Sunday, 13 March 2011

Politics, Courts, Perceptions and Independence

I have no doubt whatsoever that the judiciary is independent of the influence of the Government. However, the Government does not help that perception. I refer to Thursday's ceremony at which the Minister for Justice and not to be outdone, the Chief Minister (why?), opened the still largely unfinished Court building. The need for both to do it is simply evidence of the personality of at least one of them.

The judiciary is one area of government in which, not only is its independence fundamental to democracy, but in which perception plays a massively important role. There are constant references in judgments to the  importance of perceptions in the administration of law and justice, especially when courts are exercising their jurisdiction to review administrative actions by the executive arm of government or the constitutional validity of laws. That the invitation to the opening came from a minister at all, and on this occasion from two ministers, one the Chief Minister,  both of who took centre stage at the ceremony, does nothing to assist perceptions of independence.

The judicial system is an arm of government. It is financed by the executive with the consent (not oversight as there is no separation of powers) , through legislation, of the legislature. This makes these public gestures and ceremonies even more insidious. Public events become, not just a reminder of where power lies, but palpable evidence of power. What should have happened is that the court service should have been and be adequately funded. It, without interference beyond the provision of funding, should take all decisions as to how best to deliver an efficient dispute resolution service, with of course, guidance, from the other arms of government, as to what any tranches of money is being provided for.

There is no doubt at all that there has been for years a great need for better court and attendant office and administrative facilities. There is no doubt that what is in the process of being delivered is a massive improvement, not only in physical reforms, like the enhanced court building, but also in the legislative reforms that the Minister for Justice is engaged in undertaking and has been announcing for some time.

All these improvements are down to the tireless efforts of the Hon. Daniel Feetham, Minister for Justice. He is to be congratulated for his singleminded pursuit of achievement within his ministry and for his industry in ensuring these huge improvements are delivered.  Many a minister could take a leaf out of his book. In the end the benefits of the individual achievements of ministers are gained by the GSD as a whole, thereby enhancing its electoral chances.

Unfortunately these benefits have been slightly overshadowed. On Thursday we had an overtly political act in our court house orchestrated entirely by politicians. This was unnecessary and undermined the dignity of independence. To make matters worse the impression has been given that the development of the court building has been completed, with statements like, this is a momentous day for the administration of justice, being made. The reality is that only a small part of the development has been completed; about two thirds remains to be done yet. Does that mean we will have more ceremonies Probably! What it does indicate is that Thursday's ceremony is susceptible to be seen as having been a huge political publicity stunt in what is election year.

How a physical building can be described as being momentous in the administration of justice is not easily understandable, save if human resources are to be improved. Otherwise it is just one of the steps required to achieve this aim. It is people that administer justice, not buildings. What it demonstrated was in fact that for decades the physical accommodation provided to those administering justice, despite years of protestation, had been woefully inadequate. The reality is that the judicial system is still the poor sibling of the three arms of government. It is still hugely lacking in human resources.

The delays experienced today in the administration of justice are unacceptable and not conducive to ensuring that the human rights of individuals are not infringed. For example, frequently people are sentenced for criminal offences having already served terms of imprisonment on remand beyond their date for consideration for parole. Delays are also not conducive to developing the finance centre. Users of the finance centre expect and demand quick and efficient access to courts to resolve disputes. We are told that this will be resolved in the short term.  Let us hope that these are not empty promises publicised for electoral consumption as were the past promises of electoral and parliamentary reforms.

The Minister for Justice said that the new courts assert  "... where we are as a prosperous and self-sufficient community". Again an overtly political statement in election year redolent with spin. The reality is not that. We are a community that for years has been prosperous and self-sufficient, yet it has only now, because of the efforts and vision of Daniel Feetham, started to provide the judiciary with the physical means to improve the delivery of justice. It is a matter of some shame that is, belatedly, being redeemed now and for which praise is due but only on the basis of the maxim  "better late than never".

All in all, praise for belated and much needed improvements but criticism because it comes at the expense, by fault of politicians and not judges,  of diminishing the perception of judicial independence on the altar of political opportunism and electoral advantage. Visual imagery plays a massive part in forming opinion. I fear the image of politicians treading into the realms of the judiciary, which should be and seen to be separately administered, to retain perceptions of independence, is not a positive step for Gibraltar.


  1. anonymous said

    I agree with LW.

    I burst out laughing when I saw the photograph in the Chron showing Mr Caruana on the podium and Mr Feetham sitting down. Who is the Minister of Justice? The Chron whould have shown the photo with Mr Feetham addressing and Mr Caruana sitting. It doesn't say much for the Chronic viewpoint as to who is the important gigure. Secondly Mr Caruana should not have appeared on any photo. Only the Minister of Justice should have. Megalomania and power control, that what was exhibited.

    I agree that a polished new building means very little. Of course the old building was falling down and inadequate. A new building was in order to amke the legal machinery more efficient. But what is important is not a new building or jazzed up legal system. What people want is deterrence of crime. The only way is make certain that wrongdoers andpotential wrong doers see tough sentences imposed. That is the only thing that will work against any sort or type of crime. Until the government of the day and the judiciary and legal profession get this right, the ordinary rank and file people of Gibraltar will think that it is all a farce promoted by individuals who are out of touch with the people. The people care about criminals been punished and put behind bars and very little else. If to obtain this Gibraltar has to have human resources etc then fine .

