Out of character
It was truly regrettable to not only read but see in News watch the amount of arrests by the Royal Gibraltar Police during the night of the feast of Halloween. This antisocial behaviour of what was described as groups of masked gangs rampaging around some of our local estates destroying and vandalising anything that they could find, thus creating total and utter disruption and causing unnecessary anxiety and distress to our older generations especially those who live on ground floors of some of the estates, or perhaps taking an evening walk was totally out of character and order.
This my dear fellow Gibraltarians is totally unacceptable that some of our youth behave in this disgraceful and unjustifiable manner, overturning cars, and throwing missiles at innocent people. Surely some serious thought and indeed serious action need to be taken by the pertinent authorities, and perhaps a more firm and stronger legislation ought to be introduced to the one I suppose we have. And also when taken to court and found guilty not just impose on the offender a Ł50.00 charge, but impose higher charges, as well as also paying for damages caused, or Parents should also take note of the seriousness behind this sort of behaviour and what it can lead to. Throwing missiles at the Police is also totally unacceptable and most certainly leaves a lot to be desired and says a lot about this kind of people who act in this way.
I also personally feel that as well as parents, schools should also take an active role in this, by perhaps teaching the children the seriousness behind this sort of acts, thus making aware our up and coming generations that this sort of behaviour is not accepted in our community. Going back in time, I remember when we celebrated Halloween fancy dress discos were organised and I remember attending this events, events organised by the youth clubs. To my surprise I found youth clubs closed when perhaps they could have organised fancy dress discos, with perhaps the objective of keeping youngster away from the street especially on a night like this, thus at the same time deterring them from indulging in wrong doing. This of course will not stop these "agua fiestas" from acting antisocially but it would in some way minimise this sort of events from taking place. ( not for one moment I am implying that the youth clubs are to take the blame, but perhaps this could be taken into consideration for the future ). I also feel that Gibraltar has a serious antisocial behavioural problem and also a problem of disrespect towards others in our community. This needs to be acted upon immediately. Let us stop running away from the realities of life. Lets get down and do something about this, before it starts to get worse. This is a community effort, and not the Police the Police cannot solve the problem if the community does not back them, this is a community task that we must all adhere to.
As a Gibraltarian and a taxpayer I feel ashamed and most certainly astonished by such unnecessary and unjustifiable and unwarranted act of behaviour in our community.
Derek J Desoiza
Christmas in a car?
My name is Joe Azzopardi, 52 years old, who got ousted from my home at Varyl Begg estate after my wife decided to start divorce proceedings against me and I had to leave the matrimonial home on the 26th Aug.
Ever since, I have been sleeping in my car at Europa Business Centre withstanding noise from the power station for 24 hours on end as I work beside it.
I am a type 2 diabetic with high blood pressure.
On Saturday 17th the minister for housing Mr Beltran stopped me at the Piazza where the 'Clean Gibraltar' was being organised and in front of the public he said he had seen me driving my car around with placards on windows, after explaining to him my situation he said he would help me get a flat.
On the 4th October my doctor gave me a letter to take to the Housing committee which I took myself, after I started to get pain on the back ribs (which I fractured four of them three years ago.) and that I have had to take tablets to sleep that can become addictive.
I have five year old son who is supposed to stay with me overnight every two weekends, but obviously not in the car.
Ever since my pay has gone down from Ł203 to Ł180 net a week I am still paying for the car which is the only place I can sleep. Although I have three sisters I cannot stay with them as two are on benefits, which I was told by social workers that they would lose if I were to move in with them and the other has an adult girl and the house is fully occupied.
On Oct 6th I saw Mr Beltran going to the City Hall and asked if he had seen a letter from the Doctor and he said no.
A few days later I received a letter that due to my medical condition there would be another assessment but I am still waiting for a reply.
On December the 25th at 4pm I am supposed to pick up my son to stay with me till 4pm of the 26th, and again on the 1st Jan to 2nd.
With my current pay I cannot afford a room in a hotel and I reckon it's going to be a very sad and terrible Christmas for me.
During the Summer days I used to take him to beaches but now winter is coming up all I can do is take him for a ride in the car and he gave me a pack of cards to keep in the car to play with him and he tells me he would like to play with his train set I got him for Christmas.
Although my ex wife lets me keep him for several hours, sometimes all day, I cannot take
him over the border because she won't allow it.
I have started to take medicines for depression it's getting worse even though I get a lot of moral support from family and friends even of her own.
I have decided to write this letter because sooner or later I will end up in hospital.
The car has been very cold during the recent heavy rains we've had, and the pain in my back is getting worse, and I have no one to turn to now.
Address G 9065A
Europa Business Centre.
(PS I wonder if the Opposition could do something for me?)
