Friday, 24 June 2011

Reflections on the Chief Minister's Interview

It would be very easy to sit here and take a swipe at what the Chief Minister has said in his interview in the Chronic of 21st June 2011 but, perhaps, that would be to fall into the very trap that he accuses his opponents of falling into, criticism for the sake of it. Unfortunately one reality of adverserial politics is precisely that, criticism of one's opponents . The party in government will always be subjected to criticism by those wishing to get into government and vice versa. This is precisely one of the attributes that delivers democracy.

There is no doubting one thing: in 15 years the GSD Government has transformed Gibraltar. It is not my intention to be churlish but there is also no doubting that the  GSLP government did lay the foundations of much of what has evolved. Also, it is the result of the entrepreneurial skill that exists in the collective that is Gibraltar. In the fields of the finance centre and gaming the first burst of activity came during the GSLP's term of office. Co-ownership of affordable housing was pioneered by the GSLP administrtaion. The reclamation on which much has been built was undertaken by the GSLP government. Unfortunately the last years of the second term of the GSLP was a disaster. After all the good it had done, it allowed a culture of hooliganism arising from illicit tobacco activities (and other illicit acts camouflaged by tobacco) to develop. Gibraltar quite rightly was not prepared to tolerate this and did not do so.

One great ability of the GSD has been to grab the bull by the horns and immediately deal with the fundamental problem that Gibraltar was faced with at that time, reputation and image. It took a short while but as the Chief Minister says   " ...  a repositioning and salvaging of Gibraltar's international image and reputation [was achieved]...  an environment in which the Gibraltar economy could succeed with a high level of reputation [was created]..." All things need to be said, however, the truth is that these accomplishments essentially reinstated what are the fundamental morals and principles of society in Gibraltar. It has been accomplished because it is what the people wanted. Prior to the election of the GSD administration, the people came out onto the Main Street in their thousands and vociferously demonstrated against the destructive culture that developed at the latter end of the GSLP period in government. It was a perfect example of democracy at work. The success of the GSD has been to project this true image of Gibraltar abroad and generally.

Reputation and image are fragile and can easily fall apart in no time. Already the incidence of illicit tobacoo trade is evident and increasing. It may be less "in your face" and  more under cover. It may be  more controlled. However, it is there. The potential for that to be exploited against Gibraltar exists. It was the GSD who promised to rid Gibraltar of this activity. Is the revenue from this source so necessary to enable governments to keep manifesto promises to provide so many projects and benefits? If that is the case then our politicians have to think again, mitigate their promises that require excessive expenditure and agree to provide what Gibraltar is capable of affording without the revenue stream from tobacco. It is called living within one's means and one's means should not include revenue from illicit activity. It is an aspect of Gibraltar that needs careful thought and action.

Moving on to a new topic, I share the Chief Minister"s belief that a change of government for the sake of change is to be avoided. Change of this type is not something that I advocate. What I do advocate is that those who put themselves up for election should offer the electorate something positive, be it intangible or tangible. They should have manifestos that set out values and goals as well as specific policy aims. They should not harp on about the past successes. Those are in the bag already and such behaviour smacks of being bereft of new policies or ideas. Also they should not harp on about the past failings of other parties.

Democracy demands and requires a choice. It demands and requires that the electorate be given a real choice, not a choice between the best of two bad lots. That is not to be critical of all or any party offering itself for election, it is simply a reflection that an electorate tires of the same old faces. It gets tired of staleness and seeks innovation. The Chief Minister put it very well "  ... elections get harder to win the more you have under your belt. That is normal in a mature democracy." I believe this is actually a reflection of the centralisation of all focus on one person the Chief Minister, whoever he or she might be at any time. I maintain that this focus is, in part, due to the electoral and parliamenary system that exists in Gibraltar. In this regard I am glad that the Chief Minister has seen fit (and if all be said, has been big enough) to admit that " ... the 'third limb' ... parliamenary and electoral reform is something we did not pursue as enthusiastically during this term as we set out to do". I find this a reassuring statement. I believe, now, that this might well happen if the GSD government is elected for a fifth term. It will certainly not behove them well if it does not happen. What remains to be seen and judged is what the extent of these reforms will be.

