Sunday, 7 August 2011

A Vision Statement for a New Government of Gibraltar

This past week in conversation with a good friend it occurred to me that a party trying to get into government has to portray a short message containing its vision for Gibraltar. It is not enough for it to publish a lengthy and detailed manifesto just a few weeks before an election. Elections are won by convincing, in as brief a message as possible, the middle of the road voter that another contender will provide beneficial change. The detail has to be explained over time and individually.

It is not easy to achieve the communication of a vision, especially when faced with visual evidence of actual achievements by a Government in power. The Government in power has this very real advantage. The effort to sell a vision by a party trying to get into Government has to be that much greater. It has to be focused and effectively explained in a manner that captures the imagination easily and does not cause boredom.

I have undertaken an exercise in which I set out what I consider to be such a vision communicated in bite-sized pieces. In doing so I have not tried to invent the wheel, so in that regard it is simple, what I have tried to do is, explain what my vision for a party that I would vote for might be. For what it is worth here it is:

Political philosophy
A left of centre party, committed to a British Gibraltar, having a deep belief in the well being of individuals, especially the more needy in society, and of the community as a whole. 
A party committed to the empowerment of people through a truly representative Parliament, reinforced by working strictly under the authority of laws enacted in and by Parliament (the reinstatement of the “Rule of Law”). 
A party that does not govern under executive diktats or by any single member of Government rather a Government having collective responsibility.

Good Governance
To govern within the Rule of Law, which will require that the Civil Service should be strengthened by motivation, training and by recruitment policies in line with and building on societal and educational advances made in the last 25 years; advances achieved by the progressive educational policies followed by successive governments.
To establish an independent Anti-corruption Authority.

Empowerment of People
To promote electoral reforms.
To promote both substantive and procedural parliamentary reforms having the aim of ensuring an element of separation between the legislative and the executive arms of government.
To promote additional checks and balances and more accountability.
To permit greater access to information. 
To introduce legislation to authorise the holding of more frequent referenda.

To enact legislation to put the construction of housing and the co-ownership scheme on an open and transparent statutory footing.
To undertake a review of the Housing Allocation Scheme with the aim of improving fairness in the allocation of rental and co-ownership housing.
To allow 18 year olds to sign up.
To assist Gibraltarians wishing to return to Gibraltar.

Public Real Estate
To ensure a fairer and more transparent management of public real estate so that, such as has no social significance, is disposed of at the best price achievable for the benefit of the common purse and so that it is exploited for the best long-term economic advantage that will stimulate employment and improve the Gross Domestic Product.

To continue with all policies that encourage free education and attendance at post-schooling training and secondary education (inclusive of selective post-graduate education), 
To invest in an improved and holistic career advisory services, which in addition to general advice would strive to advise students to understand the career and employment advantages and disadvantages of courses that they wish to pursue.

To encourage the employment of adequately trained and qualified locals in our health services.
To abolish means tested sponsored patient rules.
To permit access to medical notes.
To make the health services complaints procedure more independent.
To actively promote healthy lifestyles to help to reduce illness.
To improve the infrastructure for and care of the mentally ill.

Social Services
To undertake a root and branch review of the social services system in Gibraltar with a view to providing bespoke packages tailored to meet individual requirements of the needy and less adequate members of our society with the ultimate aim being to  integrate them into mainstream society and to make as many as possible productive members of society in employment.

To return the emphasis to meeting the real needs of pensioners equally and fairly, including, by eliminating the tax privileges advanced to those pensioners who are less in need, at the expense of working taxpayers whose own pension expectations are reduced in light of admitted non-affordability.

Disabled Persons
To undertake a root and branch review of the facilities presently available for the disabled persons in close cooperation and consultation with representative organisations of affected individuals in order to increase accessibility and facilities for them.
To ease the additional burden suffered by disabled persons.

Economy and Business
To continue a non-discriminatory progressive fiscal policy that encourages inward investment and an attractive environment for work and business.
To cease all profligate expenditure of public monies and endeavour to reduce the public debt.
To take steps to reduce the scope of cross-border unfair competition.
To reduce the scope for abuse in the tender system and the allocation of contracts with a publicly funded element.
To innovate in order to encourage business start-ups and increase investment in the promotion of “Gibraltar PLC” (including tourism, port, financial services and World Wide Web based businesses) for the collective benefit of all, without favour or advantage, and in that manner to increase the number of jobs and improve job prospects for those already in employment.

To promote the employment of locals within the permissive bounds of applicable laws on good but affordable terms and conditions.
To encourage good industrial relations by working in close consultation and partnership with trade unions and employers and trade bodies.

Energy and the Environment
As soon as is affordable:

  • To construct an environmentally friendly power station, providing Gibraltar with a truly self-sufficient energy policy without reliance on Heath Robinson and temporary facilities.
  • To build the much delayed obligatory sewage treatment plant.

Generally to closely heed and introduce, as may be feasible, environmental considerations and requirements into the decision making process.
To empower people in the planning process.

Youth and Sport
To continue funding leisure and sporting facilities.
To promote their use.
To assist our youth and sportsmen in the international arena.

Law and Order
To adequately (but reasonably) fund the law enforcement agencies and to fully support them.
To ensure an adequately (but reasonably) funded judiciary so that it is able to better undertake its constitutional function and duties independently and in accordance with internationally recognised principles and standards.

Fundamental Rights
To fully abide by the obligations imposed on all administrations by Chapter 1 of the Gibraltar Constitution Order 2006.
To accept responsibility as a Government for so abiding, without shirking its legislative responsibility by surrendering its obligations to the judiciary.
Consequentially, to repeal the anomalous legislation allowing Government access to the Courts on questions relating to fundamental rights.
To establish an independent administrative Commission modeled on the Canadian equivalent to advise on the constitutionality of laws. 

To continue to welcome the MOD presence in Gibraltar warmly.
Not to lose sight that Gibraltar’s international importance and attraction is founded on its very desirable strategic geographical location at a trade route choke point.