  2. Portia: Tarry a little: there is something else. This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood; The words expressly are 'a pound of flesh': Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh; But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate Unto the state of Venice.

  3. First have to congratulate Mr. Daniel Feetham for his hard work and hope he will manage to complete the other two third of the project without any further interference from the all mighty should the GSD be reelected.


    There is a very good paper on what a judiciary is and why it is necessary on the International Center for Criminal Law Reform or ICC LR for short.

    Simply stated, judicial independence is the ability of a judge to decide a matter free from pressures or inducements. Additionally, the institution of the judiciary as a whole must also be independent by being separate from government and other concentrations of power.

    The principal role of an independent judiciary is to uphold the rule of law and to ensure the supremacy of the law. If the judiciary is to exercise a truly impartial and independent adjudicative function, it must have special powers to allow it to “keep its distance” from other governmental institutions, political organizations, and other non-governmental influences, AND TO BE FREE OF REPERCUSSIONS FROM SUCH OUTSIDE INFLUENCES.


  4. As far as I am concerned, Caruana's and Feetham's address were just party political broadcasts.

    The Chief justice was totally sidelined, why? Not a whisper of the magistrates’ court, the work horse of the judiciary, why?

    The CEO, master of ceremonies on the day, well, he has a difficult role to play. I just hope he talks to and consults all the staff before making changing decisions (thought: as if he decided!). He is going to need their cooperation if things are to work.

    And the president, the now frail Stuart-smith went on about Shakespeare story The Merchant of Venice, Shylock who was a Jewish moneylender who lends money to his Christian rival, Antonio’s fleshabout a pound of flesh etc... I mean, by his own admission he has been away from the legal scene for a while. Que hace el president del judiciary away from Gib? Someone, please?

    Danny, well… sad what happened to him… but I fear the GSD are certainly capitalising on it. They bring up this incident every time possible. Enough already! There are many, many other victims of crime with far greater consequences and very little is done for them. Ya está bien con tanta hipocresía.

    If this lot want to improve the administration of justice in Gibraltar, they should keep their long noses far away from the said justice. Double the staff, which have, and continue do a great job, often going far beyond the call of duty to get the job done time and again under difficult circumstances.

    I could go on and on… for now… That’s all folks!

  5. Anon @ 16.11 "Shylock who was a Jewish moneylender who lends money to his Christian rival"!!!! Antonio was Shylock's customer not his rival. I wondered how many of the local judiciary who attended the opening of the Courts (phase I) know their Shakespeare. I got a threatening legal letter from a solicitor last week and reanrked how poor the English was (a bit like El tio Del Capote's Spanish).

  6. Anon @ 16:11 asks why the Chief Justice was totally sidelined at the ceremony to open the renovated Court building. He must have been lost in the Gobi desert for most of 2008/9. If he had been in Gibraltar he would have known that the position of Chief Justice of Gibraltar was demoted. The then "CJ" complained and was dismissed to be replaced by the first Gibraltarian Chief Justice. The head of the judiciary is a retired senior Engish judge who lives in UK asituation that has never before prevailed in the history of Gibraltar's judiciary all 207 years of it).

  7. I can't believe Danny Feetham let's the CM "push him" around like that.

    I have always thought very highly of Danny and still do. But......

    It is a shame indeed that he seems to be little more than a "puppet" with some character (others don't even have that).


  8. L.E.F.

    I think that we have to separate spin and propaganda and look at the reality.

    In this case the reality is that Mr Feetham is doing a good job and we should be proud that we have a minister passionately involved in what he truly believes is best for Gibraltar.

    Being part of the legal profession ,his first hand knowledge of the day to day functioning of the courts, together with his enthusiam ,have been invaluable in achieving results and moving in the right direction.

    In my opinion he is truly earning his money , unlike most of the other ministers who are just mere puppets.

    He is trying to achieve something which is long overdue and is in Gibraltars interest. This is the type of politician we need. People who can think for themselves and achieve results. Even within party politics.

    Remember the conscience vote in Parliament.

    I do not agree with Mr Feethams party views but I do respect that he is genuinely trying to make Gibraltar a better place for us all.

    That is good enough for me because I can see his efforts ,and I can judge and reason for myself without any need for propaganda.

    Even if it is late as usual it should not detract that it is a good GSD initiative. More than an initiative really ,a necessity.

    However I detest all the trumpeting and fanfare which goes with each unveiling of any project, for party political gain.

    I do not agree with the propaganda and spin but being election year 'we ain't seen nothing yet'.

    Is it true that 'Better late than never' is the slogan the GSD will use at the forthcoming elections.

  9. The "opening" of the courts was all a farce. Has anyone looked at the back of the courts? There is much construction to be done and yet court sessions are going on? Come on, the place is far from ready and yet his "highness" is claiming completion. Everyone should see the computer room, the servers and other equipment covered in construction dust because his "holiness' " schedule forces people to do things the wrong way round. The dust will shorten the life of very expensive equipment, all because it has to be done NOW!

    The sentiment and idea is good, the execution is found wanting as in much that has been done at Tax payers ultimate cost. Hay que ponerse las medallitas!

  10. Anon 17:58

    Tell that to Wikipedia, clever dick.
    Siempre hay un listillo!

  11. It has been suggested that references made to Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice" at the opening ceremony of the courts carried with them anti-semitic implications. It is often easy to accuse but I cannot believe, especially in the tolerant society that is Gibraltar, that anti-semitism motivated anyone.