Another matter on which I must also agree with the Chief Mnister (Cousin Robert agreeing rather often!) is that being Chief Minister is more than a full time job and requires enormous energy, commitment and dedication. There is no room for distractions. It is not within the realms of possibility that anyone faced with even giving evidence in court can or should contemplate taking on this office. In this the current Chief Minister's view is a correct view, when he says that " ... Gibraltar cannot afford a Chief Minister  ...  embroiled in court proceedings in one capacity or other as a witness, helping the authorities with their inquiries in the UK or Spain." Fabian owes it to democracy to openly and transparently reveal all and to what extent these issues might take up his time. Time which he will not be able to afford (but will have to make, to the detriment of his ability to be Chief Minister)  if his party is elected and forms government.

Gibraltar cannot afford to have an absent Chief Minister or one who is distracted or preoccupied with matters unrelated to his duties as Chief Minister for any length of time. Fabian also owes it to his party to be clear on any issue affecting his ability to dedicate the entirety of his time to the office of Chief Minister. It may be that Fabian's professional issues have other repercussions. One does not know. It seems that they can only complicate the argument against him being Chief Minister rather than in favour of his being so. The incumbent Chief Minister argues this issue on the basis of "judgment" or rather lack of it. This is a dangerous argument for an incumbet Chief Minister to rely on. Examples and criticisms of bad judgments and mistakes against anyone who is in government will always be more abundant than for those who have been in opposition. There are better arguments than this based on the circumstances faced by Fabian.

One issue on which I must disagree with the Chief Minister is his statement "It is generally known that one of the things that I attach importance to in my own political journey, is to ensure that the GSD has an orderly succession, so it does not suffer the fate of other political parties, where, it having been seen as the political vehicle of one individual, it then dies with the political career of that individual." This may be what he has had hidden in the recesses of his mind but it has only come into the public arena now. I would simply mention two names in reaction to this statement, Peter Montegriffo and Keith Azopardi. What is salutary is that he has now said this. I believe it is an important commitment. It is more important that it should come to be and actually happen. The process has to be seen to be happening and evolving. If it is seen to be happening the electoral chances of the GSD will be enhanced but part of the evidence is to see the existence of an actual party with a wide membership and party meetings.

All in all an interesting interview. One which gives some insight into various important considerations. One which, to a small degree, starts to demarcate the battleground for the next election. One that, however, does not include or contain any new ideas. The Chief Minister said "As a result of having been so ambitious, four year terms end and you just do not have time to do everything in your manifesto and then your political opponents ignore the 80% that you have done  ... and attack you on the 20% that you have not done, and perhaps if we had been less ambitious and instead of putting in 100 things, we had put in 80 things, we would have completed." This throws up two other problems for the GSD. First it has to be seen to be admitting not to have done things that it promised to do. Secondly it leaves very few new policies for inclusion in its next manifesto but only time will tell... anyway I will be a happier man if Gibraltar gets adequate and appropriate electoral and parliamentary reforms. These reforms will enhance the ability of people to participate in politics at a different level and will carry with it the benefit of throwing up potential candidates to hold the office of Chief Minister in the future.


  1. Excellent blog piece Robert, thanks for sharing it. I agree with pretty much everything you’ve had to say there.



    Robert, excellent piece and to the point!! Especially on your comments about Mr. Picardo....I could not agree more!! Your comments are objective and for the good of Gibraltar!!! Well done!! I hope common sense prevails.

  3. Robert, a great blog entry, you should be proud!

    Al Carajo:

    Since you didn't answer my questions in the last blog entry (although they were admittedly not addressed directly to you), and you seem to be vehemently agreeing with Robert’s stance with respect to Picardo’s matters (which I endorse), perhaps you can shed some light on what I asked?

    Indeed, there has been much demand that Picardo should be open about his matters (and rightfully so).

    However, perhaps the GSD as a whole should be just as transparent?

    Why for example has Caruana made such an effort to keep the contents of the letter he sent to the FSC concerning Robert such a secret? Why has this letter been withheld from Robert himself?


  4. Al Carajo says: Dear Anon 8.12, I am sorry but I genuinly cannot shed any light into the subject that you refer to. I have no knowledge of this. Perhaps someone else can comment?? However, lets not distract our attention from PICARDO & the pending cases. If the GSLP had a Licudi as leader there would be no problem and my view is that the people of Gibraltar would then have 2 SAFE STRONG LEADERS to choose from. Unfortunately, the GSLP has taken the other option- Picardo

  5. It is sad to see that we continue with the "leader + lackeys" approach to govt. Why cant we have parties that contain worthy candidates at all levels? Don't we deserve a House of Assembly with quality individuals who can actually contribute something rather than the sorry bunch we currently have? Do we need Ministers responsible for cutting ribbons, opening exhibitions and kissing babies at £80,000 when we have a Major for that?