Not to permit issues with Spain to overshadow any policies or objectives.
It is clear that Gibraltar wants continued British sovereignty but, within that, enhanced democratic self-government, so any dialogue with Spain, beyond that envisaged at the level of co-operation within the Trilateral Forum, is presently doomed to failure. Such dialogue is not a good use of time or effort by any of the participants in the Trilateral Forum.

There it is. It is not set in stone so have your say and tell your politicians what you are looking for from them by making a comment.


  1. Another great contribution Robert.

    However, I would have placed another sub-heading…, NGO's.

    NGO’s play a great, and often important role in society, making a positive contribution.

    Sometimes they highlight misgivings that neither the press nor government dare whisper about. Amnesty International, NSPCC and more modestly DAWN comes to mind the later creating awareness and exposing the cruelty that employees often have to endure through bullying at work. (Remember Gibraltar lacks proper specific laws to protect employees)

    I would like to encourage you, if you please, to expand on this further with your thoughts on NGO’s & their role in society.

  2. Robert

    Under Economy and Business could you please explain what you mean by "to reduce the scope of cross-border unfair competition"?

    Part 1.
    Political corruption is the abuse of entrusted power by political leaders for private gain,
    with the objective of increasing power or wealth.2 Political corruption need not involve money changing hands; it may take the form of ‘trading in influence’ or granting favours that poison politics and threaten democracy.

    Political corruption involves a wide range of crimes and illicit acts committed by political leaders before, during and after leaving office. It is distinct from petty or bureaucratic corruption in so far as it is perpetrated by political leaders or elected officials who have been vested with public authority and who bear the responsibility of representing the public interest. There is also a supply side to political corruption – the bribes paid to politicians – that must be addressed.

    Political corruption is an obstacle to transparency in public life. In established democracies, the loss of faith in politics and lack of trust in politicians and parties challenge democratic values, a trend that has deepened with the exposure of corruption in the past decade. 3 In transition and developing states, political corruption threatens the very viability of democracy, as it makes the newer institutions of democracy vulnerable.

    Political corruption is a primary focus of Transparency International’s work. Indeed, one reason for selecting political corruption as the theme of this year’s Global Corruption Report is the priority of this issue in TI’s network of national chapters around the world, many of which hold political corruption to be a major concern in their country and have made political corruption a focus of their advocacy efforts.

    The revelation of political corruption often sends shockwaves through a society. Yet, despite strong demands for justice, prominent world leaders who are suspected of corruption prove difficult to prosecute or convict. Many leaders are out of office or dead before their crimes come to light.
    TI has put together a list of alleged embezzlers from Sani Abacha to Mohamed Suharto (see Table 1.1, page 13), showing estimates of the money they allegedly stole as compared with per capita income. This list is a powerful reminder of just how massive and devastating the scale of abuse can be.

    A new instrument that assesses the general public’s experiences of and attitudes towards corruption, finds that if citizens could wave a magic wand to eliminate corruption from just one institution, more would choose to clean up political parties than any other institution. For parties, which play a crucial role in public life in any democracy, the message is clear: there must be absolute probity of party members and officials, and parties themselves must clean up their internal practices.

    Part 2.
    Business people also sense the effects of political corruption. A survey by the World Economic Forum shows that business people believe that legal donations have a high impact on politics, that bribery does feature as a regular means of achieving policy goals in about 20 per cent of countries surveyed, and that illegal political contributions are standard practice in nearly half of all countries surveyed.

    Political corruption points to a lack of transparency, but also to related concerns about equity and justice: corruption feeds the wrongs that deny human rights and prevent human needs from being met. Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson argues that corruption hinders participation in political life and proper access to justice.

    This year’s Global Corruption Report focuses on corruption in the political process, and on the insidious impact of corrupt politics on public life in societies across the globe. It addresses the following areas in the context of political corruption:
    • the regulation of political finance
    • the disclosure of money flows in politics and the enforcement of political finance
    • elections – specifically vote buying
    • the private sector – with a focus on the arms and oil sectors, and
    • tackling the abuse of office – including reducing conflicts of interest, limiting
    recourse to immunity, pursuing extradition and repatriating stolen wealth.

    The report also evaluates various mechanisms that can curb corruption in politics, from citizen action to the creation of new international norms and standards, such as Transparency International’s Standards on Political Finance and Favours (see below).
    By focusing on the above topics, the Global Corruption Report addresses particular weak spots in political life: the abuse of money in the political system by candidates and political officials; the lack of transparency about money flows in politics; the potential of the private sector to purchase influence, distorting both the marketplace and the fair representation of the public interest; the corruption of the electoral process; and the ways the legal system can affect the ability of states to pursue justice in major corruption crimes.


  5. I agree with your take on the pensioners. Some of them receive monthly incomes over and above that of a working class family, and yet the expenditure of that household would be far higher as anyone with children will know only too well.
    By all means, support the pensioners but a measure of means-testing should be introduced to provide a certain amount of equality.

  6. What on earth was that all about! Paragraph upon paragraph of vague abstractions much in the style of Picardo himself. Heavens above!

  7. Anonymous at 21:22

    It is a VISION statement not a MANIFESTO.

    Is that your best criticism, lacking in substance and mere dismissal ... you must be a GSD apparatchik :)

  8. its a vision statement with foresight instead of the knee-jerk reactions we are currently force-fed.

  9. Robert and Anon@21:14

    When one hears of tax free pensions as from age 60 the immediate reaction is to think of top Civil Servants with incomes of £2,000 plus per month. I would venture to guess, however, that the average monthly income from private pensions sources and ex government employees is likely to be in the region of £1,000 if that.

    This does not mean that I disagree with means testing which can easily be applied by using the existing income tax system and the application of tax credits.

  10. Anonymous at 19:04

    I refer mainly to service businesses where cross border suppliers have a lower cost base and are not within the tax and social security system in Gibraltar.

  11. Robert, you say it's a VISION STATEMENT? I am not dismissing anything, as you claim. The point I am making is that wide abstractions of the sort you make in this post risk meaning different things to different men. In the time-honoured phrase, condescend to particulars.

  12. Anonymous at 22:28

    You have failed to read my introductory paragraph ... of course this does not eliminate the need for a full manifesto and explanation. It is simply the VISION!

