Tuesday, 27 April 2010


Please be aware that ALL comments are moderated, which leads to some comments that make valid points not being published due to either issues of defamation or because they include insulting content.  Non-publication when the majority of the comment is valid and contains good points because a small part of it transgresses is a great pity. So please think about what you say and be careful.

Also please use PSEUDONYMS it helps other commentators and me to reply.

Thanks for your continued support.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Bust the Myth ... Caruana: God or Comedian?

There are those blind supporters, usually of great religious faith and fervour, which is a significant character trait, that believe that Peter Caruana can do no wrong.  He is the infallible mind, body and soul of Gibraltar to them.  It is surprising that he was so insistent on re-introducing the commercially doomed Algeciras ferry, when he could so easily have walked on water and crossed the bay!  These people are so set in their ways that it is pointless to even cross swords with them in an argument on the issue.

Thankfully, Gibraltar is blessed (and it is Gibraltar that has to be blessed not Caruana or any other past or future Chief Minister) with many open minded and free thinking voters who can and, this blogger is convinced,  will make a wise decision for change at the next election.  We do not need to put up with self styled "gods". Thankfully the power of the ballot box (because the power of the press is so stifled, see blog "Independent News Media?"  of  20th April 2010) allows us to disavow those who think that they  are "gods" of that idea.  It is this myth about Caruana that needs to be shattered at the next election.  Anyone else cannot be any worse and guess what!  4 years later the electorate can chuck out that new lot, were they also to grow too big for their boots.

Let us consider one or two issues that help to bust the "Caruana deity myth" (in addition to the age of consent fracas of Caruana's making, which does so, so admirably and is already the subject matter of earlier blogs) .

We all know what has been spent on the theatre that never was or will be: the Theatre Royal. Did he not for one moment think how the world has changed since the original theatre was built?  At that time, performers, sets, equipment, musical instruments were likely delivered by mule and ox drawn cart.  That all this now gets delivered by travelling companies in articulated lorries that cannot navigate the road to the Theatre Royal site seems to have been one fact that was never considered by Caruana or his ministers; or was it just that the concrete mixer lorries could not get there, so it could not be built economically? Thankfully (for small mercies) that mistake cost a few million pounds but, what about the tens of millions spent on the new Air Terminal?

Caruana has justified this expenditure on the ground that it is an investment for the future, for 50 years, he says.  Not only god but now Nostradamus? Lets see, consider, for a moment, what form of transport was in general use  in 1910 in this part of the world, mule and ox drawn carts perhaps, and how the world of transport, especially air transport, changed  in 50 years from 1910? Having done so, give a moments thought to what the main form of transport might be in 50 years time, will it be air travel and will Gibraltar be a suitable hub for it? Possibly, but there again the changes between now and 2060 might be as great or greater than those that took place between 1910 and 1960.

Of course we needed a new air terminal but did it have to be so big and expensive without there being use for it now or in the foreseeable future?  Could the future not have been catered for by planning for a second and even a third phase?  Or is its size down to the air terminal being a political sop to Spain?  Is it that the size of the air terminal was dictated, not by need,  but by the political desire to have it adjoining the border fence in order that Spain could attach its own terminal to it ? Now that there are no flights to Madrid, will Spain build one at all, certainly Spain has yet to lay a brick?

A god or something else ... a comedian to perform in the non-existent theatre maybe, or perhaps we could convert part of the new Air Terminal into a joint use theatre? Certainly he spends our money now for the benefit of our grand and great grand children whilst more worthwhile and immediate social needs go unfunded, like housing for the Moroccan community and social services generally.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

GSD Supporters Mutiny

On the 13th March 2010 the blog Headlined "Opinion Polls-Smoke and Mirrors" predicted and explained that the GSD would not win the next election and that the poll commissioned   by the GSD party rag 7 Days (and so suspected to have a bias) was not analysing its own poll properly.  Today the Chronic has published its poll. Its  headline is rightly "Election Shock as GSLP/Libs Romp Ahead".  It predicts 39% support for the GSLP and only 27% support for the GSD.  What is interesting is a brief analysis of the poll, as compared with the results of the last election, and one answer to the specific questions posed in the poll.

Immediately what is noticeable is that the support for the GSLP/Libs is unwavering in size.  It is as approximately the same support as it achieved in the last election, from memory a drop of only about 4%.  In marked contrast, the loss of support for the GSD since the last election is massive.  The GSD were elected with (again from memory) 51% support.  It has lost a massive 24% of its support. The conclusion must be that this massive drop has gone to the "don't knows", which is indicative of a mass exodus from the GSD in the direction of the GSLP/Libs.  In short it is more likely that a majority of the "don't knows" will shift to the GSLP/Libs than to the GSD.

