Thursday, 28 April 2011

Is the Tripartite Process Destined for the Deep Freeze?

The more dramatic news this week is undoubtedly the repeat incident that has occurred between The Royal Gibraltar Police and the Spanish Guardia Civil in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters. This incident may by itself destine the tripartite process to the deep  freeze at the initiative of Gibraltar  (although it is probably the appropriate forum to discuss solutions to ensure the security and enforcement of law and order at sea) but it is also having the effect of overshadowing a prior important piece of news.

The news item in question is that the Spanish Foreign Minister, Ms Trinidad Jimenez, is reported as having said that she wishes to cool down the tripartite process and does not wish to give impetus to further tripartite meetings. This news is reported online in "El Confidencial Digital" on the 23rd April 2011. It is subsequently repeated (from that same source) in the Spanish newspaper ABC. The report gives one reason for Ms Jimenez having formed this view as being that Ms Jimenez feels Peter Caruana in this election year will want to gain votes from the sovereignty issue and that she does not wish to play that game.

Assuming that this report is accurate. It raises two glaring questions in my mind. First, why is Spain so concerned with Peter Caruana gaining votes at the forthcoming election from the sovereignty issue using the tripartite process? Secondly, is Spain's actions in consonance with past agreements and/or pronouncements made jointly by Britain and Spain on Gibraltar?

My view is that on both fronts Spain is cutting its nose to spite its face. Past history shows that Spanish policies toward Gibraltar have this tendency. The most salient example was the closure of the frontier by Franco's Spain. That Spain cuts its nose to spite itself is probably much to the pleasure of the vast majority of Gibraltar. That Spain should concern itself with Gibraltar's elections  is an unnecessary and uncalled for interference in Gibraltar's internal politics. It may result in unintended consequences for Spain.

If indeed the reason given by Ms Jimenez is a true reason (difficult to believe that such direct interference in internal matters would exist), then one must conclude from it that the Spanish Foreign Secretary, and, therefore the Spanish Government, want to see the end of Peter Caruana's government. That analysis can only lead to a further conclusion which is that the Spanish Government see Peter Caruana as a hindrance to advancing its case to recover the sovereignty of Gibraltar. If that conclusion is right, the actions and statements of Ms Jimenez do not undermine but rather increase Peter Caruana's chances of being returned to office. The very opposite of what it is reported that she may want to achieve.

Why? Simple, she is giving Peter Caruana the very foundation by which he can convince the people of Gibraltar that British sovereignty is in safer hands under a government led by him than any other person. When will the Spanish Government bring into account, in determining its policy toward Gibraltar, that the vast majority of Gibraltar does not want a change in the sovereignty status of Gibraltar. Until Spain factors in this basic reality nothing will change because, in its eagerness to achieve its aims, it will follow policies and take actions that will not advance its case, much to the joy of Gibraltar. The Gibraltar problem will not be solved it will be dissolved, as Gibraltar's canny politician Sir Joshua Hassan used to say.

This brings me conveniently to my explanation of my views on the second question. Ms Jimenez intentions are clearly at odds with recent historical agreements and/or pronouncements. Let us ignore what agreement and/or pronouncement is or is not extant. Let us just look at two themes that are a common thread, remembering that both Spain and Britain have signed up to all of them.

Beginning with the Brussels Agreement of 1984, in that agreement, it was accepted that the British Government would fully maintain its commitment in the constitution to the people of Gibraltar, namely not to transfer sovereignty against the wishes of the people of Gibraltar. The agreement also clearly indicated the desire for mutually beneficial co-operation on economic, cultural, touristic, aviation, military and environmental matters.

In the much decried joint sovereignty statement made to the UK Parliament in 2002 by the then Secretary of State for Commonwealth and Foreign Affairs, Jack Straw, one of these same themes come across again.  He emphasizsed that any package that came out would be put to the people of Gibraltar in a referendum. It would be the people of Gibraltar who would decide. Any package had to be acceptable to the people of Gibraltar.

Then in 2004 came the Trilateral Agreement in which it was agreed that "... through this forum of dialogue ... the parties shall endeavour to create a constructive atmosphere of mutual confidence and co-operation for the benefit and prosperity of Gibraltar and the whole region, in particular the Campo de Gibraltar". Once again a repeat of the desire to co-operate for everyone's benefit.

The recurring themes are, first, that in the end analysis the people of Gibraltar will decide on issues of sovereignty but, secondly, an atmosphere of mutual trust would be built up, by co-operation on many fronts for the benefit of the communities on each side of the frontier. This has greatly benefitted the Campo de Gibraltar economically already and continues to do so. The regional economy is not in a state for the Spanish Government to take steps that will undermine the enormous economic benefit brought to the region by Gibraltar.

Taking into account these arguments, it is nigh on impossible to accept that the report in"El Confidencial Digital" is accurate. It is difficult, if not impossible, to believe that Ms Jimenez will undermine Spain's own attempts at creating an atmosphere for long term normalisation of the issues that surround the sovereignty of Gibraltar and could adversely impact on the immediate hinterland's economic prospects. Time will tell but I am incredulous that the progress made so far, albeit small in the eyes of Spain,  will be reversed by a decision by Spain's Foreign Secretary to freeze the tripartite process. This is especially the case now that both the GSD and GSLP parties are committed to this process on the basis that it has no adverse sovereignty connotations. This condition is an unavoidable reality whilst popular sentiments in Gibraltar continue to be  as they are.


  1. It worries me why the Spanish Foreign Minister would want to cool down a process such as the trilateral talks; as stated a forum geared at developing mutual confidence and co-operation.

    To make such a statement during tthis intricate election year does make one think about the hidden implications and or motives attatched to such a comment.

