Sunday, 5 June 2011

Reforms- Has the Political Ping Pong Game Started?

On Thursday the Leader of the Opposition's reply to the Chief Minister on the subject of democratic reforms was made public. The reply is inconclusive and unspecific as to the Oppositions ambition on reforms. On these grounds, my initial reaction has to be one of some disappointment but there are grounds for some optimism in the reply. However, I have some insight into the thinking of Fabian Picardo on this subject from conversations he has had with me over an extended period of time, the outline of which I will reveal below. This insight leads me to be more hopeful than I would be if I were to base my reaction solely on his reply to the Chief Minister.

The Leader of the Opposition's letter emphasises something that has been a continuing theme in this blog, that "... there are serious problems with the way democracy is working." That is a major admission that must lead to a little optimism. We now have both the GSD Government and the GSLP/Liberal Opposition convinced that reforms to Parliament are necessary but neither have said anything about electoral reforms. The PDP have  acknowledged the need for electoral reforms and parliamentary reforms, although the latter do not go far enough, nor do those of the GSD go far enough. The GSLP/Lib Alliance still have to formally announce theirs, so the jury is out on them.

The acknowledgments by all the parties that democratic reforms are needed are significant as they are important. They together amount to a common admission that the system of government in Gibraltar, since a degree of self-government was first achieved in 1969, have fallen short of requirements of democracy. That is a massive admission to have obtained from the very "culprits" who have taken advantage of this democratic deficit. I refer to the very politicians who are in power. It is this that allows me to retain some optimism for the future. The issue of reform is now high on the political agenda. Failure to deliver by existing politicians on this front or to adequately reform the system will leave open a huge political void that can be filled by individuals like me, not at this coming election but at the next following election.

The second disappointment in Fabian Picardo's reply is precisely that, delay. He wants the issue to be brought back to the Select Committees and to be fully and properly considered following a full and detailed public consultation. In fairness this is what was promised by the Government, who have failed to deliver to date. It is also clear that the matter is far too important to be rushed. If, and it is a big if still, reforms are to be delivered during the term of the next parliament, then it is best to get them right. There will not be a second bite at the cherry. Delay, if used constructively, is not a bad thing but let politicians not forget their solemn promises to the electorate, already made, on the issue of reforms. I believe that if the void that I refer to earlier is left over, it will be filled by the next but one election. I will certainly work towards ensuring that it is filled. My recent decision is not to stand for election at this forthcoming election. It does not extend beyond that.

It is salutary to see in his reply to the Chief Minister the extent of Fabian's commitment to democratic reforms. He confirms that there has been no change of policy by the Opposition. He reiterates the need to reform Parliament. He confirms the need to open up Parliament to the people in a manner that improves the quality of democracy. He agrees that the people must have the ability to hold Government to account. These are important and powerful commitments but it is rhetoric at this stage. One will only be able to assess whether these heady objectives can be achieved when the actual proposals are published.

From my discussions with Fabian, I am hopeful that progress will be made. Will his proposals be enough? The devil is in the detail. I will hold back on answering that question until he formally announces his proposals. In the meantime, I will limit myself to reporting what I know of the proposals to date.

I understand that Fabian does not agree with restrictions, proposed by the GSD Government, on  the number, time or subject matter on which Ministers can be questioned in Parliament. I agree with him.

He believes that much time could be saved if statistics, on which questions are asked regularly and repeatedly, were to be published. I agree with him, so should the GSD Government who have always promised "open and transparent" government.

He proposes the appointment of a Deputy Speaker, to help deal with more frequent meetings and some additional parliamentary staff. Although I agree with this suggestion for purely practical reasons, it is a purely housekeeping matter that does not enhance democracy.

He agrees with GBC broadcasting Parliament but suggests online broadcasting also. Again a minor point that opens up Parliament to public scrutiny. It is hardly earth shattering in the delivery of greater democracy. The same goes for suggestions to speed up the deliver of Hansard and making past and future Hansards available online.

The important issue is the issue that I have emphasised over and over again, the separation of powers between the executive and the legislature. My suggestion has always been a combination of electoral reform and an increase in the size of Parliament  such as would allow for and deliver backbench MPs. Fabian does not agree on the valid ground that he does not believe that this will deliver the required scrutiny, transparency and accountability of the executive. He may or may not be right on this argument. It all depends on his actual suggestion as to how the separation of powers will be achieved.

My view is that without some separation of powers, sufficient parliamentary scrutiny, accountability and transparency of the executive will not exist. In his conversations with me he continually alludes to the possibility of achieving an "independent" voice in Parliament by other means. He has not been specific in his proposals on this issue. If this aspect of the democratic deficit is not resolved satisfactorily, nothing will have been achieved by giving effect to his other proposals. The exercise would have been a complete waste of time. The void that I allude to will be created and I believe that there are people who will step into that void, possibly by a negotiated joining of forces with the PDP, who are more receptive to the democratisation agenda.

All in all, following the recent announcements by the GSD Government and the GSLP/Lib Opposition, on the subject of parliamentary reform, there is room for measured optimism. The fight to achieve more democracy has only just begun. I am taken a little aback at the progress made in such a short period of time, the main one is having got the issue on the political agenda and the main parties to accept the need for reform. The fight will not be over until, first, the politicians announce what they propose in detail, secondly until and if they heed the public in the suggested public consultation and lastly until acceptable and sufficient reforms are enacted. Until then we must remain vigilant and prepared to fill any political void left by any failure of the GSD and/or the GSLP/Lib alliance to deliver proper and adequate reforms. 


  1. Democratic reform whether it be in Gibraltar, the Arab countries, Europe or anywhere else is really all about ensuring that the ruling elite does not abuse its position for, essentially, the financial benefit of its members, family, friends and business associates. You have done a great job of highlighting a democratic deficit but it is now time to move on and to require the political parties to come up with a blue print of how each of them intends to ensure that proximity to the government of the day can no longer be used to take unfair commercial advantage. Without this, talk of parliamentary reform is like chasing the end of the rainbow.

  2. Ah! Finally water in the trough.

  3. RV,

    An interesting article yet again but one that has not moved me nor even jolted me out my seat.

    I am not too clear what the reforms will achieve. So far I completely agree that the transparency issue in relation to better coverage but fail to understand if this improves accountability.

    The one issue that I do not understand (my apologies for my political naievity) is the following..."The important issue is the issue that I have emphasised over and over again, the separation of powers between the executive and the legislature. My suggestion has always been a combination of electoral reform and an increase in the size of Parliament such as would allow for and deliver backbench MPs."

    What is meant by separtion of powers and what impact do you think this will have on electoral and parliamentary reforms?

    Finally, unless this issue becomes more "understandable", I fear that the electorate will not shine up to this topic.

  4. Robert

    I agree the issue should be taken back to the select committee and fully and properly considered following a full and detailed public consultation. Surely something as important as this should not be rushed to simply check a box at the last possible minute. Nor should the decision lie in the hands of one single person, backed blindly by his majority in Parliament.

    I think you have worked hard enough to bring this issue to the forefront for it to be hijacked now and turned into a face-saving exercise!

  5. Per Ade: Spain has a better quality of democracy than Gibraltar. Discuss.

  6. Business and politics always come together and I do not see how they are going to be kept separated in Gibraltar. what I agree that we can't do is to ignore the trafico de influencias which has been a part of Gibraltar life for as long as I remember but more openly (descarao in the last 10 years. I would be very surprised if any of the main parties are really interested in doing away with THE TROUGH as Disciple X calls it.

  7. "Fabian ... believes that much time could be saved if statistics, on which repeat questions are asked regularly and repeatedly, were to be published. I agree with him, so should the GSD Government who have always promised "open and transparent" government."

    Yes, time - and money. The Government should exploit its underutilised website to publish more statistics regularly. That would, at a stroke, increase transparency and at the same time save money on the many hours of overtime that have to be paid to civil servants to compile reams of statistics every time Parliament question time comes around.

