Carmen Gomez

In October this year it was reported that the then Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Chris Heaton-Harris, had met with the vice secretary for International relations from Vox, the ultra right group in Spain. According to open Democracy, it had learnt that the minister in question who later resigned in April this year, less than a year after he had been appointed; had discussed Brexit with the far right representative. 

The department for Exiting the European Union said he was not acting in a ministerial capacity, but the Spanish politician in question who had been in Westminster to forge connections with British Conservatives, nevertheless said of his meeting, that Brexit was the main topic. The startling thing here is, that it was not the first time that discussions involving a Brexit minister and the UK‘s departure from the EU, had not been recorded in government transparency data.


Why do I bring this to your attention? Because, apart from the curious fact that the minister in question was supposedly engaging in talks on Brexit when he shouldn’t have; he not only apparently lied about it when questioned, but furthermore, and most importantly, the matter had not been recorded in government transparency data. Worse still, this appears to be common practice.

So, in the same way that Open Democracy highlights this issue, it makes me think upon the reasons for this, which leads me to the question of “hidden agendas;” something I touched upon recently. As it happens on Wednesday, in my diary, I asked when our professional bodies were going to get their act together, with reference to other serious happenings which had taken place locally of late.

I also mentioned at the same time that the question on the street was, whether our authorities are really in control of the safety and smooth running of Gibraltar’s affairs, and whether the MOD had some hidden agenda on the question of the control tower.

It begs the question as to whether any other body locally has any hidden agenda. Because one has to firstly ask; was this an exercise by Spanish officers to find out how lax our security systems are? Or where they were invited by someone, or some entity, to meet with them, and if so who? I recall when in June 2015, two Guardia Civil guards were seen in uniform; something which was neither appropriate not appreciated by the locals; attending the Queen’s Birthday Parade at Casemates. Apparently invitations had been issued to them by an unknown party and unbeknown to the rest of us. In other words, public sensitivities were not taken into account.


The incident on Monday of a Spanish government state vehicle should never have taken place. But then if it was known by some that this car was to travel into Gibraltar, with uniformed Spanish officers to do a spot of shopping and sightseeing, why could we not have known in advance, so that the good people of Gibraltar should not have to upset themselves in the way they do, by feeling a sense of outrage and disgust. This is exactly what I mean by hidden agendas; as this has all the signs of someone enjoying a good laugh at the expense of the public. Or in a similar vein, to a trend which appears to be fashionable at present, which is to have little secrets and keep the populace in the dark.

Personally I believe that his business of asking the public to remain vigilant; in other words make themselves responsible for looking out for anything untoward and report it, is going beyond the farcical. How many times have we learnt of late that it is the public who has had to inform the RGP of intruders on the Rock, before they were aware of it?


It has to be said that it’s not unusual these days to see Spanish ambulances come and go locally. Is it the case that because apparently our health services have renewed a contract with a certain medical clinic in Spain; which many will have frowned upon; that it may become a common sight to see such vehicles as the aforementioned, come and go as they please on our roads? The passengers of said car must be splitting their sides laughing at the fuss that later ensued, when their car was spotted parked in town. This does not augur well with what we keep being told i.e. that we continue to be under threat level from a highly possible terrorist attack!

In 2017 in the House of Lords, the recommendation made to the UK Government was that there might be attempts by Spain to advance its territorial claims through the medium of EU laws or policies when the “UK was out of the room.” Well, very soon they are going to be out of the room for good, and if those who are supposed to keep us safe in our home are similarly out of sight and unawares, what’s to become of us? I recall a letter of mine addressed to the Chronicle back in 2011, which recalled a time in history when Vichy ships from Toulon had succeeded in passing through the Strait of Gibraltar under the nose, then, of the Navy.


Churchill had said that firstly a message received by the Foreign Office had not been dealt with on time; secondly that an officer at the Admiralty did not duly inform the First Lord; and thirdly that the man in command did nothing. It is well known that there exists a frustrating sense of British complacency; frankly at present, I have to say the same about us!