    My perception, is that she certainly appears to have Mr Caruanas interests at heart.

    Who knows maybe the issues with regards sea incursions may cool down from our end?

  2. from the gsd's press release against picardo that he would be bossano's stooge, could an independent observer say that all those under peter caruana are his STOOGES?

  3. Robert, with the greatest respect to you and your blog, I don’t mean to go off on a tangent to your interesting (as usual) blog piece but I feel the need to vent and I would for, obvious reasons, prefer to do so anonymously.

    How Peter can have the outright audacity to criticise and describe Fabian as being a puppet beggars belief. In no other place in the civilised world would the elected leader of a people display the tactless, rude, and disappointing lack of class that Peter has shown on this occasion in primarily (and most importantly) not congratulating Fabian on being appointed as head of the opposition, and secondly by choosing to instead criticise that same newly appointed leader right off the starters block. It is a genuinely surprisingly and uncharacteristicly foolish decision by Peter that cannot be taken back, and it is one that I suspect will cost him dearly in terms of electoral credibility.

    The hypocrisy of the GSD, and specifically Peter himself, in criticising the GSLP and its new leader is frankly quite amusing.

    When was the last time the GSD as a whole voted for and decided on who should be leading their party? Who determines which given individual should become a minister and which superfluous and pompous title they should bare whilst making their public appearances throughout the year? Who decides which colour the walls are painted in a given government building?

    We all know the answers to the above. So even if the GSD and Peter himself genuinely believe Fabian to be a puppet, and not the democratically chosen leader of a party that was voted for and chosen by its members, who are they to point the finger at anyone in this same regard?

    The desperation and fear is there for all to see. The GSD should concentrate on arguing their own corner as opposed to trying to put down any other political party, it is the only way it has any hope of being able to sway drifting GSD supporters. Peter’s current approach does nothing more than reinforce the mindset that the "king" needs to take leave of his thrown, and that scaremongering simply won’t cut it any more. I can only speak for my own thoughts and experience. They’ve had a good run until this last term, they need to try and justify it now, that’s it.


  4. POssibly. The slops continue to do as they want.

    RV I hope yo realise how important your blog is to most. It is the only place where we can discuss this and the many other current and relevant issues there are. GBC seem to have a completely different take on reality and this week will be giving us a Viewpoint dedicated to "Why do we eat torta patata? How many layers should a torta acelga have?" as per the GBC promos.

  5. Of course they want to see the end of Caruana and they would like someone who they have potential leverage over such as Picardo. That is why I welcome the statement today in the chronicle by the GSD: “Safe and successful political leadership of Gibraltar in these challenging times is about the leader’s good judgement and the peoples’ confident trust in the leader. It is important that anyone offering themselves to the people of Gibraltar as a potential Chief Minister should be a safe pair of hands and thus have demonstrable good judgement and reliability. At the time that the GSD last changed its leader he was rightly subjected to stringent and public scrutiny by the GSLP of his judgement, trustworthiness and leadership credentials. Mr Picardo should expect to undergo the same scrutiny and not abuse the mantra of ‘character assassination’ to hide relevant judgement issues from the people of Gibraltar.” I would go into details about a certain case but you would not print because for all your concerns about democracy and freedom of speech, in the most important debate for years (ie the fitness of our leaders to lead), you are concerned about the consequences of publishing factual material about someone who could become CM, with the consequences for you commercially.

  6. It seems to have escaped some that this is also an election year in Spain and that the PSOE is fighting for survival in conditions of historically high unemployment and threats of Catalan independence. RV astutely suggests that Caruana is a hindrance to Spain. Perhaps worryingly Caruana is also at odds with the UK which is itself struggling economically and has NO time for Gibraltar. Even the Royal Navy is working short hours. To my mind the perfect storm conditions for Gibraltar would be Rajoy in the Moncloa, a double dip in the UK economy and, yes, Fabian Picardo in 6 Convent Place. Think about it long and hard.

  7. Anonymous at 14:37

    I have explained why I do not print certain comments on particular cases in the past. It is not because of the consequences commercially to me. I write and moderate this blog alone. I have limited resources and time. If I had time to do in depth research and be sure of the facts I would not run any risk of defamation or discussing matters that are sub judice. I am not prepared to run a risk on either front. I do not have the resources to do that. Other established media do and they seem to ignore any such issues, yet I take the blame from you! I would remind you that the only media that published the name of a particular case (Noble) was this blog because it is reported in law reports so that was already in the public domain and easily verifiable. I would remind you that I have written pieces about the importance of personal judgment and personal issues to leaders of Gibraltar in the past when discuss in the potential change of leadership in the GSLP, well before the GSD said anything. See, for example, my piece "GSLP Leader could Win or Lose them the next Election ... Choose Wisely" published on the 19th September 2010, there are other pieces too. This last piece that I have written, if it favours anyone, favours Peter Caruana. Your judgment and criticisms of me are harsh, even unfair.

  8. Anonymous at 14:37

    The other case that you keep referring to is not a matter of record. It has been much reported in the Spanish press but not the Gibraltar press. Defamation can come about by repetition of defamatory statements of others. The judgment in the Noble case, on the other hand, is reported in law reports and is a matter of public record. This is very different.

  9. nonymous said...
    That is not true 7 Days published an article.

    No one sued 7 days because it was factual and it has been the only newspaper with the pelotas to do so because in Gibraltar we harp on about freedom of expression being extinguished by Caruana and no one dares question the man who would be king.

  10. Anonymous at 15:48

    I stand corrected. I was not aware that 7 Days published the story. I would hazard a guess that 7 Days is owned by a limited liability company. If the story is so public what motive should I have to repeat what is known?

