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.