Sunday, 22 May 2011

Government Control of Information is Anti-Democratic

It has often been said that information is power. The corollary is also true. The control and retention of information and unnecessary secrecy assists those in power to remain in power. In many western democracies, certainly in the UK and the USA, access to information has been freed up by law. In the UK there are primarily two pieces of legislation that allow the public to gain information held by public authorities. Personal data can be obtained under the authority of the Data Protection Act. Information from public bodies can be obtained under the authority of the Freedom of Information Act.

There is no Freedom of Information Act in Gibraltar. There is a Data Protection Act in Gibraltar. The lack of a Freedom of Information Act is a further democratic deficit that exists in Gibraltar. It leaves the government, public service and other public authorities free to handle and manage information in a manner best suited to protect itself rather than the public, which it serves. This can result in manipulation of information that that can lead to a regressive state. It is a secretive system of government that does not sit well in a democracy and in this age of communication technology.

What is worse is a cynical introduction of legislation intended to undo lack of information and secrecy. I have complained in my previous article that the GSD proposals for parliamentary reform (none of it is electoral reform although new press releases disingenuously refers to them as such) are lacking; not just because of their content, but also because on reading the detail, they give with one hand and take away with the other. This is exactly what the GSD Government has done when it enacted the Data Protection Act, specifically as regards the manner in which requests for information for personal data are handled.

The Data Protection Commissioner ("Commissioner"), who administers the Data Protection Act, is the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority ("GRA"). This is a grand sounding organisation giving the impression of independence redolent of checks and balances. The reality is very diffferent, whilst it is described as a corporation sole, it is not a corporation at all in the sense that it does not have a commission or board or council to govern it independently or independent non-executive directors. What it is , essentially, is one person, presently Paul Canessa, who is appointed and described as the "Chief Executive Officer" ("CEO"). The CEO is empowered to conduct the affairs of the GRA and to exercise and perform such powers, duties as may be vested in the GRA.

Let us analyse the GRA. The CEO (and so the GRA) is appointed by the Chief Minister.  The CEO can be removed, on appropriate grounds (but not subject to any system of statutory appeal so there would only be resort to the expensive remedy of Judicial Review in the Supreme Court against removal) by the Chief Minister. Funding of the GRA comes from Parliament. I will repeat my constant criticism that the Government benches of and so Parliament in Gibraltar is controlled by the executive arm of government and so, in the end, the Chief Minister. In addition the GRA has to have regard, under the Act, to government policy (we all know that means the policy of the Chief Minister). We should, however, be thankful for small mercies, no member of Parliament can be the GRA. It is this that the Act establishing it considers provides "independence".

The whole point of having a Data Protection Act under which personal data can be obtained from public bodies is that one should have the right or discretion to obtain information on request exercised by an independent body. I wonder how independent the GRA can be seen to be in light of the peculiarities that I have highlighted? One should remember that what is important is perception as well as reality. It is not enough to claim independence if, objectively analysed, the system has glaring deficiencies indicative that such independence can be compromised. The archetypal example of this is the length that established international organisations and rules go to ensure objective safeguards intended to guarantee the independence of the judiciary, which are in large measure included in our own Constitution.

The system can be said to have failed if anyone is left with the feeling that he has been let down in the application of the Data Protection Act. I am in that position on the subject of the refusal by the Commissioner (the GRA) to provide me with a copy of the letter about me that the Chief Minister wrote to the Chairman of the Financial Services Commissioner.

Initially the Commissioner  refused to admit the existence of the letter at all. I pointed out to him that the Chairman of the FSC had admitted to me that the letter existed. The Chairman had indicated to me also that the Chief Minister's letter was critical of me.  In reply to a suggestion by me, at a social gathering, that I may not seek re-appointment to the FSC for a third term, he replied words to the effect that if I saw the contents of the Chief Minister's letter this was probably a wise decision.  Only then was the Commissioner forced to admit to its existence. He has also been forced to admit that it is personal data and so subject to disclosure under the Data Protection Act. His admission takes the form that he justifies non-disclosure under an exemption, for the exemption to apply the letter must constitute personal data.  I consider and have pointed out to him that the exemption he relies on is inapplicable. He has not answered my arguments and my last letter to the Commissioner remains unanswered, as does my request to the Chief Minister for him to give me a copy of this letter.

You may ask why I have not pursued the issue further, if I consider the reasons for refusal to be inappropriate? The answer is simple first, non-disclosure already says a lot and secondly the recourse against such a decision is an appeal to the Magistrates Court and thereafter to the Supreme Court. As a lawyer I know the costs in time (neither of which I am prepared to waste) and money and risk in costs of doing that. I am not prepared to risk my hard earned cash on taking such steps, when what is happening, the refusal of disclosure, so obviously leads to suspicion of what the contents of the Chief Minister's letter might be. The cost in itself, I add quickly, is, through no fault of the court service or the judiciary, another, in my opinion, a barrier, to access by citizens to information and personal data.

In the UK the equivalent body that administers both the Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act is an objectively independent Information Commissioner. There is also a Tribunal to which one can appeal against decisions made by him. Appeals to Tribunals is a much cheaper and more accessible process. It is only after the Tribunal has determined an appeal that the more complex and expensive court system comes into play. There is an appeal on points of law to the courts from the Tribunal. All in all a more  independent, transparent and less costly system by which citizens can obtain personal data (under the UK's Data Protection Act) and wider information (under the UK's Freedom of Information Act) should there be an initial refusal by the Information Commissioner.

The moral of the story is that, in Gibraltar, it is not enough to have introduced the Data Protection Act. It is not enough to introduce, in the future, the Freedom of Information Act. It is essential to introduce it and change the procedure under the Data Protection Act. Changed in a a manner that they work and are seen to work independently, transparently and cheaply. They should be seen thus both at the initial stage before the Commissioner (who should be capable of being seen as objectively independent) and with a cheap first appeal to an administrative tribunal with simple procedures. This will make these Acts truly effective to provide a proper democratic check and balance on the government and the administration.

It is time that our politicians to stop treating the electorate with disdain and attributed to it a modicum of intelligence. Stop giving with one hand and taking away with the other, and be fair and reasonable. There is a moment when people react. We may not have reached it in Gibraltar but it is being reached in  more and more countries, not only in the Middle East and North Africa but also in Europe, have a look at Greece and Spain.


  1. Charles Gomez.22 May 2011 at 12:48

    You make an excellent point when you say that people have had enough of the arrogance of politicians everywhere not just in the Arab states. The movimiento 15M or Sol in Spain is a case in point. Current democratic models in the West are as tired and worn out as the hair dyed despots now under attack in the "Arab Spring." In Gibraltar we suffer the same problem. At the next General election we will have no choice because, from where I am standing, at least, apart from one maybe two colourful personalities there is no difference between the GSD and the GSLP/ Liberals and the PDP shows no appetite for revolution. Alas, a revolution of ideas is what we need. Instead we hear only the same old platitudes and those delivering them do not even have the verve of their predecessors. All read from the same hymn book of hypocrisy and political correctness masking rapacious capitalist ambitions and profound cynicism.

  2. Robert, let's look at this objectively. You admit that the impediment to you obtaining relief is not some cynical ploy by the government to deny citizens their rights, but simply the English rules as to costs. Let's go the USA way. What do you think?

  3. Charles I agree with you 100%


  4. Anonymous said...
    Robert, if you had a serious offer of some financial backing would you consider appealing?

    I agree it would be unreasonable to expect you to shoulder the costs involved by yourself, but it can be assumed that the contents of that letter and what they mean about the way in which Gibraltar is run by the current administration is of a great significance and importance to us all.

    I agree with you in that an obvious inference can be drawn by the simple fact that it’s being refused to you, but it’d be nice to see it nonetheless.

