Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Democratic Reform of Parliament and Empowerment of Public Servants- Another Core Principle Explained

Changes will be made, as may be necessary, to ensure that Parliament meets as a minimum for 3 days in every month except in December, August and the month on which Easter falls, during which months Parliament shall be in vacation.

A Permanent Parliamentary Committee of backbenchers (including crossbenchers and members of the opposition) will be established. It will meet a minimum of 1 day every month except in the months that Parliament does not meet, but otherwise as it considers necessary, for the efficient disposal of its business. The business of this will be to act as the equivalent committees, including Select Committees, of the House of Commons. 

This committee will examine matters in detail.  These will include government policy, proposed new laws, and any wider topics that concern the government and Gibraltar, including the economy.  It will check on the work of government departments and economic affairs.  It will hold the executive arm of government and the public administration to public account.

The committee shall have power to summons the Chief Minister, any Minister, and Civil Servant or any other person and question them on any matter relevant to the its business. It shall be constituted as closely as possible to reflect proportionally the make-up of Parliament. The committee shall have all powers of compulsion and enforcement over witnesses as a court of law, all evidence shall be taken and oath and all laws of perjury and contempt shall apply.

GBC TV and radio will be permitted to broadcast meetings of Parliament and this committee live.

The civil and public service, including authorities, commissions and other quasi-governmental entities will be empowered.  They will be freed of centralised (Chief Minister) control.  In return they must be responsible and accountable for their actions and accept such responsibility and accountability.


  1. Deer Robert

    Election manifesto is a vision and misssion of contestent political parties that stand for upcoming election. This is an agenda for future plan made by the political parties wittheir the voters. If any political parties win the election that is bound to implement to the same that was pre-committed with the people.

    Will any of those individuals or parties standing for election add your core principals in their manifesto?


  2. There is no doubt that Gibraltar is suffering from the most centrally controlled government administration ever. Soon we shall be summoned to the ballot box. If the present government is ousted, I wonder if the next chief minister will loosen the tight grip of power presently centrally held. If the present government is returned, then more of the same. We should all be looking closely at the different manifestoes.

  3. Will the new GSLP, under the leadership of Mr Picardo decentralise power and once again empower the Civil Servant?
    It remains to be seen, but if the team they are rumoured to be putting together is anything to go by, then i think so.

  4. Sounds like a fantastic idea. I dislike that tax payers money be spent on having more members of parliament. However, in the interests of democracy and the decentralisation of power, the cost is justified.

  5. WOW This Committe is just what we need! If (and please) we manage to rid ourselves of the GSD Govt, and this is installed, it would feel so surreal though after nearly 16 years of a CM taking every decison and biting back at poeple who offer informed opposing views to his! This committee would be a dream come true!

  6. Has anyone got a copy of Col Muammar El Gaddafi's "Green Book"? Apparently he espouses what is known in arabic as Jamahiriya which is an advanced concept of decentralised government. Is this what you had in mind Rob?

  7. So who is rumoured to be standing under the GSLP? Do tell . . .

  8. Will our political parties manifesto be run on half truths?

    The truth of any proposition depends on the assumptions you make in considering it, half-truths are a necessary part of human interaction because they allow practical application of ideas when it is impractical to convey all the information needed to make a fully informed decision, although some half-truths can lead to a false conclusions.

    Half-truths are an inescapable part of
    politics in representative democracies the reputation of a political candidate can be irreparably damaged if they are exposed in a lie, so a complex style of language has evolved to minimize the chance of this happening. If someone has not said something, they cannot be accused of lying. As a consequence, politics has become a world where half-truths are expected, and political statements are rarely accepted at face value.


  9. "GBC TV and radio will be permitted to broadcast meetings of Parliament and this committee live."

    It's absolutely ridiculous that this isn't already the case. It's 2011, the days of petulant despotism behind closed doors in Gibraltar should no longer be a tolerated practice.

    Excellent blog entry Robert. Hopefully the new administration will take a lot of your ideas on board.


  10. I like the idea of a select committee being able to call up a minister, and even the chief minister, to justify their actions, at the time of doing so, and not 6 months later in the next meeting of Parliament.
    It also ensures a minister has to explain/justify his actions on his/her own without the help of his better-arguing colleagues in Parliament!
    I wonder though, if this current Chief Minister would even bother turning up when summoned, let alone justify his actions!

  11. Anon 23:33 if that is what is happening it must be in your camp because I have been in politics all my life and the politicians that are most respected are those who call a spade a spade. Unfortunately people like you are the ones that by accepting politicians as you describe them gives credence to the notion that polticiians are corrupt, etc.
    I presume that you are also one who like Louis Montegriffo do not agree to give power to the people!!

    Politicians like Robert who does not mince his words are the type of politicians we need at this stage. We do not need politicians who say HALF Truths. The whole truth and nothing but the truth please!!!!
    Meno ma que la gente se estan dando cuanta del rollo de esta clase de gente que son pupilos de Caruana.

  12. APRIL 2011 10:31

    I have never been a GSD supporter and will never associated with anyone who does come clean in their manifesto, we have been mislead over the last 16 years and fully agree with Robert Vasquez general views, let’s try and call a spade a spade and look towards an honourable future.


  13. April 1 2011 10:31

    I believe that even Robert is guilty on occassion of "half truths" and playing to the gallery. I believe he has a personal relationship of mutual respect and even mutual admiration with Louis Montegriffo, he can of course correct me if I am wrong. I also believe that he knows full well that the comment made by Louis on the Viewpoint programme was a simple error of words(which Louis quickly rectified) caused by first time nerves on a debate programme were he sat with two seasoned political heavy weights and were Louis was playing a defence position, with no prior experience. In the circumstances, I think he did admirably. It appears we have we quickly and conveniently forgotten that the GSD was represented on that programme unlike the GSLP who declined.