    They're generally the same questions over and over again but have to be compiled by Ministries each time by obtaining the data, often from other departments or agencies. The relevant departments or agencies could be authorised to submit the statistics directly to the webmaster for publication on the Government website. Once the system was running smoothly it would be simply a matter of forwarding the latest stats for posting on the website on a monthly basis.

  8. Disciple X

    I have explained what the separation of powers in earlier blogs but I have no problem in briefly explaining it again.

    Government is divided into essentially 3 parts. One is the judiciary (judges and courts), another the legislature (Parliament) and the third is the executive (the Chief Minister and his Ministers or known as the Council of Ministers, if it ever meets). Constitutional theory is that if the Chief Minister and his Ministers control the judiciary and the legislature then what we have is autocracy or dictatorship.

    In Gibraltar the judiciary is systemIcally (barring some very technical niceties) separate and independent from the Chief Minister and his Ministers. The legislature is not because the the Chief Minister and his Ministers are also the majority in Parliament.

    The executive can only govern with authority of laws passed by Parliament. If the executive and the majority in Parliament are one and the same, as is the case in Gibraltar, the executive can pass any law it wants without any real or effective check on it. Additionally (and it has happened) the executive simply does things without the authority of law. In the latter case the judiciary can intervene if someone takes the matter to court but in truth this is not a sufficient check. A more effective initial check would be to have some separation between the executive (Ministers) and the legislature (Parliament). There is no such separation in Gibraltar. Separation is both a check and balance and results in more open, fair and transparent government, which is what the GSD have always promised.

    The extreme example of the separation of powers is in the USA, where the President has executive power and Congress has legislative power. In the UK there is no such extreme separation because Ministers are also MPs but no all Ministers are MPs, some are backbenchers and others are cross benchers and opposition members, so in theory the executive can be defeated in Parliament and a law not passed. Additionally the House of Lords has powers to oversee the legislative process.

    It is a complex theory but I trust that I havee explained it briefly, simply and clearly.

  9. Robert I think you have swallowed Fabian's bait hook, line and sinker. He is stalling because he thinks he will win and does not want monthly chief minister's question time or monthly minister's question time. I also think that he will not support the idea of backbenchers which seems to be the corner stone of what you have been saying. I have to give to Fabian, he does have the persuasive knack of being all things to all men. A brilliant car salesman who appears to have sold you a dodgy skoda.

  10. Anonymous at 19:25

    No I am giving politicians rope by which to hang themselves if they do not effect reforms. Read the blog again!

  11. RV,

    It now makes sense. How, therefore, do you propose that the legislature and the excutive be separated?

    The notion of backbenchers seems an interesting idea but these, and forgive me for my cynicism, would be open to "bribes" in order to side with either the governing party or the opposition.

    And could these backbenchers be so whimsical so as to support one party one day and another the other.

    Would governing become a nightmarish proposition?

    Grateful for your comments.

  12. Robert after the election the Chief minister whether it be Caruana or Picardo will renege on anything that makes things difficult for the politico comercial elite and you can yell till you are blue in the face and they will not give a damn until the next election in 2015 (if Gib has not collapsed thru mismanagement and the trough) when they will once again pay lip service to democracy. Que inocente eres.

  13. Anonymous 20:23

    Maybe, but you tell me how to achieve it then? We just give up? Because if I got elected as an Independent I couldn't achieve it alone and if I get elected into government and become CM, by your theory, I would likle renege also, right?

    Give solutions, we all know the problem ...

  14. Robert I have to agree with anon 20:23, at the moment it very much seems so.


  15. Disciple X

    As in the UK we will never achieve full separation in Gibraltar because we follow a Westminster Parliamentary style of government. We can only separate in a manner that will introduce some check and balance. I suggested that we increase the size of Parliament by having an additional 6 MPs but elected in districts, these would not be eligible to be ministers but would remain as back benchers. I also suggested a Proportional Representation system of voting to diversify the identity of persons elected. In both these ways we would achieve an element of separation of powers. I have written about this in the past. You can use the index (top right of the screen) to find more detailed explanations.

  16. Stating the problems is not enough we need some forward thinking experienced individuals who are not afraid to call a spade a spade.

    I remember that Charles Gomez's manifesto in 2007 had addressed the problem in great detail.

    Therefore the solution is to get Charles Gomez into parliament. Gibraltar now needs the NGD vision more than ever.

    Gibraltar cannot be held ransom to the same political BS that gets given out every election time. The main parties have the same interests and as anon said they will not make things difficult for the political commercial elite. We don't need this type of hypocrisy!

  17. RV,

    I have read with interest your previous blog to do with reforms and the increased legislature. However I am not fully convinced that the model would work. What makes you think that district representatives would be independent "MPs" providing the necessary checks and balances you talk of.

    Having district representatives reminds me of the "commissar" notion that was mooted many years ago and labelled as such by Peter M. This type of additional politicisation of our community will not serve as well.

    In any case how can someone, say a known GSD sympathiser go to seek help from his district rep, who is a GSLP "MP" or vice versa.

    I think this model opens up another can of worms which, I think, could become complicated.

    However I stand to be corrected in this thorny issue.

  18. Disciple X

    I understand your skepticism and I am open to alternative suggestions. I may well not have the right answer for a small and unique place like Gibraltar. In answer to you I would make the following observations:

    1. They will elected representatives of a district so directly answerable to a smaller constituency.
    2. The likelihood is that based on districts party allegiance voting would diminish and personality voting increased.
    3. They would be elected mid-term so that any adverse party issues would affect their chances of re-election.
    4. The 'commissars" rumour was GSD scaremongering of the first order, no elected representative could become a "commissar" and have a chance of re-election. The label of "commissar" given at that time suited the historical events occurring at the time of the 1996 election.
    5. The 'commissar" comparison is just unbelievable. In most Western Democracy there are local councils with elected district representatives.
    6. District representatives will not additionally politicise the community, quite the opposite by having direct access to an MP people will be depoliticised because they will feel empowered and able to speak to someone who will take up their political battle for them. Now one has to seek the help of the CM or a Minister or if they fail you a member of the Opposition, that politicises even the pettiest issues.
    7. The elected person is a representative of all in his district irrespective of his party affiliation. This is what happens in a constituency in the UK now.
    9. What can of worms?

    I hope I have gone some way to convince you. All that said there are other possible models that might work. Let us see what Fabian Picardo suggests.

  19. If we want to raise the quality of parliamant get Peter Montegriffo, Charles Gomez and Marie Lou Guerrero in.

  20. RV,

    Well "si y no". I dont know why this topic me "deja un poquito tibio".

    The idea that a rep, over time, will become more of an election by personality rather than a party member may occur.

    But my gut feeling is that all parties will try to present their own rep in these regional elections in order to get a working majority in parliament.

    Then there is the matter of a district becoming less influential than another. It could happen that a district might lose out if it is represented by a rep from the opposition party!!

    Point 7 would be a wonderful concept but what is the gain? seeking the help of a non influential "MP" would be like going to an opposition member to put across your grievances.

    This is a difficult topic and perhaps I am making a mountain out of a mole hill. I think we are too small for these major changes but I will continue to keep an open mind for further suggestions.

  21. Disciple X

    No, you make extremely valid points , thank you.

  22. Funny how cousin Peter has had 15 years to come up with the idea of having regular CMQs in Parliament but hasn't put the idea forward until now that it looks likely he will lose and will make like difficult for Fabian, not himself. Good one, Pete. See you haven't lost your touch.

  23. now that would have been something to look forward to every week, the CM in CMQ! lol

    good point anon @ 11:54, very good point indeed!