    I have one question for you, who are you? You encourage bravery on my part whilst hiding behind anonymity. WHY? I suggest that you ask the Chronic and GBC to run the story .... but they will at least want to know who you are and what your motivation might be. I repeat I will NOT take the risk. I publish in my own personal name. I think I do more than most.

  11. There is one thing I don't agree with in the GSD press release. I think Bossano waited so long not because he wanted to hang on but to protect Picardo for as long as possible as he is not idiot and knows these issues exist.

  12. me encanta how pro-GSD posters warn that having Fabian Picardo in No6 will herald in the end of the world.

    Como dijo anon @14:41? 'To my mind the perfect storm conditions for Gibraltar would be Rajoy in the Moncloa, a double dip in the UK economy and, yes, Fabian Picardo in 6 Convent Place. Think about it long and hard.'

    To my mind, it dosen't matter who is in the Moncloa. Time and time again, its been proven that whoever heads Spain, none of them want the same thing for Gibraltar that we do. Some, like Moratinios, may seem friendlier, but ultimately, its sovereignty they want, and sovereignty they'll be forever trying to get.
    A double-dip in the UK economy shouldn't worry anybody, as our finances are in a very healthy state, or are they?
    And as for the GSLP in Government, and Fabian Picardo in No6... Caruana displayed excellent diplomatic abilities by wangling the visit of our friend Moratinios to Gibraltar, and there he stood by his side, the Cheshire Cat personified, and smiled on as the Spaniard stated, with a chuckle, that Gibraltar is Spanish. Then he went off to Seville and told the Spanish Press that he could put to his (his?) people, an Andorra-type solution to the sovereignty issue!

    And you fear Fabian?

    To my mind, ya tenemos el perfect storm, UK dosen't like him, and nor does Spain, and we, THE people, are stranded in the middle, made to pay for his arrogance and need to be the supreme ruler. Perhaps you need to this about this long and hard!

    Barbary Wine

  13. The "Independent" Comical publishes the GSD press release on the front page y pa cromo they do so beside the Photo of Fabian walking into parliament with Joe. Coincidence??? No I do not think so again the "independent" Comical showing it's true colours.
    Y el press release con una mala leche which is what we will have to expect from now until the elections.
    Que pena me da!!

  14. Ghost says:
    Part 1

    Robert how goes it? Your latest piece.......not sure as you almost seem to be  proud of PRC, albeit reluctantly. Que ta pasao? You’re not going soft are you..:)

    Having said this, you very eloquently bring into play some classic spin to discredit and a typical propagandist and in between the lines (genius I might add) play  in which you suggest that anybody can do what Caruana has done to defend Gibraltar’s rights; I quote

    “If that conclusion is right, the actions and statements of Ms Jimenez do not undermine but rather increase Peter Caruana's chances of being returned to office. The very opposite of what it is reported that she may want to achieve. Why? Simple, she is giving Peter Caruana the very foundation by which he can convince the people of Gibraltar that British sovereignty is in safer hands under a government led by him than any other person.”

    My word Robert God forbid that Peter Caruana should be returned to office, what a travesty and to boot assisted by the Spanish Govt!

    The reality in my view is that like it or not Caruana’s and his arrogance have undoubtedly catapulted Gibraltar from a mere child in the context of international politics into a totally different beast in which not only have we achieved a constitutional status that binds the U.K to ignore any bilateral negotiations for ever, but also presents Spain with a real problem; that being that we play the modern political role of posturing and diplomacy far better than they do, and that bullying which is the only form of communication they are capable of (when in retreat) clearly gets them nowhere, other than a blip in voting percentages by right wing muppets during election year.

    I agree that the issue of our sovereignty is not one to solve, but to dissolve; however it is through a process like the tri-partite that this is achieved and therefore the title of your piece in my view is not relevant in the context of Gibraltar and our future, simply because we have made it a matter of fact. It is the only way forward and if Spain wishes to have tantrums on occasion stirred by electioneering, posturing, or whatever the mood of the day is, well quite frankly they can go and have copious amounts of mental masturbations on the matter and at their connivance.  

    Gibraltar today finds itself in a position never seen before where a Chief Minister is able to defend our position at the request of the Spanish Media as well as respected Universities and forums in Spain and we go as far as to question and hold Spain to account (in Spain) on their democratic credentials in a modern political and democratic arena which they themselves are members of. I do not purport to suggest that Caruana is perfect or that he should remain in politics forever, I do not believe even he would subscribe to this, unlike others currently still in politics; however there is no one with the credentials, political savvy and strength of leadership out there to even begin to compare.

  15. Part 2

    I noted with great interest Fabian Picardo's commitment to the tri-partite process. I think his stance on this matter is quite clearly a mature one, although it has taken him and the GSLP quite some time to accept this. It seems as if the penny has dropped with regards to the constitution, the tri-partite and surprisingly with the GSLP’s commitment to seeking good relations with Britain, something which historically has hardly been a policy of theirs. What strikes me as political play is that quite clearly relations between Caruana and the FCO are sour and rightly so, PRC is justifiably holding the U.K to its responsibilities and doing it as he knows best. I refer to political play because whereas the GSLP have almost accepted and agreed with the political direction that the GSD has taken, it now plays to the British gallery and does not for one moment question the responsibility and duty that the British Govt have over our waters, but prefers to suggest as is the case with numerous jibes by Dr Garcia that we should be buying gun boats to wage war with the Guardia Civil. I take it Robert that given your disagreement with all things GSD and their non compliance with meeting manifesto commitments, that on this score you will chose again to side on following Picardo who seems to have your attention? Or is it the other way round….:)

    Just to touch on more recent events (what a pace ah), I am dumbfounded as to your silence on the handing over of power from Joe to Fabian, I note that you have written a piece recently about Picardo’s leadership, but you fail to mention anything about the influence a 30 year leader of a party might have in retaining a prominent position in the party and in politics over the new leader; do you consider this an issue?  In my view there are questionable and fundamental inconsistencies within our democratic instincts that allows an ex-leader of four lost terms stay on.But I guess this is ok…only in iGib though cause it would seem laughable or dare I say it against any democratic credentials that any other party in Western Europe might be willing to stand by and accept. As Gibraltar’s most prolific political commentator and a candidate to be, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts?
    Anyway that’s it from me, be gentle if you are to humour me on this one, it's been a while, I'm out of practice.