The GSD would need 23 out of the 27% "don't know" to get them back to the level of support that they had at the last election. A very unlikely shift.  The GSLP/Libs would only need 11 of the 27%  to reach 50%, which would give them an assured win, although, taking into account the votes to the PDP, 50% is not needed to obtain a government majority in Parliament.  As the Chronic points out, if the "don't knows" are taken out of the equation, on the basis that only about 70% of the electorate actually votes, then the GSLP/Libs have 54% and the GSD only 37%.

Do the answers to the other questions in the poll support the conclusion explained?  An analysis of the "don't knows" does. 34.7%  of these believe that the GSD Government is "not in touch with the electorate".  34.7% of 27% is approximately 9.5%, which added to the GSLP/Libs' 39% gives them an overall 48.5%. This support is enough to form government if the PDP's support is taken into account. Even if the entire balance of 17.5% is added to the GSD's 27% (which is an unlikely eventuality) they only reach a total of 44.5%, which is not enough for them to form government.

The unknown factors are a change in leadership in the GSLP/Libs, the return to the GSD of Peter Montegriffo or the arrival of a very strong alternative party to contest the next election. Taking the last first, this is such a remote and difficult possibility that it can and should be discarded.  Peter Montegrifo could make a big difference to the GSD's chances of election, so if he does come back the results and polls could change.

The likelihood is that  Joe Bossano will retire as leader of the GSLP/Libs.  The likely successor is Fabian Picardo.  Two important factors come into play if the GSLP/Libs are to retain their lead in the polls.  First and most importantly, Mr Bossano's personal following has to stay with the GSLP/Libs if it is to win.  To achieve this Mr Bossano has to stay in the line up for the GSLP, despite not being the leader, so Fabian Picardo will be Chief Minister in place of Joe Bossano with  him remaining in Parliament for at least one more term.

The second factor is that Mr Picardo has to change the public's perception of him personally.  He must convince the electorate of his political honesty and trustworthiness and also that he has leadership qualities.  He can achieve this by carefully putting together a caring, clear and novel manifesto and having the ability to sell it to the electorate.  There is a lot that can be included in such a manifesto let us see if he does it.  The open door beckons the GSLP/Libs to form the next government of Gibraltar. Gibraltar should not fear it by looking back to the last GSLP administration.  The GSLP/Libs have moved on massively since then. The GSD are slowly reverting to what we do not want in a democracy: the autocracy of one man.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

An Independent News Media?

How many of you are happy that newspapers and GBC provide sufficient editorial, commentary and  analysis on current affairs in Gibraltar?  It is intriguing that after only 4 months of operation this blog has such a comparatively large following.  This indicates a hunger for informed opinion, commentary and analysis (not that everyone will agree with all that is written here)  that is not being stated by the established news media.

One of the reasons this blogger started blogging was frustration felt at the lack of editorial, comment and analysis in the news media generally.  The other reason is that at the end of last year this blogger had had 3 letters published in the Chronic in a matter of 3 or 4 months and did not feel he should abuse of the letters page further (although 2 further letters of his have  been published recently in the Chronic, in addition to what he writes in this blog).  Importantly also someone alerted him to the existence of something called a blog and explained to him how to set it up! Consequently, an ideal outlet for these frustrations was handed to him on a plate without any expectation that many people would actually read it and comment.

Back to the main subject,  the Chronic and Panorama are the best known print newspapers.  The Chronic largely blandly reports news and reproduces press releases.  Intermittently it carries interesting and well written editorials. Other than that, the only opinion or commentary that it publishes are the letters to the editor or "Opinions" contributed by various individuals.

Panorama does better and publishes more diverse views and opinions apart from also reporting news and press releases with some comment and analysis of the latter. Also, commendably, it invariably expresses its own views and opinions and those of contributors on many issues.

In addition to the Chronic and Panorama, the other print newspapers are the People, the Key and 7 days.  All are party political rags.  The first two of the GSLP and the third of the GSD.  They provide a service but each of them are party motivated and as such contain biased party propaganda.

Then we have GBC, the only civilian broadcaster in Gibraltar. It is a monopoly and so has a massive responsibility.  Broadcasting is renowned internationally as being the predominant media for news dissemination. GBC provides daily radio and TV news programs.  These news programs usually limit themselves to blandly reporting the news and repeating press release.

