Democracy and GBC
How on earth can GBC be allowed to have a full pro-GSD panel on the
programme Talk about Town. Most of the time, they take a pro GSD
opinion on real important matters and not on the minor topics; i.e.,
like a couple of fused bulbs that need to be changed or of a wall
that needs a coat of paint etc., which are things of no real
importance to the public, especially now with a general election
just around the corner. No wonder there are so many complaints
against this programme.
However my advice to GBC is to have a panel of people with different
views in this programme to balance it out, because that is what
democracy is all about.
GSD veil of secrecy
Allow me to comment on the grave concern on the recent news by the
opposition with regards Minister Joe Holiday's dealings with regards
the area of sea sold to the developers of Ocean Village, to
accommodate the nearly 400 new berths for the small boats owners
Minister J. Holiday should explain to the electorate and indeed the
tax payers, what sort of an arrangement he has done and outline its
implications and furthermore make the agreement public.
This is just another example amongst the failures of the lack of
forward planning by the GSD. The electorate has had to endure for
15years and not forgetting the lack of transparency and
accountability they have always talked about, and know we are
supposed to keep trusting them. What a way to make fun of the
electorate Mr. Holiday
It was with great sadness that I read the two page spread headed,
"Government joins church to tackle alcohol problems!", written by
your correspondent Leo Olivero and published on Tuesday 1st November
in your newspaper.
The article contains many inaccuracies and inconsistencies, some of
which could have been avoided by either attending the launch, or
indeed interviewing some of the protagonists.
Let me start by putting to rest any idea that the 'Street Pastors'
scheme has come about as a result of an approach from Government.
The idea for the scheme in Gibraltar, as with the original scheme in
the UK came from the Church.
I first personally became aware of the need when I went out in the
streets in the summer of 2007, during the visit of a 'mission team'
from Canterbury, and was shocked at what I saw. Though I have grown
up and lived in Gibraltar all my life, the behaviour I experienced
on that night was foreign to me. I was deeply disturbed and made it
a point of, for a period, going out most Friday nights as well as
Tuesdays and Thursdays during the summer. Sometimes I was
accompanied by others, more often I was by myself. My nocturnal
walks assured me that what I had experienced on that first night was
not an isolated incident, the culture had changed.
The 'Street Pastors' have been in operation in the UK since 2002,
with great success. I did not get to hear of the 'Street Pastors'
until 2009 and it soon dawned on me, in the light of my experience,
that we needed something like this in Gibraltar. The article
mentions the birth of the 'Street Pastors' in the UK being linked to
high gun and knife crime, though this is true the reality is that it
soon developed into its present format which is largely to provide
teams on the streets, at night, to provide care and counsel for
those who may need it. Though no one is suggesting that the
situation in Gibraltar is as bad as that in the UK, or indeed
anywhere else in the world, I believe it would be irresponsible to
wait for that to happen before taking action.
The first person I approached with the idea was the Commissioner of
Police. Commissioner Wink was very open about his concerns and saw
mileage in pursuing the setting up of a scheme in Gibraltar. Armed
with this assurance I approached the Chief Minister. Mr Caruana was
supportive of the idea in principle, but we had to wait a time for
the details to be ironed out. Eventually the idea landed on the desk
of Mr Netto who, as Minister for family, youth and community
affairs, was very supportive.
The reason I approached the Commissioner and the Chief Minister is
that the 'Street Pastors' has from its inception always been a
partnership between the church the police and the local government.
It is essential that we have the support of the local government,
and the backing and authority of the police behind us. The church
can provide the 'people on the street' but without the support of
the police and local government we would not be effective, and we
might even get in the way. It is a fact that in the UK the scheme is
fully backed by the Metropolitan Police and other police authorities
as well as the Home Office.
Having obtained the backing of the police and government the next
task was to mobilise the church. The 'Street Pastors' is not
something that one church can undertake on its own; in fact it
requires three distinct church organisations to form a local 'Street
Pastors' scheme. I initially found it hard to get any support but
when the Evangelical Alliance was formed in 2010 I again tabled the
matter. By this time Mr John Baw of Living Waters Church had also
heard of the 'Street Pastors' in the UK and was keen to see a scheme
I approached the Ascension Trust and in November 2010 we hosted a
visit from Mr Adrian Prior-Sankey, an experienced 'Street Pastor'
representing the Ascension Trust. Mr Prior Sankey spoke with church
leaders, government and police and as a result of the meeting three
churches signed up to the scheme. These are the Gibraltar Methodist
Church, which I serve, Living Waters Church, of which Mr John Baw is
the Pastor and City Line Church, Pastored by Mr Sergio Revelli. We
also have the support of Igelsia Evangelica Filadelfia under their
Pastor Antonio Martinez Quiros.
