Motorists ‘trapped’ in six hour Gibraltar border queues in sweltering heat

LAST UPDATED: 28 Jul, 2013 @ 17:47
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Motorists ‘trapped’ in six hour Gibraltar border queues in sweltering heat

THE Government of Gibraltar has condemned the “excessive, deliberate and disproportionate delays” which they claim have been engineered by the Spanish authorities.

EU nationals have been made to wait for nearly six hours to cross the border from Gibraltar into Spain as the Spanish Customs authorities have disregarded the operation of a red and green channel and have stopped and searched practically every vehicle entering Spain.

The elderly, children and the infirm have suffered in temperature of up to 30 degrees Celsius and has resulted in an ambulance from Gibraltar being deployed to treat people with medical conditions.

The lengthy delays have affected thousands of people who travel into Gibraltar to work every day – many of them Spanish.

The Gibraltar Government has organised the distribution of bottled water to persons in the queue and a water bowser from Aquagib has been doing the rounds.

Government ministers, John Cortes and Steven Linares spent much of Saturday afternoon and evening distributing bottles of water to motorists who had been trapped in the border queue for nearly seven hours.

Dr Cortes had initially made arrangements for several thousand bottles of water to be provided by the GHA’s Catering Department, whilst Minister Linares had called upon the Fire Service to deliver the pallets to the frontier. Six thousand paper cups, provided by the MOD, were then delivered to the border by the Ambulance Service.

The Ministers also arranged for the Airport terminal building to be kept open so that the buildings toilets could be available to people who had been waiting in the queue for many hours.

Meanwhile the Royal Gibraltar Police called in an additional ten off-duty officers to assist with traffic control duties. Many of their officers had been on traffic duties around the Northern District from 9am until late into the evening.

Describing the situation, Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Garcia said, ‘Spain has again shown that she cannot resolve issues through normal diplomatic channels. Instead she merely resorts to heavy-hand tactics at the frontier. The behaviour of the Spanish authorities is unacceptable, uneuropean and illegal.”

On Sunday, the Spanish authorities also started checking traffic exiting Spain and entering Gibraltar.

60 COMMENTS

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  1. Here’s an idea. As a quid pro quo, we should give Spain the Isle Of Wight. They could set up their own tax regime. Flog cheap fags, create employment for poor struggling Brits with favourable online gambling regs. and bring a nice exotic Spanish flavour to the bottom end of the country, by filling it with Spanish emigres to run everything. Then we could all be friends.

  2. El Fifi, once he has exhausted all these new lines, Hong Kong etc…he will start with the plight of the poor Chagos Island people, the Iliois. So brace yourself or ignore him. He likes to go for new prey. The ones he’s had a go at before he will ignore.

    I think most any Gibraltarian contributors to comments pages have fallen for his “arguments” in most media. Must be on holiday from down under.

    Stefanjo: Oh please, I would not wish that on my worst enemy..they will ruin the place, same as they have ruined theirs.

  3. Inthename,
    thanks for the advice but actually, in answering his misguided comments we are providing information to others who might be following the story. Having said that, I think it is time to call it a day on this particular article. It’s hot and humid and Catalan Bay beckons tomorrow.

  4. El Fifi,
    Yes I know, no better way to clear up misconceptions than dialogue. Pity, more people should resort to talking things through rather than believing everything they hear or read and getting one side of the story. Always better to hear both sides before one can make a valued judgement.

    Thinking of which I need to read up some literature which has been long awaiting my attention and which I need to discuss. No rest/beach for the wicked.

    Many thanks as always to The Olive Press for their patience.
    Cheers!

  5. REF: El Fifi

    1. If the banking system is Gibraltar is so perfect and transparent, why
    would a multinational British company like Barclays Bank want to pull out
    of a British Overseas Territory with a growing economy, why?
    The Bank has been negotiating the sale of its Gibraltar business for over
    a year, having been in negotiations with more than 50 banking corporations
    worldwide, not one of which has made an acceptable offer, why?
    Barclays bank, having not been able to sell its Gibraltar business, will
    now be reducing its presence on the rock of Gibraltar to a token presence.
    Banks are not politicians and while it is fine to be as patriotic as you
    like, at the end of the day, a bank looks at risk assessment and obviously
    there is something they don´t like about Gibraltar´s financial system.

