Gibraltar’s Chief Minister delivers an exclusive National Day message in preparation for tomorrow’s celebrations

LAST UPDATED: 9 Sep, 2014 @ 14:12
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Gibraltar’s Chief Minister delivers an exclusive National Day message in preparation for tomorrow’s celebrations

GIBRALTAR is once again preparing to dress up and adorn our buildings with the traditional red and white colours. But, quite apart from the wonderful fun day for all the family, our celebrations have a far deeper meaning for all of us.

National Day is about commemorating our first referendum – the first massive expression of our free will on the September 10 1967 when we voted overwhelmingly to remain British and to cement our political ties with the United Kingdom.

Gibraltar remained firm in those dark days that led to the total blockade by the Spanish government, a dictatorial government which cut off communications between the Rock and Spain for thirteen long years.

Our history shows the Gibraltarians resisted and have continued to develop our political institutions and our economy. We are proud of our British heritage within our separate identity but let no one believe that we are ‘colonials by consent’ as the Spanish representatives tell the United Nations every year.

We are a proud people. Steadfast and strong as the Rock of Gibraltar, determined to decide our political future for ourselves, determined that our long and proud British history will endure and let no-one forget that the spine of our determination is as solid and unbreakable as the Rock itself – fused in stone. In the past year, the Gibraltarians have demonstrated with dignity that no rhetoric will provoke us. We keep calm and carry on – because Gibraltar will always be British!

And we demand respect for our rights but we also want to enjoy friendly relations with our neighbours north and south: strong relations based on mutual respect and based on accepting where each of our nations starts and ends because one thing we will never do is surrender any part of our land, our sea or our air. We will never bow to bullying. This is our family, our home and our land. The Rock of the Gibraltarians! A little bit of Britain in the Sun! Gibraltar, Britain in the Sun!

I restate today the message of our city council in 1964 on behalf of my government, that the soil, sea and air of Gibraltar belongs to no-one but the people of Gibraltar!

Red, White and Solid
Red, White and Proud
Red, White and Free

United
Strong
And Free

Enjoy your day and join us on September 10 on the Rock!

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15 COMMENTS

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  1. Article 73 of the UN Charter, Four UN ICJ Advisory Opinions and one UN ICJ judgment all confirm that it is entirely up to the people of Gibraltar to determine how and by whom they are governed. Viva Picardo.

  2. @BritBob

    Then why doesn’t the UN confirm that ‘right’ and remove Gibraltar from its list of colonies currently awaiting decolonisation?

  3. FurtherBeyond

    I guess that Gibraltar is happy with their UN protection. They can remain on the list for a 1,000 years. Who cares? It’s the only chance that Rajoy gets to speak at the UN (and then it’s in front of a minor committee). And when Picardo challenges Rajoy to take his case to the ICJ its not Picado who cowers and is embarrassed.

    Ciudadanos

    Full employment -v- 26% means that Picardo is doing a great job.

  4. @Britbob

    But Mr Picardo and the UK government are in fact concerned that the UN still lists Gibraltar as a colony that needs to be decolonised. This is the reason why they appear, cap in hand, each year before the UN seeking the removal of that embarrassing status.

    Unfortunately for Mr Picardo and his British overlords, the UN steadfastly refuses to accept that Gibraltar is anything other than a British colony which the UK must decolonise.

  5. How pathetic. Relying on a cheap trick to try and impersonate me. As if reasonable people are not able to distinguish your unintelligible rants and petty spitefulness from reasoned argument.

    Do you really think that people can’t see through your petty usurpation of my username?

    Tell me are you losing the plot or have you simply run out of your very own ideas?

    Hopefully the moderator will soon put your puerile petulance to an end.

  6. FurtherBeyond

    Decolonisation does not mean re-colonisation. It is solely up to the people of Gibraltar to determine their own destiny whether that is independence or to free association.

    And still Picaro manages to make Rajoy and Co look so inept at the UN C24. It’s so funny.

  7. @BritBob

    You have no idea what you’re talking about do you? Recovering a territory that was originally yours from illegal colonisers is not recolonisation according to the UN. If you’re confused about this then consider UN practice with Hong Kong and Macau.

    The International Court of Justice has recognized that there are exceptions to the right of self-determination for populations living in non-self governing territories in certain specific circumstances (see: for example, Professor James Crawford, The Creation of States in International Law, 2nd Edition, Clarendon Press, 2007, Chapter 14).

    The General Assembly has expressly taken the view that colonial enclaves such as Gibraltar constitute an exception to the self-determination rule, and that the only option in such cases is for the administering authority to transfer the enclave territory to the enclaving State. The wishes of the population of the enclave are not regarded as relevant in determining the sovereignty of the nationality of the colonial territory.