  16. Anon at 18.20 you give me too much importance. My influence does not extend that far but you mustn't be concerned, you appear to have all your bases covered trying to persuade people is a witch hunt and there is fire behind the smoke.

  17. Ghost! Welcome back to the fold!

    I have always given PRC credit where credit is due. It is nothing new. You read too much into the quote! Thank you for the genius complement but it is not merited. You just will not accept that I give my honestly held opinions in this blog. I do not believe that PRC is the ONLY individual that can defend Gibraltar. If he were we are in a very bad place! I have never discarded the possibility of the GSD winning the next election. I do not make the suggestion that his return is assisted by the Spanish government. My piece clearly does address this issue with the nuances that you seem to have implied into it. I agree internationally PRC has done very well so far but developments now need careful handling and he will be remembered mainly for how he comes out of recent events. Everyone has very short term memories in politics, remember the famous Harold Wilson cliche "7 days is a long time in politics". I defend the tripartite process in my piece. I do not know what you imply by reference to my headline. It simply poses the question that Ideal with in my piece. I think many of PRC's predecessors have defended Gibraltar admirably in more difficult circumstances. You underestimate Gibraltar's past politicians in favour of your adulation of PRC.

    PRC holding the UK to its responsibilities? So at last he recognises that the UK has an important constitutional role to play. This is a true revelation about the person who told the present Governor on his arrival that he was essentially the Queen in Gibraltar implying that he was devoid of powers, duties and responsibilities. A true revelation also about the person who was going to buy a large vessel for the RGP to defend our waters. Are we both talking about the same person? And you accuse me of spin!

    I do not disagree with all things GSD. I have voted GSD in all the last 4 elections. It is just that I write about matters that are close to my heart on which I have been let down by the GSD.

    On handing over from Joe to Fabian. You disseminate. I have written several pieces on this issue both last year and this year. Please read them. Now let me give you examples of leaders of parties staying on in Parliament in the UK after they have left their leadership of a party. Well now, we have Edward Heath who was Prime Minister, and stayed on as an MP after the conservatives were defeated. We have Duncan Smith who stayed on after being leader of the Conservatives. We have William Hague who was leader of the conservatives and is now Foreign Secretary. We have Charles Kennedy of the Liberal Democrats ... I am sure there are more but this is just from memory! What is a democratic deficit is that the GSD do not have leadership elections, even if PRC were to be constantly chosen by acclamation ... is this not what has happened in the GSLP ... at least the GSLP give others an opportunity to challenge the leader.

    I hope I have been gentle enough ...

  18. add Peter Montegriffo to your list Robert. He started the party then passed it on to Caruana, and then came back to serve under Caruana for a term, and although he left again, he still maintains close links with the party and Caruana!

  19. Ghost says :

    Robert delighted to be back and grateful for your gentle approach, I was afraid that you might just show your teeth and take a bite, un poco como tu primo...:)

    Surely you can't compare Ed Heath and William Hague to the Bosano Picardo affair, Heath was PM and leader and became back bencher with no portfolio (correct me if I an wrong) and no real influence in the future of the party, he also didn't wait 16 years and 4 lost elections before stepping down as leader.

    I do not doubt your previous voting pattern, like me a vote for the GSD was the obvious choice, given the magnitude and transformation that we have all experienced over the past decade and I am pleased to learn that you agree with this hence your support of the GSD over four elections. But surely in the same way that you are critical of many things GSD (I don't think I am imagining that) and all driven by history and what may bit have been achieved, is it not also worthy to consider what type of leader Fabian may prove to be given his decade plus acceptance of a leader unwilling to go where quite clearly our democracy has suffered as a consequence? What are we to assume from a party that has sat on a fence with a leader unwilling to until the very end and a pretender unwilling to show any style if leadership until he is told to do so.

    Hardly strong leadership which we all agree is required.

    I truly wish Fabian all the best and hope that his appealing words of peace to the gallery are genuine, for I am willing to accept that the GSLP's 15 year campaign of muck and limited credibility coupled with fence benching and attacks of convenience were nothing to do with him.



  20. Welcome back Ghost.
    Have you been left off the Caruana leash?
    Your words seem great but you are definitely blind and do not live in the same place as I do.
    I do not believe that there isn't anyone as capable as Caruana. In fact I think he is a liability now and unfortunately I think he has been a liability for a long time. He started well but his airs of grandiour have shadowed his judgment and his perception on reality.
    I therefore believe it is time for him to go or be kicked out and replaced by someone that is able to think differently and it does not need a genius to do so. Therefore I believe Fabian, as did Caruana in 1996, can do a better job at this stage. And with time Fabian will get even better.

  21. Kaelan Joyce says:

    Robert I know you’re on holiday so won't burden you with one of my usual (long winded lol) posts, which you will inevitably end up having to alter :) lolol

    What I will state though is that I find it extremely amusing how anonymous bloggers keep URGING you to defame certain people but do not have the courage to say who they are.

