Carmen Gomez

Minority groups in Gibraltar?

Am I correct in saying that what I read recently about the Youth forum and one of their requests to Government which was granted there and then, translates into what my argument queries? Firstly, I welcome the fact that an Arabic teacher is to be incorporated at the Gibraltar College. Gibraltar has always had very strong ties with North Africa including our historical connection, and it would be a source of pride to be able to learn their language amongst others.

However, having said this I ask; what is the need for an Arabic teacher to be incorporated into the secondary schools curriculum, “to meet the needs of minority groups” in our community? Firstly, no one should in my mind be referred to locally as a minority group, as in our diverse community everyone is embraced into our community and thus forms part of it. I don’t understand this.

Furthermore, I naturally assumed that children born locally from Arabic families would be able to speak English like every one else. Is this not the case? Does this mean that children born of foreign speaking parents should have the need to be provided with teachers at secondary schools who come from the country of birth of their parents?

If this is the case we will need quite a number of them, as at present I believe we have a considerable number of children attending schools locally whose parents are foreign; if we then don’t also offer them the same facilities, surely we are going to be in danger of racial discrimination. I believe it is important that in the same way as people from abroad are granted British Citizenship, there must be a clause that says they have to speak English. In Spain they are very clear on this i.e. anyone who is entitled to and wishing to take up Spanish citizenship, has to undergo a test to prove that they have the qualifications to do so; they are actually presented with a questionnaire which they have to sit down at like in an exam, where their knowledge of Spanish history and Politics is put to the test; and this is taken to be the norm.

Above all, they have to be able to speak the language of the country they wish to form a part of.


Self Determination

Many abstracts have been written on the subject which hangs on the question; Can the right of self determination as set out by the UN, be limited and superseded by competing territorial claims? Alejandro Schwed‘s abstract in 1982, is based on the context of the Falkland Islands dispute. The Falkland Islands are classified by the UN as a non-self governing territory; just like us. He states that the UK is charged with administering the Islands until they are decolonized; after which time Argentina, who asserts that historic ties to the Islands, place them within its sovereign territory.

Contrary to what the abstract details, the UK‘s acquisition of Islands was not made by force in 1833. The truth is that in 1832 an Argentinian military garrison landed an attempt to establish Argentina’s sovereignty over the Islands, disregarding the British claim of 67 years prior. The British then evicted them less than three months later, with no loss of life. However, the conclusion made in this abstract by said author, is that its insistence of an absolute right of self determination is a misinterpretation of the law regarding decolonization; stating that the conflict cannot be resolved until a careful analysis determines the validity of Argentina’s ‘s claims.

I ask; Is this perhaps our stumbling block? Is this what is holding up the entire process in our case? Let’s face it, after the amount of visits to the UN by our representatives to present Gibraltar’s case for self determination before the committee of 24, with no success so far, one has to ask oneself, what the reason is for this silence from them; this indecent denial of our rights? I suggest that in the same way as we appear to be grouped in the same fold with the rest of the overseas territories, by the UK, when it comes say to our request for representation in Parliament, when you realize we have been asking for this too unsuccessfully for many years now; similarly our case may be hindered by, or bound up with that of the UK and the Falkland Islands.


After Brexit

Just recently we all witnessed with horror, how a super trawler 14 times the size of fishing boats, was literally hoovering thousands of tons of fish from British waters, “before brexit”; and with it endangering short beaked common dolphins and bluefin tuna, plus operating in breeding waters for sea bass which is already overfished. After Brexit, this will be hopefully be a thing of the past.

A time when the UK fish catching sector’s direct output would increase 50% to £1.2billion per year and create 30,000 jobs. Access should not be a right any more with any sovereign coastal state; and if the UK government is not prepared to discuss claims over our Rock, equally they should rule out any discussions on claims over the almost 300,000 square miles constituting its exclusive zone which includes BGTW`s!

Time gentlemen, to extend our twelve miles limit, and put right this Spanish belief, that they can continue to come and go as they please.