    Is that calling a spade a spade?

  14. Anonymous at 10:31

    Half truths :) what I say is what I mean! Identify diferent if you ar going to accuse.

    If you refer to me as a political heavyweight I am flatterd. I have never been in politics until now :)

  15. I thought you've been in politics since you were a student Robert?

    As to Louis well anon 16:08 should have written his name because I do not think that even Louis himself could have written it better!!!! By the way it was not Robert who mentioned Louis again it was I.

    Calling a spade a spade is exactly what the GSLP did in the programme ie not turning up because GBC did not want to invite the Liberal party.

    Calling a spade a spade is what Louis said because he meant it.

    Now trying to cover up is like saying he was saying HALF TRUTHS. So you know what by trying to defend louis you are proving the point.

    ha esta gente se le ve los colore ie "fork tongues".

  16. Well, you should feel flattered Robert :), because I do consider you a political heavy weight,you may only be entering the political fray now, but I believe you have always been a political animal. I do not agree with you on many issues, but I most certainly admire your guts in taking a stand and defending your position. I have similar admiration for Louis for doing the same and believe that given time and opportunity, he too could do very well.

    I would not accuse on anything you have said, but perhaps, on what, you have not said ;)

  17. Anonymous at 16:42

    A mind reader ... :)
    I assue you that I am renowned for my bluntness and for not hiding much!

    Anonymous at 16:30

    Interested in politics ... not involved in main stream politics :)

  18. Dear Robert, no not a mindreader at all, but I think I get you and I think you clearly understood me. The same cannot be said for anon at 16:30? Perhaps someone would care to translate? because in the immortal words of Tracy Pollard..."am I Bovvered?"

  19. Louis Montegriffo says:

    Robert apparently we have respect and admiration for each other....:) Tu que decis?

    Look guys half truths, spin, politicking can all be assimilated as opinions by each political party, commentator, journalists or other entities. It is our democratic right and free will to decide what we chose to believe or what opinion we are aligned to. It is this freedom that steers change and elects govts.

    Like Robert I am interested in politics and like all of you I have an interest in Gibraltar and how we chose to steer our future. I chose to believe that the GSD has taken tough decisions and made crucial headway to making Gibraltar a prosperous and successful community.

    I am also minded to accept that not everyone can or will be joyful at all times, I am conscious of the fact that a Govt of nearly 16 years is pushing the boundaries of our democratic instincts, in its attempt to continue to serve.

    I will reiterate and summarize what I said publically in Viewpoint; that being the requirement for strong leadership and strong Govt, Gibraltar's political environment requires this by default given our history. I agree that parliamentary reforms are required (maybe not to the extent that Robert wishes to take it) as we seek to aspire to a greater accountability, but whilst also allowing our elected Govt to function, perform and deliver the vision and mandate that it has democratically been elected to fulfill.


  20. Nothing needs translating when it is said clearly in English or llanito!!
    It is obvious that you think you having wit Well!! Even Robert believes one has to be a mindreader to understand.
    And Robert the best attribute a politician must have is that of HONESTY and unfortunately there is not much about Except people like you.
    With all the events that is haapening in North Africa ie "people power" is demonstrating that it cannot be ignored.
    So if you are not Bovvered so be it. I am very Bovvered about what is happening in Gibraltar with this current GSD Government.
    Half truths will emerge in the budget soon where we will have tax cuts and a very big surplus.

    By the way all the surplus of last year and the year before blew away with the levante wind since the GSD Government have had to get more money to do all the things they forgot to do that they said they were going to do and are now doing in the last minute.

    I might not be as clever as you think you are but I don't braggg!!!!!!:)ni me la doy por enterao . Have a nice day!!!

  21. Anon @ 16.08

    Whilst Louis rectified his words - after realising his choice of words could possibly have been the beginning and the end of his political career - the bottom line here is that he along with the rest of the GSD obviously believe that domacracy and public participation only goes so far in Gibraltar. What are common practices and procedures within other western democracies are no go areas for us and to be quite frank even if we were now to see movement towards reforms for me personally it would be too little too late.

    In much the same way that the internet has allowed citizens of the middle east to inform themselves on how western democracies operate, it has also allowed us to do exactly the same.

  22. Louis

    My electoral and parliamentary reforms are mild ... what less do the people deserve?

  23. An Omnibus says:

    So Louis now believes that his party may be "pushing the boundaries of our democratic instincts". Perhaps his party, or his leader, will take on board the following comments.

    I agree with Roberts's proposal for a checks and balances Permanent Parliamentary Committee. One of its functions could be to review decisions made by the Development and Planning Committee.

    In my opinion the DPC, together with planning legislation and process, needs a radical overhaul.

    The DPC is too secretive. Major planning decisions affecting the lives of many are taken by a small politically-appointed elite, headed and controlled by one single politician. Meetings are held behind closed doors. The minutes are not made public. A sad state of affairs which would not be tolerated in most modern European countries.

    But then again, some might say that more transparency in the planning process would give joe public far "too much power" in government decision-making. Especially for those who are close to real estate matters.

  24. Exactly Anon 19.14 And you know what? the GSD promised this will happen and it hasn't.

    Louis I will not enter into debate about the dismal way we have and are been governed by the GSD government at this point (I'm willing to do so though) but the point is that there are many even in this blog who believe the opposite.

    You definitely have the right to think the way you do, but as has been exposed time and time again in this blog when people criticise the government there has been a barrage of insults banting or ridiculing.

    Further it is becoming clearer and clearer that people have many grievances and they have to be listened to and this GSD Government is not listening.

    what is happening is that the chief minister decides we need toilets, he things that he has the right to spend £250,000 per toilet. This money could be spent on having more occupational therapists, educational pyschologists,social workers, etc.

    So the people should have the right to question this decision and the system has not got any checks and balances to have the Chief Minister give an account of his decisions.