Concessions to remove restrictions
When Sr Pons says "we had never been as close to an agreement as we wereat the time of the 2002 joint sovereignty negotiations" the question iswho 'we' exactly might be. Certainly not the Voice of Gibraltar Group and not the participants in the Referendum. History cannot be re-written, but the challenge is for the politicians of today to create a framework for a better world tomorrow.
The Republic of Ireland can drop a territorial claim, enshrined in its constitution. should be by far easier for Spain to drop its outdated claim to Gibraltar which has no prospect of success and which
could require large and dangerous changes to its own constitution It is remarkable that the Spanish telephone network can accept a
dialling code of 376 for Andorra but not 350 for Gibraltar. It is amazing that Sr Pons says that Spain does not engage in persecuting the Gibraltarians, given his
Government's attitude in the EU of attempting to block anything remotely
favourable to us. But we are neither amazed, surprised or impressed.
He joins the ranks of the countless other Spanish politicians who have persistently complained about the Finance Centre, Bunkering, Voting, MOD presence, shipping, of
late land reclamation and development. Things which attract thousands of their fellow countrymen to queue up for work on The Rock, and which happen despite the complaints and obstruction, which we are now told do not exist. What has happened about the 'Spanish cultural centre', why despite all the 'goodwill' are aircraft movements such a problem, and what does Spain really hope to gain from a 'deal' over a small airfield crossed daily by thousands of vehicles where one car accident can cause chaos. The VOGG hopes that if we are finally presented with a 'deal' of
concessions from our side against the removal of restrictions from the other, it is not described as giving us 'peace in our time'.
Jim WATT / Sarah Abecasis,
THE VOICE OF
If someone says that the treaty of Utrecht is defunct, the reaction from the Spanish Government is that they could send the Guardia Civil or army to take us over by force!
How friendly can they get?
Will Mr Caruana include the subject of 'military invasions' as part of the trilateral talks, or better still, will he ask for an apology at least?
Who is to blame?
I was rather taken aback when a senior police officer came out about
Halloween blaming everyone for it - parents! schools! traders! - except themselves.
What do they think they are paid for? If they are incapable of being a deterrent, they should consider what is wrong with them or resign from their well-paid jobs.
Please do not publish my name. All they are good at is being intimidating and vindictive). Thank you.
(Name and address supplied)
What Caruana should have told you
Sr Pons’ declarations at the Conference for Law Students at the University of Cadiz show just how blatantly misleading Spanish politician can be. He talks of political, human and mental courage. That no politician in the Spanish Foreign Ministry wakes up each morning with malicious thoughts of “what can I do wrong today to harm The Rock?'. About agreements to boost our economy etc etc.
Well I have a message for Mr Pons, it was not us who closed the Frontier Gates. It was your predecessors who with a dictatorial regime imposed them on us, and they are still there. And you have the audacity to call Spain a democracy. There are in the region of 4,000 Spaniards working in Gibraltar. What would become of them if they were not working here? That is most probably why you opened the Frontier, so we could help you with your unemployment. I could go on and on Mr Pons, but I am going to tell you something that Mr Caruana should have told you, we don’t need you, we don’t want you and we sure as hell can survive and live without your help.
My name is Jerzy Matuszczak. I am 49 years old man from Krakow Poland who collects blank post-cards. My collection is over 33.000 post-cards from 176 countries but my target is world biggest collection. I would love to ask you to help me and please send few blank post-cards with views from Gibraltar If someone is looking for friendly polish family please write to us e-mail or letter will answer all.
Thank you very much for lovely help.
Government's view on benzene
*Letter from Minister for the Environment Jaime Netto to Mrs Janet Howitt of the Environmental Safety Group:
As you state in your letter of 27 October 2005, there have been instances of foul smells intermittently affecting different areas of Gibraltar over the last couple of months. These have been investigated by both the Environmental Agency and the Port Department and, though bunkering operations have been suspected, this has not been conclusively confirmed. There have been instances when there have been complaints of smells and yet no such operations have been carried out. Although there has been an improvement in the situation, investigations continue in trying to pinpoint the cause of the smells.
As you rightly point out there was a peak benzene concentration recorded at noon on 20 October 2005 at the Rosia Road Air Monitoring Station of 51.61 µg/m3. However, I must disagree with you when you say that this is ‘over ten times the EU target limit’. As you know, the EU Directive 2000/69 and our own air quality legislation set a limit value for the protection of human health averaged over a calendar year of 10 µg/m3 at present decreasing to 5 µg/m3 by 2010. There are no surrogate statistics that can be used to compare an hourly reading such as that obtained on 20 October to an annual average and your comparison is therefore not valid.
Our monitoring of benzene levels commenced on 4 February 2005 and we do not yet have a full year of data available to be able to compare to this annual average. However, the readings taken over the nearly nine months since monitoring commenced, give us an average of 2.15 µg/m3. I am sure you will agree that, even though these figures are not directly comparable to the legal annual average standard, they are far more representative than the one-off figure quoted by you.
