Why this lack of enforcement in respect of vital issues?
|Law and Order is a vital ‘Pillar of Society’ but even though ‘Law’ is said to be a system of rules, usually enforced through a set of institutions, it also shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways, and also serves as a primary social mediator of relations between people.
This is why the enforcement of Laws, Rules and Regulations should never be underestimated and one that should always be taken seriously at all levels of society.
Over a period of time there have been worrying aspects relating to the enforcement and application of certain legislation, this in relation to a number of issues that have risen high of those problems which concern many in the community.
We are the only independent newspaper that has provided our readers with in-depth articles covering all these social matters of concern to many, issues such as:
• Territorial Waters
• Angling by Spaniards
• Nature Protection
• Dog Fouling
• Under Age Drinking
If you’ve not already guessed it, and you have been following local news lately, you would know that all the different categories above are all issues of current concern, some are even daily social problems. These matters are important because they affect the people of this community to varying degrees, some more than others, but just the same, many locals and residents are totally indignant, that ‘enforcement’ of the various legislations is not being executed in an effective manner or in a manner that allays the fears and concerns of the general public.
Lack of Legislation
Some of these issues are also receiving a lot of public attention due to the lack of any ‘substantive legislation’ this is where the Government has also come under criticism. Legislation would allow the authorities to effectively deal with these matters, depending of course that the enforcement of these laws are actually implemented.
Some of these are issues that go to the very heart of our identity as a nation, others for instant, are more domestic orientated in nature, but still just as important and a serious concern to many in our development as a forward looking and caring society.
This problem seems to have been with us for eternity. We all know how the EU put their foot in it, by allowing Spain access to parts of our waters under a trumped up EU environmental directive, which has created the present stand-off with Spain.
What has infuriated many people is the lack of any apparent enforcement by the local authorities, particularly the RGP. Also of note is the lack of any forceful application of existing agreement(s) with the Spaniards, as in the fishing agreement. There is also a clear lack of respect from the Spanish policing services; with many reported incursions into British Waters and a clear lack of respect by the Spaniards.
Many people think this problem is not being tackled with any great vigor and coordination between the local enforcement agencies, this for whatever reason. The lack of any effective enforcement or positive stance could in the long run weaken Gibraltar’s position, whilst at the same time serve as a source of encouragement to the Spaniards to continue contravening local laws, which basically are at the centre of this dispute.
This is an issue that has been covered a number of times and where we lay our full support behind the idea of introducing an official regularity system to control angling in Gibraltar.
As the angling issue gathers momentum, many have created a link between the Territorial waters issue and the Spanish anglers problem, but what is clear is the absence of any enforcement of this matter, or how the authorities particularly the RGP are handling this situation, which at the moment appears to be a very low key affair. Why?
The Nature Protection Ordinance is the umbrella legislation which should be able to control many of these marine/sea issues -- come problems, such as the angling problem, again many areas of the nature protection law are being blatantly broken daily. Reports also suggest that the 1999 ‘Fishing Agreement’ is not being enforced, with Spanish fishing boats periodically seen were they should not be.
Another item highlighted many times, despite the fact that the law covers adequately the many litter offences that are committed daily. One problem that is highlighted in this respect is the ‘total lack of any enforcement by the Environmental Health Department’ It is amazing that this public department is totally oblivious and shows very little interest in tackling this growing environmental problem of litter.
Another common and daily occurrence is dog fouling and the fact that very little is being done again by the Environmental Health Department -- through lack of enforcement.
Under Age Drinking
This social problem is one that has been carried numerous times over the years. It is an issue that is associated with the general drug problem in Gibraltar. Under Age Drinking is a concern to many people, confirmed when the Government themselves decided to hold a ‘Public Consultation Exercise’, with the public overwhelmingly and clearly indicating the need to increase the legal drinking age to 18 years, this was nearly 3 years ago. Nothing has been heard about it since then!
Drug and Alcohol abuse in Gibraltar is a massive issue, it accounts as we have undisputedly pointed out for at least 70% of all local Crime. Cocaine abuse is on the increase so we are told by local professionals and experts; this includes alcohol related offences committed by the younger elements of this society. This young age group is the one that requires the most protection BUT it is sadly lacking, through lack of Legislation and Enforcement.
Not only is there concern about all these issues and social problems, but there is an ever growing worry and anxiety at the very low level of application.
These are fundamental issues in any society, which require careful planning and the introduction of appropriate measures, effective legislation and a coordinated enforcement policy to fully protect members of this community.