    A strong government should be able to justify its actions more often and not just at the ballot box every four years.

    So what we see from the GSD government is that NOW they do everything at the last minute things that people have not asked for (Air terminal case in point)

    Louis how many meetings where held by the GSD to discuss the need for toilets?

    Its not just good enough to say that government have to govern and should be allowed to do so and that they have been given a mandate to take decisions.

    Decisions have an impact on the people. They do not want to participate just for the sake of having a say which is legitimate in itself but they want to have a say in how they live.

    Who has told Mr Caruana that we need town houses in a very historical site of Buena Vista?

    Who told him that doing the clifftops which blocks the view to tourists and locals of the pillars of hercules at jews gate?

    Need I go on??!!

    I probably will Later :)

  25. "...a Govt of nearly 16 years is pushing the boundaries of our democratic instincts, in its attempt to continue to serve" Well, that's one way of putting it, Louis - but you're only confirming that we need a change.

  26. Louis tu sigue, ke te va a carga al GSD solito lolol


  27. Freebie

    What happened to the editting of back biting comments? It appears that if you are a GSD supporter or even give the slightest impression that you could be, freedom of speech goes out the window ! They are not allowed to comment freely without being goaded. How fair is that? Also, what happened to going off topic? This is a bit like watching the match with your mother in law yacking in the background.

  28. Freebie

    No comment gets censored on party grounds ... GSD are simply not defending themselves or each other .. I cannot help that!

  29. Wow!! Now they want censorship!
    it seems obvious that they don't like what is being said.
    Anon 22.46 you said
    "They are not allowed to comment freely without being goaded. How fair is that? Also, what happened to going off topic? This is a bit like watching the match with your mother in law yacking in the background."
    I have not read any post above which is goading any GSD supporter.
    What there is above, are people asking question about the wisdom of the GSD government doing things that does not have their approval. This is similar to what the Chief minister is encountering with the civil service who at present are not happy with the deal cooked behind their backs.
    People want to have a say and they are have the right to question things argue in favour or against deals agreements building being built have toilets or not.

    This in my language is good healthy, democratic debate.
    Has creao un blog Robert que le esta haciendo pupa 'cos times have change and people are coming out spelling out their grievences and they are no coherent argument to counter them.
    d over to you now :)

  30. Louis M you are a legend, thank you for giving us insights into what the GSD really think deep down inside...
    Keep us posted

  31. I could be mal pensao, but it appears to me that we have an orchestrated GSLP tag team on here patroling the blog and spinning every comment made !! I have just read through and they appear to be living in a parralel universe? They would have us believe that the GSD have done nothing, spent everything and got it all absolutely wrong for 15 years!!

    Vale, entonces can one of this team of spin doctors tell me why the GSD have been elected into Govt over four terms by the people of Gibraltar?

    I can't wait to hear what you will come up with for this one? :)

  32. Anon at 21.18

    When a party goes to an election they prepare a manifesto in which are enshrined there policies & and all the things they would like to achieve during their term of office. The GSD have won elections on the back of four of these documents. When the people read a manifesto and them vote for that party they are giving that party, if elected a mandate to impliment there vision. The Airport Terminal was in the GSD manifesto in 2007, among many many other projects, it was not just something they decided to do one day. The GSD Government are not rushing to do things in the last minute, what they are doing is honouring as many manifesto commitments as they can before calling an election , which is normal & what any party would do!!

    You say a strong government needs to justify its actions more regularily than every four years at the ballot box. This Government does that in Parliament ever month or so, I always listen on the radio. Every June they prepare the budget, which I also hear on the radio & then I print off each Ministry's budget from the Govt website for the whole of the next year. That way, I know what is going on and I monitor what the Government is doing. I am not a lawyer or a very clever man, Ok, the Government are slow sometimes but when they do something they do it well. Yes they have made mistakes like the theater royal but in general I think they have done a good job.

  33. Anon @01:42

    you hear Parliament on the radio EVERY month? you need a new radio!

    anon @01:11
    don't judge others like you would act yourself - the only spin doctors come from the GSD, and that's why you have got in before. I don't support any party, yet, but I certainly don't support the GSD, anymore!

  34. An Omnibus says:

    I voted GSD in the last election. They have done good things (eg Judicial System reform), and they have done bad things (eg inefficient and opaque public finance management).

    But once again those who dare criticize or propose new ideas are lambasted by a GSD stalwart and labelled as "a GSLP tag team" ! This is precisely why so many, including myself, post anonymously here.

    Any proposals made to change anything or constructivey criticize the status quo are met with a reactionary backlash by certain Caruana loyalists.

    Come on, you are doing no one any good by interacting in this blog this way. Continue acting like this and the party you so vehemently defend will end up in opposition.

  35. GSD Supporter

    Louis Montegriffo gets trashed by some for domocratically voicing his honest and tempered opinion on here. Isobel Ellul Hammond gets the same treatment as does Selwyn Figueras. Anyone see a pattern? The common denominator is that they support the GSD, they have put their names to their posts (not hiding behind "anon") and although at this time they are neither Ministers or even prospective candidates The GSLP must find them very threatening.Daniel Feetham has also at times replied to comments on this blog. They have all done so openly & in their own names, no spin there? Their opinions can be read and interpreped as the readers wish, but I see no spin.

    The spin does appear to come from the namless shadows of the parralel universe and anyone who actually believe that the GSD have won four consecutive election on spin?!! Does not think very highly of the intelligence of the electorate.

  36. Louis Montegriffo @ 1 April 2011 18:23 says:

    "... and like all of you I have an interest in Gibraltar...".

    Would you mind telling us what that interest is and what it entails?

  37. Julius says,

    Freebie, you are talking nonsense, I am a GSLP supporter and my last three posts have been censored by Robert.

    Lo que pasa es que no soy lloron como tú.