    These are important questions that need answering.

    Johnnie Chimpo

  6. Realist says:

    Who agrees with the following statement; and if you don't please explain why:

    Picardo should put Gibraltar first and his political ambitions second- he should stand down from the leadership of the GSLP and not take on the leadership until all pending cases in which he has any involvement(in both the UK & Spain) are closed.

  7. Realist@16:36

    I agree absolutely. No ifs or buts.

  8. I was shocked to learn that the CM was shocked on discovering employment ratios in Gibraltar and that one cleaning company in particular has NO locals employed! This just shows how DISCONNECTED he is from reality. I know for a fact many have called his attention to this issue especialyl in the last year when despite there being no record because many people are not registering, unemployment amongst Gibraltarians is on the up, especially graduates.

    Maybe after "discovering" the numbers for the cleaning company, he could instruct the ETB / Labour Inspectors to actually do their job and investigate / deal with similar issues which they are aware of (cos they actually tell you about them when you attend their offices) but they just do NOTHING about!

    All it takes is ONE LESS CUP OF COFFEE in one of the cafes down Main Street each morning, and IM sure the Labour Inspectors will get a lot done concerning similar issues!

  9. Realist -

    I for one agree with you 100%.

    In fact, who actually doesn't agree with a statement like that? Those that 'want' problems? or perhaps those wanting for Gibraltar,at best, to have an internationally fragile reputation which has cost us so much to overturn since the last time that coincidentially the GSLP messed it up?

    Picardo - This is an embarrassment for Gibraltar. No-one is accusing you of being 'guilty'. But wait your turn until this all gets cleaned up! You simply cannot contemplate standing for Office of the Chief Minister until this case -or cases- are CLOSED!

    And this doesn't mean that those in the GSD who have muck on their hands should stand either! Gibraltar, we deserve MORE! Opportunists and politically vulnerable members of the public should not STAND!

    We need a total rehash if you ask me!

    Ben Dover


    One thing that struck me in the interview with the CM was his comment, referring to long delays in new housing construction as an example, that: "With the benefit of hindsight one of the things I would like to have differently is to have devoted more time to explaining this to the people as we were going along..."

    Absolutely, and not just housing. Parties always campaign for openness and transparency but quickly slide into excessive secrecy when in power and the current Government has been no exception. And long housing construction delays is a good example.

    Perhaps they could try to set this right in the last few months of this term by releasing MORE INFORMATION AND EXPLANATION on a whole array of matters of interest to the general public, including by publishing many more statistics on the Government website. This would spare us long tedious Q&A sessions in Parliament, with questions being mostly of a statistical nature (went on till close to 8 pm this evening) and save a lot of money on overtime paid to civil servants to collect and compile the information requested.

  11. At least Caruana says it's his last election and will be looking to hand over. I for one will vote for him one last time.

  12. Periquito de Los palotes24 June 2011 at 22:57

    Pedro I think that Darth Vader now stands a better chance against Picardo than the Dark Lord of the Sith but then again what do I know.

  13. Periquito .... Who ........

  14. The interesting issue here is whether Feetham will stand. If there is a granita type pact between him and Caruana as the Panorama speculated people might consider they offer continuity and change. Everyone seems to take it for granted he will stand. If he doesn't however it could cause the GSD a lot of damage because the party will look dead end after Caruana. The GSLP have Licudi and Costa, the GSD doesn't appear to have anyone else.

  15. Unless the PDP merge with the GSD and Keith Azopardi takes over from Joe Holliday as Deputy CM and CM in waiting.

  16. And pigs will fly anon 23.39. There is more bad blood between Azopardi and Caruana than between Caruana and Bossano nowadays. Montegriffo might be persuaded to come back and save the GSD if both Caruana and Feetham go.

  17. Montegriffo has no staying power. He would need a daily dose of the political equivalent of Viagra to take over and that has not yet been invented. He has left the GSD twice and I am told turned down the chance to return this year. Forget it. More chance of Azopardi returning to the fold.

  18. Pedro,

    You say you will vote for Caruana one last time only because its his last election? What then would you like to see happening in the GSD when Caruana leaves?

