We like to think that 'our democracy' is the best in
the world and we are duly proud of it. Yet, it is riddled with
archaic colonialist limitations compounded by restrictions that stem
from the days Gibraltar was essentially a fortress.
The unions have had to take the matter to court to get a ruling that
it can take the MOD to court. Why was it necessary for there to be a
court hearing and a court ruling? How many other laws in the statute
book, how many rules and regulations, are just as archaic and
And why cannot Gibraltar throw into the nearest dustbin all those
anti-democratic laws, rules and regulations and have them replaced
by modern laws that would do justice to 'our democracy'.
Although it would require a legal investigation to arrive at the
right conclusions, there is nevertheless a feeling that many laws
etc in Gibraltar are tilted in favour of the establishment. It is as
if the establishment has more rights that the individual.
If some of these laws, regulations etc were applied in blanket
fashion, 'our democracy' could become 'our dictatorship', hence the
need to shake our legal system out of its ancient environs.
Gibraltar needs to be a modern society with laws, rules and
regulations that are in keeping with the times we live in and not
those belonging to a bygone era.
Noise allowance en los Sands...
Oh, to be a pensioner now that TV licences are to be free. It would
mean that one would not be able to criticise GBC any more.
What are you talking about, dear Cloti. GBC still get a fortuna in
subsidy, and not only that, pero le pagan del tax-payer por no haber
subido el licece fee, que te parece?
Let that be como sea, lo cachonfinger is that los tripartite talks
are to take place in Portugal.
Que practiquen el singing of un fado.
Ya lo dijo la Lyanna, what humiliation for our Gibraltar. I mean,
and I mean it, if they are tripartite talks, entonces the three
sides must be equal.
Claro que si, pero los Spanish are afraid of visiting our Gibraltar.
Y eso que we are all Uropean, verdad my dear.
Te dire que los latest rumours son que el Governation is going to
start building affordable houses.
At snail-pace, by the time they are built, they will no longer be
affordable, my dear.
And I imaginate que te daran una rebaja por estar near the airport,
a sort of Noise Allowance.
Y que me dices del mountain of grit at Cammell Laird? It will cost a
bomb to remove, y el pueblo paga.
Tendra mucho dinero el Governation. Y que pasa con el non-sailing
ship Rotterdam, el del asbestos?
Esta todo estancao. Mira lo que pasa con seven cars estancao en el
Engineer Lane carpark, que le hicieron damage a todo.
Que poca-verguenza, el Pons lleva razon about los delinquencies por
I imaginate que you are referring to Julio and not to Jose, porque
el latter is better known as ping-Pons.
Eso es lo que hace falta, clearing the air, porque el pollution nos
come. Say cheerio.
Point of View
By Joe Bossano
Leader of the Opposition
Does Government have a cash problem?
Government denies that it has a cash problem and stated last year
and continues to state that the disappearance of the surplus is the
result of the deliberate policy of reducing the surpluses which they
claim they have conducted on a regular basis year in, year out.
Once again we come up with the question mark, is it that the Chief
Minister gets his figures wrong, is it that he is trying to mislead
people or is it that he doesn’t know what he’s doing? The facts do
not support the statement that it is a deliberate policy. What has
been the surplus of revenue over expenditure in previous years? Has
there been a steady decline reflecting a deliberate policy bringing
the deficit down gradually year in, year out?
The honourable member told the House in the last Budget that when I
had warned in previous years that the inevitable result of
expenditure growing faster than revenue would be the erosion and
eventual elimination of the budget surplus, I had been observing and
stating the obvious.
Well, it was obvious to me but not apparently to him since the
estimates he presented in the House gave no indication in 2003 when
I was saying this, that he anticipated the elimination of the
surplus in a few years. He has maintained that it has actually been
happening every year for the last few years, the figures I have just
quoted show that this is not true. He then says that it has been a
matter of Government policy and not by chance or unintended or
If that were indeed the case we would not agree with the policy of
the deliberately creating a deficit and then having to increase
electricity, water and a host of other charges to restore the
surplus which they claim they had deliberately eliminated in the
first place. I have to say that the more one analyses the statements
of the member, the more one comes to the conclusion that either he
gets it all wrong or he just simply doesn’t have a clue what he’s
In 1997 he said “unless expenditure moves down or revenue moves up
it is unlikely that next year we will be able to generate a surplus
of £7 million. That is the financial year 1998/99”.
No hint here of a deliberate policy of wanting to reduce the
surplus. In fact, 1998/99 the surplus was £17.5 million, the highest
ever and in 1997/98 it was £15 million and not the £7 million he had
expected. There was another £17 million surplus in 1999/00 and so in
the 2000 Budget it became Government policy to have high surpluses.
He announced a higher forecast surplus and an estimate of the same
level of £16.8 million for 2000/01 and defended this high surplus
policy. He was defending the very opposite policy to the one he now
claims to be the policy of the Government. He said the money was
needed for infrastructure development of which a major item was a
waste water treatment plant on which Gibraltar would soon be in
arrears of the required date.
The House was told “Government budget surplus policy is calculated
to keep the powder dry and to operate the sort of surpluses (having
just mentioned the estimate of £16 million plus) that we judge will
be necessary if this community is to afford investment in public
service infrastructure it faces during the next 4 years.”
Well the next 4 years are now over. The powder is soaking wet and no
huge infrastructure development such as the waste water plant has
taken place. So much for a continuous government policy.
The policy follows events and the surplus of the past have every
sign of having been by chance, unintended and overlooked despite his
denial of last year and to have taken him totally by surprise, to
When he finds there has been a large surplus that becomes the
prudent Government policy. When he has a deficit it is not a
shortage of money but the normal thing that governments do and can
be corrected by budgetary discipline. The current supposed policy of
restoring the surplus only surfaced after I had questioned the
sustainability of the trend in Government spending which would lead
to the situation of going into the red, i.e., not having enough
money to pay for recurrent expenditure.
Having argued last year that it was a deliberate policy to get rid
of surpluses, he then went to demonstrate that the public sector had
not grown over the years and that this was not the cause of the
deficits. He went out of his way to demonstrate this, namely that
the public sector was not too big in relation to the size of the
economy. Not, as he made clear for our benefit, since we have never
used such an argument, but because he said there was a myth in some
quarters in Gibraltar, without specifying which quarter, that the
public sector was too big and he said “this is not true, it is not
Nevertheless the figures he chose to defend his thesis were all
wrong, and wherever in Gibraltar those quarters may be they are
certainly not going to be convinced by the figures he gave them last