Fortnightly GBC broadcasts Viewpoint and Talk about Town.  The former is a serious debate based news program but which seems intent on avoiding discussing any controversial issues.  When it attempts to do so it deals with subjects with such delay that the issue is nigh on forgotten and interest has waned (for example, where is the debate on the gay age of consent issue?).  Talk about Town is a more light hearted look at current and other affairs about Gibraltar. It does not contain serious editorial comment or analysis (and, in fairness, nor is it intended to so).

Surely Gibraltar deserves better from all its news media but particularly from GBC? A democracy needs an independent and proactive news sector. It needs incisive and probing analysis. It is not right just to point at trust deeds and charters that require independence and political neutrality as an excuse for not providing editorial, comment and analysis.  The opposite is true it is that quest for independence that requires them to provide that which is so sadly lacking.

If you need to be convinced listen to the Today program every morning between 7 and 10  broadcast by the BBC (and in Gibraltar by BFBS2).  It is extraordinary how probing of issues and people (including ministers and people in the news) that program is.  GBC's charter derives from that of the BBC, so there is no reason why GBC cannot do the same. Hopefully we can look forward to a change, at least in GBC, now that a new general manager whose background is in television news has been appointed.

What do you think comment below? But please if anyone commenting is connected to any of the media mentioned have the decency to declare that interest, despite the wish to remain anonymous.

Monday, 19 April 2010

The Chief Minister, The Attorney General and the Gay Consent Case

The Chronic of the 17th April 2010 reports that the Attorney General argued that the issues before the court on the equalisation of the age of consent for sex was a domestic matter despite which, he argued that,  Britain has a legitimate interest well served by it being an "interested party" and extraordinarily that the Chief Minister and he were "rather zealous" to protect who could join as a full party in the case.

Taking the last point first, it seems an extraordinary argument and proposition (without analysis of the legalities) that claimants in a case (that has no other parties) should dictate who  can join as a party.  This is  especially so if the effect of that restriction is to prevent anyone from appealing any decision save for the claimants themselves.  Despite making these arguments the Attorney General concedes that Britain has a legitimate interest in the matter. Surely this is an attempt at censorship of an extreme type and would be an affront to freedom of expression ? 

On whether the issue is a domestic matter,  this blogger begs to differ.  On a superficial analysis this would seem to be the case.  The issue is whether or not local laws are or are not contrary to the 2006 Constitution of Gibraltar.  Without further scrutiny and analysis these facts would seem to soundly support the argument that it is a domestic matter, However, it does not take much thought  to ask two questions that radically changes this conclusion.

The first is, what is the origin of and reason for the fundamental rights enshrined in Chapter 1 of the 2006 Constitution?  The answer is the European Convention of Human Rights.  This being the case, the issue ceases to be a domestic one and becomes an external affair.  Why? Because the repercussions for any breach will fall on the UK who are responsible under the 2006 Constitution for Gibraltar's external affairs.  External affairs must surely include compliance by Gibraltar with international obligations? The fact that these international obligations are subsumed within the 2006 Constitution do not undermine the international consequences of non-compliance or its international aspect.  This analysis is borne out by the documents filed by the Chief Minister and the Attorney General themselves in this case .  The Chief Minister describes his interest as " ... ensuring ... compliance with international obligations ...".

The second is that the 2006 Constitution is itself not a piece of legislation passed by the Parliament of Gibraltar.   It is an Order in Council of the Privy Council of Great Britain and as such a piece of British legislation despite that, quite possibly, the Privy Council has acted in right of the Crown of Gibraltar.

The documents filed in court state that the interest of the Attorney General is that of " ... ensuring that any prosecution against a homosexual man ... is constitutional."  The role of the Attorney General, as the sole decision maker on whether to prosecute someone or not,is protected in the 2006 Constitution from any interference by any other person.  The independence of the decision to prosecute is sacrosanct.

This blogger understands that, despite the different interests and constitutional roles of the Chief Minister and the Attorney General, the Attorney General appeared for himself, which makes him a litigant in person rather than appearing as  Queens Counsel, and also appeared in a representative capacity for the Chief Minister.  What impression does this give?  Is it another (at the very least) blurring of constitutional roles and separation of powers and functions?  It is for the Attorney General to prosecute in accordance with any law passed by the legislature.  It is not for him to question its constitutionality.

