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

  1. Until the British and Spanish governments can come to some sort of compromise and agreement on Gibraltar (bearing in mind the residents in Gibraltar don’t want to be Spanish) then this will carry on.

    Part of the problem, I think, is that Gibraltar is like the Canaries and has a different duty free allowance for taking things back into Spain and its prices are cheaper too, so people smuggle cigarettes and tobacco across the border. The Spanish authorities, then use this as an excuse to stop everyone. If they were fully part of the EU they would have the same allowances and there would be no need for everyone to be subjected to such a disgraceful treatment. Don’t think it will happen anytime soon though.

    Years ago, we were stopped coming back from Gibraltar, on the Spanish side. They were looking for drug smugglers as there were lots of boats dropping drugs of along the coast and into Gibraltar at that time We didn’t speak a word of Spanish and the Police spoke no English but at least they were polite and let us go within minutes of searching the car. The thought of being stuck in that queue for 7 hours is horrendous.

  2. Thank heavens I was not in that queue, I would have been spouting Article Ten of the Treaty of Utrecht 1713 which ceded The Rock to the British.

    Then of course, there’s the other EU agreements that are being broken by the Spanish restricting the free movement of EU citizens across their border.

  3. All this needs is for the UK’s Foreign Office to grow a backbone and to stand up to this naked aggression. It is a well known fact the when governments fail, such as is the case with the PP in Spain, they ratchet up the propaganda machine to distract the populace from the country’s real problems (Catalan drive for independence, corruption at the heart of government, mass unemployment, etc.).

    All little, peaceful Gibraltar was to lay a small artificial reef IN GIBRALTAR to protect the marine environment. The Junta de Andalucia has in recent years created no less than 25 such reefs over a much larger area for the same reasons. Yet a large country like Spain has seen it fit to TERRORISE the people of Gibraltar and its own citizens (the vast majority of trapped vehicles were Spanish). Tomorrow morning around 8-10,000 SPANISH workers will cross the frontier into Gibraltar to start the working week, with others coming in to look for work. I don’t think they’ll take very kindly to the 3-4 queues imposed by Spain on Sunday for vehicles entering Gibraltar, a form of hostage taking in preventing Gibraltar residents from returning home. The world is watching you Rajoy.

  4. QUEUES GONE, VANISHED!
    This afternoon at around 4.00 p.m. the queues were no more.

    At around 2.30 p.m. Canal Sur announced that they had been informed by the Spanish authorities that the up to 7 hour queues which were suddenly started on Friday afternoon and continued on Saturday and up until Sunday past 3.00 p.m. had been caused because of “Security” reasons!!!

    You are free to make up your own mind what these “Security Reasons” were. ;)

    But it seems that whatever the reason was to keep hundreds upon hundreds of Spaniards, Brits, Gibraltarians, and other Nationalities sweltering in over 34 degrees for over seven hours must have vanished into thin air.

    You are welcome to have a look for yourselves..

    “http://frontierqueue.gi/frontiercamera.aspx”

    You are also very welcome to sign the following petition to protest at the continued use by Spain of the Frontier of Gibraltar as a weapon against Gib and its own Spanish workforce in Gib.

    “http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Spain_to_respect_the_Gibraltar_territory_and_not_punish_its_citizens_with_excessive_border_queues/?kDKQifb”

    Thank you..Gibraltar welcomes everyone to visit.

  5. @Chris “Part of the problem I think….”

    No Chris the whole problem is Mariano Rajoy. I have been living in Spain for almost seven years now and I do not recall these sort of problems under the previous administration. I may be wrong but my impression was that the previous government were happy to talk about Gibraltar. As soon as Rajoy got his grubby little feet under the table these problems started and escalated.

    The British government need to slap him down and slap him down hard before he imposes a full blockade on the Rock. I suggest that Cameron makes a visit to Brussels and calls for Spain to be suspended from the EU and all funding withdrawn until such time as Rajoy ceases these tactics or is removed from office.

    I say to any Spaniard reading these pages that Rajoy is not doing your country any favours. Democracy in Spain is comparatively young don’t let Rajoy drag you back to the dark ages.