  5. Anonymous at 14:25

    I admit no such thing. I believe that I have a right to the letter that is being denied to me but do not wish to incur any further expense in time and money obtaining it, as the denial for me as as good as an admission. Why waste my time any further?

    I do not know what you mean by the "USA way". If it frees up access great. If it restricts access more then no way. Please explain yourself better.

    Anonymous at 19:20

    There is a 21 day time limit that I am afraid has expired.

  6. RV-LLW Shame that the time limit has expired!

    You should have made it known sooner. I am sure there are many of us out here who would be more than willing to make whatever contribution we could afford for the benefit of bringing a "wrong" (for use of a non-controversial word) to light, and at the same time serve to expose the "tip of the iceberg" publicly for all of Gibraltar to see!

    Is there no way round the 21 day limit?

  7. A number of lawyers do pro bono work. Have you thought that one of them might be able to help you? Is the "Red" in Rob anything to do with your finances? Are you short of a Bob or 2? LOL ROFL

  8. Anonymous at 22:05

    No I am not short of a bob or two, thank you for your concern :) I just do not like to waste my time or money :)

  9. Robert was hoping you would have covered The Media in this particular posting.

    The word waround town for example is that only ONE journalist from GBC is allowed at No6. I understand your not wanting to enter the debate for personal reasons, but I think the "Control of the MEdia" merits a mention.

  10. Charles Gomez told me that he was not going to present himself for election this year because of the effect that his candidacy had on his legal business last time round and he has a family to maintain. This is a big loss to Gibraltar because he is the only guy around with anything serious and new to say.

  11. The right to (a) peaceful freedom of assembly and (b) freedom of speech are fundamental rights in a democratic society. These rights belong to all people, not just to the majority, the politicians or to those advocating views pleasing to those in power. Perhaps it is also time to take to the streets in Gibraltar in peaceful protest.

  12. It seems that you are not prepared to put your money where you mouth is. If thats the case what recourse do the rest of us have if, you who are able, do not want to sustain your argument with action. I am disappointed I would have expected a more vigorous approach and a less tame and lame excuse.

  13. Anonymous at 23:13

    Losing an income of £15,000 a year as a member of the FSC is not putting my money where my mouth is? Take a running jump ...

  14. Any protest, peaceful or other is normally rallied by momentum on an issue or issues. Momentum is gathered by a strong sense of feeling, which is a result of unrest on matters affecting society. In the past these relate to issues like high unemployment, high taxes, social inequalities, etc etc etc, all of which require a mass or volume of people coming together for a cause.
    It ain't gonna happen because there is no major issue of concern that has the momentum and string sense of feeling that can bring about this "taking to the streets" that you ask of us.
    Again we have the makings of a GSLP coup to create what is not there in the hope that they may dream up an issue to have us take to the streets and moan and groan about our dismal economy, or high unemployment, or lack of freedom. Change you can trust. PLC

    It is the courage of people like Robert and serious pressure groups that have actually lead to change, the reforms proposed are only the beginning. Well done Robert.

  15. PLC

    I agree there is no burning issue to lead to street protests.

  16. I read your blog with interest and my comments were not meant to inflame and there is obviously no need for a running jump....I was merely pointing out that what hope do the rest of us have if you cannot fight this battle? What hope would I have, as a lay person, to obtain any information if I am merely brushed aside? What legal recourse do I have? How can I afford a lawyer to fight my corner? Unfortunately we rely on the able to tackle this issue. In the mean time we have to wait that someone else takes up the challenge.

  17. Anonymous at 23:34

    It was meant light heartedly but yes you are right, that is precisely why we need proper fair and independent systems in place with cheap recourse ... it should not be difficult in a small place like Gibraltar. The point is that politicians do not want to do it ...

  18. Robert, fornsomeone who must earn in excess of £100K per annum, loosing £15K per annum for attending meetings of the FSC is hardly putting your money where your mount is. Who appointed you to the FSC in the first place, was it your cousin Peter? And whom took your place in the FSC? hardly a loss of £15K to the firm isn't it? I agree with an earlier commentator you have shown yourself for what you really are haven't you, one lame duck! Firstly you decide to not stand for election because the parties are now talking about you really think we are all that stupid? You know exactly why you have dropped out, be honest with yourself and us. You appear to take us for greater fools than PRC might. Now, the excuse that the 21 days are up and you don't want to waste more time and mine to get a copy of the letter. Come on man get real. You have let many of us who were counting on you down and you have show us that you are just like the others. By the way, I am not a GSD or GSLP or PDP supporter, in was a RV CIR supporter. Eres una.....

    Mary Connor

  19. Marie Connor

    Whatever ... its a view :)

    At least I have the courage to criticise in my own name. I refuse to insult the gay community like you do ... most of them are braver than you ...

  20. Yes... but it must be done by those knowledgeable and in a position to do something about it. This important issue should not become an academic point but rather a pressing issue that only persons similar in your position should take up as a group. Lawyers are best equipped to take up the challenge. How it can be financed I wouldn't know! However I suspect that in your case disclosure is being essentially prevented by another group of lawyers on the Government's side. So I see this as a legal issue that can only be handled by lawyers. I suspect its not that simple, but then again I am not a lawyer!

  21. Dear Robert,

    I respect the fact that you are not willing to spend either money or time on obtaining a copy of the letter sumitted to the FSC.

    There is however one worrying aspect of such a decision, that is if you as a lawyer are not willing to spend the money/time on obtaining a document in which you are legally entitled to.

    Imagine what the normal layman who experiences injustice in some from or another and is expected to undertake a legal challenge against the Government. An absolute impossiblity.

    Take for example the case of Dr Rassa, Joanna Hernandez who took the Government to court. Eventually after exhausting significant private funds they had no choice but to submit.

    The Government is an instituition with a significant amount of legal resources and the ability to adjurn, delay court hearings, and play with the legal system not to mention finances.

    In a nutshell it appears that there is no such thing as justice nowadays.

    The amount of justice one is entitled to, appears to be directly proportional to the size of ones finances.

    Do you agree on such a view?

  22. Robert, Have you made an official complaint to the Ombudsman? Surely that independent office should be able to help out.
    There's also the Citizen's Advise Bureau. I would try them too.
    Perhaps if you approached this in a public way, they would have to address your concerns or fear losing credibility.

    Anna Conda

  23. Robert & Charles

    I am not going into the ins and outs of Roberts article on freedom of information and data protection because I am not a lawyer and therefore unable to determine the “what’s in it for me factor”.

    I do, however, find the correlation that you both make between what is happening in the Middle East, North Africa, Greece, Spain and Gibraltar rather baffling. The people of the Middle East and North Africa have rebelled against tyrannical regimes; for Charles to suggest that we have the same problem in Gibraltar is stretching the imagination somewhat.

    The turmoil in Greece is the result of the massive cuts imposed on them by the lending institutions, the IMF and the EU that have had to bail it out because they are unable to repay the massive debt incurred as the result of their squandering.

    The 15-M peaceful demonstrations in Spain by “Los Indignados” is a true protest against their current democratic model, however, I have not heard any spokesman/theorist proposing an alternative economic model. It is a protest demanding political change hoping that this change will miraculously produce the jobs that they feel they have a right to.

    I must admit, there is a correlation between the economic woes of Greece, Spain and, why not, Ireland, which is that during the time that they were borrowing excessively they were not expanding their manufacturing base but instead indulging in an unsustainable construction boom. Add to that the extravagant benefits enjoyed by the unemployed and the pensioners and the cost of the expansion of the public sector and you have economies destined for an eventual crash landing.

