Memorandum from Dr Joseph Garcia, GSLP/Liberal
BARCELONA TALKSClearest indication in joint
statement of British Government's willingness to sever existing
links with Gibraltar. (Press release)
1. The joint communique of today's Barcelona
meeting fully confirms the analysis made by the Opposition ahead
of the meeting. The issue facing Gibraltarians is whether we want
Britain and Spain to negotiate a new constitution which will involve
the lifting of Spanish restrictions, more self-government for
Gibraltar, and an as yet unspecified Spanish role in the affairs
of Gibraltar, implying a dilution of British sovereignty.
2. On September 18th, Mr Pique revealed
that what was being studied were cooperation agreements which
involved co-sharing of competence with UK capable of progressively
implementing a practical co-sovereignty regime in Gibraltar. This
has not been denied by the United Kingdom.
3. The Opposition believes every Gibraltarian
should be given the opportunity to vote in a referendum early
next year whether to support or reject the proposed Anglo-Spanish
plan for our future before it is finalised and put to us by London.
4. We believe that if the plan proceeds,
especially now that the timescale has been reduced from next December
to next summer, it nullifies the work of the Select Committee
in producing a new non-colonial constitution to be proposed to
the United Kingdom.
5. The Opposition hopes that the Gibraltar
Government will reconsider its position in the light of the joint
communique and shall be raising this question at Friday's meeting
of the Constitutional Committee.
6. If we fail to act now and mount a campaign
to derail the negotiating process, the position that we shall
face next summer is clear.
7. The new status will be put to us in a
UK organised referendum and we shall be presented with a no win
situation. Either acceptance of a fait accompli to achieve normal
neighbourly relations in exchange for concessions, or rejection
and being left at the receiving end of Spanish restrictions which
deny us our EU and other political rights, which UK will not lift
a finger to challenge. It is conceivable that in such a scenario
London and Madrid could report back to the United Nations next
October that the negotiating process envisaged in the UN resolutions,
to resolve all the differences between them over Gibraltar, has
been completed. They could then argue for the removal of Gibraltar
from the agenda with the agreed package remaining on the shelf
until Gibraltar comes round to accepting it. This would deny us
the opportunity of arguing our case for self-determination at
the United Nations.
8. Today's statement is the clearest possible
indication we have ever had from any British Government of its
willingness to sever the existing links with Gibraltar and for
the first time some UK national newspapers are strongly supporting
in their editorials that this is what London should make clear
to the Gibraltarians.
9. The only way to freely exercise our democratic
wishes is not be subjected to pressure or intimidation. To attempt
to influence the result of a future referendum on a Spanish deal
by veiled threats is a back handed way to dilute the worth of
the Preamble to the Constitution.
Dr Joseph Garcia
20 November 2001