    Look at me for example; I stated that in my opinion the Chief Minister can no longer relate to his people as he seems to preoccupied with his own personal quest to do so.

    What Gibraltar needs is more straight talking people who actually care about not only Gibraltar but the GIBRALTARIANS.

    Anon 15:48 the 7 days is the type of newspaper I use to wipe my A%% with when I do not have toilet paper. I assume no one has sued the newspaper, because of two reasons:

    ONE - it is gets a lot of the Government advertising and we all know what happens when someone takes the Government on don’t we? Ask Joanna Hernandez she will fill you in :)

    TWO- No one takes what they see fit to publish seriously bar the GSD sycophants of course :)

    As for this “information” you have on Picardo why don’t you send a letter to Mr. Searle from the chronicle and request it gets published? I am sure he would be pretty eager to do so. Oh but WAIT that would mean having to sign it with your name though, which I doubt you are up for. Or why don’t you post it with your name on here??

    Kudos to the brave anonymous blogger, who is surely making the GSD proud!! Valiente equipo fuera seria este GSD!!! Dream team 2011!! The opposition must be shaking in their boots....NOT!!

    Houston Houston we certainly have a problem!!! Hahhahaa : P


  22. Conyo special K if you had written a long winded one as you threatened to do, te cargas el blog. For a man that claims he is not a GSLP fanatic, you sure do a good impression of one. Just do a google search with the name of your friend Picardo under news and see what the Spanish newspapers are saying about it.

    P.S. Cintigo en el equipo el GSLP gana seguro.

  23. anon @ 01:28
    why did the GSD try to woo Kaelan, si es tan malo? Hasta lo invitaron a un drinks party to meet Caruana!
    I suppose, because he refused his opinions to be silenced, his reward is to be ridiculed by the GSD clique at every possible opportunity!

  24. Robert, any progress with that letter written by cousin Peter?

    I and many others are eager to learn more about it and what it suggests about the manner in which he is "running" Gibraltar.


  25. The GSD did not try to woo Special K. given his interest in politics, he and a group of interested youths none of whom are members of the GSD were invited to a seminar and given the opportunity of quizzing the CM at their leisure. It resulted in a near 4 hour event in which all concerned including Kaelan were grateful for the opportunity.
    I have absolutely no doubt that Kaelan will confirm the above.
    You will be delighted to hear that these seminars are common and allow various sectors of the comunity, young and old the chance to address the CM informally and highligt any areas or issues of concern on a wide range of issues.
    A guest at that particular seminar.

  26. Anon 01:28

    The same Spanish Newspapers you mention have also stated (in the past) that Gibraltar is a smugglers and criminals paradise, which should be Spanish.

    Bueno "sources" eso......

    Keep the good work up! 007 GSD styleeeee! ;) LOL


  27. anon @ 15:50

    wow, you were a guest too! Now I am intrigued! You sound like you enjoyed the event. I don't know why you remain anonymous though, but I suppose its both our prerogatives.

    Then, as a fellow guest to one of these seminars, perhaps you can help me out:

    Do you think he must have been considered pretty 'special' to be invited to one of these seminars in the first place? Or is just anybody allowed to go?

    Also, do you think that, had he been won over by the experience and now campaigned as vociferously in favour of the GSD, GSD supporters wouldn't feel so inclined to vilify and ridicule him so?

    One more thing, if you don't mind, without giving any details about yourself (I do respect your privacy), how old are you, and how involved are you in politics?

    thanks for your post

  28. Kaelan Joyce says:

    Anon 15:40

    Must have surely been there I do wonder who you are.

    I do not want to blow my own trumpet but the GSD General Secretary also invited me to lunch. A three hour lunch, which I just so happened to pay for as I thought it to be ungentlemanly not do so.

    Furthermore please note that I am not interested in politics. What I am is fed up with the way in which the GSD government sees fit to run OUR Gibraltar and happen to be very outspoken about it.

    As far as the seminars being COMMON, I think we both know that you mean this is only common during election year.


  29. Ole special k, con tigo en el line up gana el GSLP seguro. By popular acclaim, altogether now ... Special, special, special .....

  30. Come on Special K for someone who professes not to be affiliated you sure never lose an opportunity to have a dig at the GSD but always come out defending the GSLP. Come on just admit it you are a GSLP fanatic. No shame in that surely.

  31. Kaelan was invited not by the GSD but by one of the guests.

    The fact that Kaelan was invited and as K himself admits even had the opportunity of lunchin with the Genetal Sec should be evidence enough that the GSD is open to all and will continue to do so. Having said this I think it also has a right to protect itself and react to statements which either carry malice or are down right inaccurate.
    Seminars of all sizes are carried out several times a year. Some are announced and others like the one K attended are kept small on purpose.

    I believe that K was won over on many of the issues highlighted, I ultimately think that K, by natural default, wants change regardless and was unwilling to allow his opinions to be changed. This is fair enough. I can also divulge that of the 15 odd charcters at the seminar the majority were won over and expressed huge thanks for the opportunity.

    It would be unfair for me to divuldge my identity as I am not someone who speaks fir the party.

  32. On my analysis Fabian Picardo is anything but Joe Bossano´s stooge. He moved from the Liberal party and effctively took over the GSLP in a quiet revolution getting rid of all the old party stalwarts who do not match him intellectually or educationally. He outmanoeuvred Daniel Feetham. Fabian comes from the James Levy stable.

  33. Who's the GSD General Secretary that invited K to lunch? I don't suppose anyone on this blog knows, which goes to prove that the GSD is very much a one-man party. It's a bit late for the 'one man' to organise these 'seminars' after 15 years in power. It's high time for a change.