    In support of my belief, I quote below from Wikipedia a defence that Shakespeare's play is not anti-semitic but rather a plea for tolerance.

    "Many modern readers and theatregoers have read the play as a plea for tolerance, holding Shylock as a sympathetic character. Shylock's 'trial' at the end of the play is a mockery of justice, with Portia acting as a judge when she has no real right to do so. Thus, Shakespeare is not calling into question Shylock's intentions, but the fact that the very people who berated Shylock for being dishonest have had to resort to trickery in order to win. Shakespeare puts one of his most eloquent speeches into the mouth of this "villain":
    Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal'd by the same means, warm'd and cool'd by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.
    —Act III, scene I
    Alexander Granach, who played Shylock in Germany in the 1920s, writes, " does it happen that Shylock's defense becomes an accusation?...The answer must be a perfectly simple one. God and Shakespeare did not create beings of paper, they gave them flesh and blood! Even if the poet did not know Shylock and did not like him, the justice of his genius took the part of his black obstacle [Shylock, the obstacle to the plans of the young lovers] and, out of its prodigal and endless wealth, gave Shylock human greatness and spiritual strength and a great loneliness—things that turn Antonio's gay, singing, sponging, money-borrowing, girl-stealing, marriage-contriving circle into petty idlers and sneak thieves." (Granach 1945, 2010: 276-77)"

  12. As others have already highlighted, Mr Feetham appears to be one of the (very) few ministers who seems to be genuinely passionate about what he does,and he is in my opinion, fully deserving of the money he earns as a member of parliament (unlike a lot of the other ministers).

    I imagine the GSD would gain a LOT of votes if Mr Caruana were to step down and allow him to take the helm instead. They would gain mine at least.

    As it stands his refusal to step down is going to damage the GSD this time around in a similar way to Mr Bossano's refusal to step down as leader of the opposition in the last few elections.

  13. Anon @20: 54 gets his Shakespeare from Wikipedia. Sad, very sad.

  14. Anonymous at 21:37

    A rather Luddite view? Look it up in Wikipedia :)

  15. Having had a fairly well rounded education I do not need to look up Luddite in wikipedia, I already knew what it means. My point is that when people resort to discussing the Bard's work by looking up precis in Wiki we can conclude that dumbing down has reached a dangerous level;)

  16. I should have added that I owe my well rounded education to the Christan Brothers :)

  17. Anonymous at 21:46

    The suggestion to look up in Wikipedia was said in jest!

  18. ANON 13 March 2011 15:34 you're right. Feetham should join CIR. He's too good for the GSLP or GSD.

    Strangely, nothing by Paco Oliva in Chronic about Sir Stuart Smith and Shakespeare; nothing in GBC or Newsplus. How come?

    What was the momentous message that didn't make it?

  19. Anon 21:46

    Forgive me if I am wrong, I was not educated by the Christian brothers, but they seem to have forgotten to teach you respect for less educated mortals.

    Which is worse, making fun and mocking somebody for not being considered as 'enlightened' as you, (someone that scarily hides behind anonymity that clearly demonstrates, aires de superioridad), or not knowing so much as you ‘apparently’ claim on a given matter?

    Please enlighten us!

  20. I believe Danny Feetham would be a great asset to ANY political formation.

    Furthermore I do not understand why he opts to stay with the GSD, when his “growth” and progress as a political figure is clearly being hindered. In my humble opinion he would undoubtedly make a great CM.

    The GSD should stop complaining about Bossano's refusal to stand down and have a good hard look in the mirror. It seems like a classic case of "do as a say but not as I do".


  21. is it true the JP's weren't invited to the opening?

  22. education is the usual victim of circumstances and background. usually where there isn't oppulence. but like Christ edcuation never dies. it embraces all that believe in it and pray for it.

    Anon 21:46 shame on you. if you're a Gibraltarian double shame on you. if you're a Christian triple shame on you; if you're so educated quadruple shame on you; if you are a parent quintuplicate shame on you; and, if you're a so-called Gibraltar Social Democrat, then it's time for CHANGE!

  23. yes, the HOITY-TOITY of the 'renewed' Gibraltar


    Deference to the judgment and rulings of courts depends upon public confidence in the
    Integrity and independence of judges. The integrity and independence of judges depends
    in turn upon their acting without fear or favour.” Commentary, ABA Model Code
    of Judicial Ethics, 1990.
    Judicial independence is the judge's right to do the right thing or, believing it to be the
    right thing, to do the wrong thing." Former Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Adolpho
    Birch, Jr., 1998.
    “An orderly society, in which people follow the rulings of courts as a matter of course,
    in which resistance to a valid court order is considered unacceptable, is the core assurance that if cases are heard by impartial judges, who are free from the influences of
    Politics, and who decide independently according to law, then the people subject to court
    orders will also behave according to law.” U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen
    G. Breyer, 1996.

  25. Although wikippedia can be good at times it is not a reliable source of info. Ask any university student and they will tell you you would be penalised for referencing it


    The British Precedent of Abuses

    Prior to the establishment of the United States, judges in England and the colonies were appointed by the King and served at his pleasure. The result was a judiciary ripe for manipulation and corruption. Since there essentially was no separation of powers between the executive and judicial branches, judges generally were not at liberty to rule against the king’s wishes. TO DO SO MEANT RISKING REMOVAL FROM OFFICE.