  13. Let me quote back at you your own words: "it is not easy to achieve the communication of a vision". Your continued Picardesque belief that a vision is synonymous with wide generalisations proves the point with eloquence.

  14. Anon@22:36

    I see your point as well as Robert's, however, I do not believe that Mr Picardo is capable of having and portraying a vision unless, of course, he copies and pastes Robert's.

  15. Do the opposition or police care?

    Corruption denies poor people the basic means of survival, forcing them to spend more of their income on bribes. Human rights are denied where corruption is rife, because a fair trial comes with a hefty price tag where courts are corrupted.

    Corruption undermines democracy and the rule of law.

    Corruption distorts national and international trade.

    Corruption jeopardises sound governance and ethics in the private sector.

    Corruption threatens domestic and international security and the sustainability of natural resources.

    Those with less power are particularly disadvantaged in corrupt systems, which typically reinforce gender discrimination.
    Corruption compounds political exclusion: if votes can be bought, there is little incentive to change the system that sustains poverty.
    The conclusion - Corruption hurts everyone.

    Lawless Gibraltar

  16. Should opposition member undertake to investigate assumed rumours and corruption or will they follow the same path?

    Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It hurts everyone whose life, livelihood or happiness depends on the integrity of people in a position of authority.


  17. Anonymous at 22:36

    So Alistair Campbell did nothing for New Labour?

    So you ignore that I also qualify what I have written with the words "The detail has to be explained over time and individually"

    You say that my suggested vision is synonymous with generalisations. Of course it is not. It is synonymous with communication and understanding. It needs to be followed up with detail and explanation, which would be contained in a manifesto and other communications.

    I invite you to read the generalisations used by PRC, the CM, in his foreword to the GSD Manifesto for the 2007 election. That is ALL that I am doing. Not writing the manifesto itself. Your criticism is not contextual ... again a marvelous GSD tactic that voters now see through, each day that goes by more and more clearly :). But you are entitled to your views, please carry on the way you are going. You are doing really well :)

    Why your continuous reference to "Picardesque"? I assure you that I give MY own opinion here. If you read all that I have written in this blog since it started, you will see that generalisations are not the norm. Detail is very much the norm on this blog ... all the detail for the above vision have already been written about in the past, distant and recent.

    I detect fear and apprehension in your criticism.

  18. and if there is corruption, its the opposition's fault? wtf????

  19. Anonymous at 00:04

    No one has said that ... unless I am missing something!

  20. Robert, 'Lawless Gibraltar' goes on about corruption and asks if the Opposition and Police care.

    LBW asks if the Opposition will investigate the rumours or follow the same path as the current operators of corruption.

    Surely if they believe there is corruption, shouldn't they be condemning those they believe to be involved instead?

  21. The Facebook Gibraltar Politics group is currently experiencing an almighty storm in a teacup.

    It should be noted that cache errors resulting in a specific contributor’s comments being systematically removed after having written in a discussion thread is unfortunately perfectly normal and to be expected with Facebook these days. It is very unlikely there was any foul play on either side.

  22. Anonymous said...
    Re -00-04

    Corruption thrives where temptation coexists with permissiveness. Where institutional checks on power are missing, where decision making remains obscure, where civil society is thin on the ground, where great inequalities in the distribution of wealth condemn people to live in poverty, which is where corrupt practices flourish. It cannot be stressed enough that corruption is alive and well even where political, economic, legal and social institutions are well entrenched.

    Opposition parties and police must be seen to highlight, condemn and investigate any corrupt practices that may exist, the people deserve to know that posts are held by truthful honourable ministers.


  23. Anonymous 00:23

    As I have written in the past rumours of corruption in Gibraltar have been rife from time immemorial. Undoubtedly many are baseless but some may be true. It is not possible for lay people to accuse without evidence. It is also unfair for people who are the subject matter of rumour to not be able to show the falsehood of those rumours. It is precisely for this reason that I have for some time now been advocating an anti-corruption body based on that established in Hong Kong in the mid 70s to be established in Gibraltar.

    Who could possibly object to that suggestion. No one has yet but nor has any major party come out supporting the idea and running with it politically ...

  24. Robert you say 'It is not possible for lay people to accuse without evidence', then neither can it be for the Opposition or the Police for that matter.

    Let's be realistic here, nobody in his/her right mind is going to carry out any corruption at that level without covering up their tracks properly, so any rumours would always be very difficult to prove as even nepotism and cronyism can be justified in a population of just £30,000 and credit to the Police, they don't have the proper training/man power to investigate complex financial transactions to the level needed in this day and age. Let's face it, if it was that easy, the Opposition, Police, Journalists, etc would have uncovered this by now.

    So lets call a spade, a spade here, and if there are any accusations to make, let's point our fingers at the perpetrators who are carrying it out and not at the Opposition or the Police who, with the current legislation, are unable to stop it.

    As for an anti-corruption body, is the Ombudsman, for example, not empowered to act as such? (even if he is paid for by Government) What about independent bodies like the FSC? or Civil Servants like the Finance Secretary and Principle Auditor, do they not have a duty and responsibility to uphold the laws and ensure corruption isn't possible?

  25. just an observation, but has anybody else noticed the CM spending a lot of time in Gib lately?
    One can assume an election is round the corner and he is trying to commune with the electorate as much as possible, but what if our assumptions and not entirely correct, what if there might be another reason why the trip across the border is not his cup of tea this year... could there be un gatito encerrao?

  26. Anonymous at 09:45

    I agree that the same applies to the Opposition. I do not believe that I have ever said anything to tyhe contrary. The Opposition, however, can have as a policy the creation of a body like I have suggested an Anti-corruption Authority, which could receive and investigate complaints.

    The police,however, are in a slightly different position in that if there is reasonable suspicion, they can and should investigate. I agree that they cannot make public accusations without evidence.

    I do not belive that anyone has pointed any fingers at the Opposition or the Police.

    The Ombudsman may cover certain aspects of corruption but not all. The FSC's task is not directly in relation to corruption. The Civil Service, Finance Secretary and Principal Auditor are not directly engaged in the investigation of corruption. However all these bodies would ahve a duty to act if they cam across acts of corruption.

