Gibraltar is entitled to be defended by UK Government and it is utterly appalling to find that each day that we have incursions in our waters it is solely UK's fault!
We are not the only ones stating this - we have UK MPs stating this and MEPs etc.
We have found that FCO, MR Hague and even our Governor keeps calling for diplomacy and just to appease Spain!
UK government seem to care more about the ex pats living in Spain than protecting the Gibraltarians from the constant bullying and harassment from Spain.
We should never have to negotiate our identity or nationality and we should never be forced to appease Spain like UK does! Gibraltar belongs to US the people of Gibraltar!
UK needs to wake up and see Spain as the bully she is! No one in UK would allow what we go through to keep happening to them! We are not expats we are the citizens of Gibraltar with a right to choose and with a voice to be heard!
Gibraltar has been British for over 300 years and it is unbelievable that we are like a thorn to the UK government! We have been loyal citizens every time UK has needed us and yet for once we need UK government to stand up for us what we constantly see is this cowering of what is called DIPLOMACY!
UK government is accountable to Gibraltar and with accountability there is a great responsibility! They go hand in hand not separate! Yet UK government only want to get us as a people to succumb to the bullying at our cost! At what cost - of our identity? We are British and always will be but UK has to make the choice DEFEND us like with the Falklands or turn their back to us in our time of need and suffering?
Compare us to the Falklands - the only difference is that there are less British people there and they have oil/petrol and we have Barbary Apes instead!
This is not about our Government doing anything wrong this is about our Government standing up to Spain and stating loud and clear that no one is above the law and that Spanish Para military personnel have NO jurisdiction in our waters!
The issue is easy to understand and is not rocket science! Gibraltar is British, the people are British, the waters belong to Britain and how can they keep turning a blind eye?
We may not be under a war but remember there is a technology and a mental warfare going on! The incursions in our waters cause great insecurities and people are afraid now to go out to sea with their pleasure boats and jet skis! Summer is fast approaching and still the problem continues and only because our UK government is NOT standing up to the bully!
The solution is easy - come in our waters and chuck them out - come in our waters and arrest them!So what that Spain protests? So what that this causes and international incident it is UK and their Navy enforcing and protecting Gibraltar's waters!
By appeasing to Spain we the people are suffering more and more each day - frontier queues and harassment at the border by the Guardia Civil which some locals are now being targeted!
When will UK act on doing their duty and protect our waters? Does an accident or a death have to happen to give UK government the wake up call needed?
From the Gibraltar Chronicle:
BRITAIN FAILING TO DEFEND GIB WATERS, conservation expert tells UK Parliament
by Brian Reyes
Dr Chris Tydeman, Chairman of the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum, addressing the Commons Select Committee.
The British scientist leading the study into fisheries in Gibraltar waters has accused the British Government of failing to enforce Gibraltar’s marine nature laws for fear of upsetting Spain.
Dr Chris Tydeman, Chairman of the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum and author of the long-awaited fishing report commissioned by the Gibraltar Government, delivered his scathing assessment during evidence to a House of Commons committee.
He told the Environmental Audit Committee this week that Gibraltar’s environmental legislation was strong and had been in place for many years.
“Unfortunately, the enforcement is not good, and that’s largely down to the fact that the British Government is utterly resistant to using the Royal Navy for fisheries protection,” he said.
“I’ve just been working there since June last year on fisheries issues between Gibraltar and Spain and it was quite clear that the British Government will do anything to avoid having any sort of conflict and upsetting the Spanish Government.”
Dr Tydeman was one of several experts giving evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee, which is examining the issue of sustainability in the UK Overseas Territories.
He offered little insight into the content of the fishing report, which he said would be published “within a couple of weeks”.
But he said he had received “less-than-thinly-veiled hints” from British officials that his report should allow Spanish fishing in British waters.
At one point he said that, as far back as 1999, a British Minister had even suggested that Gibraltar should do away with its 1991 legislation protecting the marine environment around the Rock.
Dr Tydeman said it would be “pretty scandalous” to return to that position.
“I hope that that line is not currently followed by the present government, although it’s not clear exactly what the situation is,” he said.
In his evidence to the Committee – which can be viewed online – Dr Tydeman took issue with a statement by Europe Minister David Lidington in the Commons that the Royal Navy was called in to tackle Spanish fishermen.
He said that, as far as he was aware, that had only happened on “a couple” of occasions”.
“I’ve spoken to the Commissioner of Police in Gibraltar, who is responsible for implementing the legislation there, and he said ‘why should I send my guys out in white shorts, with not even truncheons, against Guardia Civil boats with automatic weapons who are helping Spanish boats break the law, and the Navy is not called in?” Dr Tydeman told the Committee.
He concluded: “So it’s really an enforcement issue in Gibraltar on the fisheries side, when the legislation is actually very good and has been in place since 1991.”
“EU washes it hands of Gibraltar
territorial waters,” MEP tells PANORAMA
by Leo Olivero
UK Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies, talking exclusively to Panorama, says that the “European Union seems to have washed its hands entirely of matters relating to Gibraltar describing it as a Cop Out” the comments by Mr Davies come after a reply from the EU Commission after he submitted a set of questions regarding the waters around Gibraltar.
In the European Parliament he represents the North West England including the counties of Cumbria, Cheshire, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside and also leads the 85 member group of ALDE (Liberal) MEPs from across the EU, it is one of the European Parliament’s powerful Environment and Public Health Committees which Mr Davies is also the spokesman for.
Not Impressed With EU Answers!
