The most scrutinised entity in Gibraltar

Dear Sir,

I refer to an article which appeared in the Panorama on the 28 January 2010 under the headline of POLITICISING THE POLICE IS NOT A GOOD THING. I tend to agree with that statement. However that is not what I intend to convey in this letter.

I retired from the Police as a Chief Superintendent in 1992 so for the last eighteen years I have been an ordinary citizen thus I think I am qualified to judge both sides of the picture.

The Police Service is the most scrutinised entity in Gibraltar. It is subject to written legal laws and regulations a written legal disciplinary code It is the only public organisation that is subject to such strict internal discipline and being overviewed by the Police Authority.

You can be an excellent hard working officer for 20 years plus, and one night during a violent fracas when you are being insulted, your family threatened, punched and kicked you lose it for a second and you can lose your job and your pension. To defend yourself you have to meet the legal costs out of your own pocket.

As a Police Constable you are on constant shift work, sometimes in the pouring rain without breaks for refreshments. You can be on beach duty in sweltering heat whilst everyone else is swimming. You are lucky if you get one weekend off in every six. Your car is scratched and I know of two cases where officer’s private dwelling doors were set on fire, you are assaulted, threatened, insulted etc. Your children are picked on at school simply because their dads are policemen. You stop a car with three or four youths in it and all you get is verbal provocation whilst they are recording the PC on their mobile phones.

Government departments get nearly two weeks off at Christmas. How many years does it take a policeman to get a Christmas day or New Years day off. Police cannot take industrial action they cannot belong to a union. They are many times not even paid for overtime they do. It is recorded as hours owed to you instead. The workload nowadays is overwhelming rushing from one job to the next and the paperwork OH! THE PAPERWORK.

Personally I do have confidence in the Police. They do not get it right all the time many times they get it wrong.

According to the survey the public perception of the public and the confidence in them has gone down. However it is not a one-way system perhaps the Police perception of the public has gone down as well. Perhaps it’s the judicial procedural system which is wrong perhaps it’s the public duty of juries which is also wrong perhaps it’s a collective failure of the community, the courts and the public duty of citizens towards the police and our community.

I am writing this letter so that the public can give some thoughts on a police constables job to realise how difficult it is so next time they are asked to fill in a declaration they might be more aware of how difficult the job is.

I do not accuse neither the police, or the public perception of the Police. We are all one, the public are the Police, and the Police are the public.

Peter Maginnis

Down a dangerous path

Dear Sir

The prevailing mood in Gibraltar today in the view of a great majority and in particular the working class calls for a change of Government under responsible leadership capable of restoring social justice and sound economic politics.

It is certainly time for a change and for a display of courage and realism in the management of our affairs and an end of appeasing Spain.

Since the Socialists predominance ended in 1996 the country's Political and Social affairs has been precariously balanced. Under the leadership of Peter Caruana the GSD Government have indulged in a series of juggling acts to accommodate Spain in the Isthmus by granting them joint control of the Gibraltar Airport.

There is now serious concern amongst patriotic Gibraltarians that Peter Caruana is taking Gibraltar and the Gibraltarians down a dangerous path with his Spanish Policies that can be clearly seen in the deal made in Cordoba on the Airport.

Certainly no one could be blamed for viewing the airport deal with a somewhat suspicious eye when we now have Spanish Politicians talking about the La Linea north airport terminal and the joint control on the airport which were never mentioned before.

There are certainly serious implications about the territorial and jurisdictional control over those people using Gibraltar Airport by Spanish Officials.

When people arriving from Spain to leave Gibraltar will be treated as if they are still in Spain and those arriving from a Spanish airport and to a Spanish destination will not go through our immigration and Customs controls.

They were all issues that were unacceptable to Gibraltarians, when the airport agreement was reached between Britain and Spain but rejected in 1987 by the House of Assembly and 12,000 Gibraltarians who marched down Main Street - but brought back in an underhand sneaky deal in Cordoba by Peter Caruana.

There is also concern in relation to the Tripartite Forum involving as it does political implications where issues like financial services, taxation and other local issues are to be discussed with Spain - with the support of the British Foreign Office. But that is a subject in itself which merits critical analysis but it deserves to be treated separately.

My argument is that all this comes when Spain to say the least is in an aggressive mood in pursuit of her claim to the sovereignty of our homeland.

This can be clearly seen by her attitude in the attitude in the designation of our territorial waters and the veto by Spain to the implementation of conventions and international agreements that include Gibraltar.