    Roots and Present

  27. I was at the official opening of the new high tec Law Courts building and was part of a group of people given a tour by one of the senior exectives, Mr. Andrew Chiappe. Undoubtedly the first phase is a great success. Later I was surprised to learn that the cost of this phase almost pales into insignificance when compared to almost every other project, public & private,including public toilets recently built in our fine City in the last 20 years. Moreover, there appear to have been no delays. I believe that the reason for this to be (1) the project was overseen by an able and hard working, no-nonsense minister, (2) a reliable contractor, GJBS was employed assisted by Gibraltarian engineers and technicians in both the civil service and the private sector and (3) I suspect that the only consultants used were actually expert in what they were consulted on. I think that this combination is one that the present and future governments must strive to replicate.

  28. Gibraltar is unique. I just cannot stomach praises of Danny Feetham without comment. I too believed that he had a great contribution to make to local politics once upon a time. When he joined the very party that openly alleged his father had made improper personal gains from his ministries; when he went to bed with the very party he had said months before would be ruinous for our future; he effectively convinced me that he held no agenda except a lust for power at any cost that would hardly be good for Gib.
    To-day as Minister for Justice; instead of seeking to take action against those that made malicious and defamatory allegations against his father, he allows them on his platform for perceived party political gains. K, is that the kind of man you want as a leader or anywhere near our government? I will not continue this thread but had to have my say on this issue.

    By the way, Robert - brilliant forum, thanks, always enjoy looking through..

  29. Daniel Feetham has proved to be an outstanding Minister. Pity the GSLP did not want him as a future leader and good for him that he joined the GSD instead; pity though that the GSD will make the same error. CIR offers, however, an open and attractive invitation to Feetham and many others...

  30. An "independent" justice system? Joanna Hernandez won her case for unfair dismissal against the government and the decision that she be reinstated has been TOTALLY IGNORED and five years a final tranche of the small settlement remains unpaid because it comes with PRE-CONDITIONS that no one would sign.

    So the government loses a case and they can choose to ignore the outcome and put preconditions on the settlement and do what they like? Can someone explain what kinda justice that is cause I'm a bit dumb?

    EVERYTHING needs changing!!

  31. Clearly Daniel Feetham has made decisions and improvements within his ministry that have gone down well. Credit to him.

    His cambio de camisa history, although not forgotten, should not cloud the issue. He seems intent to fulfill his obligations as an elected member of parliament. It is also his first term in office, therefore one might deduce that he is on his best behaviour and time will tell. However, lets not criticise prematurely.

    What remains clear to me is that the checks and balances, as proposed by Robert, are what is needed to ensure ministers like Daniel Feetham are kept on the right track.

  32. Kaelan Joyce

    Anon 10:17

    I was not aware of such stated information. I must thank you, an eye opener indeed. If these allegations are based on substance then NO I do not believe Mr. Feetham capable of the CM role.

    Feetham joined the GSD because he knew, he would get in. Not because of any other reasons, let us not kid ourselves.

    Anon 12:48 implies that Danny left the GSLP because Bossano refused to stand down, is he not in the SAME EXACT boat now? Does not Caruana also refuse to stand down?

    If the comments that have been posted on this blog are indeed factual. It very much seems that Mr. Feetham has put his career as a politician before everything and anything.

    On a final note please let us acknowledge that what is important though is not only what he has done but what he can do (in the not so distant future) for our community as a whole.

    I still think highly of Danny as he has accomplished a lot, at what cost though remains to be seen.

    PS - These are assumptions and not concrete statements :)


  33. Re 2011 10:17

    Daniel Feetham is an excellent minister and has proved it, there’s very little one can do when you have a dictatorial chief minister like Caruana, Daniel is very astute and might have held back to prove his point, many times you can fight better from within the system than being an outsider what Caruana did was prove the past, present and future deficiencies in our legal system and what Daniel is fighting for.

    Well done Daniel if Caruana and Holliday don’t stand down go solo and join RV

    Act now Vote for Change

  34. Sorry, But I do not agree with the assertion that Danny is as good as people have said he is. The fact is that the other ministers in the GSD Government are so incompetent that Danny just has to do a little and he stands out. Further his credibility as a politician is just as good as the LIb/dems in UK. Why because they have sold their souls for political expediency.
    Robert at least you stand with your convictions as I am sure you would have been given a place in the GSD and have done a good job. Or would have stood with the PDP. The difference is that Danny was more interested in getting into to power then having stuck with his principles.
    He has joined the people who used to say all sorts of things about his father and as I understand it he came back from the UK to clear his fathers and therefore this families name from all the things the GSD said.
    For the fact that the GSD said lot about the Feethams read the old Gibraltarians.
    I tell you what if my family had been called all the names that the GSD called minister Feetham in the GSLP I would have carried on with the "Labour Party" and continued to have tried to beat the GSD. Joining them just spoke volumes of the Mans principles......:(

  35. Anon 17:24

    Totally agree. Danny should have persevered with Labour instead of defecting to the enemy. Certainly would not want him as CM.

  36. Danny moved to the GSD because he values what this Govt has and is achieving. He is a political animal and some may argue that his move to integrate Labour was two fold, to get into politics and because he new he could do a good job (which we all agree he has). Given that we all too agree that he us no fool, one might be forgiven for assuming that his decision is based around the fact that his values beliefs and way aspirations were similar to that of the GSD and PRC.

