An anonymous person has commented that something should be written about recent events involving the Marrache law firm in this blog.
It is impossible and also dangerous to write any specifics about a fast developing situation, where all the facts are not yet known and whilst due legal process is pending. It is possible to write about wider issues and considerations that should have been and, in future, be taken into account, if the worst fears about this situation are borne out, or if they are not, on this occasion, were they to be borne out on another.
Incidents of this type bring into sharp focus the stresses and strains that are inherent in the regulatory and other governmental institutions of a small territory like Gibraltar. It is difficult for such a small entity to have the resources required or expected to meet and match the rigorous standards that are expected in Europe today, in the instant case, affecting the legal profession and finance. It is just an example, however, of a far wider problem facing Gibraltar's governance and institutions. Gibraltar is simply too small to generate the resources, both human and economic, required to provide the safeguards insisted upon by European and international requirements and, also that its own people should be demanding, as a scandal of this type affects Gibraltar's entire economy and so each and everyone.
The problem is clear, what about the solution? A solution is not simple but what certainly does not help to resolve the problem, but actually exacerbates it, is the headlong rush that our politicians have embarked on to "Gibraltarianise" (sic.) all its offices, posts and institutions. Political expediency or pressure should not dictate this process. Ability, the need for independence, knowledge, experience and fitness for post and job are all matters to be taken into account. Additionally where economies of scale cannot be achieved, then Gibraltar should contract services and expertise in from sources that can provide the necessary standards, checks, balances and safeguards required.
Politics, political expediency and pandering to populist but badly thought out ideals are not the only consideration when attempting to achieve good governance and regulation. Ability to deliver the expected (to internationally established standards) service levels should be the measure by which governments implement the necessary regimes. This has not been and is not the case in Gibraltar. The reality is that we try and get away with what we can and hope for the best. This is no longer good enough nor what is expected.
Any scandal, including the present one (whatever the eventual outcome), has substantive and wide ranging political repercussions that will need to be analysed, faced and resolved. Is Gibraltar inherently a large enough political unit to manage it and diminish the chances of re-occurrences? Or, should we be thinking of alternative political arrangements (without compromising the constitutional devolution achieved already by Gibraltar) so that it can deliver what every territory is expected to deliver both in the fields of good governance and good regulatory practice?
The answer could lie in joining forces with a larger geographic territory that can provide the required resources and economies of scale. If Gibraltar does not there could be a heavier and more unpopular political price to pay in the future and an even more onerous economic one.