  34. Viva special K! El de el GSD encouraging rape por installing new toilets.

  35. Anon 18:29. A quite revolution that lasted over a decade and was only allowed when Joe said so. Give us a break. It's not even about being a stooge, it's simply about the fact that Fabian has shown no ability to lead or be strong in over 20 years. He has watched an waited and the view of many in Gibraltar is of serious concern over a new leader offering his services as a chief minister having shown no leadership even in his own cabdidature as leader of his party.
    It's not even a question of being careful what you wish for - we don't know what we are going to get other than someone who has sat on a fence waiting for Joe to realise that he ain't gonna win another election. This is not the leadership or the party that Gibraltar deserves.

  36. anon @ 20:45 the answer to your concerns is not to vote for the GSLP, that's what many of us have done about our concerns with the GSD for many years.

  37. anon @ 18:00
    thanks for your answer, pity you don't feel you can come out in the open with your support for the GSD. I know the feeling about the need to keep your political opinions quiet for fear of reprisals, although I don't understand it from where you're standing, but I sympathise with your thoughts in any case. Please note, I didn't expect you to divulge your identity, just your age and how involved you may be in politics. I am just curious how you got to be invited in the first place, that's all.

    Perhaps the other pro-GSD screamers in this blog could arrange to attend one of these seminars. Maybe then they could get a few ideas and be prepared to participate in proper debate instead of just hurling abuse.

  38. We should not criticise K too much after all I was in the group meeting too and can confirm that K brought up his nationalistic views on a minimum 15% local employment for all companies. What was shocking was to hear PRC say that he considered that low and in his view it should be higher, but not at the cost of forcing it as statutory, but rather by working with gaming firms in particular in order to create courses and educational material for more local employment with qualified abilities and therefore less of an excuse avaiable to gaming for why such a low turn out of locals are in employment. There's also the fact that not many locals are keen on this type of career as with leisure service work.
    Even more interesting was K's valid issue on local employment for qualified llanitos in the GHA. It transpires that not only does Caruana agree with him, he went further to confirm that already there had been implementation to support local qualified personal to achieve jobs and shadow ex-pats currently doing the job until there contracts are over.

  39. Anon 18:00

    Won over? Hahahahahha That MUST be the quote of the day!! You surely cannot be that deluded can you?

    I don’t know what meeting you went to but at the one I was at, few people were convinced by what was said, ESPECIALLY not me!!! The difference being I will publicly state what I think regardless of the repercussions whilst others will not.

    I will admit though that I did enjoy the debate/lunch and was flattered to have been invited. Some points raised at the time did prove to be very insightful. Furthermore the GSD general secretary is a lovely lady for whom I will always have a lot of time for and the Chief Minister came across as being a pleasant individual.

    What you must remember is that this is not personal but rather political. I strongly disagree with the way the GSD Government has been running our Gibraltar and have chosen to make my sentiments public. I once believed in the GSD but no longer do, during the last 4 years I have lost complete faith in their administration. Please take into account that I am not unemployed or anything such, on the contrary I have done quite well for myself both on a personal and professional level. I complain because I care. I care about my Gibraltar, my people and most importantly I care about my son’s future.

    I am genuinely concerned and cannot just sit back and do nothing. What is the point in doing that?

    In regards to the GSLP, I have given the GSD more of my time than I have them!! I have never been to a GSLP meeting to date and guess what? I have been asked to attend on numerous occasions in the past. With Fabian at their helm though that might very well change soon as I believe the party now has great potential.

    Gibraltar needs change and to be honest I don’t care who provides it as long as I get it!! That is how I think!!

    Anon 20:09

    I didn’t state that and you know it, furthermore I won’t explain myself again as it seems to be pointless to do so : )


  40. Anon 21:35. With respect, I think your statement of abuse applies far more appropriately to another party. This blog is proof of it. But I don't expect you will concede on this. I think it's quite clear that I support the GSD and sorry but by divulging what you have askedI would be divulging my identity which reserve my right to protect.

  41. Mark K gas already said that he was invited to lunch, in fact he paid. Seminars are regular. Obviously the GSLP propaganda has wrapped you up proper. I guess you want to buy gun boats and wage war too? You probably think Fabian has revolted and cone out fresh as a leader with vision and power from this 15 year revolution. You probably think that the GSLP's support of the constitution has been the case all along and that the tripartite was akways a winner for the GSLP exec. No question you believe the airport, port, buses and infrastructure investment are way to aspirational for little Gibraltar and we should cut ourselves down to size because our role and future could not possibly be positive, after all we are in financial ruin and living beyond our means with unemployment figures high and poverty a reality.
    I guess you also want want a clean campaign...

  42. Anon 21.35 and you think having Fabian Picardo and Joe Bossano in Government will lead to no repercussions. Ask Robert what happened to his firm when Bossano was last in Government simply because his firm represented the Spanish pensioners. Ask anyone who has read the New People or Fabian's "brain child" as he himself described it the Key to see the vile printed about political opponents. The 7 days are boys scouts compared to those two publications. And you ask why people don't print their names?

  43. Mark welcome back. I was beginning to fear that after your new acquired position you would not deign us with your pearls of wisdom.

  44. Anonymous at 21:59

    This blog is proof of what?

  45. I think he means the comments made by GSLP supporters on the blog.

  46. i think he means that this blog is proof that you follow one of the two big parties . not that i'm saying that . just what i think he means what this blog is proof to .

  47. Kaelan, with respect my recollection of the seminar was different in terms of the outcome which in my view resulted in the majority of the youths eager to sit down with the CM again and discuss other issues further. In fact I recall that the consensus was very one of surprise at the many misconceptions that prevail in Gibraltar with regards, employment, civil service, GHA, education and even fishing to which were a keen contributor.