By January of 2011 all the main players were in place, now we needed
people. As you can well imagine this type of activity requires
commitment, and most church people already have many calls on their
time. By June 2011 we had fifteen people signed up and vetted by the
police. This was not enough, we need a minimum of four people per
team and the expectation is that no one person will need to be on
duty more than once a month. By September, in consultation with the
Ascension Trust we decided to set a date for the launch, in the
expectation that this would again raise awareness and produce more
volunteers, which it has done, hence the event last Friday.
I do not want to enter into the political arena in any way, but to
suggest that the timing is an election gimmick is far from the
truth. The timing was dictated by our desire to get the scheme up
and running in time for the Easter holidays.
Mr Olivero says that the "Street Pastors' are individuals (with good
intentions no doubt) with limited experience". Let me assure Mr
Olivero that no one intends to put un-prepared people on the
streets. Anyone who want to be considered as a 'Street Pastor' must
have the recommendation and backing of their priest minister or
pastor. They must then undergo vetting by the Royal Gibraltar Police
to ensure they do not have any record of wrongdoing, after that they
must undergo a period of training. Every potential 'Street Pastor'
will be involved in a 12 session training course, with a minimum
period of 50 hours, covering subjects like sociology, education,
'drug awareness', 'probations services', 'mental health', 'youth
culture', 'safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults',
'children's services', 'listening skills', 'knowing your community'
etc. Because we all realise that every community, and its needs, is
different, all of the training, apart from the initial 'roles and
responsibilities' session which is delivered by the Ascension Trust,
is delivered locally by people with the required expertise within
Following the recommendation, the vetting and the training, every
candidate will then be interviewed by a panel, to access their
suitability for the task.
Mr Olivero chooses to ask why the church should be involved in this.
Let me assure him that the Christian church has been involved in the
needs of the world since its beginning over 2,000 years ago. A
cursory look at most Hospitals and Charitable societies around the
world will show that they were started by the church. Even in
Gibraltar history shows that the church was involved in starting
'free education' and in the beginning of the 'sanitary commission',
which was instrumental in bringing about the sanitary conditions
that brought the epidemics of cholera and yellow fever, which
ravaged this community on an almost annual basis, under control.
Mr Olivero is perfectly entitled to his political views, but please
don't misinterpret the motives or those who, in many walks of life,
are prepared to put themselves out in a selfless desire to serve
Once again the silly season is upon us or should I say election time
and far be it for me to advise my fellow citizens on which subject
they write about.
My message is aimed at all the parties, without exception, please if
you feel that certain scatterbrain ideas are still beneficial to
Gibraltar by all means include in your party manifesto and be honest
with the electorate, what no party can do is produce useless wording
and then sign up on our behalf to three absolute lies to appease the
If you feel that the Andorra scenario is worthy of consideration
stick it in the manifesto, secondly that although Gibraltar is not a
Schengen signatory the Government is controlling this aspect of EU
legislation and not a third party, thirdly not try to justify these
actions by pretending that these are in Gibraltar’s best interest
but not be prepared to consult either Parliament and/or the
electorate before the event.
Internal mismanagement can be cleaned up by a future Government ,
whereas irresponsible external actions land all of us in the mire
and insult the integrity of all past politicians and why not the
people of Gibraltar, those same who vote you in but not give ‘carte
Over Fetched Airport
Gibraltar will have to endure for many generations to come the
unnecessary and lavish airport that the GSD Government has erected
purely in my judgment for party political gains.
The coats of the upkeep of such a terminal when the GSD knows
perfectly well that there is no high demand will be astronomical and
thus will affect more our national debt, (big temples cost money to
Finally with regards to who is footing the bill. The GSD Government
said that this would not be paid out of the pockets of the tax
payer. But surely is Dragados may indeed be paying GJBS since the
Government is itself paying Dragados the chain of payments may well
render the whole argument in very simple academic terms.(Gog pays
Dragados pay GJBS) its not rocket science. So who's is footing the
Who is the mayor?
Please allow me the use of your letters column once again.
Considering that the Strait Games are meant to be non-political I
don't see why Mr Caruana should have gone to Algeciras to meet
Landaluce, a PP member.