In paragraph 3 of your letter you mention that reports of headaches and nausea, affecting children at St Joseph’s Fire School, had been made to the Environmental Agency. This Ministry has contacted the Education Department to verify this statement. The reply that we have received is that on the day in question, there were no such reports from St Joseph’s Middle School and in fact, the Head Teacher was not even aware that there had been such a problem. Although the Head Teacher at St Joseph’s First School was aware that offensive smells had been experienced on that day, she was not aware of the sort of problems with children, as highlighted in your letter, having occurred. The Head Teacher did however state that she was aware that one of her teachers had actually referred the matter to the Environmental Agency but that this had been done by the teacher in his private capacity and not on behalf of the school. You are aware that both schools are housed within the same building.
Benzene is a known carcinogen to humans and there is no safe level of exposure. However, sources of benzene include such everyday activities as cigarette smoking, fumes from motor vehicles, combustion of fuel for electricity generation or desalination of water, evaporation of fuel at fillingstations and supply to shipping etc. Benzene is readily absorbed into the body when breathed into the lungs, about half of it being retained. As it is more soluble in fat than in water, it is distributed in the body to fatty tissues including the brain and the bone marrow where blood cells are made. However, in the absence of further exposure, the benzene is eliminated by chemical breakdown in the body or by metabolite excretion in the urine, 80% being eliminated within about two days.
You also mention benzene as a risk factor in leukaemia. Research published by the World Health Organisation shows that chronic exposure to benzene at extremely much higher levels than those quoted above can result in bone marrow depression expressed as leukopenia, anaemia and/or thrombocytopenia. Tests carried out with laboratory mice show that these effects are brought about in the mice after inhalation of concentrations of benzene above 32,000 uµg/m3 for a 25-week period. The World Health Organisation also states that in human effects of varying severity have occurred in workers occupationally exposed to high levels of benzene. Below 32,000 µg/m3 there is only weak evidence of effects. Whilst I do not wish to minimise the risk involved, I feel it is important to consider these issues in their proper context.
The establishment of the air quality monitoring stations has been an important tool, which allows us to continually monitor and assess our air quality. We will therefore continue to monitor and ensure that, as far as possible, we comply with current legal standards and EU obligations in respect of our air quality and investigate any exceedances with a view to introducing any possible corrective measures.
I would like to take this opportunity to inform you that we have already placed a contract to extend our air quality monitoring capability in compliance with the latest EU Directives. This will include the monitoring of arsenic, cadmium, nickel and poly aromatic hydrocarbons. It is expected the necessary equipment will be commissioned before the end of the year.
Hon J J Netto
Minister for the Environment
It gives me great pleasure and a lot of satisfaction to express, on behalf of Cancer Research UK (Gibraltar Branch), my most sincere thanks to Government and Government officials, our benefactors, the information media, sponsors, business community and most importantly the public for their very great support and their generosity towards that the Fund. My estimation is that this year we have had a record collection, certainly the highest since I joined the Fund more than 30 years ago, when we were called the Imperial Cancer Research Fund.Our Treasurer will, in due course, publish detailed information of the amount collected under the different Fund raising events but I felt I had to thank the people of Gibraltar for their generosity and also my committee for their very hard work and dedication.All the money collected will be transferred to our Headquarters in London where research into all forms of cancer continues and very positive results are being obtained. However a lot more research is needed and it is my hope that money will keep coming in and the public will continue to support all the events organised by this Fund.
Once again thanks to all and God Bless.
Henry J Smart
Chairman, Cancer Research.
Threats to Health Care Team Members
to David McCutcheon, Chief Exectcutive, Gibraltar Health Authority:
Dear Mr McCutcheon
Open letter to Management
It has come to the Unions attention that a threat has been issued to
a member of the Health Care Team that if he did not comply with the
instruction to carry out functions for which he had not been trained
his contract would not have been renewed by the GHA. We consider
this to be an issue which raises questions of the fundamental
importance and for that reason this letter is a public letter sent
to you on behalf of all our members in the GHA.