  24. The CM could have had CMQ's at any time since 1996 yet HE has NOT wanted to. Under standing orders the Leader of the House ie PETER CARUANA can virtually do as he pleases and this was the accusation levelled by the GSD when in Opposition. NOW in his last minute efforts such as rushing the Air terminal project, (which incidently will be inaugurated without having an entrance!!)The Europa Point play park project (which will be all in a mess once the strong weather comes), The new rental accommodation which has been levelled as being great (but is now encountering problems because of the rush)and big bubbles on the landing are coming out, Nearly £700,000 on Sandy bay to make it sandy (but the levant will take all and most of the sand has now gone back to the sea, Toilets, bus shelters etc.
    I think that the issue of reform to make Gibraltar be more transparent and accountable should NOT be rushed and Caruana should NOT be allow to just brush it over for his electoral expediency. It is far too important for this.
    The analogy should be the disastrous defeat by Nick Clegg in the referendum on AV where the Liberals got egg on their faces for presenting a half cooked cake which they did not believe in anyway and now the issue will only come to the fore in two to three decades from now if ever!
    Lets not allow this important issue to be hijacked!!

  25. how can the air terminal be inaugurated without having an entrance? Won't it be put in use as soon as its inaugurated? so how are people going to get in without an entrance?

  26. Anonymous at 17:35

    I believe that what was meant is without the tunnel having been completed but, perhaps, anonymous at 14:04 might clarify what she/he meant?

  27. RV,

    This topic on reforms has literally tilted me. On the one hand I am convinced that reforms are needed but on the other I do not see a workable solution, based on the ideas you’ve put forward.

    The more I think about it i.e. district representation the more uneasy I become because in time, I think, districts can soon become synonymous with “belonging” to one party or another. Then what of the people who live there? Are they going to be victimised because they sympathise with another party? This may sound irrelevant and churlish but people can be nasty and “bullying” in many different ways, can take place in the name of party politics.

    In our society there are always those who feel passionate and come out strongly in the defence of certain issues. But not everyone is like-minded and often intimidation – in its many forms - can overpower the “milder” person who is not as vociferous but still, in my view, an equal.

    Don’t get me wrong I do not disapprove of the strong willed person but when the will of others, are trampled on via “politically and unhealthy” motivated means I, for one, cannot approve.

    The matter of increasing the number of “MPs” as a result of district representation therefore becomes irrelevant and would have been costlier to the tax payer. The saying “the same dog with a different collar” springs to mind.

    However I am also concerned with the lack of checks and balances you refer to and how to redress these. In the first instance, the Judiciary must retain its independent status. If for some obscure reason this is being violated in any way, shape or form then the Bar Council has a lot to answer for, However I assume this area of the trinity is safe from political influence, or isn’t it?

    Where I really perceive a problem area to exist within the trinity i.e. the Judiciary, Legislature and the Executive, is in the latter. The kind of power that Ministers wield is unprecedented and this is not a current problem or new phenomenon. This has been going on – let us not forget - since the days of the AACR, GSLP and more recently the GSD. Only by curtailing these powers, can checks and balances be achieved in some small measure. To do that, what is required in my view, is a stronger, more adequate, more professional and vastly impartial top echelon of high-ranking Civil Servants, who have the power to resist or permit flagrant “transgressions” that “occasionally” occur at ministerial level. If high- ranking Civil Servants (on very top salaries) were made more accountable to public inquiry via some commission or even made answerable to parliamentary select committees then I certainly think that the scenario, as regards political influence as suggested by CGomez, would change drastically.

    The role of a more independent UK Civil Service in relation to accountability is highlighted in

    Even though this is more geared to the UK, the principle of accountability not only on financial matters but on administrative matters could possibly encourage ministers from meddling in Civil Service matters without them being exposed by Senior Civil Servants if questioned publicly or in parliament.

    Additionally, for the sake of completeness – and frankly I don’t know whether this is the case now or ever has been in the past but I’ll say it nonetheless – party officials or executive members of the ruling party should not be allowed to meet in Government buildings. Interference or perceived interference in Civil Service matters should not be allowed to take place.

    The impartiality of the Civil Service should also be seen to be paramount. High ranking Civil Servants who are in any way related to ministers should also be transferred in the name of good governance. Where to? I don’t know but don’t push me on this one.

  28. Anon@14:04

    If our government has spent £700,000 of our hard earned money to make Sandy Bay sandy someone ought to resign. If you can assure me that most of the sand, toilets and bus shelters etc have been swept to the sea, it is scandalous.

  29. oh dear, who let the grammar police in?
    a panda eats shoots and leaves or a panda, eats, shoots and leaves - its all in the commas mate!

    But seriously, if the experiment has cost £700,000, somebody should resign. Coincidently, the brains behind the operation has just recently officially announced he's not standing any more.

  30. Disciple X

    On reforms you again make very valid points and arguments. It may well be that I do not have it right. I have, perhaps, been thinking along a tramline based on the Westminster model. It may well be that we need to widen the debate and be more innovative for a small place like Gibraltar. It may be that we need experts to advise us. It is not an area of specialism.

  31. so perhaps Robert, this is something that does need careful consideration and shouldn't be rushed.

  32. Anonymous at 21:12

    Precisely what I said in my blog when I wrote:

    "It is also clear that the matter is far too important to be rushed. If, and it is a big if still, reforms are to be delivered during the term of the next parliament, then it is best to get them right. There will not be a second bite at the cherry. Delay, if used constructively, is not a bad thing but let politicians not forget their solemn promises to the electorate, already made, on the issue of reforms."

    But not every reform needs to be delayed. Some of the proposals from both the GSD and GSLP/Lib alliance are so basic that delaying is completely unnecessary.

  33. Robert I agree with you but I also have certain reservations about rushing into something para que mire bonito pero no sirva para mucho.

    we don't want this ending up like the re-sanding of sandy bay, looks great in theory but in effect has just been a waste of money, poorly planned and not very effective.

  34. Charles / RV,

    Charles is quite right, nepotism has to be stopped. But how would either of you propose to do it if you were in Government. This, as someone has pointed out, has taken place with previous governments. So how can it be stopped?

  35. RV Disciple X does raise some valid points.

    Italy has a similar parliamentary system to the one that you advocate and they have had about 30 different governments in the past 20 years or so!! lololol

    Doesn't such a system if not implemented correctly give way to a "weak" Government?

    What about having TWO set of elections one for the main parties and another for party backbenchers?


  36. Anonymous at 23:18

    Simple have a truly independent appointments system in which the Chief Minister and all Ministers have no say ... it will also need to be independent of the Civil Service ... so it needs to be made up of visiting non-Gibraltarians.

  37. we already have a few independent entities free of influence, that seem to work well, like the FSC for example!

  38. I'm just wondering....Are we so concerned about reform, not only for reforms sake but rather because the opposition has failed to oppose effectively over the last sixteen years?

    Surely in sixteen years any Government would have produced many "errors". So where has the opposition been? Why haven't they come up with proposals, ideas,solutions, etc.?

    Hmmmm....I need some rest!

  39. disciple X, i believe they have and many of them have been adopted by the government and implemented!

  40. The pdp's statement today is spot on. Picardo is playing Machiavellian games with this. He started his career as leader of the opposition saying Parliamentary reforms was one of the main planks of his political agenda. Now he is letting us down.

  41. Gosh!

    Well, it seems that you can take the horse to the trough but you can't make it drink...

    and if you're not careful it can kick you hard for having even taken it there!!

    Oh well much for reforms.

  42. Charles Gomez.7 June 2011 at 12:02

    The person writing anonymously at 11.18 last night asks how I would prevent nepotism. In my view the first step involves a recognition at all levels that nepotism and cronyism are wrong - they create an unfair system which undermines the social, political and economic fabric of a society. The fact that the close connections between successive GSD and GSLP governments and their "friends" in the business community are so "in your face" shows that the characters in power think that the electorate is not sophisticated enough to cry foul.When I stood for election as an independent in 2007 I based my campaign on this and I gave a number of examples, in one case with reference in a TV debate to a £3,000,000 reduction in price given to the beneficiary of a direct allocation of land which eventually went badly wrong. I do not say that there was anything corrupt about that but I did say that this sort of situation needed public clarification. I do not believe that any clarification was ever forthcoming - I suppose that the regime thought that people were not interested! The lack of concern from the GSLP leads me to the conclusion that they are not a viable alternative - indeed I think that the business connections within the GSLP may even be stronger that those of the current administration. It does not take a genius to work out how once the red lines have been drawn as to what is proper and what is not in public affairs basic systems of implemantation of proper standards can be enforced. Until the good people of Gibraltar finally wake up to this and demand respect it will contuine to be pay day everyday for some and slog for the rest of us.