  19. I hope like many other people, that politics particularly those connected with the elections will soon turn to bread and butter issues, those that affect us most days of our life. Things will really be a turn off if Caruana is going to be hitting out on Picardo every other day and vice-versa!

  20. RV,

    Another thoughtful and reflective article. However I have to say that the content hardly gripped me with the same intensity that I have experienced with some of your other articles. I will return later, time permitting, to comment on your article. But….

    Let me just say that your legitimate and persistent intellectual discourse on the need for a wider democratic process, the necessity for electoral reforms, the occasional probing questions, your sociopolitical and philosophical reasoning, your unending quest for true knowledge leading to our very own utopian society suddenly evokes images of yourself as a modern Socrates, sat in a corner, down in the buzzing market square, attired in a white toga, with a scroll in hand, gesticulating and lecturing young budding Greek (Llanitos) philosophers and/or future politicians!

    You are fast becoming, let me say, our very own political Jiminy Cricket and for that I thank you.

  21. Hattusa: At the end of the day politics is about impressions. I can see that Daniel Feetham looks the part of a CM of Gibraltar like Caruana or in different ways Hassan, Peliza and Bossano before him. To the less discerning Fabian Picardo might also fit the bill. Peter Montegriffo I am not sure about. Adolfo Canepa is a brilliant man but he did not look like he was not cut out to run Gibraltar neither are Keith Azopardi or Gilbert Licudi to be frank. Joe Holliday neither. Dr. Garcia is one of the most able politicians but again I do not see him as CM and it is a credit to his intelligence that he realises that. It is the way each person presents himself. Those are the ways of democracy and politics.

  22. Anon@00:39

    Cometh the hour cometh the man.

  23. 00:29 Cometh the hour cometh the man, but in Piki's case he cometh a bit prematurely. He needs to sort out his professional affairs first.

  24. Anon@10:45

    I agree. I would also add that after having shown such suspect judgement already his hour should never, ever come.

  25. Realist says:

    It appears everyone agrees with my statement below....

    "Picardo should put Gibraltar first and his political ambitions second- he should stand down from the leadership of the GSLP and not take on the leadership until all pending cases in which he has any involvement(in both the UK & Spain) are closed".

    No objectors then??? and if you do disagree why?? Please comment.

  26. Anon@11:29


    Perhaps some members of Picki's Party would rather air this controversy in Espejo Publico and not in this blog.

  27. Anon@07:27

    I agree. For one of the bread and butter issues we have to go back to 1995/1996 when, it was said, we were the highest taxed people in Europe. Remember Bossano's war chest?

  28. Realist (if that is what you are), I don't agree with you at all, and I'll tell you why.

    A lot of the proclamations of Picardo's future on this blog give me the impression that they are from GSD sympathisers (even the ones that state they are not do not convince me they aren't).

    Taking into consideration the fact that the GSD scraped in at the last election and the fact that the GSLP seems to be getting more and more support by the week, together with the mutterings one hears on the street about how we need a change, etc, my guess is that the GSD is pretty scared and even desperate, scared and desperate enough to ensure this issue (or non-issue as the case may be) is kept at the fore-front at all time, because they seem to see this as the Holy Grail which may (or may not) save their skins at the next elections.

    The truth is that Hassans has spoken officially and with the backing of all its partners, so why should I take a GSD's supporter's word against this law firm just because he says so? If perhaps the partners, who may be GSD supporters, feel strongly that this is truly an issue, then perhaps they should come out and say so, put their money where their mouth is, so as to speak, but in the meantime, their silence only gives credence to Hassans and Picardo and shows the GSD supporters up as a group of desperates who will say anything to stay in power.


  29. Anon@13:23

    That is a valid comment but it does not answer the question that Realist (apologies Realist for the intrusion) is asking. Regardless of party political allegiances and Hassan's public statement I,for one, am very uncomfortable about this issue. It will not go away.

  30. But is it an issue, or is it being made into an issue. Is there an element of scaremongering going on in the hope it snowballs into something more tangilble? I for one don't necessarily believe everything I hear por que el Patio cada dia va mas caldeao!


  31. Nor will the existence of Caruana's secretive letter to the FSC concerning Cousin Robert.


  32. Clarita reina mia, can you tell us whether Mr Picardo spent a number of days giving evidence in the noble case in England this week? Perhaps he could make public a transcript of the questions he was asked? In England it would be all over the papers. Picardo has become the issue.