    Clearly he saw the chaotic and ridiculous position that the GSLP has been in for well over 16 years now, he also tried to address this in seeking to bring about a change in leadership in the party, something Fabian Piacrdo seems unwilling to do.

    The difference? One man willing to put his position on the line in the interests of politics, the other just waiting, waiting until he is handed the thrown. Which one is your leader? This is likely why Caruana accepted his offer to join despite great reluctance from the GSD.

  37. L.E.F. says,

    The comments on this blog highlight the need for a change to the party block vote theory.

    It seems that most promising and young enthusiastic politicians have started out with good intentions and full of promise , only to discover that when they have presented their alternative and beliefs to the electorate , they have been firmly rejected.

    They have not been able to break the block vote mentality and have not been willing to slog it out in the shadows away from the limelight.

    Total rejection by us the electorate to any new party has produced this type of politician who is willing to compromise his beliefs in order to achieve power .

    Let us not forget that we have seen previous ministers change political parties as and when it suited them.

    Remember Dr Garcia tearing up the GSLP manifesto live on GBC and denouncing all things GSLP .

    I believe that the Liberal Party would not get a single candidate into Parliament if it was not for the alliance made with the GSLP and jumping on the bandwagon of Mr Bossano's block vote.

    Ironically the GSLP is through the years achieving less representation in Parliament while the Liberals have already 3 seats.

    It seems that the GSLP is blinded to the fact that as a political party they are not gaining any seats but losing them to the Liberals who in the first place would not gain even 1 seat.

    Mr Feetham also changed sides. Mr Feetham also denounced everything of the GSD only to change party when his Labour Party failed to achieve any representations.

    My point is that politicians make their own alliances when it suits them ,even prepared to sacrifie their previous views and beliefs once they realize that there is little hope of them pursuing a political career outside the 2 dominating parties.

    I admire and respect any person who stands for election. It takes courage to do so . I might not like the idea of a politician compromising his beliefs but this is what we have collectively created by default of our voting system.

    At least politicians, in standing for election have more courage than us the electorate who are not willing to break the Caruana-Bossano deadlock which has gripped Gibraltar for over 20 years.

    We have to realize that the number of quality politicians available is quite limited . They are human and as such have failings like all of us.

    The pity is that the Feethams, Picardos, Garcias , Azopardis cannot co operate together for the good of all Gibraltarians. They have all succumbed to the block vote mentality in their pursuit for representation and cannot seem to break away from it.

    Lets vote change.

  38. Anonymous at 19:54

    One of the best efforts at re-writing history that I have ever seen... congratulations!

  39. K for you to say that Daniel Feetham is a puppet of the CM is ridiculous, he has done an enormous amount of good work in the justice system. Puppets are those who are in the GSLP waiting to be leader from a man that has lost 4 or 5 elections..... Danny has shown to be in politics for the right reasons. daniel chapo !! We need many like you.

  40. It's tough decisions that create and deliver good leaders. Decisions where there is unwillingness by society to agree on and in which a vision is created where aspirations become targets and in which confidence is gained.
    It seems that we have reached the end of this period, for the GSLP are in with a win at the next election. Unfortunately in their view we are living in a bubble in which our economy is a falsehood.
    You can just read all those austerity measures, cuts and hyped taxes in their manifesto, all in order to get us back up to speed again.
    No win falls for pensioners this time, no lowered taxes, no cast iron gaurantees, just back to basic stuff from the party of change with no change planned.
    Pero esta cool porque Red Rob has already got them groovy over reforms and accountability y estan inspired con el tema . Or so this blog would indicate.

  41. LW 20:04. You'd know all about re-writing history wouldn't you. It seems that there's copious amounts of it going on in your blog.....copious amounts of something anyway.

  42. Anonymous at 20:14

    All are welcome to contribute and identify any re-writing of history ... please feel free but identify yourself just to ensure that you are not a member of the Feetham clan.

  43. 19:54 is talking utter nonsense, whereas 19:55 is speaking the most sense I have ever seen in the comments section of a LW blog entry.

    What a difference a minute makes.

    The block vote mentality is unfortunately not going to be going away any time soon, despite your best efforts Robert, admirable though they may be.

    As it stands, the electorate will continue to vote for the lesser of two evils. Considering the GSD's last four years in power (in my opinion, their other terms had been on balance great for Gibraltar), that's going to be the GSLP.

  44. Anonymous at 20:17

    You may be right that block voting will not go away but let me try!

  45. Of course! I wish you all the best :)

  46. 19:54 You obviously do not have any political ideology. or principles. I believe Fabian did the right thing in waiting and at the same time learning as oppose to Danny who just wanted to get rid off Bossano. One has to be patient as Danny seems to have learned his lesson and is now waiting for Caruana to leave. by your own admission then Danny should be getting rid off Caruana since as we all know and can see he is a spent force.
    Therefore my leader is definately not Danny since he could change allegance anytime!!
    As to people changing parties the one that takes the biscuit is CA Britto Matamonos. who was in the IWBP, DPBG, AACR and then GSD. Le tio al final llego!!!

  47. I don't believe identification is required, if anyone disagrees with the version of events attributed by me, they may by all means do so. There have already been some comical representations so far.
    That book you were going to write is it still on the cards...:)

  48. Anon 17:24 -17:16
    Had I been in Daniel situation I would have done as he did under the circumstance and joined those who accepted me, I would then spend my time doing my very best in my ministerial responsibilities and also gather info possibly unavailable to others outside the few GSD ministers.