  38. Anon 1:11, I’m not a fully qualified and/or an elected spin doctor, but I did vote for the GSD in the last four terms and I won’t be doing so in the forthcoming elections for the following reasons:

    1- A categorical failure to deliver on numerous election promises. Irrespective of what the Opposition may claim in their own manifesto, the onus is on the current administration to implement the election promises made in their respective election manifestos. A governing party’s repeated failure to do so dispels their credibility and the trust that can be vested in them. This isn’t a case of they’ve only been given one term in order to implement reform and change, they’ve had four terms in which to do so, there is no excuse for poor project prioritisation and their categorical failure to deliver on manifesto promises.

    2- The GSLP have been consistently portrayed as the 1996 Boogyman which almost destroyed Gibraltar and people have voted accordingly in the last elections, and justifiably so considering Bossano with all of his tarnished reputation was still the GSLP leader. As previously mentioned in other blog pieces (and as reflected in the Panorama Poll) the majority of people in Gibraltar are now choosing to vote for the party that they feel is best suited to address the issues that Gibraltar as a whole is currently facing, today, and not on the basis of what a party’s position is alleged to be in respect of a given issue and what they did 16 years ago. Personally I wouldn’t have considered voting for the GSLP if Bossano were still the leader today, and I think that he should have stood down sooner, but at least he’s finally accepted that his time as the party leader has passed. Caruana on the other hand will not accept that the majority of Gibraltarians are not prepared to tolerate his self serving and dictatorial behaviour any longer, and he will not step down to the detriment of his entire party. If another individual such as Daniel Feetham (in my estimation the only GSD minister aside from Joe Holiday that has done anything of any significant merit doing these last four years) were to take his place, I would perhaps be more inclined to vote for the GSD.

    3- I do not approve of the fact that there is no way in which to control government expenditure with regards certain projects such as the Theatre Royal fiasco, the airport, and the unnecessarily expensive public toilets (amongst other things). The GSD have indeed got it right on many occasions in the last 16 years, but the fact is that they have made significant errors in the last 4 years that can’t be overlooked and dismissed on the basis of the good work they have otherwise carried out in their previous electoral terms. We shouldn’t feel the need to put up with what we’ve got because of any fear the governing party may instil in us by saying that the opposition will be exactly the same as they used to be were they to get into power tomorrow (despite the fact that only one member from that 1996 administration, Bossano, is left today).

    4- The Chief Minister is attempting to implement policies and changes in a direct effort to effectively “buy” electoral votes before the forthcoming election as he is in all likelihood rattled by the fact that he and his party’s support have dropped significant. Personally, this reinforces that the government appreciates that it can’t win the election on the merits of what they’ve accomplished in their last electoral term.

    (My comment is split into two posts)


  39. (continued)

    These are the last days of the GSD and not because there is some great conspiracy that has been put into motion in an effort to try and remove them from power, but it is in my opinion because the majority of people have become disenchanted and disillusioned with their systematic failure to deliver on their promises.

    The current administration is no longer deserving of anyone’s blind faith, they’ve long lost that privilege. Pre-existing good will can only take you so far, politicians can’t afford to get too complacent.

    The GSD certainly earned its votes and success in prior elections, and its manifesto was far more polished and professionally presented than the GSLP’s comparatively amateurish offering. Hopefully upon putting the new team together the GSLP will manage to produce a manifesto that casts the GSLP in a much more positive light.

    Selwyn’s party political broadcast was poor in that it was unconvincing, gaudy and shoddily produced, perhaps this is indicative of the GSD’s new approach moving forwards in this election campaign.


  40. @ Omnibus

    I am el mal pensao at 1.11. I am the first one to respect your opinion to say what you like and critisize the Govt as much as you want to, my issue is in the way it is done.

    I was just making an observation on something which seemed blatantly obvious to me as a relatively new reader. I am not a GSD stalwart, I am in fact an "undecided" voter looking at my options including RV.

    We have to stop being so defensive, on all sides, because at the end of the day we are a tiny community and I think that we all want the best for Gibraltar we just differ in our road to get there. The AACR did a lot of good and made mistakes, as did the GSLP in there day and the same for the GSD and the PDP have good ideas too. We have to accept that, bank the good and look forward to making it better still.

    I agree with a few who have also commented. It does not do the GSLP any good, for some of there supporters to simple rubbish everything "por que si" I would rather be hearing about their policies and vision than the constant bitching and honestly, although I will agree that the GSD are guilty of the same sometimes it is a lot more rare and it would, I think be better for us all if we based our comments on the topic in hand or at least keep to facts and reality when posting, that is just my opinion.

    I am also posting anonimously because it is hard to air an opinion when it will be read by so many and most of us want a quiet life outside of the political arena, but respect to Robert et al who appear to be able to do this 24/7

  41. Policies and vision are not something that the GSLP are able to offer. It's a horse with no policy, waiting its turn, much like Fabian has.
    They show little credibility and offer no real initiative to lead. Fabians rise to lead the party is hardly an example of strong leadership. One might have expected a CM in the making to hold a four time losing party leader to account and display leadership within his own party before asking us to trust the barrage if cast iron gaurantees that we are likely to be dealt in the coming months. I don't suppose that (this time) we will have promises of a Carbon neautral Gib, a no maybe on the constitution, taxing freebies and a field day of goodies for pensioners, afterall we are apparently in dire straits.

  42. On the 31st March the Gibraltar Government announced the award of the advertised tender for the development of the Buena Vista site to BV Homes Ltd, for the sum of £10.2 million.

    There were four bids for the development of the site, and BV Homes Ltd, which involves a 20% shareholding by AKS and the remainder a resident German investor, was the highest bidder.

    Minister for Development, Joe Holliday said the development project will consist of 42 low rise dwellings and take full account of the heritage value of the site.