    To compare the political instability in the Middle East and North Africa and the state of the economies of Greece, Ireland and Spain with ours beggars belief. Every country has the government that it deserves. If our choice is limited to three parties it is simply because nobody else has cared enough to dedicate the time and effort required to make an impression on the electorate. If, as it appears, dedicated people are so hard to find, how are we expected to muster a group of visionaries with “Revolutionary ideas” for debate and development.

  24. Dennis Almeida

    I neither make the comparison that you allude to nor is any statement that I make made in the sense that you use it in your comment.

  25. Robert, read the last sentence of your article.

  26. Charles Gomez.23 May 2011 at 17:42

    The notion of a "revolution of ideas" is my personal suggestion for getting out of the current system which I believe to be stale and based on a noxious cocktail of hypocrisy, political correctness, mercenary capitalism ("the unacceptable face of capitalism") and profound cynicism. This is the system which I think prevails in the West not just Gibraltar so there is no need for you to get too agitated Denis! :)Seriously though I do think that every so often every system needs a major re-adjustment and one is long overdue in Europe including Gibraltar. My complaint is not that we only have 3 parties but that in reality the 3 parties stand for the same obsolete ideas. PS don't put words in Robert's moujt; he does n't like it.

  27. Dennis Almeida

    Precisely read it, first I clearly state the situatuion has not been reached and secondly in context (and very purposely) I do not suggest that the reasons in Gibraltar for any reaction might or will be the same reasons as elsewhere. They will clearly not be so as you point out in your comment.

  28. OK Robert I concede. I give up. I surrender. May I humbly request that you read your own article from head to toe and if, after that, you find any relevance between the main thrust of the article and the final paragraph you are a better man than I am Gunga Din.

  29. Charles, that is fine by me, everyone is entitled to his own opinion.

  30. Without wanting to put a spanner in the works, and belittle the bigger picture that some of you are referring to, I would like to continue highlighting the fact that the elusive letter remains unanswered.

    I think it’s unfortunate that good governance should be tainted by Machiavellian designs by those behind closed doors. Honest and decent citizens that I have spoken too concur that this is a serious matter that should be contested at the highest level, in the public domain and dare I say at the Bar Council level. This is a legal issue that ought to be clarified for the public good and in the public’s interest. This is no longer your personal issue. By bringing it out into the public domain you have raised a serious issue and you should not, in my humble opinion, now hide behind the assertion that because they have refused to answer that you are vindicated.

    The ordinary man in the street continues without recourse, unable to fight the good fight without pouring his worldly possessions into a futile battle. Unfortunately it reminds me of the biblical story of David and Goliath, only for David to have his hand tied behind his back and with no sling in sight.

    Legal issues can only be handled by lawyers and this is clearly a case of lawyers with a case in point initiating a legal case against Government and its own “band” (for want of a better word) of lawyers.

    My hope is that this is clarified and resolved sooner rather than later.

  31. Anonymous at 20:55

    If the letter is produced to me it may well show a different picture that others may need to be worried about ... all possibilities are should not be discarded ... I have an open mind despite what past facts presently point to.

  32. Are you saying that there is a downside to disclosure? in what way should others be worried?


  33. Anonymous at 21:09

    There are two sides to every game. In this one on one side we have the Chief Minister and on the other side we have the Chairman and Chief Executive of the FSC. I did not write such a long resignation letter for no reason!

    El que tiene cola de paja no se acerca al fuego ...

  34. I am now more confused. Are you saying that either of them have issues to hide? Or that you have issues that you prefer remain under wraps.

    No matter!

    I was rather hoping that the debate that you brought to the forum was that information cannot be disclosed for legal reasons and that that the Data Protection Act does not provide us with the provision, given the correct arguments,to request personal information, that is being written about us.

    I'm sure that many of us have always been under the illusion that one can obtain personal information. The fine line between DPA and the non existence of a Freedom of Information Act is now confusing and leaves me deflated just to think about it.

    I suspect that this issue will disipate and that the legal merits will just be brushed aside.

    I just hope not.

  35. Anonymous at 21:27

    I want to get to the bottom of what happened and see who, if anyone, manipulated information leading to my resignation that is now being retained from me. Then let each person playing the game take their own decisions on how the facts impact on them.

    The excuse given to me by the Commissioner is the use of an exemption that in my view is inapplicable. The point that I make is that if objectively there is no perception of independence the system is inherently flawed. Persons asking for disclosure of personal data then have to resort to using up time and money in courts to achieve what is their legal right: access to personal data, a right that should be enforceable cheaply and quickly.

    Freedom of Information essentially covers disclosure of information other than information that is personal data, which is disclosable (supposedly) under the Data Protection Act.

  36. Robin Hood Says:

    RV, I have just finished watching a very interesting program on BBC 2 called ‘all watched over by machines’. If you did not get a chance to see it you might be interested in following it up on BBC I-Player, when it launches. Its worth watching it till the very end. There are some very revealing issues which to my mind cast some very serious shadows to a possible comparable situation which we may be facing right here in Gibraltar. It would be interesting to get your views or that of other fellow bloggers who might have seen it and perhaps get some reaction as to whether they think there are comparisons between the issues brought up in the program and Gibraltar, particularly as I believe it is pertinent to the current article you have posted.

  37. I too hope that this matter doesn't simply fall by the wayside.

    Interesting to note that all those fanatical GSD supporters suddenly have nothing to say.

  38. Dennis Almeida


    I thought you would be interested in the below Leader that has appeared in today's Independent, it goes some way to explaining the points that Charles and I make:


    "None of them is starving. All of them have the vote. Until three years ago, many of them were beneficiaries, thanks to the Socialist Party, of some of the most bounteous welfare programmes in southern Europe. But the unforeseen eruption of a huge movement of protest among the youth of Spain, completely overshadowing this week's general election, should set alarm bells ringing across Europe.


    The harsh austerity programmes imposed by the European Central Bank as the cost of bailout risks creating a wave of fury and frustration as hard to placate as that which has changed the face and the destiny of nations on the other side of the Mediterranean.


    Like the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia and Egypt, it seems amorphous and lacking in clear leadership, it owes little or nothing to existing political parties or movements, and it cuts across the grain of society: corrupt politicians, nuclear power plants and complacent trade unions are among the targets of protesters' anger. It is a cry of rage from a generation that, with unemployment at 45 per cent for Spanish 16- to 29-year-olds, finds it is required to pay the heaviest costs of a crisis for which it bears no responsibility.


    In this sense it resembles the protests by the mass of disempowered Arabs, terminally disgusted at being excluded from all society's boons and being made to understand that it has no future. The ugly fact that Spain's youth have grasped is that the path of recovery from the sovereign debt crisis on which their nation, like Greece, Ireland and Portugal, has embarked shows no sign of making their lives significantly better in the foreseeable future.


    In fact the opposite is true: the cuts demanded by the European Central Bank make the recession worse, causing tax revenue to plummet further and increasing the deficit. It is a vicious circle from which there is no obvious escape. Far from seeing green shoots or a promised land, all the politicians can promise, if they are honest, is a vale of tears. Like the protesting Arabs, Spain's youth feel that those in charge of their destiny are far beyond their reach. It is time Europe's mandarins recognised the warnings and cut them some slack

  39. RV it is amusing to see GSD supporters spinning such comments (12:46) on Facebook. Highlighting the fact that because of these "circumstances" we Gibraltarians should be grateful!!!

    Valiente equipo fuera serie este GSD!!


    Dennis Almeida
    This also goes some way to indicate what I mean:
    Guardian 2 leader 24 May 2011
    “Spain: Look forward in anger
    People are disillusioned with politics and politicians and there are hard times ahead

    The Guardian, Tuesday 24 May 2011
    This was a car crash in slow motion and many in Spain's ruling socialist party saw it coming. Their 20/20 vision didn't make the impact any less painful. On Sunday the socialist vote collapsed. They lost power in most cities and almost all of the 17 autonomous regions, their worst result in local elections in three decades.