    I am glad that at least you recall issues being insightful. I wish you the best of luck with Fabian and the new GSLP.

  48. Anon 21:50

    Thanks for highlighting some very interesting points!! I too was shocked to hear the CM agreeing with me. Especially as it was in regards to the same “nationalistic” views that the GSD sycophants have seen fit to mock on this very same blog, time and time again!

    It amuses me to see that according to Anon 18:00 the GSD supporters present at the aforementioned meeting were all under the impression that most (if not all) of the attendees were swayed by their arguments.

    It seems that in their infinite wisdom they have once again neglected to give due credit to the intelligence of the electors.

    In my opinion such mentality reeks of pure arrogance.


  49. I note from the published GBC TV schedules on the GBC website, that the Cms interview on the catalan TV3 channel will air on GBC on Thursday 5th May at 9pm. Now, the question? Why have the GBC waited on this for a whole month before airing??? Previously, the GBC have screened the CMs appearances on the Spanish breakfast shows on Tele5 and Canal Sur, but they have done so within 3 days, never a delay as long as a month! Has this delay come about as a result of No6 wanting this delayed? A tactic of some sort??

  50. Gibraltar needs Fabian in 6 Convent Place. In teh last few years his mastery of strategy and patience hace catalpulted him into the leadership of the GSLP. When I say that he comes from James Levy´s stable I mean that he has been trained at the highest levels of tactics. noit for nothing is James Levy regularly mentioned in legal journals and directories as a legal - business strategist of world renown With Fabian in government the circle will be complete and Gibraltar stands to gain. James Levy is clearly intellectually superior to Caruana and Fabian has shown that he can run rings around Feetham

  51. ANON 14:16, good point.

    Conveniently timed after Fabian's ascent to the top of the GSLP in an effort to make the electorate ignore what Fabian has already said about the current administration in his impressive debut as the party leader?

    Peter's refusal to acknowledge and congratulate Fabian on his new position is simply a result of a lack of class and humility on his part, and it also demonstrates that Peter knows that the GSLP is a serious threat to his administration and if anything, it casts the party as a whole in a better light than even condescending words of congratulations would have done.

    An uncharacteristically sloppy and poor move on Peter's part. The GSD's grip truly is slipping.

  52. It is true that Daniel Feetham has shown himself to be a steady work horse spouting out thousands of pages of much needed new laws. Fabian Picardo on the other hand is better leadership material. He has clearly learnt all the right moves from Hassans Mr. Levy and is better eqipped to deal with the world outside Gibraltar. Gibraltar should count its blessings in having Fabian as our next Chief Minister, a safe pair of hands and a true Gibraltarian. Well done Fabian!

  53. As an expat I am amazed to read so much petty politics in this otherwise interesting blog. Clearly this blog would benefit by having mature arguments, arguments of substance and subjects that relate to today's problems, be them unemployment, budget cuts, etc... Clearly from the outside our
    Perception is that Gibraltar does not live in the real world, as very minor problems attract so much debate !!! Can now understand why Gibraltars do not want to be nor Spanish nor British...

  54. In time alone, after I wrote this piece and as foreseen in it, the Chronic has published a denial by Madrid of the story in El Confidencial Digital.

  55. Anonymous expat at 15:02

    I hope that you find the pieces that I write of some interest. I agree that the comments do tend to deteriorate into two party backbiting but there is little ir nothing that I can do about that, other than to plead with people to debate substance. I will continue to do my best.

    I am not sure how your comment leads you to understanding why Gibraltar does not want to be Spanish but there you go. I am sure there is some logic in your thought process somewhere.

  56. Kaelan you wally, he was agreeing with the concept and well intentioned atittude, but not the method behind your approach, even I can see that and wasn't in this meeting. Chiquillo que te pasa man.

  57. Llanito world is coming up in the world. We now even have exprats writing in. Interestingly the less welle ducated or intelligent Gibbos think that expat means a Brit. In fact an expat is a person who lives outside his country. e.g. an eskimo in Cuba or an aborigine in China. So is the "expat" who wrote an african pygmy, a Swede, a Thai or an Upper Voltan or a visitor from the planet Shyt ? He could be from anywhere. Strange that a person should call himself an expat. methinks that it is a GSD supporter trying to tell us in a particularly gilipolla way that in Caruinas Gibraltar everything is hunky dory LOL & ROFL.I think this shows that levels of education in Gibraltar need to be improved. When Fabian gets elected he needs to look into this. Caruana´s government has dumbed down Gib.

  58. Is the Tripartite Process Destined for the Deep Freeze? if it means having fresh fish from BRITISH GIBRALTAR WATERS so be it,even at the cost of keeping the tripartite frozen"fish" dead.The winds of change are coming from both sides meaning lets stand firm cause the change will bring a tempest we've never witnessed before.

  59. Anon 17:22. Where are you getting this from. Where does the ex-pat say he is British......I see where you are coming from but fear that you are throwing the baby out with the bath water, only problem is there's no baby. Are you related to Kaelan.

  60. Why is it that when I mention taxpayers my posts do not appear. Robert it is a fact that the comical has been pardoned debts in social security and paye and thatb GBC is subsided by govt. So what's the problem???

  61. Anonymous at 21:58

    The problem is the speculative conclusion that you come to from those facts ...