  27. Anonymous at 09:58

    I undertsand that the CM does cross the border so I do not know where you are getting information to the contrary.

  28. I don't think anybody is actually pointing their fingers at the opposition or police either but they are been blamed for allowing things to happen when in reality they are as helpless as the rest of us because as I said before if there is anything going on it, nobody would be that stupid to do this without covering their tracks.
    Even if the Opposition become the next Government, I very much doubt they would find any actual evidence of wrong-doing from the present one in a Government office filing cabinet, now would they? tonto no son!
    My point is that those posters who speak about corruption and allege it is rife, should have the courage to condemn the corrupt and not accuse others of allowing something to happen which is beyond their control.

  29. Robert

    You have mentioned Hong Kong as an example of what you would like to see adopted/legislated in Gibraltar as a corruption deterrent before.

    The Independent Commission Against Corruption was established in Hong Kong by the then Governor whilst under British rule.

    As Hong Kong got back on its feet after WWII, the population began to swell and manufacturing industries grew, and by the 1960s Hong Kong was experiencing economic growth.

    Against this background the government kept Civil Service salaries very low, and so it was probably no surprise that officials in all departments took advantage of their positions to supplement their wages with demands for 'tea money', 'lucky money' or substantially larger sums. Examples of corruption ranged from nursing sisters demanding money to provide extra blankets and/or food or to allow visitors outside normal hours, firemen lived by the saying, 'Mo chin mo sui' (no money no water) and in fact sometimes asked for money to turn off the water, preventing water damage, once a fire had been put out; officials in Lands and Public Works departments secured huge sums of money for 'advice' and 'signatures' that procured the award of tenders and enabled developments and projects to proceed; the Royal Hong Kong Police was also in on the act and entire stations were organised to 'make money' from hawkers, licences and in many other illicit schemes. Civil servants often had to pay for promotions and postings in positions known for a lucrative return. HK was awash with money, and poorly paid civil servants made sure that their wages were supplemented by it. That is not to say that those in private business/employment - from bankers to exporters from taxi drivers to restaurant workers - were scrupulously clean, the whole of Hong Kong was on the take.

    Source: Wikipedia.

    Whilst I am not against anti-corruption legislation, the circumstances that would make it desirable in Gibraltar are not as drastic.

  30. You should have never stood down Robert...

  31. Anon @ 11.41

    Those of us who continuously hear of the usual suspects in Government having strong links with some in private enterprises do not have the tools or the obligation to forensically investigate them! This is WHY we voted in an Opposition. So they would represent our interests and control illicit practises such as the ones we hear about. Why is it 'beyond their control' to investigate and catch out these wrongdoers? On the contrary, thats EXACTLY what our opposition and some NGOs are therefore surely?

    Otherwise we can just throw out the towel of democracy and call ourselves Panama no?

  32. Anonymous at 12:21

    I agree, my reference to Hong Kong has been related to modelling the Authority/Commission in a similar manner.

    I have never suggested that there is a problem in Gibraltar of the type that may have existed in Hong Kong. My argument to support the suggestion is in fact that it is intended to put paid to so many unsubstantiated rumours that for time immemorial have made the rounds in Gibraltar.

  33. Anonymous at 13:13

    I must say I am having serious second thought ... so watch this space but if I stand it will be as an independent ...

  34. RV@14:45

    Robert, is there the remotest chance that rumours are, just that, rumours?

    I do agree with Anon@14:09 why is the Opposition silent when they are in the ideal position to get to the depth of any rumour of corruption.

  35. Anonymous at 15:27

    Absolutely right and that is precisely the reasoning that I have used in my comment at 12:21 and in earlier blogs and comments on this subject. The anti-corruption body that I have suggested is required precisely for that reason ...

  36. RV@15:31


    I have an awful feeling that even if we had the most penetrating independent anti-corruption commission on earth, rumours would still be rife in our beloved Gibraltar.

  37. Kaelan Joyce says:

    Lawless Gibraltar

    Money, money, money must be funny in the rich man’s world....

    In times of economic recession Gibraltar is BOOMING, or so we are told. Furthermore the GSD Government has done great things for Gibraltar in terms of financial prosperity (even though we are millions of pounds in debt), but at what cost?

    We are surrounded by an ever expanding concrete jungle, yet hundreds of these flats are empty purchased by non-local investors that only do so for tax related purposes. Yet the GSD Government continues to reclaim the public’s land and in the process proceeds to destroy our shoreline and the little greenery we have left.

    Pero no pasa nada GOG builds it and WE pay for it. :)

    Money, money, money must be funny in the rich man’s world....

    CRIME, POLLUTION, DRUG ABUSE AND SMUGGLING are all at an all time high.

    There is plenty of evidence to support such a statement, ranging from RGP statistics to common knowledge.

    Pero no pasa nada we turn a blind eye as smuggling (in all forms) generates an extra hidden revenue.

    Money, money, money must be funny in the rich man’s world....

    Why do we continue to vote for a political formation that chooses to neglect simple moral obligations?

    In my opinion the GSD hardcore do not have the people’s best interests at heart.

    Day light knife attacks? Rampant tobacco smuggling (sounds familiar?)? Children selling drugs to CHILDREN?

    Que le pasao ami Gibraltar?

    Llevame donde naci, por aqui seguro que no es.....

    We are certainly our own worst enemies and the people will undoubtedly get the government it deserves.



  38. Robert good effort on your latest blog, pero picha it's way over the GSLP's head. They have one vision and its more to do with ousting your cuz than anything else. You are right to lend them a helping hand, but after 16 years of contradictions and public masturbations I hardly think that the GSLP are about to see the light now.

  39. Oh god cornflakes again. Come on kid, get real will you. Open your eyes TO THE WORLD OUT THERE AND PLEASE SPARE US THE BULL!

  40. Anon 16:24

    Get real?

    I'm I not stating FACTS?

    Everything I have listed is happening in our Gibraltar. Or is it not?

    Furthermore your reply lacks depth, please try again :)


  41. Anonymous at 16:20

    My blog was not intended to help any existing political party.

  42. Kaelan@16:15


    Who do you think is capable of making this dysfunctional Gibraltar that you describe functional?