    With a general election looming in less than a year, the party now faces the prospect of haemorrhaging votes to both right and left. Town halls and regional governments, which jointly account for half of all spending and most of the welfare state, will be in the hands of the rightwing Popular party. They will increase the pace of the spending cuts. But to the left also, the socialists are being shunned by the "indignant ones", the youth generation of protesters who have taken possession of squares and parks throughout Spain.

    How far is the prime minister, José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero, personally to blame? His first incarnation was Keynes-lite. Focused on the record unemployment, he set Spain on a course which would allow it to work its way out of trouble. Then came the credit crunch, and the markets started treating Germany and Spain very differently. With the great and the good to advise him – economists Joe Stiglitz and Paul Krugman – Zapatero announced a programme of gradual spending cuts.

    But then Greece happened, and Ireland was to follow. Spanish economists may despise the trader's acronym PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain) and with it the association with Europe's imploding periphery. But the pressure from the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, grew until Barack Obama himself was on the line. Zapatero performed a spectacular U-turn in May last year, cutting civil service pay by 5% and €6bn of investments. The rest is history. He has been unable since to persuade Spain that a brighter day will dawn. The country probably has less to reproach its prime minister for than either Germany or the eurozone. Unable to devalue his currency, Zapatero was trapped. But that is not how voters saw it on Sunday.

    Disenchantment with mainstream politics is growing – one in 25 voters spoiled their ballot papers, although 66% of an angry electorate turned out. Having drowned out the socialists, the protest movement of Puerta del Sol and dozens of other city squares will have a harder time with the right in power. But they should stay put until they produce a coherent set of demands. The movement should neither be co-opted nor ignored. The fact that such debate is happening in squares, rather than parliaments, only shows how wide the gap between established politics and people's lives has grown.”

  41. I understand that the Union Unite and the Government have broken negotiations as regarding to civil service reforms.

  42. Gibraltar has all the ingredients for a Banana Republic Dictatorship in the making.. No freedom of speech, surpression of information, excessive spending, a tender system that is non exsistant, the politcal elite getting richer, no accountability, arrogance and disdain towards the general population, the same clique in many Committees/special appointments, a constitution that provides for negligible government accountability, no recourse for the working class if they have been wronged by the establishment etc..... what next? Active supression of political activists, supression of the common man for making his opinion know, persecution? Dear me, one is afraid of speaking nowadays... many thanks llanito world for allowing the common man to be able to publish anonymously.... If all the above are not reasons for unrest then what are people waiting for?


  43. I agree with Asustao that Gib is close to a banana republic and I join him in thanking llanito world for bringing all these thins out in the open. I am intrigued that Charles Gomez should be advocating a revolution even though he says it is a revolution of ideas. I have finally sussed him out as a New Order type politician come out of the closet. will others follow?

  44. Completely agree with Asustao on every single point he makes.

    I think Gibraltar is at a cross roads now....all we need are for "valid" people who are able to, to step up

  45. Asustao you back none of your cliches with facts. It's typical GSLP. At no stage in our history have we had more self government through our new constitution, more human rights through our new cobstitution that according to the privy council goes further than the ECHR. Our pensioners are the envy of Europe, they pay no tax, free bus passes, el community car etc etc. The government is about to finish the first rental estate since Varyl Begg in the 1970s and the standard is magnificent. It has already built rental for our elderly. 100s of flats on co-ownership. The civil service here can afford to reject gold plated deals while their counterparts in the UK face redundancy and pay freezes. Now it's not parity it's parity PLUS. Did you know that out of the 300 graduates that came back last year none are registered as unemployed. Spending has allowed us to ride one of the largest world recessions ever and still our public debt as a percentage of GDP is the lowest in Europe. Come on be serious. It is a nonsense that anyone is suppressed. It is typical of the dirty politics you have been well known for over the last 10 Yrs. The kind of politics your leader introduced in the key and the New People.

  46. Anonymous at 21:11

    I took Asustao's comment as completely sarcastic ... there again I may be wrong ...

  47. You people now all applaud llanito world but 2 days ago you were weeping when your leader was getting a whipping and saying people should not be able to post anonymously, typical and predictable.

  48. Anon 2111h You really embarass yourself by posting the rubbish that you do. you come across as what you are - a person with no mind of his own who is quite happy to be fed GSD propaganda with no question.

    I can understand that you disagree, but how can you brush away everything you highlight without even considering that some might be in fact true. Are you inside everyone in Gibraltar?? Do you experience every single thing everyone els does?? The least you can do - and in so doing give yourself some credibility as a reasonable person instead of coming across as an agorrant empty vessel - is at least acknowledge that some things might not be "all right and hunky dory". What you can't do is brush away the "possibility" of the highlighted being true! In doing so you are insulting those people who may in fact have suffered some of the problems mentioned! You cannot pretend to know EVERY single experience EXPERIENCED by every Gibraltarian. And if you really think peole are not being "repressed" or similar, MAN ARE YOU in trouble! Well, se dice que los que viven mas felices son los tontos porque they are not fully aware of their surroundings! Please, if you are going to continue posting do so in aa forum more suited to your age group - let the adults get on with proper reasonable discussion where extremism, and obsessions have no place.

  49. Anon 21:11
    I totally agree that we in Gibraltar are very fortunate to have the standard of living we enjoy and that is thanks to Caruana that whilst being arrogant has really applied many social policies. Mid Habour project is a perfect example, ex-pats just cannot believe that those house are Govt rental, they believe they are luxury flats a Monaco style.... To complain about Gibraltar es clamar al cielo..... What we need to do is make sure we protect our hard work by not making too many big mistakes... This Govt has made mistakes but nothing compared to what they have achieved for ALL and we should be proud of that, because we the people also play a role in this success, never forget that only 30 years ago we needed Overseas Development Aid from the mother country. If Picardo is the future for the majority of electors so be it, but let's not underestimate the good work that has been done purely for political reasons, that is a dangerous game that we cannot afford to play, look what's happened to major countries in Europe, rival parties have due to their political interests brought down their own country, Spain being an example.

  50. Anon 2111

    "300 graduates that came back last year none are registered as unemployed."

    Do you know any of these graduates?? I do! Quite a few actually, and quite a few who came back a few years back.

    The fact that they are not "registered" as unemployed does not mean they are not. Many are, and the fortunate thingabout being back home in Gibraltar is that parents and family are helping them out whilst they try to find employment. If you were in touch you'd know that very few graduates (especially recent ones) register as unemployed for a variety of reasons.

    Also, of the many who came back and "are not registered as unemployed" you know what many of thenm are doing??? Despite Govt funding their education, many have had expectations quashed by this Govt's inability to provide employment for Gibraltarians. Some, medically qualified are delivering your takeaways to your door a few years after having graduated and spent time in the UK gaining experienmce through work. In exchange, Govt has flown in a less-experienced "graduate" from the UK to fill a role, despite the local having more "on the job experience" due to having worked for a few years in the field after uni!

    And this is just one case. There are countless others. But of course, if you dont want to hear the truth its very easy to disconnect from the REAL world and believe any Fantasy you are fed - Of course, gibraltar is the best most fortunate place in the whole wide world...frak, the world, the universe!