  43. Disciple X

    I am not sure what you mean by your last post?

  44. Saw PDP Deputy Leader Nick Cruz interviewed on GBC News Plus yesterday evening. Can't he see - or is he choosing not to see - the real reason why Fabian cannot accept regular CMQs now? Peter has had 15 years to do regular CMQs in Parliament but hasn't put the idea forward until now that it looks likely he will lose. It would be implemented as late as possible to ensure that it commences shortly after the election, making Fabian the first CM to face the music regularly. Come on Peter, you can't expect Fabian to fall for that one!

  45. Anonymous at 12:20

    As I state in my blog above, when I refer to Fabian's proposals on Ministers' questions, I do not believe that Fabian has any problem with agreeing to CMQs. In fact, as I understand it, he wants to do away with the restrictions on question time sugeested by the GSD in its own proposals. This being the case Fabian is agreeable to a far more rigorous and incisive form of CMQs and Ministers' questions.

  46. But where do you get your information from Robert. This is not what Fabian has said publicly.

  47. I am Anon 14:04 6th June. The Air Terminal will be inaugurated without the proper entrance. As Robert rightly said if you do not have a tunnel how do you get to the terminal if the entrance in the east side?? The North sida is at the frontier with Spain. The south side is where the planes will be parked! The west side is where the loop is now and apparaently is the entrance for the services such as cargo etc. GOOD PLANNING and BMIBABY is coming to Gibraltar because of the wonderful airport!! So basically the tunnel which is still on standstillis is where the access will be.
    Further the playground at Europa Point is getting rusty already and some of the cacharros there are loose and we only have had minor rains and winds. I think it will be inaugurated soon and will be named the Few Months Park!
    Some one also commented about how beautiful Sandy Bay was Yes, bootaful!!but only a few families fit, why simples! lots of the sand has gone already and there is no [parking anywhere near. On Sunday the thre or four families that I saw there had to park their cars on top of the white lines on the new raod to the tunnel illegally.
    So Please lets not be conned with the rush for electoral reform for GSD or Caruana's political expediency. I think it is necessary and we must get it right.

  48. It was more in answer the to Machiavellian games...(and to my previous reference to the trough now having water!)

    Substitute horse for FP and trough for reforms.

    Following from the article and if one is to believe the press...then FP has gone ahead and spoken of the need for reforms, but now it would seem he wants to go back to committee stage, probably to delay and possibly never implement it until it suits him (i.e.if he gets into power)

    My apologies for the mix up.

    PS the reference to the horse was not meant as an insult but used rather as figurative language (just in case!)

  49. Charles,

    Within my secret society (which is no longer secret and has no real secrets , i.e. BoB -Brotherhood of Bloggers)I have elevated you to warrior status for your reply on nepotism.

    I agree totally with your comments. I couldn't have put it better myself and should you ever need my vote it is there for you.

    Keep it up and I could easily elevate you to Sage.

  50. So Peter Caruana wants PMQ's now because he will soon be in the opposition and Fabian will be CM. Hee hee hee the whole thing is a game for Peter and fabian and the people of Gibraltar are the poor sods who swallow their stories every time. I think that as soon as we start bringing the commercial interests thing into the open as Charles suggests these clowns will stop making fools of us.

  51. Mr. Gomez in Gibraltar we do not have the corruption that they have across the way in la Linea and Marbella and by saying these things you give armunitions to the spanish.

  52. Anonymous at 12:53

    I have said in my blog piece that I have this information from converstions that Fabian has had with me over the past few months.

  53. Disciple X

    So do I get any medals or recognition in BoB for this blog? LOL

  54. Disciple X

    I find your comments regarding Fabian very amusing especially as you once accused me of political "sniping".

    What ever happend to constructive debate?

    Very much seems like double standards to me.


  55. Anonymous at 14:48

    So, by your analysis we should accept less than open, transparent and correct governent because it gives ammunition to the Spanish if we question how we are governed? This is not democracy in my book!

    Surely the proper course is to have the type of proper and correct government that we attempt to portray that we have, so that we can be the envy of the Spanish? There again I might be wrong on that one and all we have to aspire to is to stay a little better than what happens in La Linea?

  56. k

    It was merely a play with words and not political sniping at all. In fact I was referring to the previous comment and to the press article. In fact I said "Following from the article and if one is to believe the press.." (please read post again)

    Anyway as RV points out, the jury is still out on this one and until FP comes out with his own brand of reforms and his plan of action, we are still in the dark.

    On the issue of double standards, I sincerely try to keep to one standard and that is political honesty (the way I intepret it obviously) when it comes to this blog. I found CG's comments quite honest and it was refreshing to see a once political candidate come out and say what many see but dare not mention. That is all.


    (please, no entremos ahora con el tema de anonymity because even though I like some written jousting, I fear that others will just switch off from the main topic. Ademas RV has spoken and has already admonished us in the previous topic, asi que tomate las cosas tranquilamente y deja de pincharme)

    RV was that... :)

  57. RV,

    Does God get a medal for creating the universe?

    Did he not also give us his only begotten son, so that we could be saved?

    You created LW and gave it to us....need I say more?

  58. Disciple X

    On your reply to Kaelan,I agree lets stay tranqilo!

    On your reply to me ... I take it with humility :)but los cursillitas may not like the comparison you make :)

  59. RV,

    Rest assured I will deal with them if need be. In the meantime back to the real issues of making Gibraltar a better place....

  60. Fair play :)


  61. RV,

    I just knew this topic would cause me unease from the start.

    Part of the reforms that is now being discussed within LW concerns that of CMQs and whether restrictions will exist or not.

    I am at a loss. How is a CMQ’s session to be arranged?

    Will this be done as part of a parliament session? Or this going to be an "interrogation” type of session?

    Will it be in a separate session with only the CM?

    Who is going to ask the questions?

    What questions may be asked?

    Will it be a live or recorded CMQ time?

    Where will it be held?

    Etc etc.

    Call me a cynic but does anyone not think that a lawyer who is worth his salt, will not relish this kind of “interrogation”. (All three political parties have lawyers as leaders).

    In fact I even think that they even welcome the challenge on how best to thwart difficult questions and say nothing at the end of it all.

    I am sure (well it seems logical to me, anyway) that if questions of substance, rigorous I think is the word that was posted, are going to be asked then whoever is CM will need to know the questions beforehand or at least have an inkling of what to expect. It would be farcical that if everytime a question was asked he would need to get back because he did not have the information at hand!

    During PMQ’s in the UK, the PM is allowed to have his bulging file with him at least to answer the initial question. After that it becomes a free for all and moderated by the speaker. So I wonder will CMQ’s be modelled in that manner?

    I am more inclined for a televised parliament (and probably time off to watch it…jk) because in that scenario, not even the cat can get away (literal translation).

    Hopefully that will eventually happen.

  62. L.E.F. says,

    If only there was a genuine wish from both GSD and GSLP for parliamentary and electoral reform, then we would surely be on the road to a better democracy for all us Llanitos.

    Normally the divide between both parties is too wide to see eye to eye, but I believe that on this issue both parties have agreed that we
    suffer democratic deficiencies and can concur on certain proposals.

    I fully appreciate and understand the opposition view of not rushing proposals through . However certain proposals presented by the Government can be accepted by the opposition today and now.