    Clarity and Half truth
    Q. Who is BV Homes Ltd?
    Q. Who is AKS?
    Q, Who is the German investor?
    Q. Who were the other three bidders and tender amounts?
    Does anyone care to find out?


  43. anon @ 18:08

    I have been thinking the same as you since the announcement came out.

    Also, our very rich foreign residents are usually (if not always) high nett worth individuals. Correct me if I am wrong, but aren't these residents not allowed to have business interests in Gibraltar?

    Perhaps whoever answers your questions can confirm this German gentleman does not hold HNWI status.


  44. Blind faith deserves no place in our political system, nor does hard line party affiliation that includes being “all in” on the party’s stance on all issues. This sort of behaviour cannot be what our founding fathers intended and it does a great disservice to their honour. IT ALSO PAINTS US, THE CITIZENS, AS SHEEP: unable or unwilling to think for ourselves, ignorant of the issues, and happier following as we are led than putting thought and effort into our own futures.

    Blind faith at any place in life is, at best, a shaky stance. Introducing it into politics has in the past led to great tragedies of justice, and the assumption that existence in a democratic society makes us immune is a dangerous one. Our political system deals with mere mortals, men and women who are fallible and capable of errors; men and women capable of corruption. Everyone has heard the saying “ALL THAT IS NEEDED FOR EVIL TO TRIUMPH IS FOR ENOUGH GOOD MEN TO DO NOTHING”; what is blind faith in the party if not good people doing nothing?

    Democratic government were set up as a democracy to give control to the many, not the few and ensure that there would be checks and balance, to ensure that no one gets out of control. – CONTROL IN THE HANDS OF A FEW LEADS TO A LACK OF JUSTICE FOR THE MASSES.

    It is highly irresponsible not to mention disrespectful to place all the control in the hands of a few by showing unquestioning allegiance to any party’s. ALL IT TAKES IS ENOUGH OF US NOT TO SPEAK UP WITH OUR OPINIONS TO LET AN OPINION GO COMPLETELY UNREPRESENTED. To go along with the ideas of another, either against our own, or without deciding our own, is to set the system of social justice aside.


  45. Anon 17:26

    Your point that the GSLP currently doesn’t have much in the way of clear policies and vision right now is a fair and valid one. It may not be able to offer either of those at this moment in time (I imagine and hope that this will change once Fabian gets officially appointed as the leader of the party and the GSLP finally gets its act together and starts firing on all cylinders), what it does offer though is that is has a very good prospect of success in the upcoming election as a party that’s an alternative to the current regime. That alone will go a long way towards explaining the GSLP’s surge in support despite the party having been in a relative state of disarray.

    At this juncture, even the Monster Raving Loony Party (and no, the GSLP is not one in the same :) ) would probably be able to snatch away a significant number of votes if it were the only other viable political alternative to the GSD. It is the GSLP’s responsibility to capitalise on this opportunity and use this favourable position to put forward a sensible and effective manifesto that doesn’t resort to promising extravagant and short sighted “election goodies” and untenable promises in an effort to try and win over the electorate, all of which, the GSD has already done thus far. The irony’s quite amusing.

    I think it’s unfair to criticise Fabian’s ability to lead a party based on the fact his party was on the losing side of the elections four times in a row. “But he was just treading water until he finally got his chance to shine!” A lot of GSLP, GSD, PDP supporters alike don’t begrudge Daniel Feetham for his party-hopping history and don’t feel that his doing so in order to be in a party and a situation where he could implement his changes and ideas is wrong of him, nor do they think it is detrimental to his ability to be a potentially good leader (admittedly there are those who believe in the contrary). Fabian took a more passive route to the top in that he didn’t resort to party hopping and instead “waited his turn” as it were, if it allows him the opportunity to effectively lead Gibraltar, it is then unimportant in my opinion.

    Caruana emerged as a great leader after 1996 after having displayed far less political experience and no significant displays of leadership prior to the election and we all know how well that proved to be for Gibraltar as a whole (for the first 12 years, before things soured and he became the unpopular shadow of his former self that he is today).


  46. Anon 19:06. What on earth are you falling about. You'd think we were in Lybia. Thanks for your emotional plea and great quotations, but trying as many do to pull the wool or wall over ones eyes on our lack of collective power and right to decide as a people is quite frankly comical.
    Free elections, pressure groups galore, the most politically opinionated society in history and then let's not forget the classic machinations of the new people, vox, panoramavandcdare I say it 7 days. Oh and LW of course.
    I understand Picardo is a big fan of quotes to, it helps with credibility and if late we have seen him use Gandhi and JFK. Well here's one to, “Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself” it seems that the GSLP are doing a splendid job on this.

  47. Anon 12.17 according to you it seems that it is only the GSD people that get stick. And that it is only the people from the GSD that put their names to posts. I have not seem Daniel Feetham put any post here unless he is and you know but is still anon!! as to Isobel and selwyn yes they have put their names down on some blogs but again their majority of post are as anons.
    Be that as it may you must also admit that fabian is getting stick from your ranks so have Joseph Garcia El DR, even Charles Gomez have had stick from the GSD supporters and he does not belong to any of the two parties.

    Mira la verdad es que aqui todos dan y toman. The difference is that one take it and others don't.

  48. It is incredible how ignorant some people are on the subjects they talk about. It never ceases to amaze me. They use words, make statements which sound great, but, and a big but do they know what they are talking about.

    Take for example the following "the GSLP have no clear policies or vision right now" No clear policies? The policies of the GSLP are cristal clear and have always been so, just check the manifestos of the last three elections. Obviously you are not aware that every time a motion is presented in a General Meeting and carried it becomes the policy of the GSLP? Motions which can be presented by any member of the party.

    Steadfast policies on foreign affairs. No scope for Andorra solutions.