  6. I had to laugh it read like a funny story, also cant imagine goverment ministers handing out water in the uk or ambulances supplying the paper cups lol in the uk when it snows people are stranded all night on the m25 , babies, pregnant women and all sorts and nobody hands anything out and nobody would share anything with you either.

  7. I really felt so sorry for the thousands trapped for up to 8 hours under that blazing sun.I was in Catalan Bay at the time and witnessed the drama unfold. There were many children,elderly persons and those needing medical attention. Believe you me, the local authorities tried everything in their powers to help, including providing ambulances, water and toilet facilities.Ironically,most were Spanish registered cars and many were under the impression that they were being held in the holding area by the British not realising that the Guardia Civil was responsible for the delay. On humanitarian grounds alone this was a disgrace reflecting badly on a supposedly democratic country belonging to the E.U. Unfortunately, there are still many in Spain who hark back to the Franco era and they wear olive green uniforms. Quite frankly, as a Gibraltarian, the former Spanish government showed much more imagination and diplomacy regarding Gibraltar. This one seems to be reverting to tactics that have failed for more than 300 years.

  8. Utterly utterly disgraceful. Never mind the British government growing a backbone, isn’t it about time the EU grew one and actually ENFORCED some of the laws which Spain breaks regularly and in such a cavalier fashion??? (The issue of stopping land-grab and other gross abuses etc a few years ago springs to mind!)

  9. The Gibraltar Government tactics to generate confrontation and to change the current “Status Quo” by trying to assert sovereignty over the waters that surround Gibraltar is going to back fire. The Spanish Government is adopting a credible strategy towards Gibraltar and can and will adopt a much harder line if Gibraltar continues to act like a sovereign nation which it is not.
    The Spanish Government while not recognizing BGTW, has not wanted to make an issue out of it up until the fishing dispute. The only person to blame for the current situation in CM Mr. Picardo who, as so many politicians, only dreams of having more power which would come with full independence from the UK and the establishment of a new nation in Europe. Spain has, for the most part, been a week nation politically, militarily and more importantly economically for the last 300 Years , which is the only real reason for the very existence a British colony on the Iberian peninsula in the 21st century, However ,Spain has gained a lot in the last 30 odd years and will as time goes by become more influential just by its size. Spain will not allow Gibraltar to become an independent sovereign nation and it will use all its might to stop that from happening. The UK has responsibility on the issue and should put pressure on the Gibraltar Government for a long term deal with Spain leading to joint sovereignty. The British people must not be fooled by the Gibraltarians who are constantly calling foul from Spain when all they do is generate conflict where there is none. Most Gibraltarians live or have second homes in Spain and have a far greater mean annual income than their UK counterparts. They live a priviledged life thanks to the status that has been provided to them by the UK and also thanks to Spain opening up the border to allow people to work in Gibraltar and live in Spain.
    The attitude of the Gibraltar Government is one of true arrogance in the belief that Spain will not adopt strict border crossing procedures if it thinks it is required to do so to defend its position on this or any other issue.
    For a UK that many lose Scotland in 2014 and may leave the EU in 2015 or 2016, the need for strong partners around the world will be all the more important. The relationship with Spain should be considered a strategic priority.

  10. REf Frank C
    1. Some not most Gibraltarians have a home in Spain.
    2.I take it you agree in having thousands suffering under the sun including children,pregnant women,the sick and elderly.Surely not a very democratically inspired act.
    3.You cannot just come to agreements nowadays without considering the people who have inhabited the Rock for over 300years.
    4. As regards confrontation,Mr Margallo’s “Gibraltar Espanol” directed at a British diplomat on his first visit to Brussels set the tone of the current PP government’s strategy towards Gibraltar.
    5.Have you read about all the corruption scandals? Barcenas,Rajoy,the king’s daughter all the way down to local municipalities. Spain has indeed come a long way!

  11. @ Frank C.
    With all due respects..what a load of b….cks!!

    The Gibraltar Government tactics to generate confrontation????What in goodness name are you talking about? The Gibraltar Government is within its rights to act as it sees fit in British Territorial Waters.

    The previous Gibraltar Government allowed “some” fishing with illegal nets, raking etc in British Territorial Waters which are considered illegal everywhere in Spain regardless of continued protests by Gibraltarian fishermen who fish only with rods that the stocks were dwindling alarmingly because of this practice.