    7 AUGUST 2011 23:39
    7 AUGUST 2011 23:48
    8 AUGUST 2011 14:09


    (I don't think anybody is actually pointing their fingers at the opposition or police either BUT THEY ARE BEEN BLAMED FOR ALLOWING THINGS TO HAPPEN when in reality they are as helpless as the rest of us because as I said before if there is anything going on it, NOBODY WOULD BE THAT STUPID TO DO THIS WITHOUT COVERING THEIR TRACKS).
    That’s why we need opposition’s party and police force COMPRENDE.


    Middle Class

  44. Anon 19:03

    Just about anyone except the GSD.

    We have and have had for many years now a political system which is very much monopolized (or so I percieve).

    I would probably vote for one of those barbary apes we see around town lately, instead of any of the GSD candidates. :)

    There are certain individuals who I believe could make a BIG difference if they where to stand at these coming elections.

    Unfortunately it seems they are too worried about possible repercussions to do so.

    Gibraltar a democracy or dictatorship?


  45. Kaelan@21:43


    So you believe that the only people capable of getting us out of the horrific mess that you described are too worried about possible repercussions if they stand? It does not say very much for their valour, does it?

  46. 8 AUGUST 2011 09:45

    So let’s call a spade, a spade here, and if there are any accusations to make, let's point our fingers at the perpetrators who are carrying it out and not at the Opposition or the Police who, WITH THE CURRENT LEGISLATION, ARE UNABLE TO STOP IT.

    As for an anti-corruption body, is the OMBUDSMAN, for example, not empowered to act as such? What about independent bodies like the FSC? OR CIVIL SERVANTS LIKE THE FINANCE SECRETARY AND PRINCIPLE AUDITOR, do they not have a duty and responsibility to uphold the laws and ensure corruption isn't possible?

    Have we or haven’t we got the law to investigate and try to stop it, or have we got the law but do not allow the professional to do the jobs.


  47. People please get real, investigating and discovering corruption wouldn't be that easy. No this is not Panama, or Cuba for that matter, if anything untoward is going on, do you honestly think it would be discoverable? Come on we are dealing with intelligent people here. This is not Zimbabwe either!

    How ridiculous would the Police look, or the Opposition, if they investigated a rumour and found everything to be above-board? And that's what they would find - venga ya, no estamos hablando de tres tontos trajinandose el stationery cupboard!

    I would bet money that even an independent, properly resourced anti-corruption body would never find a thing, instead they, or the Opposition, or the Police, would end up with egg on their faces and in the process make martyrs of the accused, y ya qualquiera los escuchaba!

    What we need is a transparent Government, a proper tender system that works, civil servants who are allowed to take responsibility for the job they are paid to do, ministers who refrain from acting as heads of departments or CEOs and consultants engaged by Government held to account if their advice was erroneous. We could also do with an anti-corruption body, but the need for it would lessen if transparency was at the forefront of Government's working practises.

  48. Anon 22:20

    I stated some and not all :)

    Ps - Politics has nothing to do with valor. lol


  49. 8 AUGUST 2011 22:44
    About investigating crimes you say.

    What we need is a transparent Government, a proper tender system that works, civil servants who are allowed to take responsibility for the job they are paid to do, ministers who refrain from acting as heads of departments or CEOs and consultants engaged by Government held to account if their advice was erroneous. We could also do with an anti-corruption body, but the need for it would lessen if transparency was at the forefront of Government's working practices.

    Who do you think should force government to deliver non intelligent individuals?


  50. Lawless, I'm not sure I understand your question.

    Do you mean 'who do you think should force government to deliver?' and then you suggest 'non-intelligent individuals'

    whom do you mean by 'non-intelligent individuals'?

    If Government has transparent working practises, and ministers have civil servants ensuring all working practises are kept within the rules, Government does not have to be forced to deliver, instead Ministers would have to oblige as the laws suggest.

  51. 2011 00:12
    Did not explain myself properly

    Government is supposed to be run by intelligent people and you say.

    I would bet money that even an independent, properly resourced anti-corruption body would never find a thing, instead they, or the Opposition, or the Police, would end up with egg on their faces and in the process make martyrs of the accused, y ya qualquiera los escuchaba!

    If our intelligent distinguished opposition members and police force will fail to find anything, who do you suggest should have a go at it non-intelligent individuals.


  52. At long, long last 1986 QC appointment guidelines updated:
    Likely new QCs: Robert Vasquez, Peter Montegriffo and Keith Azopardi?

  53. Cornflakes have you watched the news lately ? International news that is? In fact does the GSLP crew watch news at all? I wonder what barometer cornflakes and the sunshine band use to compare Gibraltar's near catastrophic economic and social status against that which stares us all in the face on all news networks around the world.
    Touching on Roberts blog, I would say that the GSLP's strategy is to simply discredit and blatantly misinform the public at all levels. Quite sad that they are not able to actually string a line of positives with some sort of plan or vision for the future and sadder still that they choose to try and undermine and downgrade the enviable position that we find ourselves in. It seems that the fear factor that the GSLP wish to impose on us all knows no boundaries, and their recent attempt now tackles education in which they choose (through the Panorama) to inform us all of the apparent high crime rates and chaos in our schools.
    Surely we must be on the verge of a riot or civil unrest, given the unemployment levels, the debt that is so taking us to the brink of bankruptcy, but more importantly the fact that Caruana is poised to sell Gib under an Andorra style agreement.
    Que mal esta la cosa, hay mi Gibraltar que han hecho con mi Gibraltar ! Con lo bien que estabamos antes del Caruana.

  54. Anonymous at 10:45

    I cannot speak for the others but, in my case, it can only be so if I were to decide to apply under the new system, which needs careful thought on my part.

  55. Anon 11:11

    I actually do watch the news :)

    Surprise!! lololol

    I see Gibraltar heading in the same direction as the UK and such a notion terrifies me.

    I have stated it a million times and will so again. It is not us that will suffer the repercussions\consequences of the GSD's mismanagement of our Gibraltar but rather our children and their children after!