    We do not need further committees or panels of experts to decide what can be easily resolved by a simple willingness to start the ball rolling and commence the process of giving the electorate a more transparent and accountable government which is so long overdue in Gibraltar.

    A simple yes from the opposition to more meetings of Parliament, Chief Ministers Questions, televising on which both sides agree would truly show the electorate that the will does truly exist.

    I do not care if some say it is too little,or it is too late, or that there are political manouvres from both parties.

    The problems are there to be solved . The sooner the better. Those which require more time and more consultation will need to run its course but some can be implemented before the election.

    I fear that if no start is made before the elections then we can expect to be bogged down
    for a long time to come.

    To end I would urge the GSD, who have the power to implement some change ,to begin the process. To GSLP ,to embrace this opportunity. Any future leader of Gibraltar should be willing to face questions 7 days a week as I believe Mr Picardo more than able to prove himself.

    Electoral reform is more complicated to solve before the elections ,but some parliamentary reform as already proposed by Government is easily achievable with a simple yes from the opposition.

    We Llanitos deserve more accountability, more transparency,more integrity,more responsibility from our elected members.

    Where there is a will there is a way.

  63. I get the feeling that this topic has not grabbed the imagination of the bloggers!

    Come on folks!.....

  64. Marlene Hassan Nahon7 June 2011 at 22:59


    I couldn't agree with you more! .. in fear of the usual suspects' branding me for 'my political allegiances'-NOT! but hey i'm still a free thinker lol!

    You put it very succinctly. If both the Opposition and Government work together on this one for the benefit of us all, we can only enhance democracy for Gibraltar via the new proposals.


  65. Not sure why the Air Terminal makes occasional appearances on this subject but just for information the entrance and exit are located on the west facia of the building and in front of this area is a large space, still part of the construction site, through which access will achieved, regardless of the status of the tunnel.

    The eastern facia has no public access and is for cargo handling. Clearly work is still required to ensure a smooth interface with the loop for the present layout but there is plenty of space and it should still be easier than current airport access, regardless of the completion of the tunnel.

  66. L.E.F. the Chief Minister decides when meetings of Parliament takes place. He doesn't need permission from the Opposition. Why doesn't he hold them more often if this has been his plan all along?
    If he wants to televise Parliament, again, does he need the Opposition to agree?
    As for CM questions, let him take the lead in Parliament as it stands now.
    It is after all, for Government to govern and the Opposition to hold them accountable, not the other way round. The Government started the ball rolling with the select committee but failed to continue with it after the first meeting. Why was this? Where they only paying lip-service to the issue? Why do away with it now?
    The issue of electoral reform has to be planned and debated properly to ensure we get the best system possible that works for Gibraltar and not a half-baked rushed job to silence the Robert Vasquez's (and friends) of this world! (and I consider myself one of those friends!)

  67. anon @ 23:21, are you sure?
    won't the airstrip itself be closed to the public, pedestrians and cars alike?
    Isn't that the whole point of the new bus routes, etc?
    Isn't the Eastern facia the access for the public via the tunnel, and the western facia the access for the cargo, etc?
    Or has that all been changed now that the tunnel looks like it might never happen?

  68. Sorry But anon 23:21 is talking nonsense and has not seen the plans. But then again you have to try to cover the tunnel disaster. Fine but try again!!

  69. Marlene,

    Totally agree with your comment. In order to have good government a good opposition is needed.

    I think we are laking in both!!

    Tom Ate

  70. I do not trust the government or the opposition. I agree that they are both the extensions of business interests. Really, the only party that offers a level playing field is the Progressive Democratic party.Merlenes words sound good if a bit predictable but she is not realistic.

  71. Finally,

    I think, RV, that everyone is more agreed on implementing quick solutions that would give greater transparency.

    Two issues seem to predominate:

    1. CMQs (frequency still undecided!- see my previous post for my concerns)

    2. Televise parliament and CMQs (still unsure what the difference is)

    Am I missing some additional "quickie" that could be implemented??

  72. Disciple X, Peter's proposal is for CMQs to take place on a fortnightly basis - Fabian's CMQs, that is. Peter will make sure it doesn't happen while he's still in power!

  73. RV,

    Just read panorama' online :IN FULL Government's Draft Motion on Parliamentary Reform:

    At first glance the proposals look achievable except for point 6 which I think requires further thought.

    Other than that I think it seems an initial workable framework

  74. Dear Robert

    I think Nick Cruz and the PDP have lost the plot after they accused Fabian Picardo of being undemocratic in respect of parliamentary reform.

    I cannot understand how Nick Cruz can be given air time by GBC when he commands less than 5 % of the electorate. Only a handful of Gibraltarians can identify themselves con Nick Cruz - a public school boy who plays golf and has no idea of what the needs are of the average Gibraltarian "Del Castillo o Los Glacis". It is clear that Nick Cruz is only interested in getting elected into Parliament and not providing for the average working Gibraltarian and I ask Nick Cruz the following question:

    What was the last time that you visited Moorish Castle Estate or Tankerville Area to hear the concerns of the people that live there?

    There is no room for Soto Boys in Gibraltar Politics.

  75. Yo soy del Castillo y me crie en los Glacis and I though that Nick Cruz spoke wisely. well done Mr. Cruz.

  76. The fact is that Fabian is not a conviction politician. He has been on a mission all his adult life to get to No 6. If he has to tell Us he will make Parliamentary reform one of the planks of his leadership because he thinks there are votes in it, he will. The reality however is that he will not agree to anything that leads to greater scrutiny of him or his Government if elected. What has happened here is that the Government has called his bluff and he has been found wanting again. Cruz is right the GSLP did the same over the constitution.

  77. Didn't Fabian do the same over the age of consent issue? His party was committed to equalising the age of consent and when they have an opportunity to do so the vote against on the basis that they want to consult. It's become the mantra for reneging on promises lol.

  78. I see Fabian regularly in soto during weekends anon at 22.48.

  79. Que poca verguenza el anon 22.48. So nick cruz is not to be given airtime because his party got five per cent of the vote? Shameful. And the comment is made in the context of a debate on making the democratic process more accountable and transparent. It is obvious GSLP activists are so confident of winning they want no accountability at all if they get in!

  80. Pancho 22:48

    Wouldn't Caruana fall in the same category to?

  81. Anon @23.54 is correct in saying that Fabian is not a conviction politician. Like it or not Cruz has a defined political persona, he is a Cameron conservative. Bossano is a nationalist in the style of the old Labour party. Caruana is a Christian democrat of the type that is resurgent in the Spanish PP, Daniel Feetham's ideology is similar to Bossanos but New rather than old Labour. Dr. Garcia is also a nationalist like Bossano but tends to liberalism. Gomez too follows the Bossano brand of nationalism but his socialist credentials owe more to the New Testamant than to Marx. Robert is an old Trotskyite who has mellowed into liberalism. All that can be said for Fabian after his many years in politics is that he is a partner at Hassans International Law firm.Am I wrong?????????


  83. This morning's Chronicle provides yet more evidence that this Government has lost its way when it comes to being ready to bite the bullet, and face proper scrutiny, when such scrutiny is rightly due.

    How can the Government, in the same press release no less, announce on the one hand that it "is ... entirely satisfied with, and rejects all the criticisms of the handling of this regrettable and serious incident by all of Gibraltar's emergency and port services and the Government" AND at the same time announce that a Senior Civil Servant, based at No.6, will head up the investigation? The conflict of interest could not be more serious if the individual concerned sat on the C3 committee (which he probably does).

    If the Government is already satisfied to the extent that it claims then why are we having an investigation AT ALL? If the Government has already reached its opinion – and in such absolute terms - on the handling of the fire why is it asking one of its current employees to investigate it.

    The whole thing STINKS.

    The incident at the North Mole was serious, but it could have been far far far worse. The people of Gibraltar have a right to see that this incident is investigated thoroughly in a manner which is unbiased and is SEEN TO BE unbiased. The investigation should start with a BLANK SLATE – not the announcement of a foregone conclusion. To boot appointing a Senior Civil Servant who is intimately involved in the current affairs of Government is nowhere near good enough.