  33. Is it not odd that according to domique Searle Picardo only asked 15 questions in parliament this session? Was his mind elsewhere?

  34. To the anon that asked the question, mr Caruana says there are various people within the GSD who are capable of taking over from him. I think that is for the GSD to decide. An election as opposed to a coronation would be good. If Licudi had stood against Picardo maybe there would have been real debate on his suitability for high office.

  35. But hasn't Caruana also become the issue?

  36. No one from the GSD fanatical contingency group is going to take it upon themselves to try and explain why and how Caruana has successfully kept the contents of the letter he sent to the FSC concerning Robert a secret, even from though that proof of its existence was initially denied to Robert himself and a copy of the letter was subsequently flat out refused to him when he asked for it?

    Is it perhaps because it is indefensible?

    Surely this is an example of a breach of trust in the power our Chief Minister has at his disposal and his sole discretion?

  37. Anonymous at 15:53

    If the CM can support the statements he made on GBC that he did not influence ny resignation then others will have to answer for it, I wonder if they are prepared to be as principled as I was or will it just reflect on the FSC? If it does can the FSC really undertake its statutory duties? ... time will tell but right now I can only point the finger at the CM. It is in his hands to clarify if he wishes but then those who may have misled me should take responsibility and themselves resign ... I doubt anyone will!

  38. Trust Dom to plaster Allan King's salary all over today's front page. Must be insanely jealous but Allan's salary is nothing in comparison with others in the public service who earn more than double, including at least two heads of department.

    Think Picardo only asked 15 questions because he is trying to set an example: that parliament should be used for debate; not as a means of bringing the civil service to a grinding halt with a barrage of statistical questions. By the way, why doesn't the Govt go ahead and commence regular CMQs now? There's nothing to stop it doing so.

    Govt confirmed in parliament that a new sewage treatment plant will be built at Brewery Crusher. Where's that?

    Also in today's Chronic, and mentioned in the Caruana interview, Unite and the Govt both given a bloody nose by GGCA, which is now calling the shots and engaging the Govt in an item-by-item discussion of the discarded blueprint for civil service reform.

    Finally, the GFSB wants a Minister for Small Business. No point having yet another Minister if he has to refer everything to the CM, who is the only one that can make decisions. Just deal directly with Caruana, Stuart, like everyone else does.

  39. Anon@15:53

    I very much doubt whether the CM's letter to the FSC is likely to become a major election issue.

    However, Picki's cases will. Parrying them by using the Theatre Royal fracas will not work.

  40. Anonymous at 16:36

    I agree the FSC letter is not an election issue but what could be is the all pervading power and influence of the CM, of which this, so far, is a perfect storm example, and also lack of democratic accountability ...

  41. I heard the sessions on parliament. Looked like Bossano was still leader! The session was entirely Bossano/Caruana with a voice I could not hear at the end. Think it was Garcia.

  42. Actually it's saving you taxpayers' money spent in a combined hundreds of hours of overtime by many departments and agencies compiling answers to hundreds of statistical questions. Surely you will agree that we want fewer statistical questions and more debate to prise more information and explanations from the Government.

  43. Anon@17:26

    The Budget Debate next week will be the last one before the next election. That is bread and butter stuff. I await anxiously to see the quality of debate.

  44. Anonymous 17:34:

    No bullshit here or wanted, just the transparent truth. I agree that Mr Picardo's matters should be discussed in an open manner!

    Nonetheless we as a people are surely entitled to expect the same from our incumbent Chief Minister? In the same way that you ask Mr Picardo to put our minds at rest with respect to these matters, why don’t you ask Mr Caruana to do the same with respect to the FSC letter which Robert has correctly identified as a seemingly perfect storm example of Caruana’s lack of democratic accountability? It seems to me that it is indicative of an abuse of both his influence and power.

    Again, please don't bullshit.


  45. Anon@17:26

    May I remind you that Mr Bossano asked 310 questions. That is a lot of taxpayers' money.

    Picardo 15 v Bossano 310.

  46. Pedro,

    Are you really convinced there are a few in the GSD who could take over?

    I cant think of anyone but Feetham who Caruana didn't sound too keen on from the interview on the Chronicle last week!

    I would be interested to know who really has what it takes 'if anyone' in that party to ensure safe succession..... any ideas?