It is for lawyers defending (not the Attorney General in a vacuum and in concert with the Chief Minister) to raise constitutional issues.  The defendant in any such case would be a person affected.  Under section 16 of the 2006 Constitution this would entitle such a defendant to seek redress.

Undoubtedly the Gay Consent Age case is throwing up and will continue to throw up more and more interesting issues ... let us see what else turns up and what the repercussions might be!

Sunday, 18 April 2010


OK lets talk about the real issue.  At what age should the law (not religion) permit human beings to partake of consensual SEX?  Let us leave to one side (for now) descriptions like hetero- and  homo-. 

The basic rule of many religions is that SEX outside marriage is morally reprehensible and is not permitted.  The origin of this rule is complex but, at its heart, is the belief  that sex is  for the purpose of reproduction and not for pleasure, pleasure is a side effect not the end in itself.

This principle is expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in these terms "Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes".  For this reason and probably endless others, the Catholic church makes a sin of each of lust, masturbation, fornication (carnal union between an unmarried man and woman), pornography, prostitution, rape and homosexuality (which, for those who may think includes only males, includes sexual attraction and relations between both man and man and woman and woman) .

The difficulty that then arises is where should the law draw the line?  One great difference between sin and illegality (certainly in the Christian world) is that sin can be forgiven, crime is punished and rarely forgiven in many spheres of life.  Crime is punished with (at worst) imprisonment and that is rarely erased from someone's history , especially in a small society like Gibraltar.

I believe that most readers would agree that lust alone or masturbation should not be criminalised. Most people will probably agree that, subject to age limits, presently 16 years of age, fornication should not be criminalised.  Pornography laws are certainly necessary but great discretion and societal considerations are taken into account in their application and enforcement. Prostitution ... probably debatable. Rape undoubtedly should be criminalised.

Then the difficult one homosexuality. Well lets see, homosexuality between two females is not a crime, where is the Catholic church's campaign to have this sin criminalised?   Homosexuality between two males is a crime, unless it is committed in private and between two consenting adults of 18 years or more. So the law has accepted that, despite that the Catholic church considers it to be a sin, like masturbation and fornication, homosexuality between two men itself should not be a crime.

So the issue is the disparity between the ages 16 for heterosexuals and  18 for homosexuals. There may be good arguments for increasing both ages and equalising them at a higher age say 21, or equalising them at 18.  But let us take into account what actually happens in society.  Girls of under 16 are frequently getting pregnant.  Does anyone get prosecuted for this?  Rarely if at all.  Are we going to marginalise more young people in society by increasing the age of consent?  Are we going to make the job of the police and prosecuting authorities that much more (nigh on impossibly) burdensome?  Are we going to become an even more hypocritical society and turn a blind eye to under age pregnancies and only prosecute homosexuals (itself an unconstitutional application of the law)?  These and many more issues are the issues that need to be considered before enacting a law regulating age of consent.

Additionally, a question that each of us needs to ask ourself is, whether, if a close member of ones family, i.e. a son, daughter, brother or sister confessed to an illegal consensual sexual act committed in private, would any one of us pick up the telephone and report the crime to the police, thus condemning that close family member to potential imprisonment and a criminal record/history for life?  If the answer  is NO, then whoever so answers should not profess or support a law that he/she is not prepared to have upheld.

Readers may like to be reminded and to bear in mind that the age for consent to marriage in the Catholic church is 16 for males and 14 for females.  This church considers that 16 is an age at which both males and females (in their case 2 years into their maturity) are sufficiently mature to decide to marry for life, have sex and reproduce.

Religion and morality have a major role to play in society.  It has been the case for centuries that the law  has to walk a difficult path between what may be considered to be religiously and morally wrong and what is actually happening in society because an act considered sinful is tolerated generally.  There are, of course, absolutes of right and wrong.  there are wrongs that the law will never permit and so religion, morality and the law will coincide.  Where there is a divergence it is for parents and religious ministers and educators to instil values and not for the law to substitute for these.

Compassion, respect, sensitivity, understanding, tolerance and some objective thinking is called for.  After all the  Catechism of the Catholic Church has the following to say on homosexuality:

"The number of men and women who have deep-seated  homosexual tendencies is not negligible.  They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial.  They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity.  Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided."

It preaches the avoidance of sin through chastity.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Keep it Simple Stupid!

Government press releases are getting longer and longer and more and more boring.  A distinction must be drawn, however, between press releases by a government that are intended to be informative and those that are issued at a party political level whose objective are to convince the voting public.  This distinction does not apply to politicians or political parties that do not form part of the governing party.  Their mission must be exclusively to convince the voting public to change the government at the next election.  This is not achieved best by long, argumentative and uninteresting press releases.

