurer, every politician who does not
deliver on any commitment would be a perjurer!
Mr Picardo had said that nothing had happened as regards the
North Mole project.
It is true, said Mr Caruana, that the building has not
started but it is not true to say that nothing has happened
Preliminary work had been taking place, the site was taken
on, it was being cleared etc.
If Mr Picardo had said that progress on the construction was
not as quick as envisaged, that might be true, but not that
nothing had happened,
insisted Mr Caruana.
He then rejected accusations of his not being an
interlocutor of truth on any matter. It is simply not true,
he added. When there was laughter in the Opposition benches,
Mr Caruana said: I don't think the people of Gibraltar think
it is funny.
And he told the Opposition that they think it funny because
they are "irresponsible, they do not care about the truth."
The question of lying or not lying was a recurring issue.
It he wants more I can give him more, said Mr Caruana at one
point, before moving on to other issues.
It was what Fabian Picardo had said earlier
in the proceedings that really got Mr Caruana going in the
House yesterday. What was it that Mr Picardo said? This is
After saying it was little comfort to hear the Chief
Minister make statements of the marvellous economy over
which he presides given what little credibility must
unfortunately attach to any of the statements which he
makes, and making references to the lack of credibility of
the Chief Minister’s own statements, Mr Picardo recalled
that Mr Caruana had accused him of having told this House
“lie upon lie”.
Mr Picardo went on: This year I will show this House by
reference to documents and the Chief Minister’s own words
that it is actually his credibility that is suspect. And in
replying to this detailed breakdown of the times when he has
either misled our people or not been able to comply with his
political commitments, perhaps the Chief Minister could this
year avoid throwing all the toys out of his pram and deal
with the substance of the critique we make of his economics
and of his credibility.
(i) Harbour Views – Developer Claim
He told us yesterday that the £3 million cost of the Theatre
Royal project was 1/8th the cost of fixing the problems at
Harbour Views. He then referred to having to make bonfires
of taxpayers’ money to match that loss as if taxpayers had
paid it. BUT In his New Year’s message of 2001 he said:
“During 2000 Government was able to finally extract a huge
settlement of £24.5 million from the Spanish builders of
Harbour Views.” Of course, it is only true to say that the
Spanish developers paid that money – not the Government so
his statement is not credible.
On Viewpoint Mr Caruana added: “We are still paying out
taxpayers’ money for rushed jobs done in the past – one
example is Harbour Views” – Well that is not true – as he
said himself in his New Year’s message of 2001 – the
remedial works at Harbour Views were paid for by the Spanish
developer NOT THE TAXPAYER. Let’s look at more statements
from the Chief Minister which show he is not credible.
(ii) Housing - 2001
In the same New Year’s message: the remarks he made about
housing. In the last sentence of that paragraph he said that
one of the “ambitious projects” he was launching that year,
2001, was the “launch of various new housing schemes by
Government to ensure the availability of low cost, reliable
quality housing at affordable prices.”
Of course, as we all know – it did not happen. If the
honourable member were a witness of fact on legal
proceedings he would already – based on these two examples
above – be sceptically regarded by the jury.
(iii) Leisure Centre – 2002
Let us look at the member’s New Year’s message for 2002. One
year later. That year his message was dominated by foreign
affairs. But he also said two things worthy of note: At
paragraph 10: This year  we will also be making a
start on the Youth Leisure Centre at King’s Bastion. Nothing
happened that year, the year after, the year after that or
Another statement from the lips of the Chief Minister which
has turned out to be unreliable.
(iv) Theatre Royal - 2002
He referred to the Theatre Royal, which he described as the
GSD’s “major cultural project – a beautiful theatre at the
Theatre Royal.” He said of that and the conversion of
Europort into a hospital that: “Both these major facilities
are scheduled to be ready in late 2003”.
Well – neither were ready by late 2003. The Theatre Royal is
now frozen in splendid Baghdad crater style. Again in his
speech of new year 2002, another unreliable statement.
(v) Housing - 2003
The following year, in his New Year’s message of 2003, look
at what the Chief Minister said about housing. “The
tendering procedure for the construction of new rental, home
ownership and senior citizens’ housing is well under way and
construction will start in the Spring. Houses will be ready
for occupation in two years.
