THE STARK REALITY - Modernisation is not decolonisation

In evidence to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons, the Minister for Europe Jim Murphy MP said on Wednesday that Gibraltar?s new constitution was a ?modernisation? and that he would not say starkly that the colonial relationship has come to an end.

The Opposition adds that "this goes to the core of the submissions made by them to the Committee where they asked them to clarify beyond doubt and with no equivocation whether the international status of Gibraltar has changed, or whether that status remains the same after the new constitution came into force as it had been before."

The UK Minister, who is responsible for Gibraltar, refused to say that the international legal status of Gibraltar has changed from being a colony to no longer being colony.

Instead he described the constitutional process that has taken place in Gibraltar as a ?modernisation? and an ?improvement?. The word ?modernisation? is the same term that the United Kingdom Government uses to describe the process that has taken place, and indeed continues, in other Overseas Territories all of which remain as colonies.

In his own evidence before the Committee earlier this month, the Chief Minister said that ?Nobody looking at this constitution and at Gibraltar in practice could possibly conclude that the United Kingdom and Gibraltar remain in a colonial relationship.?


The Minister for Europe, with responsibility for Gibraltar, who presumably has looked at the constitution, said in an indirect reference to Mr Caruana?s evidence that the new constitution ?has been described by others as an end to the colonial relationship. I would never put it in that stark terms myself, but I think it is a modernisation, an improvement and a sensible move forward??

This confirms the view of the Opposition that as far as the United Kingdom is concerned, the process that has taken place in Gibraltar stems from the 1999 White Paper ?Partnership for Progress and Prosperity? and is the same for all its Overseas Territories, says a GSLP/Liberal statement.


The statement adds: It is also entirely in line with the action of the United Kingdom Government in supporting the consensus in the UN 4th Committee in October last year which calls for negotiations to continue in order to decolonise Gibraltar. This is the negotiating process that the United Kingdom supported for the first time in the UN Decision approved in December 1973, and has continued to support every year since then for 35 years.

When Gibraltar is finally decolonised, the United Kingdom will cease to support this consensus Decision, they say.