    There is a saying if you cannot beat them join them find out all there is and use that information at the right time.

    Question has anyone in the GSLP or individual managed to clear the allegations orchestrated by the GSD? NO.

    Perhaps all the allegations against the GSD over the last 16 years might come to light if Daniel Feetham succeeds in implementing the judiciary system to stop any manipulation and corruption that might exists plus.

    Only Allegations

  49. Yes of course Fabian waiting over 4 lost elections has done wonders for credibilty and shown signs of leadersip not seen since..........emmmm.
    Give me a break 20:21.

  50. The word "puppet" can have diverse meanings.

    I don’t know if you have bothered to read my other postings (in this same blog) but ALL OF them praise Mr Feetham for his great contributions.

    The word “puppet” in the context used, refers to a person who allows himself/herself to be “pushed around” (manipulated) by another.

    In my humble opinion I perceive these comments “Mr Caruana on the podium and Mr Feetham sitting down” in regards to the events that occurred during the opening of the new court, to indicate such a thing. I could be wrong though..........


  51. Yep, you probably are.

  52. Anon 20:58

    Why is that then?


  53. Cause it's in keeping with everything else that you right.

  54. Wonder whether all allegations against the GSLP by the GSD will also come to light once Danny Boy "succeeds in implementing the judiciary system to stop any manipulation and corruption that might exists plus".

    To anojn 20:22 To date we know they where all allegations without substance and I voted for the GSD because they were going to bring it all out. where are they????
    Like Robert I believe the GSD has let us down because they never brought out what they claimed was manipulation and corruption that MIGHT have existed.

    Only Allegations

  55. Anon 22:18

    I take it you meant write and not right. :)

    That was a very poor response.

    Try again...


  56. The GSD let bygones be bygones. Do you really think that after winning an election they were about to start investigating into the long list of discrepancies that may have brought about further anxiety and unrest during an already difficult period.

  57. I believe the GSD are, and have always been, excellent at mudslinging. A lot of what they claim, and have claimed in the past, is not true, but they have told it so convincingly, the electorate, have swallowed it up, hook, line and sinker.

    Perhaps change is necessary, and if there is any corruption, past and present, may it be exposed, and the real truth spoken.

  58. Anon 22:19 is right. Where are all the allegations that were made by the GSD of the GSLP??
    I have not seen any coming out at all even after 16 years of a GSD Govt. It was all for political scoring and then the hasheo group from the GSD use to "Talk About Town" of what were ONLY ALLEGATIONS and PERCEPTIONS
    Hypocracy al maximo!!!
    Ahora le toca al GSD the difference is that all the allegations and perceptions come from their own quarter!.

  59. Cause it's in keeping with everything else that you WRITE.

  60. Anon 22:36

    I concur if you "tell a lie often enough, loud enough, and long enough, people will believe you."


  61. Breaking news: the Dr says it's time for change - hes unsure what to though, but it sounds like the right way to go ! have no fear Red Rob is here, with his crew of loyal bloggers, all party to one aim and with no sign of wearing thin. Gibraltar is in the safest of hands, this genius that is LW will no doubt liberate us all from the suppression, the calculating dictatorial autocracy that we endure daily.
    I cannot take it anymore, please when's it going to end!!!

  62. "I believe the GSD are, and have always been, excellent at mudslinging"
    This the best one yet! Hahahahaha

  63. 23:00 and friends once again doing wonders for the GSD image.

  64. What makes you think they are GSD freinds. Have you read the key lately - GSLP crew are capable of anything.

  65. 07:34: My assumption is based on the basic reading comprehension learning I had when I was about 10 years old. It’s put me in good stead.

  66. why does it always get to pin-pon-pelea?

    Can't we have a grown-up discussion on current issues without insults, threats and scary stories?

    This is very childish indeed! Some bloggers need to grow up, and either, put up with proper arguments and debate or shut up and stay in the patio to play instead.

    Sometimes I think its just a ploy to derail the blog!

    que hartera de shalauras!

  67. Anonymous at 10:22

    I agree from now on perhaps I should be more brutal with my editing!

  68. perhaps Robert, but then you would be accused of censoring!

    Its down to the bloggers to, by all means, express their opinions and speak for or against the Government or the Opposition, but keep the bickering and bitchiness out of it.

    We can be adult about this, I'm sure!

  69. I agree with Anonymous at 10:22 - whereas before comments to blogs were very much in reply to the important social and political issues raised by Robert and thereby furthering the debtate in an intelligent manner, a sizeable number of comments have now descended to personal insults and, at times, childish retorts that have little or no direct relation to the serious issues raised. There is enough "patio politics" en los patios - in my view, it is time that commentators to LLW resumes serious debates on the relevant issues and forget personalities and petty, subjective and entirely personal dislikes and prejudices.

  70. I agree with 10:22 and Robert, the childish approach to blogging by some users really detracts from the merits of each piece and some of the really interesting points raised in the commentary. Like 10:22 suggests, I do think it's a calculated ploy at times.

    I think it'd be wrong to edit posts too much though, but posts amounting to vitriolic and snide remarks without any substance behind them should be screened entirely in my opinion. The focus generally shifts from the issue being discussed to "MY PARTY IS BETTER THAN YOUR PARTY BECAUSE YES! LOL GO READ THE KEY/7DAYS"

  71. Anonymous at 10:42

    That has been the reason why I have tried to keep editing to a minimum ... lets see how we go for now and hope that readers will comment more on point in future!