    Stop being so selfish and think of others :)


  56. well done Robert. It is on principles and a principled approach that you create effective stategies and policies for an efficient administration and good governance. The rest is risking a pattern of expediency and on the hoof journeys.

  57. K do you suffer from some sort of visualisation disorder?

  58. KJ@13:20


    So who do you think could govern us out of the mess you say we are in.

    Please don't suggest those individuals who do not have the guts to stand because they are worried about repercussions. If they do not have the guts to stand I doubt whether they would have the guts to save us from the Armageddon that you state we are in.

  59. A little birdie tells me that the GSD have a few more candidates lining up other than Selwyn, Isobel and Damon. Anyone heard anything about this? I understand two are serious characters.

  60. Anonymous at 15:10

    So you agree that one needs GUTS to stand for election in Gibraltar, that is very worrying!

    Anonymous at 15:11

    Does that mean Selwyn, Isobel and Damon and other existing GSD candidates are not serious characters?

  61. LW @ 15:14.
    You tell me? All I said was that I understood two of the unknowns are serious. I think that Isobel is serious and carries a great deal of respect, I think Selwyn is young, has great ideas and Damon in my mind would be an exceptional politician and an asset for Gib!

  62. I believe that K’s comments, well meaning though they may be, do a genuine disservice to those same rumoured candidates and the level of their commitments and beliefs.

    Being worried about possible repercussions could mean anything, and it’s all too easy to draw a negative inference from such comments.

    Would anyone begrudge Feetham if he chose to leave politics so that he may enjoy a (perhaps comparatively) relaxed life after the disgraceful and serious attack on his person? I certainly wouldn’t (although I would lament his loss in the Gib political scene as one of the few GSD ministers worth his weight in votes).

    Would anyone begrudge a given individual, who on the balance of the many variables that exist in a person’s life, decides not to pursue a career in politics? No.

    This isn’t tribal warfare, it’s not about whether an individual has the “guts” to stand in an election. It’s whether a person believes and feels they are in a position in their lives where they can afford to take the calculated risk to enter the political realm. Any potential politician who does so haphazardly and with little regard for anything other than their own self-serving interests shouldn’t be given the time of day.

  63. RV@15:14


    If Gibraltar or any other country, for that matter, is in the state that Kaelan@4:15 on the 8th says it is, GUTS is a minimum requirement for any politician.

  64. Anonymous at 16:18

    I know I have descibed politics in Gibraltar in the past as tribal, now I agree with you it is not tribal. Following recent events in and out of Parliament and the name calling that followed, it is gang warfare between the two main rival parties!

    I hope it does not continue in that vein for the good of democracy and of Gibraltar. I fear it will ...

  65. KJ:18:35

    “gangster” and “me me me” mentality which many locals tend to have these days.

    You must be mixing with the wrong crowd.

  66. Kaelan Joyce said...
    Anon 14:52

    Are you insinuating that the publicly published RGP statistics concerning crime, drugs, tobacco smuggling and anti social behavior are false?

    Please feel free to elaborate on such comments : )

    Anon 15:10

    Armageddon state no! But it is what it is.

    I have stated facts, nothing more and nothing less if you wish to interpret it in such a manner then so be it. : )

    As for your question – “So who do you think could govern us out of the mess you say we are in?”

    In my opinion no single individual could tackle such a mammoth task, only WE as a collective identity could do such a thing.

    It is time for the people of Gibraltar to unite, to act as one, to acknowledge that Gibraltar as a community is deteriorating and quickly at that.

    There is a need to get back to the “basics” and focus more on core social and moral values and to do away with this “gangster” and “me me me” mentality which many locals tend to have these days.

    People must realize that it is not only about THEM but about US.

    Aaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiii one can dream................ : )

    Anon 16:18

    You raise valid points and I must concede that not all rumored candidates can be stereotyped in such a manner. : )


  67. Lawless, you could send in Sherlock Holmes himself, and still he wouldn't find anything untoward.

    Its very hard to explain this to you without attracting Robert's delete button in case of libel!

    Hypothetically speaking, if any corruption were to exist, I think it would go beyond the removal of 2 staplers and a ream of photo-copy paper from the stationery cupboard. In an imaginary world, if there was ever any wrong-doing on the part of a an elected member of parliament, it would be far bigger than that, and surely we can safely assume that his/her tracks would be covered up and all loose ends tied up to ensure the wrong-doing was never uncovered, especially by the Police, Opposition or Anti-corruption body, so as not to risk getting caught and prosecuted by the authorities. Some things would be impossible to prove, for example, a contract awarded to a known friend or even family member can easily be explained in a population of 30,000.

    Its not about the intelligence or otherwise of the investigators but about the shrewdness of those they would be investigating, and their ability to act within the law and being able to fully explain their actions however unfair they may be.

  68. Robert,

    David Eade from the Panorama Online agrees with anon @ 8:48 on August 8th, both making the observation that for some unknown reason, the CM doesn't seem to be travelling to Spain very much these days!

    Al Tanto

  69. Robert,

    according to David Eade, he hasn't been but feels confident he can at least for the next couple of weeks.

    Al Tanto

  70. 2011 21:08
    We must be the only town, city or country in the world that ACCEPTS CRIME IS UNTRACEABLE what a lot of rubbish just check UK news or log into the net.

  71. Lawless, of course money is traceable and so is crime. Of course its all unacceptable and we don't have to look further than our own media and listen to the rumours on the street to get an idea of what's going on, but however much I am appalled by it all, I honestly don't think the likes of the people I'm think of and hearing about, would leave a trail for the authorities to catch them red-handed.

  72. 9 AUGUST 2011 21:08

    Wednesday 3 August 2011

    Sponsored by Police pair suspended after arrests

    Published on Thursday 4 August 2011 01:16
    The Chief Constable of Cleveland and his deputy have been suspended from their posts after being arrested by detectives investigating allegations of fraud and corruption.
    Sean Price and his deputy Derek Bonnard were arrested and taken to a police station in North Yorkshire where they are being questioned by detectives.
    A woman, alleged to be a former member of staff at Cleveland Police Authority, was also arrested on suspicion of the same offences.
    The investigation, which is being led by officers from Warwickshire Police, began in May following allegations against present and former members of Cleveland Police Authority.
    A Warkwickshire police spokesman said searches were made of several premises following the arrests at around 6am.