  51. "Empty Vessels Make The Most Noise"

    Culo paja al quien se le queme

  52. Como se esta poniendo el patio en este pre-elction period!

    Los del GSD ya estan acting en unison como si fuesen The Borg del Star Trek - all directed by one mind! Vamos, si son como el Borg, que ya hasta hablan igual que PRC himself, ya van por la calle recitando casi verbatim todos los Government Press Releases ROFL

    Its great fun to ask the drones algo en referencia to what they are preaching. De pronto se ponen a la defensiva y no te dan respuesta...claro que all they know is what they are told y fuera de eso se pierden! ROFL

    Mi pregunta..con esto del Sandy Bay re-sanding o como se diga. Minister Britto dijo con musha cascara en el NewWatch de que se trataba de "un experiment". Que guasa no! Cuanto habra costao "el experiment" al tax payer me pregunto??? En la escuela no le enseñaron lo tonto que es hacer experimentos cuando se sabe ya el end result sin necesidad de experimento! A lo mejo Britto no es llanito y no entiende como va lo del Levante..o como funcionan las mareas....deberia haber consultao con algun caleteñeo y asi nos hubiera ahorrao el dinero gastao en "el experiment". Tuvo guasa el gashon - el ni corto ni peresoso se refiero a to como "un experiment"..y si mal no recuerdo he even smirked as he said it..bueno tanto como smirk..que es del GSD y mas que smirk he probably chortles con eso de se del Upper Crust y to!

    Y el opposition...ha preguntao cuanto nos ha costao "el experiment"???

  53. Breaking news: GSLP to deliver a new PPB tomorrow night on GBC. It's a showing of new dynamic candidates with vision, youthfulness, seriousness and above all pedigree!
    We are to be honoured by the presence of non other that Joe Cortes, Norbert Borge, Albert Garcia and Lionel Perez.
    Change you can trust. PLC.

  54. Anon 22.33
    I also know some people that unfortunately are unemployed, and as you say for them everything is is understandable. However, we cannot because of that ignore the facts that Gibraltar is today a prosperous place compared to what we were only a couple of decades ago when we need funds from the UK to settle our bills, and were totally dependent on ISABELITA.... It is true that tons of particulary law graduates were promised jobs at law firms and due to the crisis they have had to stop taking on trainee lawyers... But that is life... What we cannot expect is government to employ every single Gibraltarian that comes back from UNI, we are already fortunate enough to have all our studies and accommodation paid for, again the only ones in Europe... That things are not pero ni Aquino ni in the US... Things are not what it used to be and things will get worse as we move forward as the western model is not exactly perfect...what's is the solution... We want everything a toda costa and politicians will try to give everything so long as they get into power... Even if is it to our longterm detriment.... Just look at ALL western countries....they are all more or less bankrupt.

  55. Al final el Chief Minister se ha comido el Civil Service Reform con papas el solito ROFL I only hope que el pobre tenmga un vasito de agua a mano pa que le sea mas leve el comerselo ROFL El Unite has withdrawn from negotiations after consulting with its members!

    El pobre del Chief...y eso que he put in the effort making a cameo at the John Mac Hall y to, donde thanks to GBC le vimos entrar con "mucha valentia" - como un toro - al meeting de los Civil Servants...

  56. Excuse my ignorance who is Albert Garcia ? Do you mean John Cortes ?

  57. Anon 23:03
    Y el colmo is that the civil service rejected the deal, and theyreally look after our money PLC, the whole world reducing Govt salaries and here we reject enhanced terms... Es que Somos.......

  58. Anon 2259

    Agree with you. Ahora, ni somos los peores ni tampoco los mejores. Tampoco podemos pretender que somos los mejores...que hay cada GSD activist que lo pinta como tal...y far from it - there is always room for improvement! The suggestion that there is apparently pone a algun GSD drone la defensiva!

    You're right, pero dejemonos de Law graduates...hay muchos otros graduates with other qualifications who only seek "work" y algunos ni eso! El "xenophobia" or whatever de algunos betting firms against Gibraltarians no ayuda, nor has Government's non-tackling of this issue, despite being well known and even admitted by HR departments of the various Gaming companies!

  59. What's all this "PLC" it meant to be PRC as in Caruana??? Me perdi! ROFL

  60. Anon 23.08
    Don't doubt that what you say is true... What should also happen is for Government to further incentivise private companies to take on more graduates.. Were I work we have 5 graduates and they are really good.. Very quickly they truly become an asset for the company, eso si tu the detriment of people of my age 50 ! But that's life....

  61. Anon 22:33


    Blind adherence to “statistics” could have dire consequences in my opinion, especially when those providing such figures might have vested interests.

    It is about time people start using common sense instead of relying so much on “information” that could very well have been tampered with or is simply incorrect.


  62. Means por Los Cojo....

  63. El de PLC...te vas a descubrir tu mismo! Si no usaras lo de PLC a diario outside the would be easier to remain anon! Solo te aconsejo!

    BTW, esto me recuerda a la bromita que Ghost (a quien ya no se le ve el pelo por aqui)tenia con LLW-RV. Por cierto Robert, no need to name, pero por curiosidad, despues de tanto teasing por su parte, did you ever find out who Ghost was?? Yo siempre pense que era mujer porque le gustaba Corona o "coronitas" como decia..

  64. Guys or Girls there is very little substance to the points you make. It's not even interesting to argue with you . It's like reading some dumbed down monologue delivered from the pages of the New People. It will take far more than Picardo's fawning manner and unctuous smile on gbc to win you the election. Put some meat to the bone please.

  65. (LG part 1)

    Anon 21:15:

    Your sweeping fanatical generalisation does you or your party no favours. I set out the following on my last post on the blog (back in 15 May 2011 18:19 in ‘Picardo’s GSLP, a new dawn in Gibraltar’s politics?’)

    “Robert let me just say that as a GSLP supporter I do not believe that you have “sold out” nor do I believe that you have compromised your credibility, integrity and beliefs by not standing for the upcoming election. Ever since you began running this blog and revealed your true identity as its moderator you made it known throughout that the intention behind each of your pieces was never driven by any political affiliation, any effort to get back at Dear Cousin Peter as GSD supporters used to frequently state, or at this juncture to now somehow “smear” Fabian by simply pointing out and explaining how his reference to the Necora case wasn’t accurate for the reasons you have already set out.”

    I have always maintained that LW is an excellent forum of discussion which allows individuals like myself to express their views and opinion anonymously without any fear or worry (for whatever reason). I held this view two days ago, two weeks ago, two months ago, etc.

    I’m ALL for facts and issues being discussed in the open, yes, even Fabian’s pending cases, etc. I believe that people should be able to form their own opinions on whom they should vote for based on the facts and quality of each individual candidate being brought to the table by each party. NOT on the rumour mills and the ugly and disappointing scaremongering being propagated by different party fanatics (from every part of the political spectrum).

    Personally, although I do have some doubts about Fabian based on what I have read (not on what I’ve heard), I have formed the opinion that of the two I would at this point rather vote for Fabian as opposed to Peter. This is because even though I may have some doubts about Fabian, the alternative is continuing to vote for a despot in Peter. A cunning and intelligent man who has achieved a great number of things for Gibraltar, particularly during the first 12 years as the CM, but one who has become too complacent in his role as our leader and has instead placed an increasing emphasis on giving out favours to his chosen flock at the detriment of others. I don’t want to give specific examples that would implicate anyone but I imagine one wouldn’t have to ask around too much to find examples of individuals being “inserted” into desirable occupations and positions around Gibraltar, particularly during this last electoral term.

    I did not vote for a king who would walk above us mere mortals and do whatever he may genuinely believe is best for Gibraltar in practically every governmental capacity, micromanaging on such a ridiculous scale that he doesn’t bother delegating the decision of what colour the walls of a given government department should be to one of his token ministers.

    I did not vote for a leader who could claim on the news to have no involvement in a matter such as Robert’s dismissal from the FSC, only for there to be potential proof (quite probable in my opinion) of his direct involvement in the form of his letter to the FSC which he has taken great steps to keep hidden not only from Robert, but also from Gibraltar as a whole. There are more examples than this that come to mind, but again, it’s hard to get into them without either implicating someone or raising a potentially libellous matter (I'm sure it would not be published here in any event as it would be unfair to Robert).