    No vision? The GSLP has been the only party to have had a vision, a vision which others called an OPTICAL illusion but which came to fruition creating the land which we now take for granted where their was only water. Today the GSD government is still making money out of the land created by the GSLP. Today they create a song and dance because they build a park? on the OPTICAL illusion!!!!

    You may like or dislike Mr.Bossano but you can certainly not accuse him of being a man without vision or of not having clear policies.

  49. His vision of 16 year old boys in fast launches remains his most profound. Give me a break 22:08, ahora es gracia a Joe que estamos tan bien. You'd do well at the Apollo with Jack D and Billy Conolly.
    GSLP manifestos do indeed provide literature, hardly vision and if you are attributing buying the electorate as policy, well there is nothing more to be said.
    Maybe this time as opposed to buying the electorate the GSLP might want to actually come off their conveniently positioned fence. They will need to this time given there doom gloom perspective over our Gibraltar.
    Good luck with that.

  50. Anon 22:08, I feel that your anger is misdirected :) I’ll try and explain what I meant exactly so as to make myself clearer.

    There is no denying that the GSLP have always had a clear vision and detailed policies as set out in their election manifestos, as you have currently pointed out in your post. It wasn’t my intention to dispute that because although I have not voted for them in the past, I have never dismissed the GSLP as being a party without direction in past electoral races, nor have I ever condemned Joe Bossano as a man without vision and clear policies. On the contrary, although I do not think he is suited to leading the GSLP at its leader due to his tarnished reputation in that capacity, I do feel that he has a fundamental and important role to play as one of the ministers moving forwards. I will be happy to give him one of my votes in the upcoming election alongside the other members of the GSLP line up.

    When I said that the GSLP does not currently have a clear vision and detailed policies in place, it was not my intention to lambast them. It was merely a observation that as an individual with an intention of voting for the GSLP in the upcoming election, without an intimate understanding and knowledge of what is going on in the party meetings and gatherings you allude to in your post, it seems that we are currently in a transitional period where the GSLP is understandably reluctant to set out what exactly they intend to address specifically moving forwards towards the election. My assumption is that this has been because they have been waiting for the right time in which to do so, i.e. when Fabian is officially appointed the leader and the entre line-up is revealed.

    That the GSLP has made a point of putting out press releases in which they refute allegations and bring the government to task in respect of certain issues there is no doubt, and for that I applaud them. I was just rightfully pointing out that it could be said that the GSLP could be described as being in a state of relative disarray without a clear party objective due to this transitional period.


  51. Cipher very good! 10/10!!!
    Now we just have to wait and watch the knight in shining armour deliver his genius which he has patiently waited for over nearly a decade. This is brilliant stuff man and you also beautifully include Joe as part and parcel of the new party, awesome.
    So apparently we have been been waiting over four lost elections for a new vision and policy which Fabian will now heroically present to us. I can't wait.
    Let the cast iron gaurantees begin.

  52. Buying the electorate? WHO has been buying the electorate? WHO sent letters to the electorate
    giving them a house on the eve of the last elections? Houses which were not even built, and it is now four years later on the eve of these elections that they are being given.

    His vision of sixteen years old on fast launches? Take of your blinkers and really find out who those on fast launches really supported. Very near home boy. Your grey little cells get it. Who did they support in the elections of 2003?

    You know one of the worst things happening in our little Gibraltar that unless you are a lawyer or have a lawyer in your family you can not afford to speak the truth. If you have no money you just have to clam up because even if you know the truth you can not afford to be taken to court.

  53. Si vale 22:55. Are you the one that saw the pigies flying in formation.

  54. Well there are plenty of lawyers in the "New" GSLP so problem solved !

  55. 22:54, your attempts at character assassination are lacking in substance.

    As I’ve already made clear in my earlier posts, I do not feel that Gibraltar was in a position where it needed “saving” prior to the GSD’s last electoral term. I do feel that as result of the government’s failure to deliver on some of their manifesto promises and the decisions they have taken with regards to resource prioritisation and allocation, together with Peter’s style of running things, that the GSD’s vision is not conducive to the progress that I personally believe would be most beneficial for Gibraltar as a whole.

    I respect your opinions and thoughts on Fabian and Joe, I understand that you may not believe they are the right people to guide Gibraltar moving forwards. However, please do me the courtesy of not disingenuously presenting my thoughts on the matter.


  56. Cipher.

    What do you mean by "Joe Bossano is not suitable to be the GSLP leader due to his tarnished reputation in that capacity" What tarnished reputation? let me tell you that if Joe decided to stand again as leader he would be elected again by 99% of the membership.

    Joe Bossano has been elected into Parliament every time he has stood for election his core support has been unwavering. The GSLP has supporters and members which spun three generations, his people love him whether you like it or not.

    If I were Joe Bossano I would say to you "Cipher stuff your vote" but knowing him he would help you if you needed him even if you did not vote for him.

  57. 23:24

    Once again, I’d like to clarify that although I think that Joe is a great man who has a done a lot of good for Gibraltar, I genuinely believe that he is not the person best suited to leading the GSLP moving forwards.

    I have no doubt, and I am fully aware that there are many people who still respect the man(as I do) and that they would happily vote for him to be the leader again were they given the opportunity.

    The fact is his reputation as a credible leader outside of the GSLP has been tarnished due to the mistakes made by himself and primarily those around him during his last electoral term in 1996. The unfortunate lasting legacy of his time in office to those who weren’t around during his administration and have only a superficial understanding of Gibraltar politics is his involvement in the Fast Launch saga. This is a great shame considering all of the great things he has done, and continues to do for Gibraltar.