Well, you guessed it – there was no tendering procedure
commenced; construction did not start in Spring 2005 – there
are no houses built. Again an entirely unreliable statement
on an issue as important as housing. Let us see how the
issue developed and the statements of this very unreliable
(vi) Housing - 2004
New Year’s message of January 2004 the Chief Minister said:
“We will press the accelerator on those aspects where,
although much preparatory work has already been done, the
fruits have not yet been delivers”, one of those was …
“building new affordable homes”.
Well, no new affordable homes were built in 2004. The
credibility of the honourable gentleman can really now been
seen for what it is – absolutely zero. But let us give him
one more chance and let us update ourselves on the Chief
Minister’s attitude to the truth in 2005.
(vii) Housing - 2005
In his New Year’s message of this year, in January 2005, the
Chief Minister said this: “Later this month the Government
receives the construction tender bids for our housing scheme
at North Mole on which construction will therefore start in
February”. Well, February came and went. As has March,
April, May and now June. Again, nothing has happened. The
Chief Minister’s statements can be seen to be entirely
unreliable. If he is unreliable on all of the issues that we
have faced in the part 5 years, when is it that we can rely
on what he says?
Put everything Mr Caruana says in that context and see why
it is not prudent to regard him as an interlocutor of truth
in any matter on which he addresses. Mr Speaker it the
honourable gentleman tells us it is 1 o’clock – check your
Mr Picardo added that "the statements that come from Mr
Caruana’s mouth are unbelievable. If he were a witness of
fact in court proceedings he would be facing prosecution for
perjury! In his reply to me last year Mr Caruana called me a
liar. I will be more temperate and parliamentary than him
today. I will simply say that he is without credibility. He
says things he does not do. He says he has done things he
has not done.
He is therefore not a politician we as a community can rely
on. "That will be his enduring political legacy. He promised
much. He did little. His speeches point to a picture of
economic and physical development of our country – beyond
compare. Yet his government’s actions have left our economy
bereft of real progress, our people without affordable
homes, our society vulnerable to osmosis."
'rejects' teachers union statement
The Government says it "deeply regrets and
rejects" the statement by the Teachers’ Union that teachers
are dismayed at not being given the same opportunity as
other Civil Servants to attend the Mass Demonstration on
Wednesday 29 June 2005 and that this undermines the
professionalism of teachers.
Government’s advice to teachers’ leaders has been that it
would be prudent to refrain from sending all teachers to the
demonstration given that this would necessarily require the
schools to be closed down. Similar advice had been offered
by the Gibraltar Trades Council, TGWU and Prospect, as the
Trade Unions organising the demonstration believe the
closure of schools would force many parents to stay away
from the demonstration or having to make alternative
arrangements at very short notice.
Headteachers of Government Schools expressed concern that
closure of schools on Wednesday would disrupt important end
of term functions which cannot be rescheduled given the
proximity of the end of the academic year.
A Press release adds: The Government is rather surprised and
disappointed at the tone of NASUWT’s statement given the
rational and amicable discussion which had previously taken
place. The exchange of views culminated with NASUWT agreeing
with Government’s recommendation that it would be more
beneficial to keep schools open. What is more, there are
many other public servants such as police officers, firemen,
medical and nursing staff, utilities workers and many others
who also forego their right to participate in order to keep
important collective public services operational.
Spain in court over Gibraltar
Spain is taking Britain to the European
Court of Justice next week in a new spat over Gibraltar that
could leave a million Commonwealth citizens in Britain
without the right to vote. Lord Goldsmith, QC, the Attorney
General, will be defending the Government's position at the
hearing in Luxembourg, to be held just five days after
Britain takes over the EU presidency, reports the Daily
The paper adds that the row began in 1999 when Denise
Matthews, then 24 and living in Gibraltar, persuaded the
European Court of Human Rights that she had the right to
vote in elections to the European Parliament because it had
a say in EU laws that applied on the Rock, an independent
territory of Britain.