In the last few weeks Mr Davies like his Liberal colleague Graham Watson before him have attempted to elicit not only important but a clear statement from the EU Commission as to ‘who has legal responsibility and jurisdictional control of the waters around Gibraltar’
Mr Davies recently asked the Commission the following questions:
1. Which Member State(s) is/are legally responsible for supervision and control of fishing activities?
2. Which Member State(s) is/are legally responsible for activities affecting the seabed?
3. Are any Natura 2000 sites located within the area and, if so, which Member State(s) is/are responsible for their management and protection?
The answers to Mr Davies questions came a few days ago via Janez Potocnik a Slovenian politician, currently serving as European Commissioner for Environment, who said:
“The Commission is not in a position to comment on the legal responsibilities of Member States in the area in question, as jurisdictional issues concerning these marine waters are a matter for Member States to address in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea”
Additionally, Commissioner Potonik referred Mr Davies to previous answers by the Commission from mostly UK members of the EU Parliament.
A Cop Out Regarding Gibraltar
MEP Chris Davies, sounding annoyed, was not convinced by Potocnik response, he exclusively told Panorama “I think it will come as a surprise to many MEPs that the European Union seems to have washed its hands entirely of matters relating to Gibraltar, even when they directly relate to our common policies on fisheries and the environment, and even when they are of common interest to European citizens. It’s a cop out to say the least.”
Previous to this the Commission had already said it had no competence in relation to territorial disputes between Member States and did not consider that the designation process under the Habitats Directive is the appropriate tool with which to resolve them.
Since 2008 when the EU made a major blunder by introducing a site (for Spain to environmentally manage) of community importance (Estrecho Oriental) that covered or overlapped onto an already existing site known as the Southern (British) Waters of Gibraltar, the EU has continuously attempted to skip round giving any direct opinion or answers to any questions that remotely has any sovereignty connotations.
Although the EU did say in a previous question by Liberal MEP Graham Watson that “the Commission believes that pursuant to the principle of sincere cooperation set out in Article 4(3) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) a Member State designating a site in an area concerned by a territorial dispute should notify the other concerned Member State before submitting this proposal to the Commission. Whilst it would appear that neither Spain nor the United Kingdom formally undertook this step for the sites they proposed in the disputed territory, the emphasis now must be on the two Member States to cooperate in finding a practical way forward in managing the sites in order to deliver the requirements of Directive 92/43/EEC(1) on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, as such designation implies”
It All Comes Down to Two Things!
For me it all comes down to two things. Firstly… the EU will not get involved in any sovereignty related issue regarding the waters around Gibraltar. Notwithstanding the whole disputed aspect of the situation, the EU still naively insists that Britain and Spain should continue to find ways to jointly implement the Natural Habitats Directive, which effectively legally directs both parties to manage the environment in Gibraltar waters.
Will the EU habitats notion of forging ahead irrespective of anything else be achievable remains to be seen, especially within the context of a running and long-standing sovereignty related dispute? I also find it naïve of the EU who appear not to appreciate or are unable to grasp the significance to countries and the people involved in this matter!
The Second Point…For all the EU failings regarding sovereignty and the Habitats blunder – it is in effect pointing everyone in the direction this matter should be taking!
The Commission openly admits it has no competence in disagreements with regards to territory between Member States nor does the Commission consider that the listing of the overlapping United Kingdom site ‘Southern Waters of Gibraltar’ and the Spanish site ‘Estrecho Oriental’. The situation it says in relation to these disputing sovereignty claims, which ultimately will have to be resolved under appropriate international and bilateral mechanisms.
The Commission in this respect has said more than once that it is not in a position to comment on the legal responsibilities of Member States regarding any sovereignty question, as jurisdictional issues concerning these marine waters are a matter for Member States to address in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
Full 12 Miles to Lure Spain Out!
It is clear then that the EU is directing all parties involved to the United Nations to sort-out this dispute under the auspices of UNCLOS. This in fact is what I have said a number of times already in Panorama. It is also something the UK in particularly should be concentrating on or be actively pursuing!
However if Spain is not going to be a willing partner or voluntarily submit its sovereignty claim to the scrutiny of UNCLOS - then it has to be lured in to do so. This as I have also said before can only be achieved by initiating another related issue. In the form of claiming Gibraltar’s or the UK’s right to the Full 12 Miles of Territorial Waters.
I am convinced it would create a situation that would be the right cue for Spain to mount an offensive against such action by the UK. At the same time expose its famous sovereignty hand for a legal and modern day interpretation!
Another repeat of what people have to put up with when they cross the border into Spain - as told by two witnesses:
Another display of shameful behaviour at the Gib/Spanish border by the Guardia Civil.
Yesterday 16/04 at approx 7pm I witnessed a Gibraltar registered car being pulled over for inspection. The driver (only person in the car) was a young respectful and smart looking lady. I saw guards waving their hands and shouting at this lady. It was obvious to all that this lady spoke no Spanish! within seconds the guards started opening the doors and slamming them shut.....then one of the guards opened the boot and started smashing her belongings onto the ground! he was in total rage!
The lady, like all of us watching in the queue were horrified by what this GC was doing!! The lady immediately took out her camera/phone and started taking pictures....when she was almost attacked by the GC trying to remove her phone.......
Another witness account 16/04:
I was witness to this incident minutes before what is being explained. The lady was told to stop on the green lane but for some reason she insisted to pull into the red zone. The GC threw himself on the bonnet of the car and even reached to his holster. By that time all GC surrounded the car and the above explained transpired. At that point everybody crossing was insistently waved through. I felt bad at the lady as the GC were even swearing at her - disgraceful by any measure!
UK Government, the FCO, William Hague all need to wake up and STAND UP for Gibraltar!