Perhaps I should state my views more bluntly: the Tripartite Forum should be demolished because it involves fundamental principles which affect the people of Gibraltar against there wishes and is only a stepping stone for the purpose of advancing to the question of Gibraltar's sovereignty.

Yours sincerely
Francis Gonzalez

Minister's opinion, 'very interesting and moving'

Dear Sir,

Very interesting and moving opinion by the Minister of Education and Training (in PANORAMA yesterday).

I feel that today’s youngsters , world wide are ignorant of the atrocities committed by one single nation, under the orders of a fanatic, against persons of the Jewish faith in particular but also on others who for want of a better cliché did not qualify for the master race.

Although not in any way similar by any stretch of the imagination but applauding the Government’s initiative in support of this worthy charity, should not our education authorities prepare a programme for schools, on our own history, so that in years to come when the older generation are not about, those who follow will have a better grounding of the truth and not be subjected to accept the erroneous propaganda being put out.

Yours faithfully,

Why does the Minister not want to see the committee?

Dear Editor

The public need to know how undemocratic this GSD Government is. In a recent Boat owners AGM we elected a new committee and it was decided that this committee of five was to try to make contact with Minister Holliday to discuss our issue of the lack of berths. Once contact was made, the Minister himself decided that he would only see three named members of the committee of five. These three named members in a letter to the committee happen to be two civil servants and one other.

Why does the Minister not want to see the five democratically elected members of the committee or even three which the committee itself decides? The boat owners decided to elect this new committee so that no one could doubt the fact that the previous committee were not representing the Boat owners. The Minister now wants to control the new committee and refuses the other two members to attend meetings with him. The two members that he refuses to meet with were part of the previous committee. Where in the world does a Minister chose the members of the committee that are to attend meetings apart from countries that are undemocratic? Why does the Minister refuse to see the whole committee as the democratically elected committee of the Boat owners?

The actions of the Minister in not allowing the whole committee or even three chosen by the committee itself as oppose to the ones chosen by him to attend meetings means that he refuses to accept the decision taken by the majority of the Boat owners which shows contempt to all the Boat owners. It is clear that what the Minister wants to do is to start all the delaying tactics which is what he has been doing for the past four years. He knows that by meeting with new people he can tell them the same story he has been telling us for four long years and even promise them as he did to us more berths just before a general election. Fortunately this tactic will no longer stick with the vast majority of Boat owners.

Yours Sincerely

Luis Edwards
(Member of the Boat owners committee who the Minister refuses to meet)

I know what it feels like to be kept alive by a machine

Dear Sir,

I would like to thank Mr Leo Olivero for his article in the Panorama dated the 13th of January 2010 “Donate Life-The Ultimate Gift”.

It has been encouraging to read his well explained and well informed two page article. And what he says in it is very very true. I myself had gone through an organ transplantation, this being a kidney transplant which was very generously donated by my living cousin and saving my life, and the process of the operation risking his.

I have and I feel praise for you Mr. Olivero for having raised this important matter of Human organ donation publicly. This should be of concern to many because this is something (god forbid) that can strike anyone, and later a loved one could be in a distressing or desperate need of an organ. I can assure you that patients awaiting for an operation for this go through a lot of hardship, a great deal of suffering and to top it up the uncertainty of either life or death, whilst waiting. In my case I will limit myself to say that I had a traumatic and horrendous experience.

The immediate families of patients in this condition also have to endure the suffering and watching how the loved one slowly deteriorates by the day. Unless a brave, suitable and compatible donor comes forward. In many other cases transplant organs in general come from serious accidents were the unfortunate persons have died, and have carried a donor card on them.

Out of compassion many families who have lost a relative in an accident will most of the time take a difficult and painful decision of giving the medical surgeons permission to have the loved ones organs removed to save other peoples lives, regardless of donor cards.

I entirely agree with Mr Olivero when he rightly says that locally we should have an organ donation programme.

I will mention that the above is something that I myself have explored and asked about in my own little way to my transplant professor while I was in his care in the United Kingdom after my kidney transplant. I asked him about the possibility of having in Gibraltar the UK Organ donor cards for the public in our local hospital who might wish to have one. And also how perhaps this good deed could be set up. Verbally he did say to me that it could be worked out providing the authorities wanted to. He also said that a hospital jet could be arranged for these deceased organs to be collected and transferred to the United Kingdom. I said that that would be good providing consideration was given to a Gibraltar patient awaiting an organ transplant which was compatible.