Spain objected to giving Gibraltar its own MEP, and Britain
announced that the electorate could vote as part of a UK
constituency, and would include "qualifying Commonwealth
citizens" - those who do not need a permit to live in the
At the hearing, "Spain will argue that the Gibraltar
electorate should have been restricted to EU citizens. That
might affect 100 people in Gibraltar, but about one million
people in Britain, mainly of Indian or Pakistani origin,"
the report says.
The UK Government says it is entitled under EU rules to hold
elections in accordance with its own traditions.
Spain complains that this is also contrary to EU law,
arguing that the Gibraltar electorate could have been given
a vote without incorporating its territory into a region.
But Britain says that is impossible in a constituency system
where electors can vote only for candidates in the area
where they live. A ruling is expected by next year, says the
condemn Spanish action
The Opposition condemns Spain's
anti-European and undemocratic action, said Trade and
Industry spokesman Dr Joseph Garcia in the House of Assembly
The European Courts will soon hear the argument of the
Spanish Government as to why they consider that the manner
in which Gibraltar was enfranchised for European elections
was illegal. For some time it was not clear to us whether
Madrid would go ahead with this challenge or not.
As the House knows, he added, the European franchise was
extended to Gibraltar by the European Parliament
(Representation) Act 2003. Spain raised objections with the
European Commission at the time, which included the question
of Commonwealth Citizens, who are not EU nationals, voting
in these elections in Gibraltar. Madrid also objected to the
manner of the enfranchisement which was carried out by
amending British law alone, and leaving the 1976 EC Act on
Direct Elections unchanged. Annex II of this Act says that
it applies only in respect of the United Kingdom.
The Opposition consider that the Spanish action is totally
"We know that Commonwealth Citizens have been able to vote
in European Parliamentary elections in the United Kingdom
from the time that the first such elections took place in
1979. Indeed, they voted in 1989, 1994 and 1999. Before that
Spain had joined Europe in 1986 and they raised no objection
to the participation of Commonwealth Citizens in the three
elections that took place immediately after they joined. It
was only after the same United Kingdom franchise was
extended to Gibraltar that Madrid became concerned," Dr
It is clear that this action, even though it may have
repercussions in the United Kingdom itself, is an action
which is aimed at Gibraltar and which has come about as a
result of the extension of the euro-franchise to Gibraltar.
The Opposition condemns the present Spanish Government for
continuing with an action that had been commenced by their
predecessors, he added. It runs against the spirit of the
European Union and the very basis of democracy itself. We
trust that the whole House will share this sentiment and I
am sure that we will, to use a well-worn phrase, monitor the
teachers cannot take part in demonstration
The Gibraltar Teachers Association/NASUWT
says it is "dismayed" that the government has not allowed
the same opportunity for all teachers wishing to take part
in the anti-MOD demonstration tomorrow.
While pledging its full support to the TGWU/ACTS and GGCA/Prospect,
it says it is dismayed that a full representation cannot be
sent in view of the fact that, although government has
facilitated the attendance of civil servants in support of
MOD workers, "it has not allowed the same opportunity for
all teachers, who are also civil servants, wishing to show
their solidarity by attending."
They take exception to the fact that the professionalism of
teachers is often undermined and reminds the government and
public that teachers are educators and not merely child
The NASUWT/GTA says it "feels that in instances of this
nature, the same criteria for attendance at demonstrations
should be facilitated to our members, as it is with other
non-essential services, to enable all to attend."
Teachers are classed as civil servants in Gibraltar.
The Gibraltar Trades Council is calling upon all Trade Union
members to support the mass demonstration.
Mr Edwin Reyes, President of the GTC calls upon all Trade
Union members from Prospect (GGCA), TGWU/ACTS and NASUWT to
rally at Casemates Square on Wednesday at 10am in readiness
for the march up Main Street to the Convent for the handing
over of a petition to the Governor of Gibraltar in response
to the privatisation plans at HM Naval Base announced by
Armed Forces Minister, Adam Ingram.
The Government of Gibraltar has publicly expressed its
support for the demonstration and encourages all Civil
Servants to attend, except those needed for essential
"We thank the Gibraltar Teacher’s Association for keeping
the schools open with a skeleton staff in order to allow
parents the freedom to attend the demonstration," they say.