  72. Can we still call you Red Rob though?

  73. CIR offers CHANGE this is an open and attractive invitation to those honest individuals who agree with his blog principals for a better Gibraltar for all not just for the elite few as at present.

    We all make mistakes and must put an end to the past and present errors and look for candidates who have accepted their errors and are willing to CHANGE our system of government for the better of the community.

    Many others agree and would be prepared to accept candidates with the capabilities of Mr. Joe Bossano Daniel Feetham Robert Vasquez, Charles Gomez, Joseph Garcia and a few others that will not mention at present who will work for a COMPLETE CHANGE to our democratic system.

    As Gibraltarian citizens I know you would want the best for our future, our future is in your hands forget party politics, forget block voting, forget half promises in future manifestos, errors and wrongs of the past and vote with your HEART for the best election candidates that you know will get us out of the present CIR offers CHANGE this is an open and attractive invitation to those honest individuals who agree with his blog principals for a better Gibraltar for all not just for the elite few as at present.
    We all make mistakes and must put an end to the past and present errors and look for candidates who have accepted their errors and are willing to CHANGE our system of government for the better of the community.
    Many others agree and would be prepared to accept candidates with the capabilities of Mr. Joe Bossano Daniel Feetham Robert Vasquez, Charles Gomez, Joseph Garcia and a few others that will not mention at present who will work for a COMPLETE CHANGE for a new and better Gibraltar.
    As Gibraltarian citizens I know you would want the best for our future, our future is in your hands forget party politics, forget block voting, forget half promises in future manifestos, errors and wrongs of the past vote with your HEART for the best election candidates that you know will get us out of the present CIR offers CHANGE this is an open and attractive invitation to those honest individuals who agree with his blog principals for a better Gibraltar for all not just for the elite few as at present.
    We all make mistakes and must put an end to the past and present errors and look for candidates who have accepted their errors and are willing to CHANGE our system of government for the better of the community.
    Many others agree and would be prepared to accept candidates with the capabilities of Mr. Joe Bossano Daniel Feetham Robert Vasquez, Charles Gomez, Joseph Garcia and a few others that will not mention at present who will work for a COMPLETE CHANGE for a new and better Gibraltar.
    As Gibraltarian know you would want the best for our future, our future is in your hands forget party politics, forget block voting, forget half promises in future manifestos, errors and wrongs of the past and vote with your HEART for the best election candidates that you know will get us out of the present chaos we find ourselves at present.

    Vote for change

  74. Anonymous at 12:37

    Call me Red Rob, Cosusin Robert or anything else that takes your fancy. I have no problem with being called anything. I am a believer in the maxim that all publicity is good publicity! :)

  75. "Many others agree and would be prepared to accept candidates with the capabilities of Mr. Joe Bossano "

    Este que esta en serio?

  76. I agree with anon 7.34. They are capable of anything. The comments by one anon in particular trying to use Michael Feetham against his son are disgusting and typical. They have been trying it for years.

  77. I know we all want success, but as it is in any business or profession, to become a successful you need some preparation and training.

    I mean, surgeons don't perform live operations on their first day of training - they have to study hard and invest time and effort for years before they're able to qualify.

    Of course, I'm not saying learning to be politician is as difficult as qualifying to be a surgeon - I'm just pointing out how unrealistic it is to expect instant success with no training!

    So, let's stop voting people with no knowledge criticize them later.

    Let’s get our act together and vote wisely.


  78. Anon 13:10

    In reference to your comments regarding "Many others agree and would be prepared to accept candidates with the capabilities of Mr. Joe Bossano "

    You stated "Este que esta en serio?"

    Incidentally the SAME exact thoughts came to my mind when I saw the utter diatribe that the GSD spewed via their last political broadcast courtesy of Selwyn Figueras.


  79. The word Change has been used 23 times so far.

    I wonder what that is telling us... ;)

  80. Anon 17:48
    Answer many GSLP fanatics are blogging..... Not that hard to work out.

  81. The Dr prescribes change y el Garcia entiende man. Bossano tambien lo dice man pero todavia no con el tema de Picardo. Cuando va ser Picardo el lider man este tio es un genio. He's classy, got the look, top notch lawyer, different level!!!! Que pasa compa este tio es un fuera de serie.........Robert you should support Fabian he is on the same page as you.

  82. L.E.F. says

    The slogan 'vote for change' which is appearing in this blog, needs to be further clarified to the party faithful.

    The change the people of Gibraltar deserve and yearn so much , goes further than party politics.

    It might be difficult to comprehend, if we do not consider ourselves as fellow Gibraltarians first and foremost. This is not a question of them or us. We are all in it together . For the good and for the bad. Whatever happens in Gibraltar affects us all.

    We have more in common than what keeps us apart and divided as a people. We all want Gibraltar to succeed ,we just differ in the ways to achieve what is our commom goal.

    What divides us is the party block vote mentality and the presence of 2 formidable leaders who between them have controlled Gibraltar since 1998.

    Neither of them ready to bow down as long as the other remains in politics and neither of them handing over the reins to the future of their respective parties.

    I know the successors have not been up to the task of toppling the leadership and the leaders have known how to maintain ultimate control of their parties.

    Since time immemorial they have been arch rivals and will continue so to the end.

    We the electorate have been sucked into this rivalry blinding us to the real issues that affect us. We just cannot see past our party colours and are not willing to see the bigger picture.