When I returned from the UK to Gibraltar I went to see a person of authority and explained this to him. He was very sympathetic to what I said, interested too. (But it was just left at that)

Mr Olivero it is very humble of you to say publicly that you have no problem to sign up to donate anatomical bits of you before your candle has been blown out. It takes a lot of bravery, and courage. I am sure that they are many like you out there that would like to alleviate and cut other fellow human beings suffering, without a doubt. I can tell you I was on that side. I was a sufferer and I know what it feels like being kept alive by a machine, and no prospect of hope. I just keep my fingers crossed I never have to go through that traumatic agony again.

I would like to quote from an article which appeared back in the year 2000 in one newspaper.

This is what is quoted in what his holiness the Pope John Paul had to say on the subject of organ donation at the time.-

“Pope John Paul yesterday sought to lay down guidelines for rapid 21st century advances in medical transplants with condemnation of human cloning as morally, unacceptable while praising organ donation as “an act of love”. The 80-year old pontiff left his summer retreat at Castel Grandolfo outside Rome to speak before an international gathering of 5,000 transplant specialists, a gesture that understand how important he considers the subject”.

So there it is how much he valued and encouraged the gift of life to other fellow human beings.

I congratulate Mr Olivero for having brought up the matter of Organ transplantation once again. I am sure that there are many people here locally that may have found your article very interesting and perhaps of some concern to some. You have certainly made many aware of the facts. I couldn’t have put your article in better words myself. Hopefully god permitting, something good and positive could come about in relation to your article (in trying to help others). Well done. God Bless.

Yours faithfully,
Joe Lezano

Cavalcade Thanks

Dear Sir

As President of the Three Kings Cavalcade Committee I would like to thank all those who took part or in any shape or form were involved with the construction of the various floats which provided Gibraltar once again with a splendid cavalcade.

I would also like to thank GBC for their Sponsorship, Inhabitants Lodge, Miss World Kaiane Aldorino for gracing the parade and Prize Giving with her presence, The lady Mayor, The Minister for Culture, Heritage and Sports, His Lordship the Bishop, The Dean of Gibraltar, The Royal Gibraltar Police and in particular the Traffic Section, Easi-Print, Piccadilly Gardens Bar for providing refreshments to the three kings, Kevin Negron and Jaydan Lara for providing transport for the kings and judges, The press in General, The Judges, The St Bernard’ s Catholic and Social Club for the use of their premises, my hard working Committee and other Cavalcade Officials and all those other persons too numerous to mention, who helped in their own particular way.

Finally I would like to thank Gibraltar in general, who turned up in their thousands braving the terrible weather conditions, such turn out makes it worthwhile and encourages all those involved to try and produce a better cavalcade next year.

Yours Faithfully
Eric J Abudarham

The legality of the Isthmus

Dear Sir,

I found the article in your issue of the 14th January, with the title “ THE AIRPORT IS ON BRITISH SOIL UNTIL….” It appears from a research done by the “Europa Historical Society” extremely interesting. I have never heard of this Society but I would like to know more about it.

In my recent book “Spirit of the Phoenician”, in Chapter 3 page 154, I deal with this matter of the Isthmus. During my research I found correspondence between the then British Ambassador to Madrid, Sir John Russell who, in May of 1994 was encouraging some form of ‘deal’ on the Airport with this words “in exchange for the surrender of a legal point that, had never in fact, been Britain’s, the deal would be advantageous.” He believed that there was an “opinion by Britain’s Legal Advisors to the effect that if the Spaniards were to refer this issue to The Hague, the Court would go in their favour” Russell advised this should not be taken lightly.

I deduced from this that this was of course a deliberate bit of misinformation intended to weaken the resolve of the Government of the time.

This led me to look into the matter more deeply and seeking expert advice from a Q.C. whom I considered to be one of the best informed persons in Gibraltar, I also started digging out old reports from the Public Records Office in Kew which had been published by the Panorama newspaper on the 15th December 2006 and dealt with records going back to November 1966.

The information I was shown and read gave the lie to Sir John Russell’s idea. The old and recent expert Legal Opinion available categorically showed that the isthmus was entirely British, historically, militarily, politically and morally.

What I cannot say is what legal opinion is guiding the present administration that has bent backwards in a “Cordoba Airport Agreement” that is far, far worse than the 1987 Airport Agreement ever was, and which was massively rejected by the People of Gibraltar.

The cost of the new Air Terminal should not be measured with money; the political cost is far greater than the money spent on the building. This Cordoba Airport Agreement, on which I have written ‘ad nauseum’, has seriously weakened Britain and Gibraltar’s case on the Isthmus. Time will tell.

In my book I have shown that the ideas inherent in the Cordoba Airport Agreement were fashioned and planned during a meeting in the Foreign Office on 19th November 1969!!

Yours truly
Joe Caruana