  66. (LG part two)

    Fabian and the GSLP this time around are proposing a more cabinet-driven style of government. THAT is what I would like to vote for, a government in which each of the respective ministers are given a real and tangible role in the day to day running of things, so that they are able to make decisions of their own accord without being unduly restrained or tethered by their “lord and master”. I don’t want to vote for people based on the charming smile they may provide in a tiny box within an election manifesto (incidentally, the GSD’s was leaps and bounds better than the GSLP’s last time round), I want to know I’m giving my votes to independent, intelligent and driven individuals who are able to make positive initiatives of their own accord.

    If the GSLP fails to deliver than we as a people reserve the right to vote for another party when the elections come round again, but as it stands, we do not have to put up and accept what we have now just because the alternative is untested and some doubts may exist. There will always be doubts in every election; each person just has to weigh the pros and cons of the facts at hand whilst taking into consideration their own circumstances.


  67. es que no paras kaelan, how you can you comlain on the one hand about blind adherence to statistics but then when i infomrmed you that the statistice about crime could be influenced by other factors your reply was "the statistics are there for all to see"

    come on man !!

  68. Robert, my apologies, I appreciate that you weren't dismissed from your position within the FSC, but that you instead resigned because of the circumstances at the time.

    It was poor choice of words on my part.


  69. LG

    Thank you, no offence taken but I was not dismissed. I resigned for the reasonsexplained n my letter. The issue is how the discussion on "political involvement" was started, when (a) during my entire membership no rules or terms of engagement prohibited involvement (b)I had frequently written letters on political matters to the Chronicle, without complaint (c) I was an active participant in the NO Campaign in the Constitution Referendum and in fact the Chairman of the "NO" campaign, without objection or complaint (c) I had been writng my blog for months without complaint, save that I was asked by and agreed with the Chairman of the FSC not to make direct references to the FSC, I did so out of courtesyand to retain my ability to continue writng my blog, which the Chairman made no attempt at stopping me doing.

    My question is what changed in Septmeber 2010 that led to the "polical involvement" debate and subsequently to my reignation. Was it the CM's letter? If it was the CM's letter, would it be accurate for the CM to have said on GBC words to the effect that he had had no input into my resignation?

    The other question that remains is, if the FSC are to have a policy on this issue what is it and how does it impact on the other present local FSC members? Do none of them fall foul of the policy and if not is the policy fair and objective and being applied fairly and objectively?

    LG thank you for the opportunity to explain myself. In the meantime the CM's letter remains a secret.

  70. Anon 10:11

    Because the crime statistics merely serve to "back up" what everyone is already aware of.

    When statistics, like for example certain figures provided by the GHA board contradict (in my opinion) general consensus then there is a need to question them.

    Additionally please take note of the wording “Blind adherence, as I never suggested that they should not be adhered to but rather that such statistics should be questioned when need be.

    Blind adherence to anything could prove perilous, or so I believe.

    I hope I have now made myself clear. :)


  71. so then you agree that crime statistics can be influenced by factros such as greater propensity to charge with offences or not kaelan??

  72. Anonymous 20:35 24th May..... Zimbabwe, Uganda, Rwanda, Congo, Sudan, Angola, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Palestine, Libya, etc... all former Colonial territories... Gibraltar heading the same way??
    Don't be blinded by blind allegiance... open you eyes and dig a bit deeper you might not like what you find!!!

  73. anon 17:23 maybe not as bad as those colonial territories, but maybe more like the US, ridden in debt, because of having lived beyond its means for too long.

    You are right but you are wrong. Right for your reasons for not wanting to vote for PC but was if the cases concerning FP go wrong while being CM, it could be bad for GIB, much more so than recent scandals, which have been bad enough. You are right that there will be 'doubts' but i do not feel reasured.

  74. Anon 15:50

    It could be or it could NOT be, very much depends on your perspective.

    Either way what is the point you are trying to make? :)


  75. Robert, thanks for taking the time out to write that clarification.

    Anon 21:52, I appreciate that you may genuinely think that’s the case (and it’s a valid opinion to have), the remaining option based on what you are saying would be to vote for the PDP? (forgive me if I’m being presumptuous) Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I respect Mr Azopardi and the party as a whole and I wish them all the best in the upcoming election.

    Personally I believe that based on what I have read Fabian’s Bar Disciplinary Matters will amount to nothing and that his role in providing evidence in the ongoing cases will not have any long-term (or short term) ramifications on him or Gibraltar. Sure it’s called into question his ability to perceive potential problems in a professional capacity during his legal career, from which inferences can be drawn on his potential ability to perceive problems as a leader, but I maintain that for the reasons I set out in my earlier post that he and more importantly the GSLP as a whole are the party for whom I will in all likelihood be voting for when the time comes to cast my vote.


  76. LG wake up. If Fabian becomes Chief Minister and is subpoenad to give evidence in the Blue Prime case in Spain it will be a disaster. Remember that the chief minister of Gibraltar does not have the sort of immunity that the prime minister of a sovereign country has, so none of the diplomatic niceties for Witness Picardo. In fact in Spain the Chief Minister of Gibraltar ranks as a mayor and we all know what they do to mayors in Spain. But if Chief Min Picardo comes in for the sort of judicial criticism in the Audiencia Nacional that he came in for in the English High court, it will be a catastrphe and Gibraltar will be well and truly humiliated. I am not sure that it will do Gibraltar's name very much good if we all have to say that like the English High court judge the magistrates in Madrid got it wrong. There are many other dangerous consequences to a Gibraltarian chief Minister having to give evidence in what appears to be a massive fraud ,the shares in question accounted for E600,000,000 out of the Banco Popular capital.

  77. Anon 8:03, I am perfectly awake and I’ve had my breakfast too thank you for checking. :)

    I do understand your argument, but again, based on what I have read I’m inclinded to agree with others as to their negative opinion in respect of the often cited English High Court judge and his typically negative attitude in respect of these matters.

    Again, I do not feel that Fabian being called to provide evidence and assist in investigations about a given case will have any serious ramifications for Gibraltar as a whole (this is my genuine belief) and again for the reasons I set out above the prospect of Fabian potentially being mocked by Spanish press (as most Spanish news media are want to do with anything Gibraltarian anyway) I do not feel that voting for Fabian and his cabinet driven government would be a bigger risk to me as a Gibraltarian voter in comparison to the alternative in Peter who has all of the proven failings I have set out above.

  78. Anon 8:03, I am perfectly awake and I’ve had my breakfast too thank you for checking : )

    I do see what you’re saying, but again, based on what I have read I’m inclined to agree with others as to their negative opinion in respect of the often cited English High Court judge and his typically negative attitude in respect of these matters.

    Again, I do not feel that Fabian being called to provide evidence and assist in investigations about a given case will have any serious ramifications for Gibraltar as a whole (this is my genuine belief) and again for the reasons I set out above the prospect of Fabian potentially being mocked by Spanish press (as most Spanish news media are want to do with anything Gibraltarian anyway) I do not feel that voting for Fabian and his cabinet driven government would be a bigger risk to me as a voting Gibraltarian voter in comparison to the alternative in Peter who has all of the proven failings I have set out above.


  79. LG you are obviously a person who is not afraid of taking risks. You say that you are "inclinded to agree with others as to their negative opinion in respect of the often cited English High Court judge and his typically negative attitude in respect of these matters". Who has a negative opinion of the English High court Judge who slated Piqui? Most litigants and witnesses who lose cases or are criticised by judges develop an antipathy to them but that does not absolve the party criticised, here Picardo, from having to explain himself. On what matters does the judge have a negative attitude? The judge made certain findings which showed Picardo in a negative light - which of those findings does Mr. P dispute? As an intelligent early riser LG surely you should be asking yourself and FP these questions.