    He said: "Police officers conducting a criminal investigation into a number of people with current or past associations with Cleveland Police Authority and the manner in which the authority may have conducted some of its business have this morning arrested three people on suspicion of misconduct in a public office, fraud by abuse of position and corrupt practice."
    A Cleveland Police Authority spokesman said: "The authority can confirm that two chief officers have been suspended from their posts with Cleveland Police while the investigations are being considered. It should be emphasised that suspension is a neutral act and it should not be inferred from the decision to suspend that the potential conduct matters have been proven in respect to the two chief officers concerned."
    Speaking in May, Mr Price said he was considering taking legal action after the IPCC announced it was investigating an allegation that he used "undue influence" to appoint a member of staff to his force.
    He denied the accusation about a junior member of staff in late 2008, which he regarded as malicious, and warned that those responsible for "initiating and spreading incorrect information" could be sued for defamation.

    The IPCC said the allegation came to light during a review by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary into the way some individuals within Cleveland Police Authority "may have conducted some of its business".
    Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2011, All

  73. 2011 22:58

  74. “Corruption is authority plus monopoly minus transparency.”

    However, Lawless this does not mean that the authority has acted illegally, unfairly yes, but not illegally, and that unfortunately is corruption impossible to prove.

  75. Anon 20:19

    Claro eso lo que es!! Silly me :(

    Thank you for enlightening me! I am most grateful :/ LOL


  76. Lawless, you can't just investigate por la cara, you need evidence because in the democracy we live in people are innocent until proven guilty and not the other way round, however much we think otherwise.

    However, if you have evidence of corruption, please make it known to the authorities, or even the opposition, so that it can be investigated but remember 'smoke' is not good enough, you need the 'fire' to take it forward, and I'm sure you, or anybody else would never find it.

  77. The way in which the current Gibraltar politics group has devolved is quite disappointing.

    A greater emphasis should be placed on quality as opposed to quantity, and there should be a number of moderators in order to minimise the risk of any unfair abuse of power. No one person should believe themselves to be bigger than the group. Hopefully someone else will take it upon themselves to start up a new group where proper debate can resume.

  78. 2011 23:54

    Corruption poses a serious development challenge. In the political realm, it undermines democracy and good governance by flouting or even subverting formal processes. Corruption in elections and in legislative bodies reduces accountability and distorts representation in policymaking; corruption in the judiciary compromises the rule of law; and corruption in public administration results in the inefficient provision of services. It violates a basic principle of republicanism regarding the centrality of civic virtue. More generally, corruption erodes the institutional capacity of government as procedures are disregarded, resources are siphoned off, and public offices are bought and sold. At the same time, corruption undermines the legitimacy of government and such democratic values as trust and tolerance.


  79. 2011 00:20
    A kickback is an official's share of misappropriated funds allocated from his or her organization to an organization involved in corrupt bidding. For example, suppose that a politician is in charge of choosing how to spend some public funds. He can give a contract to a company that is not the best bidder, or allocate more than they deserve. In this case, the company benefits, and in exchange for betraying the public, the official receives a kickback payment, which is a portion of the sum the company received. This sum itself may be all or a portion of the difference between the actual (inflated) payment to the company and the (lower) market-based price that would have been paid had the bidding been competitive. Kickbacks are not limited to government officials; any situation in which people are entrusted to spend funds that do not belong to them are susceptible to this kind of corruption.

  80. Why is it that this blog can succeed, despite the anonymity of the majority of posters, and yet Facebook political debate groups don't considering people are willing to put their names to their comments.

    Another sad day in the development of freedom of speech in Gibraltar! menos mal que tenemos LW, thanks Robert for providing this opportunity.

  81. Lawless, I agree with everything you are saying,I too hear these rumours and I wish somebody could provide hard evidence of kickbacks, etc so they could be investigated but the people we'd be dealing with are not amateurs. Meto la mano en el fuego that no evidence exists and there's nothing to prove the rumours we both hear!

    So any investigations would only prove nothing is going on, vindicating the accused and leaving the investigators looking pretty silly, losing them all credibility.

    This situation needs to be addressed in a different way. Transparency has to be introduced, ministers needs to go back to coming up with policy but then allowing their staff to do the implementing, civil servants need to be empowered to do their jobs instead of being undermined by a minister, the tender process needs to be by committee and completely open. If all of this was addressed, then the kickbacks wouldn't be possible because the decision wouldn't be down to one person only.

    In the meantime, evidence is needed, and if there's any out there, then it should be brought out into the open and investigated, and those responsible prosecuted and then you and I can go and have a drink to celebrate!

  82. Anonumous at 09:47

    I agree with you and that is one of the reasons why I have concentrated so much of my time on the various matters that you enphasise. However, I still think there is room for and a need for an anti-corruption body to look into the issue generally and into specific complaints, even if it is to dispel them.

  83. oh yes, by all means, lets have an anti-corruption body, I think I would even apply for a job there, and I would hope you and Lawless do so too!

    but if we start despeling complaints because we couldn't find any evidence as whatever it was that we were investigating was so well done by people who know what they are doing, then we would become... (what's that Gibraltarian term that transcends past an adulterous relationship?) Ah yes... Cabron y apaleao!

  84. ui como esta el patio con facebook!!!!

    no vea las que se esta formando!

    Zammit has managed to get Maite Caruana and Bill Pisani to support each other! LOL

    Me voy que me pierdo the next capitulo - esto esta mejor que galavision!


  85. Anonymous at 10:42

    You may be right but such bodies have worked eslewhere so whyu not give it a go? It also works as a deterrent.

  86. don't get me wrong, I support the idea fully, especially if the rumours rife in town today could be investigated. Every day I hear something new about un enchufe here, un padrinaje there, and I fear there is worse yet to come over the next few weeks. Its getting to the stage now that come the next election, if the next government is from a different party, they won't be able to move with all the 'situados' they will have to try and work with.
    However I still think that any move made has been done with intent and no amount of looking for the cat's fifth leg will find anything untoward!