By way of example, the Chronic of the 14th April 2010 carried a piece, following a press release by the Hon Joseph Garcia, under the headline "Govt Aviation Policy 'in tatters' Says Garcia".  In essence all that this press release said was: flights to Madrid started by GB Airways, Iberia and Air Andalus have all falied, so the GSD Goverment was spending too much on an air terminal and the GSD Government was misspending our money of which they are our custodians or trustees. 

Why could he have not just said this?  No, instead readers had to wade through more than 18 column inches (approx 45 cms for those who prefer metric) to get the message!  When will our politicians understand that what they should do is get their message across to the voting public as clearly as possible and using the least number of words possible?  Public opinion is not changed by long winded arguments made in press releases nor is the public's attention gained in this manner. 

To use a military cliche "KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID!".

In fairness it must be said that for those who got through all the Oppositions column inches, the PDP had done exactly that ... keep the same message short and simple.  The unfairness to the PDP is that the Chronic chose to publish the PDP's criticism of the GSD Government at the very end of the inordinate number of column inches given to the GSLP/Liberal Opposition, so how many readers got that far?

This blog carried essentially the same message, as that given by the GSLP/Liberals and the PDP in the press releases referred to, before any of the politicians (see "When Politics and Business don't Mix", 2nd April 2010). Perhaps, at that time, all our politicians were on their Easter Holidays ... I wonder where!

In order not to fall foul of my own advice to others I shall stop and myself ... KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Welcome Facebook

Another milestone is reached in internet democracy.

Llanito World has a Facebook page,  join and show your support: 


Keep up your support as we can make a big difference to Gibraltar.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Judicial Independence After Schofield

On the 30th March 2010 the Minister for Justice, the Hon Daniel Feetham, gave GBC an interview that was transmitted on Newswatch.  One would have thought that following the protracted and expensive proceedings to remove Schofield as Chief Justice of Gibraltar, a Minister of the incumbent GSD Government would take great care not to be imprudent in comments made about the present members of the senior judiciary.

Not so, instead during this interview, Mr Feetham chose to praise both the Hon Mr Justice Dudley CJ and the Hon Ms Justice Prescott PJ.  This imprudent praise may be capable of some forgiveness but the context in which that praise was made becomes more difficult to forgive or at least understand.  Mr Feetham praised them both for the assistance apparently given by them to the GSD Government in the field of law reform.

Once again the clear lines that should be drawn between each arm of government, namely the legislature, executive and judiciary (most importantly between the judiciary and the other two arms, which in any event in Gibraltar are synonymous with each other) is being blurred.  Not only does the GSD Government drag the judiciary into matters that are more properly decided by them, i.e. the issue of the age of consent for sexual relations,  but a Minister considers it appropriate to laud judges in legislative matters.

Is the independence of the judiciary under threat?

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Caruana or Bossano, GSD or GSLP?

"I know that many of you will support the government's determination to look at the rules and regulations, and if necessary to change the law to ensure that he is able to enjoy an old age pension ..."

Those who remember the Hon Joe Bossano's GSLP government can by forgiven for thinking it is a quote from him from that period.  But no, it is not Mr Bossano speaking, it is none other than The Hon Peter Caruana QC who is quoted.  Those selfsame people will remember criticisms made by the GSD in that period of alleged abuses by the GSLP government of the legislative process and their abuse of power.  We seem to have reached the same destination with Mr Caruana's GSD Government.

As soon as changes in law become subjective and personalised (irrespective of how noble the objective might be) we are not only on dangerous (not to say perilous) ground but on the slippery slope by which the democratic process is corrupted.  In the same way as the very personal view of a Chief Minister can be translated into legislation for purposes that might be perceived widely to be good, so can it be used for nefarious and anti-democratic purposes with supporters of a governing party excusing such measures as being for the greater good of a community.  Objectivity is lost and despotism and personalised prejudices take over to the detriment of any concept of democracy.  This is one of the motivating factors that has taken Mugabe's Zimbabwe to where it is today. 

It is at this stage that an electorate has to decide to flex its democratic muscle.  Comparative assessments of what Mr Caruna or Mr Bossano or their respective parties cease to have the same importance.  Change becomes the main and most important consideration.  Change in order to remind a government that has been in power too long that it is the electorate that govern in a democracy and not any individual or government, who think he or it knows best.