  47. Feetham appears to be the only guy who doesn't cow tow to Caruana - that much was evident from the cut your throat radio debacle. Perhaps Caruana has Joe Holliday in mind to succeed him anon at 18.55.

  48. Anon@17:54

    You are comparing chalk and cheese in the Gibraltar context. I doubt very much whether our old enemies will make anything of the FSC letter. What they will make of Mr Picardo's cases is another matter. This does not mean that RV does not have the right to see that letter.

  49. You are right anon at 19.37 relations between the big cheese and Joe Holliday are pretty tight indeed.

  50. Anonymous 19:38-

    Actually I think it is of great local and international significance that there is a seemingly clear example that has yet to be argued from ANY front that the Chief Minister has used his all pervading influence and power against Robert (or so it would seem).

    Indeed this may not be the case but all it would take to rebut this possible inference that we can draw from these facts would be a simple photocopy of the letter being provided (which again, I emphasise was initially said to have not existed at all before Robert managed to delve deeper into the matter).

    Any thoughts of your own as to what the facts suggest?

    By the way, for the sake of clarification, surely you mean the cases in which Mr Picardo is providing evidence? It would be quite disingenuous to phrase a sentence so as to present his role in the cases as that of a defendant for example. We wouldn’t want that no?


  51. Am not a fan of Feetham. I will always regard him as having let the GSLP down. If he had bided his time in the GSLP we would probably have won in 2007 and for that he cannot be forgiven. But if the question is whether he has what it takes well maybe. I don't think many people would go through what he has been through and still carry on. You have to give him that. Have what it takes yes but he will be just another Caruana - a competent but ruthless and single minded individual. Scary stuff. Please nooooooo.

  52. Anon at 20.00, giving evidence is a flexible concept. What matters is what was put to him by barristers and what he answered. That can only be determined by reading a transcript of any evidence and cross examination of mr Picardo. Why doesn't he publish a copy of the transcript so that people in Gibraltar can see what he said and what they asked him.

  53. Mr Picardo might well do so Anonymous 20:12? Who knows? It's only been a matter of days. If you are the same earlier contributor you correctly identified he has been busy in Gib in the last couple of days. Perhaps he will only be able to fully explain his role as a witness in intricate detail in the relevant cases when they come to a close and not simply immediately after he’d given his evidence? For the record I agree that he should do so.

    Whereas how long has Mr Caruana had in comparison to provide Mr Vasquez with a copy of the letter he sent to the FSC?

    Without having any specific details at hand it’s quite safe to say it’s been a significantly longer period of time.

    Again, any thoughts of your own as to what those facts suggest?


  54. Anon@20:00

    I did say:-

    "This does not mean that RV does not have the right to see that letter".

    That the letter is of great local and/or international importance, I very much doubt.

    As for Mr Picardo's cases. We await clarification from the man himself.

  55. Hey what are civil servants playing at? Take take take and give as little back. All at the expesnse of the private sector that keeps then in their cushy numbers. It's sickening. Isn't anyone going to stand up to tnese people? Suppose not it's general election year.

  56. Is it not odd that Mr. R Rhoda does not get on with issues arising from the past reported judgment in the Noble case before the admissions and disciplinary committee?

  57. L.E.F. says,

    I can agree with most of your blog regarding Mr Caruanas achievements as Chief Minister.

    That is why we as a people have voted him for the past 16 years. He has done an excellent job in rebuilding our tarnished image abroad and succeeded in building a robust economy.

    However you omit several of his serious failures. All governments do good but all governments do bad as well.

    As always there is a price to pay when people choose a government and we Gibraltarians have progressed with Mr Caruana but also paid a dear price under his watch and we must not forget that.

    Mr Bossano divided us as a people but Mr Carauana has perfected it and used us ,for his own political gain. He still continues today with his unconditional 'either you are with us or against us' GSD mantra.

    We have seen fellow Gibraltarians victimized and witch hunted out of jobs or not given the opportunity to make a living,because they were opposed to government views and thus perceived as disposable.

    We have seen Gibraltarians threatend to be arrested by police for peacefully demonstrating .

    We have witnessed the total control of the media by Mr Caruana even making a GBC reporter cry because she dared ask him a question. He has the Chronicle and GBC in the palm of his hand . They depend on Government for their financial survival and Mr Caruana has used this to his full advantage.