The Gibraltar Trades Council also looks for support from the
private sector in allowing employees to join the
demonstration as the loss of MoD jobs will have a wider
impact on the economy of Gibraltar in the foreseeable
Support has also come from other quarters including the
Moroccan workers association who say they are against the
contractorisation plan as it will also be affecting its
British Forces Gibraltar has issued a memorandum advising
all civilian staff that participation in the demonstration
is recognised as official industrial action and only those
staff who are contributing members of the unions are
entitled to take official industrial action and anyone who
is not a member will be considered as taking part in an
unofficial action, which amounts to breach of contract of
Airport deal in
by JOE GARCIA
An agreement over Gibraltar's airport is expected in the
autumn, it is revealed. By then, outline agreement will have
been reached by London, Madrid and Gibraltar.
The airport deal is one of the top topics for the next round
of tripartite talks in the Portuguese city of Faro in the
They want to review progress so far and to start clothing
the skeleton after the summer, in time for foreign secretary
Jack Straw and his Spanish counterpart Miguel Angel
Moratinos to meet before the year is out to announce the
first concrete results of the new talks process.
The three sides have already explored the practical workings
of the airport.
It is the political agreement that will signal the go-ahead.
Spanish sources close to the talks process take the view
that if Spain's sensitivities over the airport area are
resolved, other matters - such as practical arrangements -
are of less concern to Spain.
The Spanish position was safeguarded in the unacceptable
1987 deal by it being recognised that the deal was "without
prejudice to the respective legal positions of Spain and the
UK with regard
to the dispute over sovereignty over the territory in which
the airport is situated."
The 1987 airport deal was given the go-ahead by the then
foreign secretary Sir Geoffrey Howe, the architect of the
Brussels Agreement, who told Gibraltar leaders: You do what
you like. I am going ahead with it.
This caused confusion among the Gibraltar delegation at the
time, who clearly would have preferred that no such deal
should have been struck following the massive demonstration
in Gibraltar against any such deal.
On this occasion, to soften any blow, the Gibraltar
government is insisting that there also be agreement on
other issues, such as frontier and telephones, where
Gibraltar would like to see the lifting of restrictions that
are still in force.
THE RESPECTIVE POSITIONS...
* The respective legal positions over the land on which the
airport is built is that Spain officially considers it to be
Spanish sovereignty territory as it was not ceded in the
1713 Treaty of Utrecht. The area extends from the frontier
fence to Casemates.
The UK view is that there were British-held fortifications
in land beyond the foot of the Rock when the Treaty of
Utrecht was signed and that a line of sentries, along the
demarcation of the present frontier, had long been
established, thus the isthmus area has been, and is, under
sovereign British control.
Britain has offered to take what is a legal issue to the
International Court of Justice but Spain has always
The view of Gibraltar governments has been that Gibraltar
begins at the frontier and ends at Europa Point.
company in the millions as it floats today
Gib -based company in the millions as it
Gibraltar-based PartyGaming is expected to be valued at £4.7
billion when it floats on the London stock market today;
Institutions are tipped to 'stag' the shares - City jargon
for holding equity for no more than two or three days before
selling it on, said The Observer yesterday.
The float price is £800 million down on the online poker
firm's original target. But it will still mean the four
owners of the Gibraltar-based gambling business will share
£1 billion between them.
The shares are nearly three times oversubscribed.
The City was initially nervous about online poker because of
its legal status in America. One analyst said: 'The doubts
still remain. But I think the shares will rocket when they
first trade and fall very quickly soon after.
The world's biggest online gambling float will give
confidence to PartyGaming's Gibraltar-based rival, 888.com.
It is expected to announce soon that it will seek a listing
on the London market in a bid to raise £800m.
There is pressure on the US to clarify its position on
gambling. America is where PartyGaming gets 85 per cent of
its revenue. Should the US relax its stance, it will allow
Las Vegas giants, and firms like Ladbrokes, to enter the
market, severely affecting PartyGaming's profits, said the
Meanwhile, under the heading 'US frets over online
gambling', the New York Times has distributed a lengthy
report on PartyGaming.
It says: As a rule, companies don't draw attention to
business practices that could land their executives in jail.
But for PartyGaming, potential illegalities aren't a secret
buried in its business plan - they are the centerpiece of