You will know that on a number of occasions we have as a union
already raised with Management the question of nurses involving
themselves in extended roles and in particular roles for which they
have not been specifically trained. A lot of work is done by nurses
in Gibraltar on the bais of goodwill, although no specific training
has been provided to them in respect of those roles. Indeed these
are very live issues in todays GHA and ones which we feel are not
being addressed as promptly as is necessary in order to ensure that
both the GHA is satisfied that nurses are carrying out roles in
respect of which they are trained and, more importantly from the
point of view of the nurses, that they are not going to in any way
suffer as a result of their goodwill in taking actions for which
they have not been specifically trained. Needless to say patients
would also want to have the reassurance that the treatment they are
receiving from nurses is one in respect of which the nurses have
In the circumstances, and given that you are unaware that many
nurses do carry out procedures/treatments for which they are not
specifically trained, and given this latest threat issued to a
member of the Health Care Team, we as a Union require you to
specifically and in writing issue an instruction that nurses should
immediately desist from carrying out any functions, procedures or
treatment in respect of which they have not been specifically
trained. We feel that we have no alternative but to make this letter
public given that it involves issues related to patient care and the
terms and conditions of employment of our members in the GHA
Committee Member, Nursing Section
STATEMENT BY CHIEF EXECUTIVE DR DAVID
"I was surprised and disappointed to receive an "open letter" to
management alleging threats to healthcare team members. It is
regrettable that this has been raised in such an inappropriate and
unprofessional manner. Had the Nursing Section through Mr Netto
troubled to contact myself or any other GHA manager with their
concerns we could have advised him that we had already been made
aware of this allegation and that I had already commissioned one of
our Consultants to investigate it.
Once the investigation is complete the GHA will decide what action
if any is necessary and until such time it would clearly be
inappropriate to comment further on the matter. Since the allegation
is as yet unproven I fail to see why the Nursing Section feels the
need to raise the matter publicly at all. We would hope that in
future the Nursing Section would afford us the same courtesy we
afford any of his members against whom allegations are made, and
allow us to investigate this through the proper channels and reach a
No mention of our hard work
As some people might remember I have been involved with the Friends
of Mount Alvernia many years, and in my capacity as the retired
Chairman of the Committee, I feel I must put on record my
disappointment with the chief minister last month, when he opened
the new facilities at Mount Alvernia.
In his speech no mention at all was made of the many years of hard
work by the Franciscan order of nuns who laboured under difficult
conditions, depending on the fund-raising efforts of the Friends of
Mount Alvernia, who were also similarily ignored in the CM's speech.
These people were all volunteers who spent much time and effort in
collecting the funds necessary for very basic equipment needed at
the Home, basic things like wheelchairs, a laundry machine, buses to
transport our elderly around town, a coat of paint, etc.
I would like to put on record therefore my appreciation to all those
hard working people, some now deceased, some retired; who have
laboured to make the lives of our senior citizens at the Home more
pleasant and bearable than it otherwise would have been.
I also wish to thank the present administration for all the
improvements they have made at the Home.
If the Spanish are allowed to fish, why can’t
• Letter sent to Commissioner of Police.
Dear Commissioner of Police,
For the last month we have been informed by several of our members
that Spanish fishing boats have been fishing with Dirft nets.
On Friday 23rd October 2005, Mr Ramos and myself sailed over to the
Eastern side of the rock to investigate and found two Spanish
commercial fishing vessels using Drift nets of approximately two
kilometres long and about one kilometre from the shore. We then
called the Marine Section of the Royal Gibraltar Police and reported
the offence. We spoke to Inspector Peliza who told us that there was
an agreement which allowed Spanish fishing vessels to fish in our
waters 225 metres from our shoreline outwards. We informed Inspector
Peliza that Drift nets are illegal throughout the EEC including
Spain and asked him to stop this illegal activity. He told us he
would try to do something about it but that he had to ask his
superiors for advice on the matter.
We the two federations GFSA and EFSA would like to have
clarification on how the law stands at the moment in Gibraltar so
that we can advise our members. If there is an agreement which
allows Spanish fishing vessels to fish in over waters we would like
to know if they are allowed to fish any type of fishing method
including those which are illegal in Spain and the ECC.
From our conversation with the Marine Section of the RGP they don't
seem to know which law applies to this fishing agreement,
furthermore if Spanish fishing vessels are allowed to break
Gibraltar fishing laws because of an agreement, does this mean that
local fishing vessels can do the same.
We would like to inform you that due to the seriousness in which we
view this situation we are sending copies of this letter to the
Governor of Gibraltar, the Gibraltar Government and the press.
Thank you for your attention to this letter and hoping for a prompt
Mr John Gonzalez & Mr Mario Ramos, GFSA & EFSA Committee
Contract not being renewed
It is with much regret that we have learned the Social Services
Agency will not be renewing the contract of Ms Joanna Hernandez,
current Manager of the Dr Giraldi Home. The families of the service
users at Dr Giraldi Home have therefore decided to show publicly
their support for Ms Hernandez and condemn the decision not to renew
We find Ms Hernandez to be a very dedicated, professional and
qualified person and are very concerned that this is the fourth
manager of the Dr Giraldi Home to have been replaced in as many
We believe that there are inherent problems within the service and
these problems have caused the lose of several professional and
dedicated members of staff over the last few years.
With this in mind we also wish to publicly voice our backing for the
Disability Society's call for an independent inspection into the
local residential services by the Care Standards Commission from UK.
We call upon all members of our community to support us in this call
for an independent inspection.
Parents of respite