CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM IN THE OFFING?

Dear Sir,

Please excuse me for delaying the posting of this letter, I have intentionally done so until the Summer holidays have come to an end and your readers have somewhat returned to their normal routines.

I refer to two articles that appeared in your pages, one on the 20th July with the title “CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM IN THE OFFING” AND “GIBRALTAR AS A ROYAL CITY STATE?” on the 22nd of July.

Let us first deal with the suggestion of a Royal City State. Our Movement has no objection to that status except that the word STATE should be substituted for the word Gibraltar, and provided it is the United Kingdom Royal City of Gibraltar which, as you rightly say was ceded to the Crown of England in 1713 and further declaration in 1716, this would then follow a historical title already awarded to Gibraltar, as per below, which clearly considered Gibraltar an integral part of the Crown of Great Britain. This announcement was pressed home in a diplomatic declaration by the Governor of Gibraltar General Bland in 1716 which stated; “That as the Island of Minorca in the Mediterranean Sea and the city of Gibraltar, in Spain has been yielded and annexed to the Crown of Great Britain, as well by the King of Spain, as by all the several powers of Europe engaged in the late war: now it is hereby agreed and fully concluded that from this time forward for ever, the said Island of Minorca and the City of Gibraltar shall be to be part of His Britannic Majesty’s own Dominions and the inhabitants thereof to be looked upon as His Majesty’s natural subjects, in the same manner as if they had been born in any other part of Great Britain... Now it is hereby agreed and fully concluded that from this time forward for ever, the said Island of Minorca the City of Gibraltar shall be esteemed in every respect by the government and people of Algiers, to be part of His Britannic Majesty’s own Dominions and the inhabitants thereof to be looked upon as His Majesty’s natural subjects, in the same manner as if they had been born in any part of Great Britain .”

In naming Gibraltar a ‘Royal City State’ the application of the word ‘State’ would create unnecessary confusion with the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht or 1713 so wouldn’t it be wise to drop the status of State?.

As to Gibraltar’s stand in comparison to all the other BOT Gibraltar has two important distinctions over the other BOT, the first is that Gibraltar is part of Europe and the only BOT that cannot decide on its own to seek Independence.

CONSITUTIONAL REFORM

Now here is a tough bone to crack. We may first put the question, what are the Elected Members in our Parliament after? There are two sides in that House, is the GOG side seeking to get more say in the Foreign Affairs Section? And is the GSD Opposition side seeking to get closer to Europe as stated by Mr. Azzopardi on 8th May 2017, to get the EU Commission to seek special guarantees for a Status for Gibraltar within EU?

Referring to your excellent article of the 20th July on “Constitutional Reform in the offing”.

In my opinion increasing the number of members in the House does not guarantee Democratic balance. In my view this would end up as a costly affair and is totally unnecessary, as was the renaming of our House of Assembly a Parliament, this was an ostentatious change in line with the GOG Leader at the time.

As you rightly hint in your article the electorate needs to be fully aware who they are voting for and what they are voting for. The present Opposition benches are filled one with a Party with only 25% and ONE member with 20% hardly percentages that give either of these groups a mandate to have a say in the future of our British Gibraltar, voters should have taken care that there are Gibraltarians who are British of convenience, fair weather British Citizens.

I would recommend to members of the electorate to examine carefully the credentials of those who stand to serve in our British Gibraltar Parliament.

The Parliament has agreed to form a Parliamentary Reform Committee to whom representative bodies and individuals will be submitting and who will be deliberating what recommendations will be acceptable to them. I cannot accept that the members mentioned to take part in this Parliamentary Committee are sufficiently qualified to direct this Constitutional Reform in a clear British for Ever line of thinking, in my view some of these members are suspect as to their long-term British agenda. Azzopardi’s article quoted above clearly points in that direction.

I recommend that the Parliamentary Reform is limited to inviting proposals from the public at large but that a Constitutional Conference Panel composed of Nominated Persons or representative from Groups to select, (as was done in the 1969 Constitutional Conference) to review and debate any or all submitted proposals to be shortlisted and prepared for presentation to the UK side of the Constitutional Reform.

Our Representation in Westminster Movement, who has gathered over 14,000 signatures supporting Representation, has prepared its proposals for a Reform to the Constitution should Representation be accepted by the British Parliament, in which case the position of the Governor and the FCO would need to be reviewed in depth, but the question of Representation is a matter for HMGOG to apply for it, this Right of the British Citizens of Gibraltar to have a voice in Westminster, and it is for the British Parliament to agree and decide whether to give Representation to Gibraltar in full consultation with the HMGOG.

In the interest of the future of British Gibraltar,

Yours

Joe L. Caruana

04-09-2020 PANORAMAdailyGIBRALTAR