Algeciras Alcalde is an enemy of Gibraltar he trends to make and
find ways to criticise and hurt us. The only reason I can find is
that GBC follows Mr Caruana practically everyday as he seems to be
on GBC news everyday for the last few weeks.
Mr Alcantara could have gone to sign the necessary paperwork of
allegiance to the governing principles of the Strait Games.
Mr Alcantara is Gibraltar Mayor, not Mr Caruana.
U.N.O.- A travesty
It is becoming noticeably clearer these days that the United Nations
fourth committee is doing rather less than it should on the question
of the Gibraltarians having the right to self-determination.
When one considers that only last week the fourth committee
forwarded a consensus draft text on the question of Gibraltar urging
the continuation of the Trilateral forum farce and also calling on
Spain and Britain to reach a definitive solution to the dispute.
But almost under the same breath the same people reaffirming the
inalienable right of all people to self-determination and
independence, but the people of Gibraltar have never been considered
good enough for self-determination. There is undoubtedly something
quite undemocratic and deficient in the way the United Nations fails
to operate in a fair and just manner.
How dare the United Nations try to inflict such an indignity upon a
patriotic and freedom loving people who have and continue to be
ruthlessly intimidated by big bully Spain.
And what of the other so called democratic nations in the United
Nations organisation who say that in the process of decolonisation
there is no alternative to the principle of self-determination which
is a fundamental human right- but failed miserably to uphold this
principle when it is little Gibraltar.
I am also pained by the shameful attitude of the European Union
members, who because of Spain’s influence and lack of political will
by Britain, not only have never defended the human-rights of the
people of Gibraltar against the neo-fascist harassment by Spain. But
also failed shamefully to agree on a proper union decolonisation
policy as a matter of principle.
Still on the same subject. When that great leader: State man:
Defender of democracy and of the British Empire Winston Churchill
who had crusaded against Nazism and Fascism in Europe went to say
San Francisco in 1945 to put his signature to the charter of the
United Nations organisation as a successor to the League of Nations-
After victory and the defeat of Nazism and Fascism- except Fascist
Even a hallucinate would not have foreseen that years later Spain
Fascist during those dark days for democracy and who supported
Hitler by sending a division of troops to fight alongside Nazi
Germany should now be an obstacle to what Winston Churchill fought
for- democracy and the right of all people to self-determination.
That Spain who did not support the crusade in Europe against Nazism
and Fascism and who have been intimidating the people of Gibraltar
with neo-fascist tactics and stops Judge Baltazar from investigating
the crimes committed by the fascist regime of Franco.
Should now be permitted at the very United Nations that Winston
Churchill partly created to be an obstacle to our decolonisation and
self-determination is a travesty of the whole democratic system and
of the charter of the United Nation’s Organisation.
We are what we are
Reference The Armando LaGrande Column, in reply to another of your
mysterious letters that dropped on your desk.
I think Gibraltar is a funny old place and a blip on the World's
geographical and cultural leader board.
We are what we are quite simply.
I have childhood memories of the sun beating on our heads in summer,
and the rain making us slide down the rock in winter, and everyone
jabbering away in Spanish.
Not the Cervantes Spanish that is eloquent to the point of
impenetrable to us, but a more Sancho Panza ganitisation of a
Spanglish language. And why not, keep our heritage.
Go to rural Wales and someone will greet you with Yeh-chid dah as
they are very proud of still using real Welsh.
The Spanish have always tried to beat us into submission one way or
another. It's an endless game for them.
But thankfully the British have always stood firm in most cases
shoring up our defence. They are like our good big brother I
What would it be like to be a huge nation with natural resources,
with a wide and complex political and social system?
It would be nice to have a vast varied landscape and with complete
independent means. But we are what we are.
We are constantly taking the bull by the horns, everytime the S
panish bull's face rears its aggression.
It can be quite tiring, wondering what the next spanish political
party in power will get up to.
Whether people want to speak in English or are quite content with
engaging in Spanish, that's up to them and the product of the huge
influence that Spain still exerts.
Because, as I keep reminding myself, we will never be English,
neither will we ever be Spanish. We are kind of unique, as there is
only about thirty thousands of us around the world.
So what we are is what we are, and nobody should just pull up our
roots and destroy them.
Government accepted in Trilateral Forum that sovereignty is
Last night, after a late night ‘vindaloo’ washed down with copious
supplies of vintage red I had no end of difficulties catching my
sleep, I suppose old age makes no small contribution to this.