  80. Anon 11:09, thank you for your comment (and generously copy & pasting one of my typos, solid evidence perhaps that I wasn’t wide awake? ;). I feel that I have set out my reasons for what I personally believe is the best way forwards for Gibraltar as a whole.

    I appreciate that you may interpret the facts as they have been presented by both sides differently, and that you will be voting for another party. If you have made an informed decision and come to that conclusion whilst taking into account your personal circumstances, then I respect your decision entirely.

    As I set out within my initial post in this blog piece, I can not bring myself to vote for Peter (and the GSD as a whole) for the reasons I set out therein, and although I may have some doubts about Fabian, I maintain that his vision of a cabinet driven government consisting of somewhat “independent minded” candidates is what I would like to vote for in the future.


  81. The new GSLP candidates are top class. Messieurs Garcia, Santos, Cortes, Perez, and Mrs. Guerrero are excellent choices and a match for the GSD candidates many of whom are excellent. My concern is still Fabian Picardo. I really cannot see that he should aspire to the top post until Blue Prime etc are sorted out. When it is all done and dusted then I would have absolutely no problem voting for Fabian but at the momnent I do not think it is wise and I would urge my good friend Fabian to consult with the experienced people around him like James Levy QC and Joe Bossano or Gilbert Licudi who will surely advise him that now is not his time but he is young and if the Blue Prime case is solved he would make a good candidate. YOU KNOW WHO <:)))))>>><

  82. last night Fabian showed what this election really is about. Not the mud-slinging match or the vote-buying spending spree of the GSD, but about the real issues facing real Gibraltarians in their daily lives.
    The electorate can see through the rumours and the scaremongering and all the pretence and knows its time to move on.
    The GSLP is ready and its support is ever on the increase. For many of us the decision is made, whatever the GSD come up with, its only a question of time and for PRC to call an election.

    Anna Conda

  83. If the GSLP don't win it this time it will cast a great shadow over the ability of the opposition and their performance in the last 16 years. It might also suggest that the GSD continues to create a more prosperous and stable Gibraltar. Afterall it is exactly this that we so desperately required after the dismall and catastrophic 8 years under the GSLP, something which amazingly Picardo refers to as the last leap of economic growth Gibraltar has seen. This amongst other versions of reality that Picardo chooses to present to us is worrying and hardly a good start. Begs to question "change you can trust" when someone chooses to re-write history to suit.

  84. ANON 18:40: taking into consideration everything set out in LG's first comment, it makes me wonder how the GSD can have the cheek to use "Keep trusting" as their party tagline.

  85. That all depends on whether what LG says is of any relevance anon 19:02.
    one would assume that if you believe in what the GSD has achieved which is there to be seen, the slogan keep trusting is obvious and real.
    You see in most other democratic countries if there is near no unemployment, low taxes, growth in the economy, respect, stability, political maturity and social tolerance you will find that the electorate will keep trusting. Funny how that works. Asking people to trust in change is somewhat ridiculous given the GSLPs history and it's current issues surrounding it's leader.

  86. I have always hoped, that Marie Lou Guerrero would one day enter politics.
    Its people like Marie Lou, whom I believe could provide a difference politically.

    Perhaps such a lady is the ideal candidate to become Minister For Health, a ministry desperate for effective management.

    Whats your opinion Robert?

  87. I agree Marilou is an ideal candidate but her talents lie with businesses, especially the small business, that collectively contributes in a big way to the community providing services for locals and tourists alike, jobs and funds for the Government's coffers, all this despite the lack of incentives available for them.

    One would imagine Dr Norbert Borge would make a much better candidate for the GHA. It makes sense for a doctor of such repute to head the policy-making team of our health service.

    However, this will all depend on the individuals themselves and whether they are putting their name forwards for selection, or just endorsing the party.

    At this point, only ex-headmaster and president of the GTA Joe Cortes, has publicly expressed a wish to put his name forward. Speaking of which, another excellent candidate for the line-up.

    Anna Conda

  88. According to the press release issued by Hassans, Nigel Feetham and Peter Montegriffo are happy and satisfied that Fabian has acted entirely professionally and properly at all times and they expect a satisfactory resolution.

    Does the GSD not agree with this?

  89. Dear bloggers,

    I thought we were meant to discuss RV's article and current news. Lets Hope RV provides us with another intersting topic, perhaps GSLP's lineup for the next election!!

  90. I agree anon @ 00:16, but perhaps we should also discuss the GSD's lineup too, that should also prove interesting.

  91. When I read some these comments I get goose bumps, just to think that sensible people can be so easily hoodwinked into believing that IF GSLP enter Government that everything will just be OK. I believe that it does happen that it will only be a matter of time when we see the same kind of favours, cronyism, etc that has be going on over the years with successive governments.

    To suggest that a more accountable government with ministers taking more responsibility is a positive thing, I think, is tantamount to anarchy. It takes a strong leader to take a team forward and see projects through whilst those around are intent of making the team's efforts impossible. Oh! yes I forgot, there will always be one far more articulate and able than the others.

  92. I see, so now that Nigel & Peter M have agreed Fabian has not acted improperly, you're all going to start attacking his leadership style.

    I wonder, is there a list of attackable faults? what will the next one be when leadership skills is exhausted? I can't wait! LOLOL

  93. I am Cucumberbear and I am back again... My wife has just handed me a copy of Friday's edition of Panorama..... The main headline and subsequent article are entitled "Errors of judgement cost Gibraltar millions" It seems that my commentaries on the conduct of the GSD and the attitude of the CM in particular are SPOT ON. Now... From the Gib Gov Website: "Government's Position on Picardo's attempts to defend himself" It is just shameful for an elected government to sink as low as this and I will explain why:~ It says there are 3 matters before the Bar Disciplinary Committee. 1st. "Complaints by Michael Feetham and Unite." These have been sorted I understand. 2nd. The Noble Case. "Fabian Picardo's client is to stand trial in the UK for FRAUD." Who committed the fraud, the lawyer or his client ? It is obvious, screaming at you it is, that it is the client who committed the fraud. The envisaged civil claim by the trustees regarding the matterin which tens of millions of pounds were lost. Who lost the money ? The Trustees ? No. The Lawyer ? No. The managers / administrators of the fund ? Yes. 3.... now "the Blueprime case....." "fronted" WHAT does fronted mean ? what exactly does it mean ? I will tell you.... Fronting an issue means underwriting it either by Offer, Offer for Sale, Offer for Sale by Tender, By Introduction, By Placing or By Private Placing in which the shares or stock is made available to the public for the first time. Thereafter they are listed on a Stock Exchange and may be freely traded by everybody. Can a lawyer be the underwriter for an issue ? No. A lawyer is a lawyer and not an institution. Only an institution such as a Merchant Bank, A Finance House, A Commercial Bank, or an Issuing House can carry out a flotation and then NOT ALONE. Flotations are underwritten by groups of institutions in order tho share the risk in the event that the issue is not succesful they UNDERTAKE and GUARANTEE to absorb whatever proportion of the issue remains UNSUBSCRIBED, meaning UNSOLD. Can a lawyer do this ? NO. Can a firm of lawyers do this ? NO. Would a group of underwriters admit a Law Firm to participate in a flotation by underwriting the issue ? NO. So why is the GSD telling the electorate what it does ? Because the electorate takes Government pronouncements on trust, as gospel. But the shocking truth is the electorate should wake up and see things for what they are, and not for what they are OFFICIALY TOLD. If this were not serious enough the CM is the Minister of Finance. He must consider all of us to be stupid and unable to get to the truth and sort out what's what. I will proceed to take my gloves off.... from now on its bare knuckles.