    When a Government can't get such serious issues right then it is, as that other bunch of guys keep telling us, time for change. I just wish we had a little more choice about where the change came from.

  84. Ah, the Soto-boys/crowd issue, now that's a topic all on its own, Robert, perhaps one worth writing about.

    You see, there is a group of very influential people in politics, business and society in Gibraltar whose opinions and ambitions carry a lot of weight in the day-to-day and long term decision making of our Politicians, and yet, technically, they shouldn't even be allowed to vote!

    The token address, criticised earlier this year for providing pied-a-terres in Mid-town for countless middle-class families who opted for the delights of lesser villages such as Alcaidesa and Santa Margarita, was the original brainchild of this band of movers and shakers, allowing them the opportunity of living in style in the hallowed grounds of Soto, whilst at the same time enjoying the benefits Gibraltar has to offer to its citizens.

    This is no real crime, of course, after all we are all free to live and spend our money how we choose, but the question to be asked is, can these prominent and powerful individuals actually represent us properly? Are they aware of the trials and tribulations suffered daily by the inhabitants of the upper town, Laguna, Glacis, Varyl Begg, Witham's Road even Gib 5, Harbour Views, Catalan Bay, Cumberland, etc?

    For many of these Gibraltarians, the most important issue is solving the queues that build up at 8.30am in Spain and 5pm in Gibraltar, but at what cost to the un-inhabitants of Soto & suburbs?

    These un-inhabitants want to know when we can expect our electricity, water and rates bills to go down,
    why is it so hard to get an appointment with the doctor of your choice at the primary care centre unless you can wait 2 or 3 months,
    how the classroom size issue is going to be tackled, as every week new children enter our schools, despite the amount of schools we have remaining the same since the 70's,
    why its taken a fire for Government to realise our cruise-liner business need more attention and investment, reducing our dependence on tourism through the frontier,
    when more affordable housing of a better quality worthy of its unaffordable price tag is going to be built,
    when the beaches are going to receive the huge investment they really need instead of expensive, useless, experimental, last-minute ditch attempts to plug a gaping hole,
    why it takes 3 weeks to be called up for an x-ray...
    the list is endless, but of no actual worry to those who enjoy Spanish utility bills, private healthcare and education, back-garden swimming pools, luxury housing, etc

    So is this the new question then, can the real people of Gibraltar be led by the Soto-crowd?

    Anna Conda

  85. Wow... just when I thought the reforms fever had died down here in LW.

    I must admit I did not here Mr.Cruz's comments but like all good democrats that we all are, I think, that NC is entitled to his views irrespective si viene de la luna (bueno not that far, but you get the gist!!). The phrase "A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family", once again springs to mind, even if it was uttered by another prophet who was himself executed by his own people.

    Don't get me wrong I am not elevating NC to prophet status (not by a long stretch) but I do think everyone is entitled to his own view and more importantly expressing it.

    That said, and in keeping with some of the previous posts I am becoming inclined to think that FP is dodging issues and the GSLP has on various occasions sent mixed signals/messages.

    I await rebuffs on this statement!

    On the question of politicians, I agree with Anon 22.48 in principle. Forgive me if I am wrong, but my perception is that NC seems to reappear every time election time is round the corner. I am sure he is a hardworking militant but I think its very important that budding politicians are seen and heard over a period of time so that the electorate can get a feel for the person, see what he is about, etc...

    Frankly, as a side issue, I don't like the branding of politicians (or budding ones for that matter) on the basis of there education and where they live. I should point out that a lot of llanitos have second homes in Spain and are quite as loyal/patriotic as those who reside in the soto area. As I've said before, lets concentrate on the substance and not peripheral issues which often tends to cloud reality.

    Anyway I'm deviating yet again...back to the crux of the matter, reforms.

    En que hemos quedao?

  86. RV,

    Could I be so bold as to request your views at some later stage, on the issue of political parties.

    For example:

    * Has the GSD run out of ideas?

    * Should there be a maximum of terms that a leader be allowed to govern?

    * Should the Liberals finally break away and challenge GSLP et al and test their liberal views with the electorate instead of hiding behind the banner of "the Socialists"?

    * Is Dr.Garcia the force behind Picardo's quest to reach No.6?

    * is the PDP a disgruntled group of ex GSD supporters?

    * why do you think Independents have no say in an election?

    etc etc..

  87. anon @ 8:35, who cares what ideology they follow?
    all of those you mention, apart from Bossano, would be lost in a gathering en el castillo, even Feetham ke ya se le a olvidao lo ke aprendio en Varyl Begg.
    Fabian on the other hand, can communicate, empathise and even get through to people from all walks of life, and that is the mark of a good and effective leader. Somebody with his head and his heart in the right place, who will look after and stand up for the weak and vulnerable, who is aware of the problems faced by the ordinary wo/man on the street and yet is able to discuss and debate with international statesmen/women.

    The rest are just filled with hot air!

  88. Valiente rollo tiene todo los comments from those Anons in the last two days. Que si Nick Cruz, que si Soto boys, que si Picardo not a conviction politican, que si Gomez nationist, que si Garcia esto, que si Bossano el otro.
    Is this real politics?
    Very, very shallow if you ask me.
    And the topic is parliamentary reform is it not?
    Well on the topic I believe that parliamentary reform is needed but as one said above it should not be rushed and it needs proper debate which BTW is not taking place here.
    The GSD Government or more accurately Caruana is NOW trying to get this done because he sees this could become an election issue with some and not the general electorate. He is desperately seeking votes everywhere.
    CMQ's can be done NOW if Caruana so wishes so why does he not start them and proves he is serious on reform?
    He can also NOW start to have his ministers answer questions individually in Parliament if he so wishes why does he not start them?
    He can decided to have them televised why does he not start them?
    Most of the things he has proposed in the motion he can start them without the opposition. So why does he not start them?
    Well he will not start them because in this an election year he will have to give account of all the things he is doing and could well jepardise his chances. So is he ready committed?? I think NOT??

  89. Anonymous at 08:35

    I must agree with other commentators that labeling people is not a worthwhile exercise or use of time but if it is to be done get it right please.

    My early education in poilitics occurred between 1971 and 1973 at Bristol University and at national conferences of the National Union of Students. It was an education in Marxist/Leninist and Maoist philosophy and dialectic thinking. In those days for me to have been called a Trotskiyte would have been an insult.

    I agree my politics have mellowed but I described myself as a liberal at a recent drinks party to an English couple. I got a quizical reaction from the husband, who reads this blog. He considers me to be very left wing on the UK scale of political ideolgy. He bases his assessment on what I write ... there you go labeling! A useless exercise I think ...

  90. I agreee with commentators that have said that the vast majotiy of the changes suggested by the GSD, which do not go far enough, can be imoplemented at the drop of a hat by the CM, so why does he not do it? I said as much in my blog "Give us Substance, not Form on the Reforms" published on the 19th May 2011.This certainly begs the question, why don't the CM and the GSD effect the reforms with no further ado?

  91. Robert asks: 'Why doesn't he implement the reforms, including regular CMQs now?' Thinks this has been answered by Anon above. Peter wants Fabian to face the music, not himself. So if he were to go ahead with this he would do so at the very last minute so that Fabian is the first CM to face a grilling in CMQs, not Peter.

  92. RV,

    Maoist philosophy and dialectic thinking!!!What on earth were you thinking of? ;)

    Is dialectic thinking compatible with politics? Isn't that what lawyers ultimately do in court cases? Argue and counter argue till the truth is arrived at?

    Feel free to correct me (as I'm sure you will) .... :)

    Hmmmm......RV...going up in my estimation yet again

  93. Just a thought....if electoral/parliamentary reform was something that would come out of the select committee because that was how it was agreed between the parties, i.e. whatever was decided would form part of a concensus, agreement, part agreement or whatever....