    I suspect it would work best as a deterrent.

  87. Si, las cosas estan que arden. It appears that el Bryan ejected Bill Pisani for calling his a racist, with Bryan retorting that Bill had to leave the GSLP Executive because he was a "walking time bomb"! El Bryan esta negro con Bill and he's now expelled three others for insisting on bringing up the Pisani affair, although a poll shows almost everyone wants Bill's ban to be lifted. Still, interesting new topic on the vast amount of brand new bathtubs, toilets and even fireproof doors in the skips at the new Mid-Harbour Estate. Flats should be handed over WITHOUT tiles and fittings as was the case at Waterport Terraces. What a scandalous waste of taxpayers' money!

  88. The Gibraltar Politics moderator should be ashamed of both his actions and his continued misrepresentations of what has happened. Hopefully the group will continue to implode and those few contributors with substance that remain will leave and begin to debate elsewhere.

  89. LAWLESS - Spot on! :)


  90. Tyrone Duarte says:

    My brother Jason is one of those who has been ejected by Mr Bryan Zammit. To my mind he is obviously exhibiting the same anti-democratic streak that seems prevalent amongst ceratin sectors.

    I am going to make it my job to find out who Mr Zammit is and what exactly qualifies him as a moderator. Valiente poca verguenza.

  91. Lo que esta muy interesante is that at one point the gibraltar politics moderator said he had helped the GSD get into power and knew how to immobilise and manipulate the electorate!

    This he apparently did with the other spin doctors employed by the GSD!

    That thread was subsequently deleted!

  92. Robert why don't you start a group, as you've shown here, you would make the ideal moderator!

  93. Robert, what would a financial services ombudsman do, and would it be good to have one here?

  94. Not really much to dislike in that vision

  95. Tyrone Duarte

    Nail on the head!!

    It seems the one man band is the only way to go in Gib.

  96. According to the Government's press release today, ACCREDITED AGENTS will be carrying out a survey on the new bus routes.

    Couldn't they have used civil servants instead? What about all the students employed last month, couldn't some of them have carried this out?

    Instead we accredited agents. Does anybody know who these agents work for? How much is this survey going to cost? Who is benefitting from this fiasco? Quien esta tragando ahora?

  97. 2011 09:47
    (This situation needs to be addressed in a different way. Transparency has to be introduced, ministers needs to go back to coming up with policy but then allowing their staff to do the implementing, civil servants need to be empowered to do their jobs instead of being undermined by a minister, the tender process needs to be by committee and completely open. If all of this was addressed, then the kickbacks wouldn't be possible because the decision wouldn't be down to one person only.)
    RV Llanito world is the only person or blog in Gibraltar who has the GUTS COJONES to explain the facts as he sees it and 95% of the readers from All Parties Agree With Him, he is to trying and make us comprehend what democracy is all about , his work is exceptional on every topic, should he finally stand for election he would top the list of voters.
    God bless Robert Vasquez

  98. According to the Government's press release today, ACCREDITED AGENTS will be carrying out a survey on the new bus routes.

    Couldn't they have used civil servants instead? What about all the students employed last month, couldn't some of them have carried this out?

    Instead we accredited agents. Does anybody know who these agents work for? How much is this survey going to cost? Who is benefitting from this fiasco?

  99. Amen, Lawless!

  100. 2011 21:08
    I SAID.

    We must be the only town, city or country in the world that ACCEPTS CRIME IS UNTRACEABLE what a lot of rubbish just check UK news or log into the net.

    Having said the above perhaps the reason we seem to be the only place in the world that are financially doing above average investments is because they know we do things better than other financial centres, don’t have the good will to expose crime or have the expertise to do it.


  101. Having read your excellent blog
    A Vision Statement for a New Government of Gibraltar I came across this on the net and think it should be polished.

    Types of Corruption Found in Local Government
    There are several types of political corruption that occur in local government.

    Some are more common than others, and some are more prevalent to local governments than to larger segments of government.

    Local governments may be more susceptible to corruption because interactions between private individuals and officials happen at greater levels of intimacy and with more frequency at more decentralized levels.

    Forms of corruption pertaining to money like bribery, extortion, embezzlement, and graft are found in local government systems. Other forms of political corruption are nepotism and patronage systems.

    One historical example was the Black Horse Cavalry a group of New York state legislators accused of blackmailing corporations.

    Bribery is the offering of something which is most often money but can also be goods or services in order to gain an unfair advantage.

    Common advantages can be to sway a person’s opinion, action, or decision, reduce amounts fees collected, speed up a government grants, or change outcomes of legal processes.

    Extortion is threatening or inflicting harm to a person, their reputation, or their property in order to unjustly obtain money, actions, services, or other goods from that person.

    Blackmail is a form of extortion.
    Embezzlement is the illegal taking or appropriation of money or property that has been entrusted to a person but is actually owned by another.

    In political terms this is called graft which is when a political office holder unlawfully uses public funds for personal purposes.

    Nepotism is the practice or inclination to favor a group or person who is a relative when giving promotions, jobs, raises, and other benefits to employees. This is often based on the concept of familism which is believing that a person must always respect and favor family in all situations including those pertaining to politics and business. This leads some political officials to give privileges and positions of authority to relatives based on relationships and regardless of their actual abilities.

    Patronage systems consist of the granting favors, contracts, or appointments to positions by a local public office holder or candidate for a political office in return for political support. Many times patronage is used to gain support and votes in elections or in passing legislation. Patronage systems disregard the formal rules of a local government and use personal instead of formalized channels to gain an advantage.


  102. San Cojones? Or is it Cojones Esq QC? Well done Robert si no fuera por ti Gibraltar serviria de cachondeo.

  103. is anon @ 14:18 being sarcastic? well done robert, looks like you've touched on a raw nerve again! lol

  104. Anonymous at 01:45

    De santo nada de QC menos :)
    y Gibraltar nunca ha sido ni sera cahondeo.

  105. Sir Co Jones? Don Huevos? Signor Testiculi? PS is anon @ 16.45 trying to be funny?

  106. not at all anon@08.08.

    Were you being sarcastic, or was your post meant to convey your admiration for Robert's courage?