  94. I am Cucumber bear again... Now I will explain to you all something further so you have a proper grasp of the previous... The Minister of Finance seems unaware of a lot of things he should be aware of, and relevant to the previous public explanation that I have delivered. Issuing Houses and Underwriters of Share Issues (Flotations or Floats for short) often have to absorb that proprtion of an issue that is not taken up by the public that they then (when the opportunity arises) sell to the market. Conversely when an issue is very successfdul it is said to be oversubscribed (meaning that for each applicant for stock there is not enough to go round and they are allocated smaller parcels called "Allotments"). In these circumstances the underwriters (who have the responsibility of organising a market and preserving order flow = liquidity, and additionally providing transparency, find they cannot satisfy buy orders from clients as there is little or no stock available. They then resort to strategies in order to be able to continue trading. A few years ago, the London Stock Market opened as usual and suddenly the FTSE Index (which is comprised of a basket of Blue Chip Shares) suddenly begins to plummet. Very floor in sight...and no apparent reason... For 45 minutes it continues to plunge, bringing down the FTSE 250 index and the FTSE 350 index and all the second line shares as well. Suddenly there is an announcement... "The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, is suspected of having been involved in an accident". The aircraft in which he was flying to the Netherlands has lost contact with air control. We fear the worst. It is thought his plane may have crashed in the English Channel. Stay tuned for further news. Suddenly... The Index falls 138 points and stops dead. At that moment the turnover declared was 6 times the normal daily turnover but recorded in less than one hour. AQnd suddenly the index begins to go up and ends up where it started, as if nothing had happened. 5 minutes later, there is another announcement, explaining it was only a rumour. Now, think about this.. WHO created the rumour ? The public ? NO. THe lawyers ? NO. The Law Firms ? NO. The instutions with hidden vested interest in re acquiring stock to be able to carry on their business of supplying the buyers ? YES. Then in the Blueprime case, it shows a firm of lawyers or one single lawyer cannot manipulate the price. The public cannot manipulate the price. When the price is manipulated to spike upwards or downwards and the turnover is massive the conclusion is that it is INTERNALLY DRIVEN. The CM, being the Minister of Finance, should know this basic fact about the operation of markets and in particular regard to new stock being floated. He should not cast aspersions upon a political colleague and try to confuse the public as a diversion from the main political argument, and, to add insult to injury, at our expense, the Gibraltarians.

  95. Now here I am again. I am Cucumberbear..

    I walk about and make a point of stopping to chat with as many of my fellow Gibraltarians as possible, because I will tell you from the bottom of my heart there is no place on earth like our beloved rock and our people.

    In the course of these peregrinations I get to hear a lot. Right across the specrtum of the general public the common denominator is fear of speaking up in public lest it upsets the CM.

    Now the latest topic is the free buses.

    Innumerable people are making comments about this pre election stunt to try to curry sympathy with the electorate. But as I have said before, the electorate is not stupid. The electorate at grass roots level has common sense.

    The general consensus developing is the idea that free buses are an unfair project.

    There are several viewpoints pointing towards the idea being unacceptable.

    The first gripe is that the Govt has persistently refused to grant other bus operators fair competition, denying routes, denying stops and denying garaging.

    The Govt., the public has noted has done everything in its power to drive commercially competitive bus operators into the ground, in a relentless crush to bankruptcy despite promises made YEARS ago.

    Abuses like these do not go unnoticed.

    The second set of commentaries heard by passengers on the Govt sponsored bus routes is that it is all very well and good for the Govt to be generous but after all it is all at the expense of the public who in the end result are footing the bill for this sudden unbridled generosity.

    Many tell me it is a gift too far.

    I am being told that in all fairness if the Govt wanted to help it could have a better policy, such that the commercial operators could at least compete and get a decent return on their not insignificant capital investment.

    The idea mooted is a token annual subscriptiuon fee for all residents on a reduced basis.

    Then for visitors a levy of the full fare.

    Then for those over 60 and schollchildren free.

    This is universally hardening into what would be percieved as a fair and just arrangement.

    This brings me to the topic of the CM's car.

    This is also discussed by the public and not in favourable terms, I may add.

    People recall past CMs (aka Sir Joshua Hassan) who were true representatives of the people who elected them, who took time to make themselves available publicly to every single Gibraltarian on walkabouts in and around Main Street. It brought the people closer to leaders and leaders closer to the electorate.

    I remember Sir Joshua walking down Main Street with His Excellency the Governor, only to interrupt him by stopping to talk to the City Council man who daily washed Main Street down with a hosepipe..and the Governor patiently waiting aside until the dialogue had ended.

    But our current CM sees himself above such action. His conduct vis a vis the ordinary man in the street who is not part of his selected clique whom he IGNORES is noted by the electorate.

    Someone said to me that this car that the CM acquired is not acceptable, when it took a chunk out of the public purse exceeding £60,000.

    This same person made the observation that such elaborate transport is wasteful but perhaps the real reason might be it is a tool to distance himself from public contact...LOL.

    Another went on to comment it would be a good idea to sell the car to repay the public purse and for the plate to be raffled in a lottery among Gibraltarian car, lorry, dustcart and motorbike registered owners at tickets of £5 each which would not only improve the public purse but serve to bring him down with a bump and cosider the merits of being properly approachable as befits an elected representative of the people. ..The people he has been elected to represent and whose interest he should defend instead of treating the majority as if they were plainly not worthy.
    He is fortunate indeed I an not interested in standing as I tell it as it is, with neither fear nor favouritism.

  96. I am Cucumberbear again.

    Now lets turn our attention to parking.

    Yes, Parking.

    Let's see. How many parking places have been lost in the past 5 years ?

    Why is it that there are all these road narrowing schemes being infiltrated into "planning" (or non planning I should sa).

    What is the purpose of widening pavements in such an exagerrated manner all over the place?

    Are we expecting wholesale births of quintuplets and quadruplets requiring prams ten feet wide suddenly ?

    Why are all these widenings taking place at the expense of parking spaces ?

    In particular, the parking spaces being removed are those close to dwellings.
    The Govt does not consider the aggravation to housewives with heavy shopping, children to look after, etc.,

    What's this all about ?

    Thoughtlessness ?


    ..Nothing of the sort.
    It has to do with hidden vested interest again, at the expense of the electorate.

    From one end...provide free bus encourage the public not to use their cars...from the other end...curb parking places...then.."privatise parking"...make the public jump through the hoop not only of paying for the buises out of the public purse = our money = our own money that the Govt is supposed to manage wisely on behalf of the electorate ? NO...NO and NO...mess the public up because they have too many cars...and the...make them pay for parking in "designated areas"...that the Govt decrees.

    No, NO, and NO !

    Place a quota on all the foreign cars entering Gib at the frontier...

    Set a threshold...

    When Gib is full...we are FULL.

    Then entrants have to wait their turn to bring their cars in to take up spaces needed by legitimate residents is the way to do it.


    By all means provide car parks, paying car parks, but for visitors only.

  97. Cucumber bear
    Just because people speak publicly about things does not mean they are not defamatory.

  98. Cucumberbear now replies..

    My Dear Robert, the English language is unique. I am aware more than most as it is not the only language in which I am fluent.

    As far as I am aware, it is the only language in which one can be excruciatingly rude politely, whereas in all other languages in practical terms of use the opposite is invairiably the case.

    The term defamatory is interesting as it includes a misnomer.

    The misnomer kicks in because the root of the word is the noun fame. Therefore if taken literally it could be construed to mean the removal of fame and outside the definition given in the dictionary. Dictionaries are mot cast in stone. The meanings they contain change with time and use and fashion, including conventional and non conventional acceptance.

    That is what makes the language so rich and pliable to manipulation and even double entendre.

    You set me a challenge that I accept.

    I will impart what needs to be imparted but I will do so by ducking the wire from now on...LOL.

  99. i agree with 23:04