    Why would we think that it seems proper that the CM should come out and implement something that has yet not been agreed by all parties?

  94. Disciple X
    in a select committee, all parties would need to agree. However, the CM now wants to transfer the decision-making process from the Committee to the Parliament, where he knows his majority will pass this regardless of the view of the Opposition, who in turn will be placed between a rock and a hard place. Should they not agree with some aspects of his ideas, and vote against it, showing their displeasure at the way this issue has been handled, they will get the stick for not wanting to implement reforms, on the other hand, if they do vote them in despite their disagreement, the CM will have manipulated the situation to get his own undisputed way.
    Like Robert mentions, there will be no second bite of the cherry, so we either get it right now or we are lumbered with whatever the CM has proposed, whether in the long run, its good for Gibraltar or not.

  95. Disciple X

    is the PDP a disgruntled group of ex GSD supporters?


  96. Disciple X

    They were meetings at which were directed at reaching truth conclusions by the use of dialectics! I apologise for my imprecision due to trying due resorting to shortcuts in the use of language ...

  97. Back to the terminal in response to anon 0024 and 0029 of 8th June.

    We in the aviation industry have no knowledge of any plans to close the Winston Churchill Avenue crossing of the runway and associated strip until the tunnel is complete, regardless of when this might be, the current situation will continue in the meantime.

    I have no knowledge of any link between this and the bus route changes. If there is a connection it has escaped me, but certainly no conversation has taken place for the closure of the WCA crossing point at this stage.

    I have not seen the plans to the terminal building, I have however seen the actual building, and I assure you that the entrances and exits are all on the western facia. This is not something that can be changed on a whim as it affects the entire internal layout of what is an extremely complex building. Whatever plans are being alluded to cannot have been the finally approved ones, even the attractive artist impressions clearly show the entrances on the western facia. The area in front of the entrances is the old civil apron where the aircraft were parked up until the start of the project. This area is at present under construction for the provision of a proper forecourt to the terminal, and very nice it should look too.

    Is it possible that certain individuals are getting their easts and wests confused?

  98. Anon@09:05

    The press release does say that the investigation will be headed by the Government's Chief Technical Officer, however, it also states that the investigation is to be supported and supplemented by an external investigation to be carried out by specialists Capita Symonds.

  99. @16:32 why have a Government investigation when the Government has already made up its mind?
    its satisfaction that nothing went wrong, set out in this morning's PR, could not have been more strongly put.

  100. @15.26
    the CM said in answer to parliamentary question to Gilbert Licudi that airfield crossing will close for pedestrians/cars. FOr the former you can walk via eastern beach if you like (yeah right) or take a £1.50 bus journey...
    So much for opposing the sanchez tolls. As far as pedestrians are concerned - we gone and made our own

  101. anon@ 15:56
    you don't read the chronicle do you?

    Gibraltar Chronicle
    Headlines - Friday, 21st January 2011
    Pedestrians will be banned from walking across the runway once the new airport tunnel is completed.
    The decision was confirmed by Chief Minister Peter Caruana in Parliament yesterday in response to a question from the GSLP MP Gilbert Licudi.
    “Pedestrians will not be crossing the runway on foot,” Mr Caruana said.
    The Chief Minister was pressed by Mr Licudi to disclose details of what arrangements would be put in place for pedestrians to get across.
    He asked, for example, about the possibility of a bus shuttle service.
    Mr Caruana declined to offer any insight into future plans, which he said would be revealed closer to the tunnel completion date.
    But he did confirm that, if nothing else, pedestrians would still be able to walk to and from the border, albeit the long way round.
    “There is a pedestrian tunnel in the new tunnel arrangements at Eastern beach,” he said.

    I suggest you sit down and read the information offered by the terminal's official website to acquaint yourself with what they have to say:

    Is it possible you have been given the wrong information to contribute?

  102. The runway crossing will eventually close when the tunnel alernative opens, the government would have no choice in this, it would be a requirement imposed by the transec section of the Home Office in order to allow civil transport aircraft to operate.

    Alternative is leave the road where it is, don't build the tunnel, continue with the disruption.

  103. Anon@17:29

    Does this sound like a Government investigation to you?

    Quote from this morning's press release.

    "it also states that the investigation is to be supported and supplemented by an external investigation to be carried out by specialists Capita Symonds".

  104. Nick Cruz:

    Struggled with the profile part of posting a comment. Apart from being a Luddite, I am a virgin blogger, in fact only 2nd time I have visited this website, but enjoyed it thoroughly. Well done Robert, good forum for debate, so many people called “Anonymous” though.

    Ok this is for the Anti-Golf guy, good to hear your views but I’m really crap at golf though tomorrow in a corporate event day I will be playing for a 3rd time this year. To be honest Rugby is my thing (dope! another public school game!)alas my age means it’s time to give up. Oh and sailing, (otro hobby de la gente del pish!).

    It’s not true to say I do not know where Moorish Castle is or Glacis, the latter clearly being on the left on the way to my golf game in Soto.

    No seriously guys, I really I make no secrets of my public school education, followed by Kingston Poly (not all bright enough to go to University let alone Oxford). In terms of: am I a politician? And moreover one in the Cameron mould? Maybe I am a politician, I guess I stood for election in 2007, (thanks to the 908 who voted for me and as for the other 2000+ who said they did well thanks for being gentle). A Cameron, conservative? Well, I myself am not really sure, but possible. I guess my views are probably like most PDP members based on a passionate belief that we live in a great place and with not much work it could be the coolest place to live and bring up children. Married 3 kids and a dog who likes to tell it as it is (that’s me not the dog) or at least as I see it. I live in Europlaza, and before then Vineyards and earlier Rosia Cottages though don’t get me wrong happy to go to Spain, Morocco and elsewhere for a day or weekend out.

    When we established the PDP Keith and I and a band of about 10 decided to ignore old fashioned political ideologies and start with a blank piece of paper. What governed our policies was what we believed was fairness and common sense for Gib. Some of our policies are liberal such as equality for Gay’s and Moroccans and yet our views on crime and sentencing and economics are probably very conservative (before Ken Clarke).

    As to my duration in politics well you would have to go back to the early 1990’s when I joined the GSD fundamentally because having voted for Bossano in 1988 I felt his policy on fast launches really put us in a bad place and betrayed my trust in his judgement perpetually. Like the rest of you I have a life beyond politics (until elected should that day come)and clearly despite our best efforts the PDP does not get the press coverage that would allow you to see me appearing that often. Besides you would quickly get fed up!

    On the democracy front this forum is a good tool but I passionately believe that our system needs a shake up and those who claim they recognise that need should grasp the opportunity whenever it comes up, because in a small place like Gib transparency and debate is required to keep politicians, effective, accountable and above all honest with the electorate.Lip service does us no good. Irrespective of the motives the oppotunity is here now and action speaks louder than words.

    Finally for the anti-golf guy I’ll send my regards to the many Soto boys (of GSLP and GSD ilk) that will accompany tomorrow including a 13 handicap that is a current GSLP MP and a great guy which makes it worse.

    Have a good weekened


  105. The Governments statement on the Port incident is riddled with holes, firstly,what are the terms of reference of the various multi-agency investigations to be conducted? Will each agency submit individual final reports or will the Governments Co-coordinator collate all reports and make a combined final one? Where is the Health and Safety mentioned in all this,as its not mentioned in the GoG Statement? The Government have apologised to the people of Algeciras and others affected in the Campo,what about the people of Gibraltar surely they deserve an apology for what they went through on the day into the evening and right through the night? However it is heartening to know now - that Government have ordered more fire-fighting form, just in case!
    Nowhere is it mentioned in the Government's statement that these investigations will be made public. There's no doubt that this Government continues to treat the people of Gibraltar with complete disdain and a contemptible disrespectful attitude!!!!

  106. Anon@17:43:

    Read Anon@15:56's first paragraph which states "until the tunnel is complete".