I did what I always do, stroll around make myself a nice brew, watch
late night TV and scrounge around for any reading material which
will induce a forced slumber. I came across an old copy of the
“Trilateral Forum - OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS RELEASED AFTER THE MEETING IN
CORDOBA, COMMUNIQUÉ OF THE MINISTERIAL MEETING OF THE FORUM OF
DIALOGUE ON GIBRALTAR, and I thought if this doesn’t force me into a
deep sleep nothing will.
After getting through all the business of fences and frontiers, at
the very bottom of paragraph 3, I came across a surprising sentence,
which states…. “The Government of Gibraltar understands and accepts
that references to sovereignty in this Communiqué are bilateral to
the UK and Spain”. I began to question my reasoning and analytical
powers over this, having read on that same day an article in a local
on-line newspaper in connection with Spain’s Partido Popular
inclusion in their election manifesto which was published last week,
their intentions to resuscitate the Brussels process and thus
returning to bilateralism and the ‘two flags, three voices’ formula
of the 1980s.
The PP is expected to sweep into power when Spain goes to the polls
in a general election on November 20, a marked historical day
indeed, its not only my birthday but also the day General Franco
Reading further into the on-line newspaper article, it mentions that
the Chief Minister has made the point on numerous occasions during
public interventions in recent months, most recently during the
Gibraltar Day in London that it was self-evident that “only
trilateral relations are acceptable.” ??Bilateral negotiations
between the UK and Spain on any issue relating to Gibraltar would
“…as a matter of political architecture represent a violation of,
and betrayal of, the political rights of the people of Gibraltar to
determine their own political future.”??I couldn’t agree with him
By now it was well into the silent hours, but I still had difficulty
in digesting on the one hand, that last sentence in paragraph 3 of
the Cordoba Agreement and the statements made by the Chief Minister,
whom I presume was signatory to the agreement. Somewhere along the
lines of these two statements there’s something that doesn’t sit
right, or perhaps it’s just me being my own cynical self once again.
Believe me I’ve tried every which way to be positive and optimistic
but I guess it’s not in my character.
It could well be that there is a topographical error in the Cordoba
agreement, or the article published in the on-line newspaper, this
things do happen and one can never tell.
I would welcome the views of any of your readers who could enlighten
me on how we stand in the “understanding and acceptances that
references to sovereignty in the Cordoba Agreement are bilateral to
the UK and Spain” or if “only trilateral relations are acceptable on
any issue relating to Gibraltar”. I remain totally confused and any
guidance would very much put my mind at rest.
Resignation from Breast Cancer Support
It is with great sadness that I have resigned as the Chairman of
Breast Cancer Support Gibraltar, a charity which I founded and
fronted for five years. I would like to thank all those who
supported me in my role and opened doors for me in order to pursue
the aims of the charity and provide help and support for those who
None of the charity's success would have been possible without my
team and co-founders Mercy Posso, Marie Cavilla, Suzette Martinez
and Audrey Stagno, and with the addition of Lizanne Hammond and
Michelle Rugeroni, I leave the charity in their very capable hands
as I look for new ways to serve my community by pursuing a career in
Many thanks Gibraltar for your faith in Breast Cancer Support
Gibraltar and for allowing me the opportunity to lead it.
Minister acts in 'undemocratic' way
In recent weeks we have seen how the GSD government Minister
Holliday has come out announcing the berths that he intends to do
south of the runway.
I have been party to discussions and negotiations with the Minister
on this project until HE decided not to meet with the committee and
especially if I was present. This was because as he well knows we
were not in favour of having the berths in the same place that he
has now announced and that his GSD party will do IF they win the
The reason for not wanting the berths where they have announced them
is not for any partisan reason (though as people know I have openly
supported the opposition) But because my colleague John Buttigieg
and I have taken into consideration first and foremost the interest
of the members of the Small Boat Owners Association. This has not
been in the case with the three members of the current committee
since they have not only done a disservice to the membership by
agreeing to a project without looking at the consequence of its
location, but they have done so without consulting us and more
importantly the members who will ultimately be the ones to suffer
the consequence of their decision.
For this reason I believe that the Minister has acted in a very
undemocratic way by insisting on the three members of the committee
NOT to inform us and the membership what they were cooking behind
everyone's backs. So I will like to put on record that this project
which the Minister said had the blessing of the
Small Boat Owners Committee is NOT true since it/has not had my
input nor the input of the membership.
Therefore should the GSD by Hook or by Crook win the elections I for
one will not agree to this project being done.