    We deserve to move on. I say that with 23 years of the same style of Government from both sides I want change to break the mentality of us and them.

    One day sooner or later we will see if the GSLP is more than just Mr Bossano or the GSD more than just Mr Caruana.

    I just want it to be sooner rather than later.

    Lets not forget we are all LLANITOS and therefore belong to the same team . Team Gibraltar .

  83. L.E.F.

    POWER & CONTROL for the last 15 years has been in the hands of one man - PETER CARUANA

    THE DIRECTION Gibraltar's taken is down to Peter Caruana - for better or worse

    THAT's what the GSD's bravely requesting the public to judge in its PPB and these elections!

  84. L.E.F...

    You`ve got it in a nutshell. Our problem is that the present system allows for the culture of promoting leaders to demi-gods. Restricting Chief Ministers to 2 terms in office would not only do away with this historical problem but more importantly it becomes about the party - and not its leader.

  85. OR it gives the Chief Minister a greater discretion and incentive to do whatever he wants without having to worry about being re-elected after the end of his 2 terms in office. Even if it is at the expense of their party's reputation.

    Very solid, sensible and well thought out posts otherwise L.E.F.

  86. L.E.F. says

    To anon 11:36

    I personally do not favour a maximum of 2 terms for a chief minister. I think it does not give enough time to fulfill the maximum potential for a leader.

    Maybe 3 terms would be more realistic.

    I would however prefer it to come from within the parties than to make it law. It is the parties themselves that must evolve and progress with the times.

    To just think that Mr Bossano is still leader of the GSLP after 4 election defeats does not say much for the vision and future within their party.

    Mr Caruana at least has won 4 elections and that is why he is in power ,however change is already visibly needed from within , as the Panorama poll indicates that the balance is tilting.

    Regarding they can do what they please it is already happening since 1988 and any Chief Minister can do as he pleases as long as the electorate accepts it .

    Nothing will change much there , unless we implement some of the checks and balances being spearheaded by Mr Vasquez to ensure that no single leader has absolute power.

    Remember we are all Team Gibraltar

  87. If a person wants to stand for election, it is his/her decision as well as the party (if applicable). Then it is up to the electorate to vote for their prefered candidates.

    If the case is that the electorate has voted for PRC for the past elections then that is up to them (as is their democratic right). Likewise Mr Bossano has be the highest voted member of the opposition since he left power.

    The electorate should and will decide whether or not they are capable or not.

  88. In line with what has already been said, the existing party system is flawed. It only pays tribute to democracy as the electorate is not really FREE to vote as they might like. Therefore there exists only an illusion of democracy.

    Real democracy would give the electorate the freedom to vote for the candidates they consider worthwhile. The present block voting system, which allows mediocre politicians to sail into government on the back of more able candidates, also encourages the negative voting of one party to keep the other party out. Not only does this do Gibraltar a great disservice, but also undermines the very exercise of our democratic freedom.

    I have always voted for the GSD, however, I will no longer be voting for a party that has identified the failings of the system, promised to make reforms and then done nothing but continue to derive benefit from such a flawed system.

    I will not vote for any party, as any party, regardless of any promise to change the system, has an INTEREST in keeping the status quo. I will give individuals, like Robert, who make this issue a priority, my vote.

  89. Why do all those who support our current GSD Govt in this blog (and are against RV ideas) remain anonymous??
    They claim that we don't need CHANGE and that we live in a true democracy!

  90. Power2thepeople @ 18.03

    Perhaps its because they aren't totally convinced that the GSD are going to get back into power and fear that the GSLP are going to be as vindictive as Caruana was when he took up office back in 96'.
    Perhaps both parties should take a leaf out of Nelson Mandelas' rise to power. Watch Invictus with Morgan Freeman.

  91. Anonymous @19:00

  92. Anonymous 15 march @21:48
    Are You DAVID BENTATA?? hello man :) is it YOU????

  93. Power2thePeople
    Unfortunately you are totally right, their are tons of businessmen that give donations to both main parties, what a pity...... But then voters in general are also pancistas if not why do the main parties offer freebies to the pensioners, lower taxes etc...... Aqui as in all places money is above principals, the problem is not the parties exclusively it's the people that mainly look at what is best for their pockets..... If not the likes of Robert as independents would be successful.

  94. t seems like you are damned if you do and damned if you dont. Daniel Feetham's achievements as Minister for Justice have proved colossal, yet of course, we have to find ways to discredit him, whether it be 'why did the govt speak at the law courts opening' or 'why did he join a team that insulted his father' or 'he's talking about the stabbing'. What a JOKE. The poor guy has been working tirelessly since in office and its never enough. This is precisely why Gibraltar doesn't deserve more than what we have. Because we are blinded and ungrateful. To whoever spoke about Fabian Picardo as a genius - who on earth are you?
    By Strawberry Cheesecake


  95. Anonymous @20:34
    100% Agree with you.

    Gibraltar has always had it's fair share of pancistas, but in my opinion there seems to be a pancistas epidemic!

    I base this on the fact that our forefathers fought for the betterment of our society, nowadays all people seem to care about is self-gratification, and the attitude seems to be "I'M ALRIGHT JACK"

  96. Gentleman, wasn't Sir Murray having a real dig at Caruana?

  97. Please tell me someone, what for all these 'anonymous' comments? Doesn't anyone have the courage of their convictions anymore?