  62. I normally just like to read and enjoy the ongoing comments but would like to post a view, and if possible provoke more debate, with the aim of finding out a bit more about these seminars with the CM. I was not aware that these little get togethers were taking place and wonder whether there has been any open advertisement inviting anyone from the general public to attend. Why are selected [or even targeted] individuals invited to come along, and who sets out the topics for discussion? My first reaction to this, and admittedly without all the facts, is that I find this very worrying and disturbing. Is it perhaps a less grotesque repetition of the story of Caligula who is summoned by the Tyrant Tiberius to Capri, after having previously executed most of his family, only for Caligula to apparently forgive and forget and join him to become an even more committed and insane fanatic??? Is it not perhaps a way of trying to silence the radicals. Perhaps this tactic was even employed on Mr Feetham himself who suffered a similar strain of 'Stockholm Syndrome' and fell prey to the charm and control of his master....I wonder whether he must really be kicking himself now?? Some people are surprised to see the MC of these reunions agreeing with the disgruntled individuals who turn up. I would have thought that of course he is going to agree with them if he is going to get them on his side. Anything else would only work against the process of indoctrination. The question is why have some of these particular supposedly, unacceptable situations been allowed to continue for so long and why are only those who turn up to these events given the insight to these apparently convincing explanations. If there are indeed genuine explanations to all the issues of employment, civil service, GHA, education, fishing etc. that so convince those put under the magic spell of the CM’s presence, then let’s have them out publicly so we can all form our own opinions. It seems to me that many questions are being asked of this government about certain issues [some even by the opposition who presumably have it included in their job description] but very little answers are forthcoming. I still have a lot of unanswered questions in my mind about this government despite their long term in office, and simply for that reason I would refuse to cast a single vote for them. Robert has taken the incredibly brave stance to put his money where his mouth is and I for one am willing to place my bet on him and give him a chance, and if he fluffs up as many may fear, then hopefully there will be others to follow where he has fallen. For me the sad reality is that I would rather put one of the Barbary apes in number 6, than risk what will no doubt be further despotism, lack of transparency and injustice. I am afraid that I too will sign off as anonymous, but rest assured that I am not a fanatic party follower or have a hidden agenda. I am a middle aged professional male, who despite being financially stable, is extremely concerned about our children's future, y soy llanito with Gibraltar's best interest at heart!

  63. Anonymous at 23:29

    It saddens me for Gibraltar that you should describe me as incredibly brave. I am simply doing, not only what is done in every known western democracy, to speak freely but what is also guaranteed as a fundamental right under our Constitution, namely exercising the right to freedom of speech. What I write is far less incisive and critical of Government and Opposition than the "Today" programme that is transmitted daily on BBC 4 radio. I get criticised for being anti_GSD government because I write pieces critical of what it is doing and am less critical of the Opposition. There is one simple reason: it is the Government that governs so it is the government, composed of whatever party, that is more exposed to criticism. This is obvious to anyone who follows current affairs programmes in other countries, especially the UK and especially if one listens to the "Today" programme regularly, as I do on a daily basis.

  64. Robert, perhaps the reason I have subconsciously chosen the word brave, is because I cannot see that many people out there campaigning for open public debate and exposing the flaws of the system the way you are doing. You talk about programs like the BBC doing this, but these are independent self sufficient organizations whose whole reputation rests on doing exactly that, being truthful of the facts and impartial. Are you saying that Gibraltar is in fact blessed with good quality and fair free press and media scrutiny of public affairs. If you are agree with me that it isn't then perhaps we do indeed have reason to be sad!

  65. Anonymous at 01:09

    Indeed we have reason to be sad and we used to decry and fight Franco's Spain!

  66. The proof of the pudding as to Robert´s courage will come if he does stand for election. He writes a mean blog but I do not think that he is good in debates and does not have the common touch. In a tete a tete with the likes of Caruana he would quickly lose his tete. He needs someone like the Keith Azopardi or Charles Gomez or even Fabian to make the best of his message.

  67. Anon 23:29. I think you have taken this seminar with various groups and the CM a little to far. Your insinuations and lead on the topic are off the mark. These are simply opportunities for small groups to quiz and duscuss issues of the day and consensus or agreement are not always the case, although it has to be said that on a great many issues answers and explanations by the CM are not agreed but understood and accepted given the bigger picture that prevails in complex issues. Before you ask I am not going to engage in a debate on what the CM has or has not said, I am merely giving examples.
    As a democrat, I respect your opinion and wish you the very best.

  68. SEMINARS???!!!
    Where is the GSD party structure for it's members (if any!) where there is an opportunity to decide party policy ,candidates, executive members (ELECTED not chosen by dedocracia!!).
    Are there seminars held BY SELECTED FEW to Quiz say the Minister for Housing, Education, or even the Deputy Chief Minister??
    Robert I am also an adit follower of British and international politics and as you well know on these programmes journalists have the opportunity to quiz Ministers, MPs from the governing party on all sorts of issues and they answer for the government simply because they are aware of they policies.
    I can clearly see where anon 23:29 is coming freom and in many ways I concur with him/her.
    These seminars seems like the ones explained that happened during the "roman times".
    The reality is that the GSD is run by one man and that man decides the Candidates, policy, and everything else.
    The real sad thing is that the same man is now running the whole of Gibraltar and Gibraltar is the loser and the worst thing of all is that because of this there is a clear lack of democracy, REAL freedom of speech (eg even GSD supporters write like I do Anonymously).
    So for those who are critical of the GSLP selection or candidates presented just reflect and think that those are chosen by the party members democratically in one way or another.

    Who then are the real stooges!!!

    I was at one point involved with the GSD until I saw what it was ie a group of people (intelligent, lawyers, and some professionals), but not all of the same ideology. It was very soon clear that decisions where made without debate or discussions and the worst thing was that you would soon be labelled (in many ways and given names)and views ignored with no recourse to make your point.