    His decision to step down shows that he genuinely cares about the people of Gibraltar and the party itself as he’s prepared to make the sacrifice of not being Chief Minister, even though it is very likely that electorate would have chosen to vote for him and the GSLP as reflected by the Panorama poll. In my mind, that decision reaffirms that Joe is in it not for his own interests, but because he does want to do what’s best for the party. He knows that there are a number of swaying GSD voters who would’ve been reluctant to vote for the GSLP even if they were fed up of the GSD administration, and so unlike Peter who in the face of wavering support has shown no inclination to step down even though it will in all likelihood be of great detriment to his party, Joe has willingly taken that step.

    It’s for that reason that I will vote for him, in recognition of the good things he has done for Gibraltar and that which he can hopefully continue to do in a greater capacity. I hope Joe will understand where I was coming from with my original comment, no disrespect was intended at all.


  58. 23:01

    No, I am not the one that saw the pigies flying in formation, but I did see DADDY in the 2003 elections doing the rounds in the Tabacco Trade saying it's pay back time.

  59. I was once told that the best run ship is the one that can function properly without too much input from its captain. Everyone in the ship knows his or her duty and can therefore get on with their job, and the captain can then focus on ultimate goals and provide the authority to bring things back on line when needed. If this is to be believed then Gibraltar must be heading for some choppy seas ahead. It seems to me that the civil servants are not currently being trusted or allowed to do their job properly despite their professional qualifications, and should this trend continue we could in time end up with a similar problem to Libya where the power void created by trying to oust the leader causes the country to fall apart. Such dependence on a single individual makes it impossible for the country to function properly once this person has gone, thereby causing a disservice to the country in the long term. Political leaders should focus on making policy decisions and represent the people who have empowered them with that position. Not spend their time telling policemen how to do their job, accountants how to add up, town planers how to shape our city, doctors how to operate, and so on. Set your political targets and let the rest happen. By all means comment on things as necessary, but don't put everything on hold whilst you think about it and the fear of your wrath on those who dare make decisions on behalf of the people of Gibraltar. No wonder manifesto commitments take so long to be achieved and usually for at least double the price. Train up your civil servants to become dependable professionals [which I think most of them are anyway] and put your trust in them to do what they have been trained and being paid to do.

  60. Este Gibraltar is either a ship without direction or only the captain knows where he is taking it!

  61. I too agree with anon @ 00:49, and what's more, the civil service, a one-time supporter of the GSD, seems to have had enough with the way they have been treated by this Government and, by all reports, is not happy with the reforms at all!

    Next week should prove interesting though as the civil service is balloted following a heated meeting on Thursday between the section reps and Mr Tunpin.

    Will the Civil Service's discontent gather sufficient momentum so as to unite against Unite, GGCA & GTA?, Will Caruana'a proposal be refused?, and if it is, what will Caruana do next?

    El Mono Amedio

  62. all nonsense...le van a sacar el zumo al tema con el visto bueno de caruana y todos multi contenti y que lo pague to el private sector...y a votar con el bolsillo por el GSD y que le den por culo a Roma y que se queme todo!

  63. Paca Garse says:

    What wonderful toilets we now have around town!

    It's a great feeling thinking of those who have spent well over a million when one is 'planting the dummy'.

    Could they not have spent this money in aircon units for school classrooms were our children are cold in winter a boiling hot in summer.

    I'm sure that our ministers don't have this problem!!!

  64. Picking up from anon @ 00.59 about only the captain knowing where the good ship Gibraltar is heading: Many GSD supporters obviously realise that the high current levels of public indebtedness and expediture seem dangerously dependent on income from the Betting industry and sucking the life's blood out of the rest of the private sector. The catch phrase among jittery GSD loyalists is that Peter Caruana is "a clever man" and surely he would not put Gibraltar in such a dangerous position. They placate themselves with the thought that although we do not know what it is, there must be more to support his apparently reckless economic policy. Would you bet on it? Should Gibraltar's prosperity be left to chance?

  65. Spot on anon @ 00.49, I`m sure that many a proffesional civil servant will be reading your words with nodding heads.

    A case in point is the planning situation up at Wind Mill Hill where luxury housing, the prison and soon the new power plant will sit side by side. No Town Planning authority worth it`s salt would ever have allowed such development to go ahead and I sympathise with our own proffesionals in the field who must feel terribly frustrated at not being able to do the job properely.

    As you rightly state it is the elected govt`s responsibilty to produce policy ie, we need a new power plant/prison and pass this on to the civil service who then get on with the job. Unfortunately this appears not to be the case here and it is the govt who are identifying and dictating sites for all development with the DPC rubber stamping what was in effect a done deal before it even got to the table.

    Given the above scenario it`s not surprising that the govt have not come through on another of it`s manifesto commitments which was that the planning proccess would be more open.

  66. The reality is that the GSD remains the only Govt to address the civil service and attempt to reform it. It would have been a substantially easier task if the GSLP actually stood up and was brave enough to agree on issues like this. We all know however that they prefer todo nothing and wait to see which way the wind blows before doing anything.
    The civil service (with respect) has up until recentlynit been a public arm able to get in with it. This is something that this Govt has actually been trying to address and is clearly making headway unlike the GSLP who preferred to stand by idly. I suspect driven by votes.
    So whereas I agree with some of 00:49 I would suggest that you put things into perspective and understand that the beast that is the civil service will take some time to address in full. I would add that already there are some great Servants already doing great work.
    If you want examples on where Govt allows us ( as it should) to get on with it,look no further than the Finance Centre. Policies and direction are created (although according to Red Rob nothing has been done) and the private sector gets on with it and generates a substantial part if our mainstay.
    For those who prefer to conveniently believe that Gibraltar resembles Lybia, I suggest you watch the news.