    Let me give you a hand old boy it is Anon@15:26 and not Anon@15:56.

    Anon@15:26 may not read the chronicle but you don't read the times.

  107. how many millions would we save if we didn't build the tunnel?

    sometimes the most progressive man is the one who turns back first!

  108. Only in Gibraltar!

    El Acting Chief Fire Officer se presenta al viewpoint without the facts. Despite some time passing after the major incident, when asked tonight if the CFB had conducted an on site exercise he replies that he doesn't have the facts!!!!!!!!! WTF!!!!!!!!!!

  109. 'well done, you did very well'
    'thankyou, well done to you too, you also did very well'
    'and you too, well done to you'

    que aburrimiento! Goodnight! lol

  110. Dennis

    Supported and supplemented? Why can't it be stand alone to ensure independence'?

  111. jonathan Scott seems to be living a "Reality Check" moment live on TV! The young interviewer is clearly shocked at the responses / arguments or lack of he is getting from his panel! And the Civil Contigency group el C CLEARLY DOESN'T WORK and they lack any idea in view of the little they have said, and from the little they have would have been better to not have said anything!

  112. should the investigation be headed by a civil servant? I don't think so! No question of the integrity of the gentleman chosen for the job, but the investigation should be seen to be completely impartial and free of any influence, that is if we want to convince the Spaniards and top Cruise Liner Security advisers later on!

  113. anon @ 19:27

    I made a mistake with the time? Oh I do apologise, oh Wise one!

    You made a mistake too though... 'old boy' indeed!

    LOL (which by the way means 'Laugh Out Loud')

  114. Tonight's Viewpoint must surely be an excellent example of how to defend th Government and Embarrass yourself in the process!

  115. Sorry to say that the Viewpoint Panel tonight were very unconvincing, they couldn't agree if they had or did not have enough resources to tackle the port tank incident. when a caller rang and asked why Joe Bishop was not called to assist or advise Leslie Edmonds answered that the C3 Committee were to busy and did not think of him, and yet Countries all over the world can think of calling on Mr Bishops expert services, but not when he was needed in his home town!
    Generally I thought it was a poor show from the panel, and I would go as far as to say that its back to the drawing board as far as civil and major incident contingency planning is concerned!!!!!

  116. Robert the emphasis is on "external" investigators supporting and supplementing. You appear to doubt Capita Symonds' independence simply because the investigation will be headed by the Government's Chief Technical Officer.

  117. Thank you Nick Cruz for finding the time to post on this blog.

    It is refreshing to see people posting in their own name, especially politicians.

    Furthermore please note that I strongly disagree with Mr. Searle's thoughts regarding the PDP. Lo que tiene es mucha cara dura ese!!

    Long live democracy!


  118. The viewpoint panel tonight appeared apprehensive,to me they also looked distressed (although scared or intimidated may have been a better description) in not wanting to make or say the wrong thing when answering a question.
    God knows what kind of independent investigation (if any) will materialise out of all this?

  119. Dennis

    I do not express any doubts about anyone and certainly not the company that you name. I just highlight a rather odd use of words conjoined with no undertaking that the report will be made public.

  120. Anon 23:34

    Exactly what I was thinking......:(


  121. Nick "Cameroon" Cruz is a breath of Colgate fresh air in the PDP such a contrast to his dry as dust Leader.Bur careful Nick to many of us the PDP still has nothing but a blank piece of paper 5 years after its inauguration. When are you going to fill it up? I'm all for gay rights and those of moroccans but so is everybody else. It is high time that the PDP stated what it stands for. You all strike me like you ant to be conviction politicians but I am never sure what your convictions are and a lot of people think that you and young Keith left the GSD because you could n't stomach Big Dan Feetham crashing in. I myself have played rugger in my youth and I regret to say that if I were to associate a sport with Keith's PDP it would have to be rounders, why don/t you make a bid for the leadership? ;)...Have a good w/end :)

  122. The investigation should be headed by a top QC like David Dumas or Charles Gomez or James Neish.

  123. Nick, you mention, tongue in cheek perhaps, that many of us are called 'anonymous', sadly this reflects the level of democracy we currently enjoy in Gibraltar. This should concern you as an aspiring politician and inspire you to campaign for the freedom of speech for all including the voices of dissent.

    You say you live in Gibraltar and live your life here, good for you, you will then be aware of all the points I raised before @ 09:29 about extremely high utility bills, classroom sizes, etc. More issues to inspire you and the PDP perhaps?

    As for rugby, many people play rugby y tienen poco del pish! lol, no te comas el coco!

    Well done for contributing, i hope you continue to do so and follow this blog closely as I believe many issues are brought to light here.

    Anna Conda (igual que anonymous, pero con mas gracia!)

  124. Is Cruz suggesting that we anonimouses are all interbred or indeed just one person? I demand an unconditional apology and damages.

  125. And I want a pony....... :)


  126. No sorry let me rephrase. I DEMAND a pony :) lolol


  127. Nick,

    Disciple X here.

    Glad to hear from you. My make my apology for having suggested that you come to the fore at every election time.

    However I do insist, for the good of those wanting to aspire to political heights that you get further exposure. With that I mean engaging in social issues that really matter, not just "lo topico" but where it really matters.

    I would not like to be seen preaching to you, but I have always been taught to admire those who stand for public office (blame Mr.G for that at school)but in your case its a matter of realising your potential (this is now sounding more like a school report).

    Anyhow thanks for your comment. Oh! and by the way if you fancy a game of golf, just say the word. Y yo no soy de soto sino de aqui del pueblo!

    If el GSLP golfer, i.e. GL esta with a handicap of 13 mas vale que te prepare. But it sounds to me that he's a bit of a bandit. (By the way thats a golfing term)so beware :)

    As regards your other comments I would like to say that I fully endorse what you said regarding an unfortunate period in Gibraltar when you said,

    "As to my duration in politics well you would have to go back to the early 1990’s when I joined the GSD fundamentally because having voted for Bossano in 1988 I felt his policy on fast launches really put us in a bad place and betrayed my trust in his judgement perpetually."

    This remark is so so true, and applicable to so many that only those old or should I say young enough will remember. It was not only the fast launches but the unhealthy ramifications that arose from all that.


  128. k,

    You cannot have a pony. You are not one of the anons.

    But, anyhow why on earth do you want a pony. Tu no sera uno de lo que tiene una finca in Spain, No? y te quiere pasear montao a caballo!

    Afooo.. veremos a ver por donde me sale ...y yo escribirte....

  129. Disciple X

    You should join us in the Finca,with Curro Jimenez ;)

    Just beside the SOTO golf course.


  130. "Mr. Searle's thoughts regarding the PDP." Well, what are his thoughts regarding the PDP. Can you enlighten us? Nick, you forgot to mention that you also have a house in Scud Hill and another in Soto. Nothing wrong with that of course but glad you've noticed Los Glacis on your left on the way to play golf! By the way, what's the latest on Ince's Farm, bought by a certain Minister some years ago, like Scud Hill House also on tender? Only a matter of time before you and Keith do a deal with Peter Caruana to either rejoin the GSD or form an alliance with them. You'll get nowhere going it alone, unfortunately, in our current political system. That's why Dr Garcia's Liberal Party allied itself with the GSLP and Danny's Labour was forced to 'merge' with the GSD. No room for a third party until the GSD goes the way of the AACR, which probably won't happen until Peter retires.

  131. k

    My husband would not let me !!

  132. Anon 11:58

    "Mr. Searle's thoughts regarding the PDP." Well, what are his thoughts regarding the PDP. Can you enlighten us?

    Don't you don't read the chronicle? :)

    Disciple X

    :( lol


  133. K

    Not since they doubled the price for no extra content. Only selected articles can be read online and no letters or editorials.

  134. Never played at Soto golf course! Too expensive for my pocket. Mind you if anyone's happy to pay for the green fees....give us a shout.