'Spanish sensitivities' can be ignored...
The Voice of Gibraltar Group welcomes the Queen's Speech in
which she states : “My government will ensure the security, good
governance and development of the Overseas Territories,
including by protecting the Falkland Islanders’ and
Gibraltarians’ right to determine their political futures.” This
is UK Government policy contrary to the lies in the Spanish
We also welcome the routine visit of HMS Talent to the Z berth,
which shows that ‘Spanish sensitivities’ can be ignored when its
convenient for the UK Government.
However there is increased pressure on the Gibraltar Finance
centre by way of the usual Spanish claims that Gibraltar is a
tax haven and ‘uncooperative jurisdiction’. This is from a
country rated by Transparency International in the middle of
Europe’s table of most corrupt countries, below even Greece and
We hope that our Government is in close consultation with local
service providers and listens to their views. Although Mr
Picardo may enjoy visiting the United States and being pictured
with Mr Obama, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act is
American legislation and it is for the Gibraltar Parliament to
make laws that apply here not a foreign government with
interests that may not be ours to dictate to us.
Similarly when the UK Government as part of the action group of
five nations looking at finance centre the EU we hope they also
look after Gibraltar interests and are more awake to future
problems than when the MAFF allowed the Spanish to claim a slice
of British Gibraltar Territorial waters as a ‘nature reserve’ a
profound mistake which has caused continued grief and
misunderstandings in the area.
In particular we would not like to hear in the future that Spain
has slipped in something to the detriment of Gibraltar, which
the UK has not had the vision to anticipate. We also call on the
Government of Gibraltar to closely monitor things so that ‘wider
UK interests’ do not mean that we are disadvantaged or excluded
in the same shameful way we were in relation to airport
agreements and other EU measures..
Spokesmen for the VOGG
Gibes about 'Little Englanders' and lofty rhetoric about a
'Europe of the Regions' will not convince many people in the UK
to vote to stay in the EU. The issue will be decided on pocket
book matters - how much is the EU increasing the average
family's food bill (the CAP) , the amount and cost of
regulation, the threat to the Thatcher negotiated annual rebate,
our annual membership of the EU and how this could be better
spent on public services.
Some people will vote on issues of Sovereignty and the EU's
Direction of travel. Business will want to be assured that they
can still trade with the EU though Lord Lawson has said that
business has become too comfortable in the EU and they need to
be looking at Asia for opportunities.
The parties in Gibraltar needing to be working out a Business
plan for Gibraltar in and out of the EU. They should certainly
approach the UK Government for financial assistance if they
think that warranted. However, do not insult us with gibes about
Little Englanders. I do not believe the vast majority of folks
in Gibraltar would endorse that sort of language.
Whilst there are still people with a lot of malicious intentions
and comments in well known social media forums, with regards
oxygen therapy. A lot of harm is being done to people that are
attending these sessions which is proving to be an effective way
to ease peoples sufferings and improving their quality of life.
I will end with a quote by Professor Phil James. "We can be
three days without eating food, we can be three hours without
drinking water, but we cannot be more than three minutes without
The last thing I want to be is a spoilsport but Mr Rose letter
in 8th May edition requires some extra info.
His invitations to the PM and Foreign Secretary to visit us are
laudable but allow me to state the obvious, as long as our
affairs are controlled by the FCO instead of Parliament, we
stand no chance of a visit, allow me to explain fully, some
years back at a reception in London attended by HM, a very
prominent Gibraltarian asked the Queen, ‘when will your Majesty
re-visit Gibraltar, the answer, I do not want to upset my cousin
King Juan Carlos’.
The recent comments by Mr Cristobal Montoro, Spain’s ‘Ministro
de Hacienda’, that Spain intends to sign an agreement with
European Union governments to clamp down on tax havens is not,
by itself, a bad thing. Tax havens, by definition, have no place
in today’s world. Mr Montoro’s mistake is to link his
government’s apparent concerns to Gibraltar, a move that is as
misguided and unnecessary as the reports that his Tax Ministry
has set up a working group to study financial movements in or
involving Gibraltar. Misguided because the days when Gibraltar
might have been correctly regarded as a tax haven are long gone
– the Rock has for many years now worked hard to distance itself
from a ‘brass plaque’ jurisdiction and is a reputable, serious
financial centre, one that complies with all applicable
legislation. Everyone without a political axe to grind
recognises that factual reality. Unnecessary because there are
other, more direct means of addressing those apparent concerns.
The Gibraltar Government has repeated both now and in the past
its willingness to allow those with a genuine interest
(including Spain) to come here and inspect us. Why waste time
and resources standing outside a cinema for a month, asking
departing movie-goers what the film was like when you’ve been
invited to watch the film yourself?
Gibraltar is neither a tax haven nor an uncooperative territory.