  67. El Pipiolo: El tema del 'Carruana proposal' al civil service huele a garlic El Tampin 'bowling' del union es solo un front as he has had nohing to do with this proposal. Este pinta menos que un pintor manco! Aqui one could call Carruana, Juan Palomo, yo me lo guiso y yo me lo como.....but as usual always wants deals to be seen as struck by the Unions......y el Tampin tiene que bailarle al son de la musica del chief, que se cree que todos no hemos caido de un arbol!!! Civil servants oppose this why try and impose it? Ya le vieron la carita con la que salio Peter del Mac Hall el Friday....y como le corria al de GBC when questioned. Que se esta tramando este tio? Any ideas? I'm glad que Paca used the 'state of the art' toilets.....thought they would have been inaugurated by the chief with a comelona of fabada and potaje de acelgas!!

  68. anon @ 01:42, venga ya, what do you want now, air-conditioning in the classroom? What kind of legacy would the Chief Minister be leaving with that?

    This way, for the rest of our lives, when we see these monuments to the GSD, we will always remember what they stood for!

    y a lo children, darle un avanico, si hace calor y una bufanda cuando haga frio!


  69. No names with most bloggers perhaps because the GSD's just too sensitive to debates, comments and criticisms...they've got very thick multi-layered Epidermises for everything else...but not for that ... and no one knows the potential reactions of this strange GSD biological phenomenon, or do they???

  70. Marlene Hassan Nahon3 April 2011 at 13:06

    Dear all,

    Although I fully agree with the idea of a more transparent and active parliamentary system, isn't it the case that in every democracy there are stronger and more centrally controlled governments and weaker and less centrally controlled governments? However the idea of shifting authority from a democratically elected body to the civil service or other unelected officials or committees that can clip the wings of freely elected officials is actually a dangerous step for democracy. Perhaps rather than letting our irrational side of the brain run away with us when discussing a government in power for four terms we should take a cold analytical view of what have been the net achievements and where we can improve upgrade and look forward, instead of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

  71. anon @ 12:41

    I find the average GSD supporter dosen't like to enter into conversations about anything political, preferring instead to brush contentious comments aside and accusing the dissenter of a need to criticise everything for the sake of it.

  72. why, oh why does the chronicle online have a picture of Camilla in Seville watching a flamenco dance show?

    Who cares? its not as if they have a royal section which they update regularly with everything Charles does when he's on official duty, so why now?

    Have we NO pride, at all?

    Anna Conda

  73. Pipiolo 11.15 Unforunately i was unable to use the "state of the art" toilets ayer porque estaba en territorio Comanche. a territorio which succesfully continues to attract tourism to its shores without the need for these posh portaloos.... in fact pude planta el dummy without spending a single euro! as for Mike "mikito" Tampin he is simply dancing tune, like others in the past. Tuya para siempre Paca Garse

  74. Marlene

    Empowerment of the Civil Service does not shift power from democratically elected representatives to unelected persons. The elected representatives retain legislative and executive control and political responsibility. The Civil Service administer the law fairly without political partiality and are accountable for doing so.

  75. Ghost says:

    Marlene I think you nailed that perfectly. A great deal has been achieved so far, and as in any democratic society we will continue to be a work in progress.

    It is fundamental that we not lose sight of the fact that Gibraltar enjoys success on so many levels; by comparison to even the most modern democracies with strong economic models, we fair comparatively better.

    I agree that throwing the baby out with the bath water is becoming a reflex action by many who are driven by agendas not relevant in a communities evolution to grow and improve itself.

    I also agree with Robert and with you on transparency and accountability, but have argued on many occasions on the balance required between the Govt and it's ability to govern and the role played by the electorate.
    It seems you have articulated this view far better than i have ever been able to do.

    I will be looking for a hole to crawl under now........;)


  76. Marlene Hassan Nahon3 April 2011 at 18:35


    Point taken although i disagree. I don't quite understand what mechanism one would use to hold civil servants who have been in their positions for many years accountable. Are you suggesting firing them? Who will decide whether they are doing their job properly, and who are THEY accountable to? Doesn't it all just come back to the same place, with five more layers of red tape? Is that the type of wastage we need in our society? i think we would be better off getting the air conditioners for PACA GARSE.

    If we remember the last Conservative government under John Major we witnessed the unbridled control and corruption of quangos (quasi governmental organisations) -the abuse of appointments, the unbearable bureaucracy that was been caused by these unelected bodies, and the subsequent difficulties in dismantling them.

    Surely it is much simpler to just make one's voice heard in an election?

  77. Marlene

    An election is of course the ultimate sanction but any democratic system is endowed with checks and balances to avoid and prevent. Surely you cannot object to the ever so basic checks and balances that I propose? They are far fewer than those that exist in the vast majority of western democracies that we so proudly announce that we have? We don't yet!

    Civil Servants have to be accountable to their internal disciplinary systems, the law and to politicians who suffer the ultimate political penalty for their failures in an accountable system ... resigning or being sacked. The problem is that because we do not have sanctions for members of government we end up without the ultimate sanction for Civil Servants.

    Civil Servants have many functions but one of their fundamental functions is to work within the law and ensure that the Minister also works within the law. If a system is not robust on this front democracy fails and one can have as many elections as you like. ]Elections without fundamental principle and morality fail.

  78. Marlene Hassan Nahon3 April 2011 at 19:08


    We can argue fundamental political principles until the cows come home.

    However, as you yourself succinctly expressed, the ultimate sanction is the ballot box.

    In the next 6 months we shall all be wiser and ultimately see what the priorities of the people are.

    ps. Ghost- thanks for the vote of confidence!


  79. Marlene


    Ultimate but should not be the only check and balance ... can we agree that too?


  80. Gibraltar satisfies the minimum requirement of democracy in that we citizens are granted a vote every 4 years. That is all.

    The act of casting a vote at the ballot box every four years is but one aspect of democracy. A genuinely vibrant democracy also requires robust checks and balances inherent within its system which ensure that the will of the people is actually carried out by the people and for the people. Gibraltar's democracy is therefore very limited and unbecoming of a people who profess to subscribe to democracy.