    The take all, small and large, from the sea is detrimental to all fishing, regardless of nationality. So much so that the Junta de Andalucia itself, with European 70% subsidies of course, spent millions laying 25 reefs all around their coasts, precisely to stop their own trawlers from doing what they were being allowed to do in Gibraltar, yet when Gibraltar lays one of these reefs they cry foul?

    Is this the confrontation you are talking about? Where are the protests of the fishermen and their fleets when their own country stops them from doing what they think they can do in British Territorial Waters?

    Did you know that they are not allowed to fish anywhere from their side of the Gibraltar Bay all the way going through Tarifa and right up to Cadiz because it is a National Nature Protected Area? Of course you do. And they don’t go to fish there! They respect their laws, but they don’t respect ours? Come on!!!

    It’s all been politically driven by the current PP Government throwing their fishermen on our coasts in a vile attempt to claim what are British Territorial Waters from day one. They have been using one or two fishing boats, especially one “the Divina Providencia”, Divine Providence is the translation, as a spearhead for their tactics.

    This fishing boat has been warned time and time again and even issued with a writ for continuously coming in right next to the landing strip at Gibraltar where it rakes for Conch. He has been doing this for the past 18 months!!

    What conch there may be left there will surely be contaminated by faecal waste because the Algeciras Port Authorities placed storm drains which empty out onto that area, right next to our own Western Beach which has had to be closed down on numerous occasions due to it being unfit for swimming because of faecal contamination.

    The Government of Gibraltar provided a lawyer for him and he did not appear in court but was hailed as a Hero and given a medal for his patriotic posturing. He and another were the boats that tried to stop the lawful placing of these artificial reefs and caused all the problems trying to get itself in between the Royal Gibraltar Police and the Royal Navy boats and the tug which was throwing the reefs in the water.

    It’s enough that the RGP don’t hook up his fishing boat and haul it back in and arrest him and confiscate his boat when he continued to come in again and again even after all this, and are showing extreme restraint.

    Who is provoking who here?

    Gibraltar does not want independence. That is just another ploy and another excuse by Spain to justify its third world country politics and imposing themselves onto Gibraltar and its people.

    The pity of it all is that it affects their own Spanish workers in Gibraltar, 10,000 of them, and their families, as well as damaging any good relations that may have been prospering between La Linea’s authorities and Gibraltar. This is going back to the hard core Francoist dictator tactics of the 1960’s and providing their politicians with a much needed smoke screen to divert from their internal problems. Bust!

  12. @ Frank C

    And by the way Francisco, or should I call you Paco again, there are little nuances in the English language that give you away. It is “Weak” not week.
    And for you as well as for those that a fluent in the Spanish language, here is the link where it says that the Junta laid 25 reefs of their own :

    “http://www.besana.es/es/web/noticias/201108/junta-instala-25-arrecifes-artificiales-en-costa-andaluza-para-evitar-la-sobreexplotacion”

    Gibraltar is an important base for UK, it will always be. And your dreams of British disintegration will not take away from that fact. Whereas United States pays millions to have a base in the Mediterranean aka Rota, Britain does not pay one penny of its tax payer’s money for its base in Gibraltar. Here lies the difference. Did you think in your wildest dreams that it will ever let go of Gibraltar? Never!

  13. One day, maybe, our politicians will get down to the important issues. Unemployment… high level corruption (alleged) within the P.P….stagnant housing sector….idiotic business start up delays….housing insecurity….ad infinitum. It all hovers in the collective minds of the electorate and rather naively it is assumed that, come the elections the interminable list of “Hay que” commitments will bamboozle everyone.

    No, what’s supremely important to them is sabre rattling with the UK over Gibraltar from time to time. It’s pathetic.

  14. REF: El FIFI

    Thank you for your very polite comments.I agree that it is unacceptable to have to wait more than one hour at any border. Buts let face it, the overall lack of cooperation between the Spanish and Gibraltarian authorities together with the lack of adequate supervision of the cars entering Gibraltar from Spain has made Gibraltar a convenient little business for many people, mostly Spaniards, who crossover only to fill their petrol tanks and bring back cigarettes and alcohol over the legal amount. The low cost of fuel in Gibraltar has made tax revenue from petrol, cigarettes and alcohol really easy money for the Government of Gibraltar . Most of the cars in that queue were Spanish cars doing precisely this, I can´t say I agree with checking ever single car but if you have anything to do with Gibraltar, you know exactly what goes on down there. One solution would be to only allow Gibraltar registered car to enter or exist Gibraltar, another less dramatic solution would be for non Gibraltar registered cars to have to request a permit at least 24 hrs before crossing stating the name of the driver, car registration and reason for the visit, this could also serve to limit the amount of cars that would enter during peak periods which would in turn also help ease road traffic in Gibraltar.