That inescapable fact is evidenced by the close to thirty Tax
Information Exchange Agreements that have been negotiated and
signed with OECD and EU member states – not, incidentally, just
the eighteen that the official OECD website has decided to list.
From the United States to India, from Mexico to France, Germany,
Austria and beyond, Gibraltar continues to systematically engage
with important countries in order to bring to fruition more
So far, regrettably, no luck with Spain. Yet our neighbour
cannot have it both ways. Spain cannot on the one hand be
critical of the alleged opaqueness of our financial centre
activities or describe us as uncooperative, while at the same
time refusing to sign a Tax Information Exchange Agreement
(which would either confirm that alleged opaqueness or allay any
concerns, should they really exist) simply because the colour
blue is missing from the flag behind the Minister signing on the
On a related note, it is not just Spain who would do well to
become conversant with the professional, well regulated
activities of our finance centre institutions. While it may be
true that the recent statement by the European Court of Justice
simply repeated the text of Spanish legislation when referring
to “tax havens and uncooperative territories such as Gibraltar”,
those reading the statement could mistakenly interpret it as
affording some legitimacy to a Spanish legislative instrument
that is factually wrong in its premise. As such, the importance
of educating European institutions and players should not be
It was once suggested that the Gibraltar “problem” would be
dissolved (as opposed to resolved) within the context of a
federal European Union. The romantic – for some – notion of a
strengthened, more unified EU where the lines of nationality and
sovereignty blur and citizens regard themselves first and
foremost as European would, it was argued, provide the
foundations for a resolution of the Gibraltar issue. Clearly we
are far away from that utopian vision and few can still really
view it as a future possibility.
What remains a certainty is that we need EU institutions on our
side or at the very least we need them to be well informed of
Gibraltar’s reality. In an age of instant mass communication, it
is as easy to properly inform a global audience as it is to
misinform and negatively influence or colour the opinion of
decision-makers, including ECJ judges. Face to face interaction
can make all the difference. The recent efforts to more
prominently and regularly take our truth to the EU and lobby
those in a position to assist us are welcome and can only be
applauded. It makes sense for such approaches to be ongoing and
habitual, even if only to counter-balance mischievous moves by
others who may campaign against us behind the scenes. Lobbying
efforts, sadly, are not the monopoly of the righteous.
Congratulations are well deserved by those at both political and
administrative level, not least the lawyers and staff at the
Government’s European Union and International Department, who
have ensured the Rock’s full, up-to-date transposition of
Directives and other pertinent legislation. This is instrumental
in ensuring we maintain both the moral and legal high ground, in
proudly holding our head up high and in telling the
international community that Gibraltar is a serious, safe,
professional, sound, properly regulated jurisdiction. Mr Montoro
and other similarly misguided PP colleagues would do well to
for Europe in 'cuckoo' land
Allow me to comment on an extract from the letter received by
the VOGG from none other than the UK Minister for Europe, who
appears to be living in ‘cuckoo’ land.
For me the offending words are quote ‘ A further escalation of
tensions could put Gibraltar’s prosperity at risk and damage
wider UK interests’. I honestly feel that the last four words
are the only truth of the matter, where has this Minister been
or worse still his EU sidekicks, Spain has since being allowed
to join the then EEC done their utmost to discredit Gibraltar in
every sphere possible from Financial Institutions and still at
it, Bunkering, Tourism, Sporting ventures and last but not least
membership of the ILO, even in the days of a Socialist
Government in Spain makes a mockery of the Minister’s words,
‘put Gibraltar’s prosperity at risk’.
I assume he will now wish to pass comments on the latest
gimmick, possibly being planned by Spanish extremists of the
ruling PP, if Gibraltar has up to now not been invaded is simply
because when it comes to a show of force our neighbours lack a
very important missing element from the ‘golfing paraphernalia.
on the Rock
Today, Bandmaster Craig Philbin terminates his attachment to The
Royal Gibraltar Regiment and leaves the Army.
Luckily, he is not leaving Gibraltar, as he will be settling
down with his family on the Rock.
As one, who for the past 53 years has been and still is a keen
supporter of all Military Bands and loves Military Marches I
congratulate my very good friend Craig, for the fantastic work
he has done with the Regimental Band of our Regiment.
I have seen many Bands come and go here in Gibraltar and I can
proudly say that The Band of The Royal Gibraltar Regiment is
Tops and has nothing to envy any other Regimental Band in the
British Army, our Musicians are not only first class and smart
but they also enjoy playing their instruments and are a pride to
Once again Craig, many thanks for all your invaluable help it
will not be forgotten.