It is at times like this that an electorate has to take difficult decisions.  It should not shirk from taking them.  Change always brings some good.  It is a decision that can be reversed in 4 years but the effect of change is salutary.  

One issue is, why do people have to rely on blogs such as this one to create controversy and debate?  Unfortunately faced with a neutered news media, GBC paid for by government and the Chronic heavily indebted to government, and in the absence of backbenchers that can call a government to order, this is what is left.

Democracy reigns in Gibraltar? You decide .

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Sovereignty Casino

For all the intelligence that The Hon Peter Caruana QC is attributed with, why is he gambling with Gibraltar's sovereignty?  Is it really a good idea to seek that the European Court adjudicates on this issue?  It is this issue that Mr Caruana is asking it to adjudicate on in the case that, as Chief Minister of Gibraltar, he brings before the European Court on the issue of territorial waters.

It seems that whilst the UK Government seeks to defend its (and Gibraltar's) position on the basis of control, Mr Caruana considers it wise for the European Court (made up of judge's from different member states) to decide the issue as one of sovereignty.  The UK government seems to have studiously and consciously avoided the need for the European Court to adjudicate on British sovereignty.

Apart from  the the legal difficulty that this situation poses for Mr Caruana, in that sovereignty lies with Britain and not with Gibraltar with the UK not taking the point, what will the consequences be to  Gibraltar, and the UK, if the European Court were to decide that, on a strict interpretation of the Treaty of Utrecht, Britain has no sovereign territorial waters around Gibraltar but simply rights of ingress and egress from the port?  This would be the biggest and most serious set back to the case on British sovereignty over Gibraltar ever, with one unavoidable and irreversible result, that once decided the decision will be set in stone, at least, insofar as concerns the EEC.

Mr Caruana, is  it really the UK's arguments that are fraught with danger, or are they those that you have adopted on behalf of Gibraltar?  Perhaps a deep breath and a reassessment of your position is called for. It is not so much that the UK should be right and can succeed in its arguments, as you have said, it is more that you should be right and succeed in your arguments.  If you lose that gamble and the ball falls on the wrong colour it is Gibraltar that will face the serious consequences for ever.

Friday, 2 April 2010

When Politics and Business do not Mix

It is one of the duties and obligations of politicians in government to create the right environment for business to succeed, to create employment and wealth.  It is in the interest of governments to do this, not least, because by doing so they can increase their tax revenues and distribute wealth by introducing appropriate social and health systems to look after those who are less fortunate.  It is not right for governments to promote and encourage and subsidise business ventures for purely political reasons.  There are two prime examples where the GSD Government has done so and both seem to be in difficulty.  The first is flights to Madrid.  The second is the ferry to and from Algeciras.

These ventures owe their existence to outcomes of the Trilateral Process.  They do not owe their lives to hard nosed business decisions.  What value is there in once daily flights to Madrid when there are regular services from Malaga, Jerez and Seville, all within 90 minutes drive from Gibraltar?  What business sense is there in the ferry service to and from Algeciras when many now have cars and, if they do not, there are regular buses or availability of taxis?  was it just nostalgia because in the early 1960's such a service existed?

Undoubtedly there was a need to have a new Air Terminal but did we need such a large one at such great expense?  Is the connection to Spain a business or political decision?  If there are no flights to Spanish destinations, what is the point?  The expense of building a new road and tunnel to cross the airport was right and a necessary expense, but the rest, time will tell.  The added issue is the cost of maintaining such a large Air Terminal.  If revenue from the operation of the Air Terminal does not increase by increased use, that added cost will fall on taxpayers.

One commentator asked that the issue of tax advantages to non-Gibraltarians be raised here.  In this regard it is right and the duty of government to create the correct legal environment to stimulate the increased use of Gibraltar for these purposes.  Gibraltar's economy (and so its wealth and ability to help the less able and fortunate) is dependent on very few sectors, these include the port, tourism, retail and export trade and importantly the finance centre.  The finance centre produces about a third of Gibraltar's wealth.  It provides employment directly and indirectly.  It stimulates the building trade (which should not be and is not to the detriment of but helps to finance the construction of social and local housing). The fiscal advantages given to non-Gibraltarians are not at the expense of any taxpayer.  In fact the encouragement of this sector allows the Government to continue its policy of reducing taxes for all in Gibraltar.

It is difficult to see why a need will arise to replace the revenue lost by changing the beneficial tax  system that stimulates the finance centre.  Gibraltar should continue to promote the finance centre with appropriate legislation and seek to improve this offering.