    With respect to corruption scandals in Spain, what can I say, I believe the Prime Minister of Spain should resign and I am glad to see the judicial system in Spain is actually following cases through to conviction. The fact that corruption in Spain during the years of bonanza is coming out now, is a clear sign that Spain has come a long way. For the head of finances of the conservative party to be behind bars is a testament to the independence of the judicial system and proves that while the system is not perfect, it does work. In the years to come, I think all the current scandals and hopefully convictions, will serve to make your average Major or Member of Parliament think twice before taking a back hander, so yes! I do think Spain has come a long way.

  15. REF: Inthename

    You made me laugh, you have the flare and passion of an Andalusian watching a football match in which his side is losing and everybody else is to blame, the referee, the other team, the football pitch, it is just not possible for his team to end up losing for not playing well, you must be a true “llanito”. Just for the record, I am from the UK but I have spent many years living is Spain and think it is ridicules for Gibraltar to be the cause of friction between Spain and the UK. The real enemies around the straights of Gibraltar are Terrorism, Organized Crime, Money Laundering and Drug Smuggling. The sad thing is “Paco” that a joint sovereignty deal with Spain would be the best thing for Gibraltar, it would bring stability and take away any uncertainty for the future which would in turn allow for the continued prosperity and development of Gibraltar to a new level.

  16. Ref Frank C. latest.
    1.Prices in one country should not dictate prices in yours. If Gibraltar can afford low prices on tobacco, petrol and alcohol for the benefit of its citizens then why shouldn’t it? Or are you suggesting we raise our taxes to stop Spaniards smuggling? Tell that to the French across from Dover.
    2.Tobacco,alcohol and petrol are not the mainstay of our economy although they do contribute substantially to the economy. E-commerce, particularly gaming and insurance play a much bigger part plus ship repair, bunkering and cruise liners.
    3. Gibraltar has imposed the strictest regulations to combat money laundering. It has signed agreements with a great number of nations, including the U.S. It has offered to exchange this information with Spain but Spain has rejected the idea. I wonder why?
    4. It’s a short distance between Morocco and the Spanish beaches. Do you know how many hundreds of kilometres long these are? Why should the drugs come through Gibraltar? Do you know there is a restriction on power boats engine capacity in Gibraltar.

    4.As regards the Spanish judicial system, let’s see who is convicted and how long that takes.
    5.Still cannot accept the suffering I witnessed of the mainly Spanish citizens on Saturday afternoon. I wonder what the tourists of other nationalities thought of the whole situation and where that places Spain as regards advanced European democratic countries?

  17. Right Paco. Now its you who has really made me laugh. Not so much by your statement that you are British living in Spain ( Pull the other one its got bells on) but by your comment to El Fifi that you would like to see a “berlin” wall with a checkpoint Charlie instead of a European frontier. Now that is really rich.

    Gibraltar makes money from selling petrol, yes, but you forget to add that Spain makes money too from the petrol we sell in Gibraltar as it all comes from your own CEPSA and Refinery and surely you know who has a lion’s share in the petrol business don’t you? And that is the reason why nobody meddles with that! So every single litre sold in Gibraltar has a percentage that goes into your coffers or somebody in your country’s coffers.

    With respect to the corruption scandals, we will talk about that when we see all the money returned and the culprits in prison. So far there have been other minor corruption scandals and the money has never returned to where it came from, so let us leave it at that.

    As to your references to my flare and passion I must admit there is some of that Mediterranean and not precisely Andalucian blood in my veins, and you know how we Mediterranean races flare up especially when we hear lies and manipulation disguised as “polite” comments wherever we hear or see them, especially those that place Gibraltar synonymously with Terrorism, Organized Crime, Money laundering and Drug Smuggling as being the real enemies “around the Straits of Gibraltar” Pity that in this case you didn’t use the words Bay of Algeciras, you might have sounded more credible, at least to me.