    This is especially so in the case of ‘plantations’ because they are populated to a large extent by citizens or subjects of the colonial power who settled in the disputed territory displacing a previously existing population pertaining to the enclaving State.

    In such cases, the residents are not the indigenous inhabitants of the territories and are, in effect, the beneficiaries of colonial rule. The rationale being that it would be perverse and contradictory to condone past colonialism on the strength of a principle (self-determination) which was primarily designed to dismantle colonialism. Hong Kong is just one example of the application of these rules of international law by the UN. Macau is another. Both Hong Kong and Macau, The British and Portuguese colonial enclaves in southern China, were removed from the list of non-self-governing territories in 1972 by the UN on the basis that their status was that of ‘Chinese territory occupied by British and Portuguese authorities’. Hong Kong was subsequently transferred to China as a Special Administrative Region in 1997 and Macau in 1999. In neither case was the local population consulted.

    According to the UN, the British colony of Gibraltar is also ‘a special and particular case’ where the principle of self-determination is trumped by the rule on territorial integrity, for four reasons:

    First, although Britain seized Gibraltar in 1704 during the Spanish Wars of Succession, by Article X of the Treaty of Utrecht, Spain ceded to Great Britain ‘the full and entire propriety of the town and castle of Gibraltar’ – nothing more.
    Although this has been interpreted by some to involve a cession of sovereignty, Professor James Crawford from Cambridge University, the foremost authority on this aspect of international law, does not accept that this was so. The ‘propriety’ was yielded ‘without any territorial jurisdiction’. Moreover, the treaty imposes a number of clear restrictions on the cession and on the use of Gibraltar by the British for example, a use of the maritime waters limited to those of the port, with restrictions regarding the settlement by nationalities historically hostile to Spain, the reversionary clause, and others.

    The terms of the treaty thus clearly evidence that the territory is part of Spain’s sovereign territory that is currently occupied conditionally, under the terms of the treaty, by the United Kingdom. Gibraltar is therefore a contested colonial territory and the UN has been constrained to take this into account when considering the decolonization process.

    Second, the Treaty of Utrecht contains a reversionary clause providing that if Britain should ever decide to relinquish the ‘propriety’ of Gibraltar, Spain would be entitled to reclaim it before any other option were considered; both Britain and Spain accept that this means ruling out independence for Gibraltar for as long as Spain retains its claim.

    Third, even if Spain were to remove its claim, the constitutional status of Gibraltar does not meet the standard UN criteria for delisting (either through independence or free association or integration with the former administering power, with the latter having no reserve powers to legislate). The issue of reserve powers is the key sticking point here. This is because the British Governor of Gibraltar continues to exercise power as an administering authority.
    Gibraltar’s argument that the UN misunderstands the role of the Governor, who acts on behalf of the Queen as Queen of Gibraltar, not on her behalf as Queen of the United Kingdom or on behalf of the UK Government, is not surprisingly, not seen as persuasive by the UN.

    Fourth, the isthmus that joins the town and the Rock of Gibraltar to the Iberian Peninsula, and on which the airport has been constructed, is not covered by the Treaty of Utrecht and its sovereignty is therefore the subject of a separate dispute between Britain and Spain.

    Save yourself further embarrassment and learn how to correctly interpret ICJ decisions and opinions by reading Chapter 14 of Professor Crawford’s book: The Creation of States in International Law, 2nd Edition, Clarendon Press, 2007.

  8. There’s that word “propriety” again, that alone collapses your argument FurtherBeyond. British sovereignty over Gibraltar is not illegal.

  9. FurtherBeyond

    Article 73 of the UN Charter, 4 UN ICJ Advisory Opinions a1 UN ICJ Judgment and 2 UN human rights covenants that all confirm ‘that the right to self-determination is applicable to ALL non-self-governing territories’ -v- your Professor Crawford. Chuckle…chuckle. PS in any conflict the UN Charter prevails, Article 73 also kills off any return clause that Utrecht has. Treaties that violate human rights are obviously flexible to take such things into account. PS The 1995 East Timor judgment gave self-determination an erga omnes character – that means that even Spain has to respect it.

  10. FurtherBeyond

    The Isthmus has gone forever under the following rules: (I) extinctive prescription which means that Spain’s case was lost 30 years after the formation of the PCIJ in 1952 and under the rules of ‘Immemorial Possession’ . Spain has also signed the Helsinki Agreement that stipulates ‘that borders in Europe can only be changed by ”consent”. Spain can’t even go to the ICJ over the Isthmus because she turned down the UK’s offer to go to Court in 1969.

    PS the concept of ‘Conquest and Subjugation’ was a legal method of obtaining territory from the 16th Century right up to the formation of the League of Nations in the early 20th. Lol

  11. Game set and match….

    I think its a fact the world accepts gibraltar as their own rightful territory…but you keep spouting what grandad franco taught you…your making him proud. #democracyfail

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