Solomon (Momy) Levy
to visit Rock
Just over one week ago, I sent emails to the "Cameroon luvvies"
at No. 10, asking either Cameron or Hague to "find a reason" to
After all, it will not be long until the summer hols and the
Recess are upon them, and I am sure David Cameron must be
looking for an alternative destination to Spain for his break,
even if Gibraltar is physically attached to the Spanish
mainland. In case the luvvies are geographically-challenged, I
did remind them where to look on the map!
To Boris Johnson's office next, and a similar invitation,
perhaps to partake of cream tea with his counterpart, the
Gibraltar Mayor, and to tour around Gibraltar on a Gibi-Bike.
I am sure I shall elicit a response from both camps but I shall
not be amused to receive rejection emails or letters, filled
with the usual meaningless poppycock!
Seriously, these Leaders NEED to visit Gibraltar to experience
first hand the "atrocities" which take place, via the Spanish
authorities, and to speak to citizens directly affected.
Surely, the Gibraltar Government has already issued invitations
to the Prime Minister, to enable a formal visit to take place?
I am certain I am being naive and cheeky in sending such emails
but, if you don't ask....!
playing field in European Union: The people of Gibraltar must
At what point in time will the people of Gibraltar come to
understand why the people of Britain want to be OUT of the European
Union. The European Union isn’t a “union” where the playing field is
level, everyone gets treated the same and everybody’s interests are
taken into account. The European Union is just another arena where
everybody fights for their own interests. Regrettably, the UK is the
only “member” that even tries to play by “the rules”.
Spain certainly doesn’t. Neither does Italy. Or France. Any Eastern
European “member” automatically doesn’t. Greece shouldn’t even be in
the EU. Its economy only met the “criteria” because the accounts
were fiddled. Most Eastern European “members” are probably the same.
Economic basket cases recently released from Soviet domination. With
Soviet-style failed economies. But there was a saviour! The European
Union. Eyes firmly fixed on the Fourth Reich and the Third, or
possibly Fourth, French Empire.
The people of Gibraltar need to remember that, until relatively
recently, Spain was a dictatorship. Actually, it still is a
dictatorship. The only difference is that it’s now the
quasi-democratic dictatorship of the Partido Popular instead of the
open, “honest” dictatorship of Franco. The people of Gibraltar need
to make a decision. Britain or Europe. There is no point in hiding
or denying the truth. Choose Europe and Gibraltar will be Spanish in
no time. The people of Gibraltar must fight! I’m personally sorry
that they must fight for aid from the UK. But remember the Falkland
Islands. They fought, and carried on fighting, until Argentina
forced Britain’s hand. The PEOPLE of Britain have not forgotten
Gibraltar. WE won’t allow the British government to forget either.
But the people of Gibraltar must fight for themselves. Anyone
remember the British Overseas Territories Consultation? During the
course of that, I said that the Falkland Islands and the British
government needed to tell the world the true facts. Thank heavens
that someone noticed. And now Britain and the Falkland Islands fight
back. With the truth.
What can the people of Gibraltar do? Just for a start, they should
keep their eyes open. Look for any illegal Spanish activity. Report
it. Act, if possible. At least, take photographs. Demand that the
Cervantes Institute is closed and removed from Gibraltar territory.
Draw up a list of Spanish politicians to be persona non grata in
Gibraltar. Photograph any Spanish police, Guardia Civil, military
personnel so that they can be identified if the attempt to enter
Gibraltar as civilians. Remember that, as an EU territory, Gibraltar
is still entitled to turn away individuals considered to be a
national security risk. Demand that Spanish legislation, of any
description, is declared invalid in Gibraltar. Lobby at Westminster.
Make sure that no British MP can ever forget Gibraltar. Leave no
statement from any source, that is incorrect, unchallenged. Take the
statement from the ECJ. Challenge it, publicly. Tell the world that
what the ECJ says is a lie. Don’t mince words. If it’s a lie, call
it a lie. Challenge the ECJ to provide evidence to support its
statement. Demand a public apology. Start a website. Dedicated to
revealing Spanish and EU lies, illegalities, highlight Spanish
hypocrisy. Make sure that it is near impossible for a Spanish
national to get access. How about “The Truth about Gibraltar”?
Thank you all
Through the medium of your newspaper the Leukaemia and Lymphoma
Research Gibraltar Branch, would like to inform the general public
that the total money collected at this year's Flag Day which was
held on the 15th March 2013 stands to a total of £3,620.23. We would
like to thank all our helpers, supporters and the general public,
without their help we would not have been able to achieve this
amount for such a worthy cause.
Research have come a long way by improving treatments in the past 20
years and survival rates for children stand from 90-95 per cent,
adults 70-80 per cent. How near to the cure depends on charity,
every penny collected goes to worthwhile projects and hospitals for
the improvement of patient care and treatment.
Once again I would like to thank everyone involved.
Beryl Zammitt Secretary,
Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research