    We have been lied to as a people and become accustomed to double standards. The GSLP days of secrecy and lack of transparency have now been refined into an art by this Government.

    What happened to the tender system we were promised? We used to criticize the GSLP for favouring a certain transport company to the detriment of others. Well, has not the same thing happened these past 16 years. We know who these favoured companies are who have benefitted extremely from taxpayer money. Year after year and time and time again.

    Where is the electoral and parliamentary reforms we were promised? Lies yet again.
    He even went to Cordoba,ready to sign on the dotted line, without having the decency to inform our Parliament beforehand.

    More serious still is the political influence which is now evident in policing matters. It seems as I have always suspected that we are not all equal in front of the law.Specially if you are a Guardia Civil.

    His personal quarrels and querks have seen Speakers of the House, Chief Justices,Governors even Royalty snubbed at by Mr Caruana. Who's next in line?

    All the above we know as true facts, yet we wish to totally ignore them and instead concentrate on Mr Picardos judgement or rather lack of it.

    One day we gave Mr Caruana our full confidence,knowing that he had been party agent for Los Palomos. Where was his judgement.
    Even worse where was our judgement in choosing such a leader,who not long before tried to sell us down the river.

    You see we all make mistakes. No one is free from past errors and poor judgement.

    I truly believe that Mr Picardo is more than capable to be a top Chief Minister, but I also believe Mr Picardo should come out and convince the electorate of his affairs before asking Llanitos for his vote.

    In Gibraltar we are innocent until proven guilty but it is a worry for many of us Llanitos who want change that we have already hanged the man without giving him a proper trial.

    With or without Mr Picardo as leader, the GSLP at least is not just a one man show.

    We as a people have to decide what we value more, and here I do not agree with your view of what our fundamental morals and principles of society are .

    I see a society which has sacrificed its morality and core principles in exchange for material success and quick rewards.

    If our media is controlled, if there is limited free speech , if rumours are rife about corruption, if there is no rule of law etc what morality are we talking about.

    As Paco said in the previous blog.

    We are just fooling ourselves as a people.

  58. Wow L.E.F! Inspiring stuff!!!I am with you 100%. The scarey thing is, that right now I don's see a viable solution ANYWHERE.

    But I will keep re-reading your post as its the best piece of literature I have read on this blog for a long time...

    Thank you

  59. L.E.F.

    I find your arguments compelling but retain some faith in the fundamental goodness of the vast majority of people in Gibraltar,

  60. L.E.F. says,

    Being Llanito I too have faith in my own people. No leader or person can be more than a united people, as Mr Bossano found out to his own detriment.

    However your statement regarding our tobacco industry is worrying.

    If we seriuosly look at certain pillars of our economy we can see that this is not DisneyLand.

    Important sources of income on which we rely on as a people to survive are not exactly truly moral.

    The tobacco trade as you mention is one,but what about gambling. What about our finance centre. Are these industries above board because they are conducted within our laws.

    Do we already depend too much on any of them because of our financial commitments ?

    As you mention if tobacco trade was wrong under GSLP surely it is also wrong under GSD and they should stop milking this cow or at least admit the reality that we cannot afford to do so.

  61. the GSD tobacco trade is bringing the scum of the Campo INTO Gibraltar. Laguna residents are justifiably scared in their own homes with the types of people that this trade is attracting for a mere 3euro return on each carton.

    When will something be done about this? when somebody gets mugged?

    how many more burglaries have to take place before the authorities act?

    The GSD is ignoring this issue, and when it is mentioned they answer back with 'launches'.

    Why aren't Mr Holliday and Mrs Del Agua organising a march now?

    do they not think this is something that is affecting our society in the same way as they thought before?

  62. I appreciate that you did say that Mr Vasquez was entitled to see a copy of the letter, however, I was hoping whether you were going to offer a view as to what the contents of the letter were likely to be considering the facts surrounding it.

    Something which again I believe to be of both great local and international significance as a seemingly clear example that has yet to be argued from ANY front that the Chief Minister has used his all pervading influence and power against Robert (or so it would seem). Considering this is an often cited criticism that Mr Caruana took the time to specifically address in his recent interview you’d think we’d receive such clarification from the man himself no? Why are you so confident that it is not of great importance?

    In my last comment I was highlighting the fact that Caruana’s had a lot more time to put his money where his mouth is in terms of transparency, an often cited criticism against Picardo in respect of his personal matters.