    REF: Sefanjo

    I think you may be onto something. How about the British Government
    allowing the entire population of Gibraltar to relocate to the Isle of Wight and
    granting them self government with their own constitution with an offshore
    low taxation financial system. The British Government would have to build
    a bridge (funded by the British tax payer) to replicate the unique border
    crossing for pedestrian and cars that you have in Gibraltar. Bearing in
    mind that taxation on petrol, tabacco and alcohol is much higher in the UK
    than in Spain, there would be hordes of people wanting to cross the border
    in their cars ever day to fill up their petrol tanks and stock up on
    tabacco and cheap booze and then make it back over the border. Of course
    in time, HM Customs and Excise would have to increase border checks to
    try and limit illegal contraband crossing the border. You would then have
    to develop a pseudo legal pressure group to harass UK customs and law
    enforcement at the border by taking photos and shouting insults at them
    while they are doing their job. You could call the pressure group ” The Defenders of the Isle of Wight”.
    Anyway, with a lot pressure, queues would be down to less than two hours
    for political reasons and you would be able to cross the border and go
    for a day trip to places like Brighton. Just imagine sitting on the stony
    beach of Brighton with your fish and chips and mushy peas with an
    umbrella, not as a sun blocker, but in case it starts raining,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    much better than driving along in horrible Spain to Sotogrande or
    Estepona for “Pescaito Frito” and ” Espeto de Sardinas”.
    Just think of it , Girbraltarians have been defending for centuries that
    they are British to the core, so for a true Gibraltarain it would be
    absolute paradise because they would actually be living in Britain while
    maintaining the Gibraltar way of life. (tax evasion, money laundering,
    smuggling).

    REF: Inthename

    Your statement: “I think most any Gibraltarian contributors to comments
    pages have fallen for his “arguments” in most media.”

    Could you please be so kind to translate this into English? Thanks!

    If anybody from Gibraltar or the UK is reading this, the overall point I
    am trying to make is that it is in the interest of the UK, Spain and
    Gibraltar to go towards joint sovereignty. Were Spain to desist from laying
    further claims to Gibraltar, the rock would become more attractive for
    business and for expats considering living in the region. Gibraltar could
    become an economic power house in the south of Spain but it will not happen
    without joint sovereignty and a clear commitment to fighting fraud and organized crime.
    Joint sovereignty would also cement the ties between Gibraltar and the UK
    for ever. The alternative is to continue in the current impasse until
    sometime down the road, the UK gives it up in a “Handover” operation.

  6. Frank C
    1. Barclays Bank is reducing its operation in Gibraltar and closing branches in Spain simply because it is no longer interested in small current accounts. It wants to retain its legal investment operations because it is the sector that will pay higher dividends with a much reduced staff. Banking is a cut throat business as people in Spain are well aware.
    2. You cannot separate a people from their homeland. Please no comment on the Chagos Islands. That wouldn’t happen in todays world.
    3.Gibraltar already is an economic powerhouse punching well above its weight. E-commerce is not restricted by physical barriers.
    4. Again you seem rather irate. Chill, it’s a beautiful summer’s day.

  7. Dear Dear Frank G.

    “… it is in the interest of the UK, Spain and Gibraltar to go towards joint sovereignty. Were Spain to desist from laying further claims to Gibraltar…”

    Now you really have got me Falling Off My Chair Laughing and rolling on the floor. My ribs hurt.

    not even you can confidently say…that Spain would desist!
    Look what has happened with our British Territorial Waters! The previous government allowed them to fish, and now they are saying the waters are theirs!!

    Great smoke curtain they are creating for their own “inadequacy.” Wonder what they would do if they didn’t have Gibraltar to create distractions.

    Okay that’s it from me. I think we have exhausted the subject.

    Good bye.

  8. politicians get your act together! do they really realise what it is like to sit in a queue in the heat for 7 hours? Maybe they ought to try it for themselves.
    28th july, sat in queue directed out of gibraltar in the opposite way to the border only to find hours later to pass over the brow of a hill to the horrific site of a carpark jammed full of cars awaiting to join the queue again to go back the way we came. someone had put a water tank in the carpark. there were no toilets, you couldnt leave your car in the queue as every so often you travelled a few feet. volunteers fueled by facebook sppeals brought water round when we neared the border. I had no option but to use a carrier bag in the car as a toilet after sitting for hours. 7 hours later we got to the border and began our journey to alicante.. 15 hours later we arrived. i dread to think what the young, elderly and frail people went through.
    its totally inhumane.

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