Following reports in the UK press and in PANORAMA yesterday, the GSD has come out to say that the Government needs to be much more explicit about its no deal planning or about whether it has or is intending to reach a new agreement with Spain. It should also provide a copy of the latest full Yellowhammer Report to the GSD Opposition.


They come out with three main points:

*FIRST the Sunday Times and various other media outlets have reported that the leaked report is only a month old. So to what extent can matters have seriously been radically overhauled in a month? And if this is so then the Government should be more explicit about this to reassure the public, business and unions.

*SECONDLY while the Government have said that the Yellowhammer extracts on Gibraltar are a reflection of its own worst case scenarios the reality is that an assessment of the state of preparedness has also been published. That cannot be the product of the Gibraltar Government. The Sunday Times reports that “Despite the time extension to the UK’s exit from the EU Gibraltar has still not taken the decisions to invest in contingency infrastructure (such as port adjustments and waste management equipment).” The Government has denied this but needs to be much more explicit about the steps it is taking to tackle those criticisms. In the UK the Government is ploughing huge new investment into no deal planning (approx. £2 Billion). What new resources and investment are the Gibraltar Government making to prepare Gibraltar for no deal? And if new legislation is necessary the Government should bring this to Parliament as a matter of urgency.

*THIRDLY the no deal BREXIT notices that the Government has itself published show that the leaked Yellowhammer Report cannot be brushed aside so easily. The Government has published 23 No Deal BREXIT Notices. 8 of these can loosely be grouped as affecting travel and freedom of movement issues. 6 can be grouped as being about rights in relation to or stemming from working, studying or doing business with the EU. 3 affect telecoms and data protection issues and 2 affect healthcare. There are then three other notices on waste shipments, civil litigation and unilateral contingencies in respect of British nationals announced by Spain last March.
Strikingly there are no advisory notices that have been issued since April. So how has contingency planning been ramped up in Gibraltar when no new advice has been issued? And in any event it is clear that the notices issued so far do not cover all issues of concern to industry, financial services, the consumer or the citizen who simply wants to preserve as much undisrupted normality as possible in the event of BREXIT. At least 8 of those notices envisaged that further updated notices would be issued.


The party goes on to attack the Attorney General. It says that in an article published on Sunday accompanying the publication of the leaked Yellowhammer Report the Attorney General, Michael Llamas, is reported to have said that the aim of the Government is to “strike a new agreement with Spain to allow for the free movement of persons next month.” He is quoted as saying that “we are comfortable that we can negotiate a solution whereby there will be no major disruption.”

If the Government is planning to negotiate a new agreement with Spain it should clearly say so at political level through a Minister. It should also explain what it envisages this new deal with Spain will contain.
In the Government’s press release of Sunday the Chief Minister is quoted as saying that “we have dealt with all issues relating to the flow of goods, foodstuffs, waste, medicines and the flow of people and vehicles across the frontier.”

The GSD then asks: How can this be reconciled with the fact that the Attorney General has mentioned that the Government wanted to strike a new agreement with Spain. Self-evidently the Government cannot have “dealt with all issues” relating to “flow of people and vehicles across the frontier” if they are intending to “strike a new agreement with Spain.” That must mean that there are outstanding issues.

The publication of the leaked Yellowhammer Report raises serious questions as to the Government’s planning for a no deal BREXIT, it adds. This highlights there could be long border queues, breaks in food and medicine supplies and general disruption to freedom of movement, waste management or business in a no deal BREXIT scenario.

While the Government has brushed the leaked report aside on the basis that it is out of date and planned for worst case scenarios there are important issues that undermine the Government’s presentation of its state of preparedness.
GSD Leader, Keith Azopardi said: “It is obvious we should be planning hard for a no deal BREXIT.

The election of Boris Johnson has brought that prospect much closer. The Government needs to invest more time and resources on no deal planning and do so in a much more radical way. The leaked Yellowhammer Report seen in context with other issues we point out today raise serious questions about the Government’s approach and the possible effect on our economy and way of life if the Government has got its planning wrong or has not even done any planning in a particular area. Citizens, workers and business look to Government to ensure that the most robust planning is put in place. Time will tell whether those preparations have been effective.”

In 2011 the GSLP Opposition then led by Fabian Picardo called for there to be a protocol for the Opposition to have access to civil servants or key information in the run up to an election so that it could prepare for Government.

BREXIT is an unprecedented issue which can impact on our economy and way of life. The election is weeks or months away. The public interest requires that the various no deal BREXIT reports should be disclosed to the GSD Opposition so that it is fully aware of matters in the run up to this election. "We call on Government to do so," they insist.