    As to your “solution” joint sovereignty is a no go …That kite has been flown before, and was rudely pulled down by a massive demonstration. And really, how naïve of you to put together the words joint sovereignty with stability, prosperity and a certain future, especially nowadays. So hard luck Paco. Better luck next time. Maybe you can come to Gibraltar and improve your English/Spanish at the Cervantes Institute in Gibraltar, courtesy of the previous PSOE government. That is all we have left of the Tripartite Agreement, plus of course a massive Terminal paid by the Gibraltar Government and the EU and awaiting the other part which was supposed to have been built on the La Linea side paid for by Spain and EU and which your Government has refused to honour. You have the millions paid to the Spanish pensioners pulled out of Gib by the other Paco. We got a handful of telephone lines, very expensive ones at that. Ciao caro. See you around Main Street some time. Your truly Gianni :)

  18. @stefanjo
    Gibraltar is in the EU. It joined the EU together with UK back in ’78,I think it was. Spain had to open the border, which had remained closed by Franco since 1969 and it was the only way Spain could be accepted as a member of the EU in 1984 – no closed borders between European countries.

    The UK did not sign into the Schengen protocol and as part of UK neither did we. That is why there are still controls to get into UK and into Gibraltar.
    But that doesn’t give them the right to keep people queuing for anything from two to seven hours every time they want to enforce their will on us.

  19. “No Chris the whole problem is Mariano Rajoy. I have been living in Spain for almost seven years now and I do not recall these sort of problems under the previous administration.”

    Peter, I agree with you 100%. Just as there no “Spain” when it comes to Gibraltar, different political parties sometimes take opposing views.

    In this particular case, the government of PSOE took a very different approach to that of Rajoy and the Partido Popular.

  20. On 17th October 2008, the UN Fourth Committee met and after a prolonged discussion on whether the fundamental right to self-determination could be conditioned where there was a sovereignty dispute voted that any sovereignty dispute could not condition this right as the right to self-determination was too fundamental a human right to have conditions placed upon it. This was despite protests from Spain and Argentina.

    In 2010, Ban Ki-Moon said, ‘The World’s 16 remaining territories that still do not govern themselves MUST have complete freedom in deciding their own future status,’ Secretary-General told a forum on decolonization.

    The future of Gibraltar rests firmly in the hands of the people who live there.

  21. I’m not really sure why the Schengen Agreement is of any relevance to the queues out of Gibraltar and why it keeps coming up.

    The Schengen Agreement covers immigration, and the immigration checks are not causing the hold-ups, well not the ones leaving the Rock (but they were checking papers for everyone leaving Spain later in this latest episode, which is something new). The cause of the delays leaving Gibraltar was 100% down to customs “checks” carried out by the Guardia Civil. Stopping every car and opening their boot, but not really looking inside – just going through the motions.

    As far as customs is concerned, Gibraltar is outside the EU customs union, and Spain has a duty make these checks, but always taking into consideration the right to freedom of movement for people. Customs checks cannot infringe the right to freedom of movement, yet this was clearly the case last weekend. The checks carried out must be the minimum possible, and this was obviously no happening. Demonstrably so. The GC were on a go-slow, and based on Margallo’s comments the order for this came from the very top.

    The irony is that Melilla, Ceuta and Canarias are all also outside the EU customs union – but do you ever hear of such thorough checks, and consequent massive delays, occurring to people entering mainland Spain from any of these territories?

  22. Thanks for the info. Fifi and Inthename. But isn’t the membership like being a little bit pregnant? It just doesn’t FEEL like Gib “belongs”. Cross the border between say, Portugal or France and one slips through like a wet pig.
    Are we really to believe that Spain is financially more hung-up about Gib. than they are about Andorra? I tend to agree with Amparo’s summary, concerning “sabre rattling” by useless politicians, using Franco era tactics.

  23. Iestyn ap Robert, you are quite right about the relevance of the Schegen Agreement and Gibraltar.

    There is no connection and that should be the end of that. Nonetheless, knowing some contributors, it won´t be.

    However, the border problems of Ceuta and Melilla are more to do with getting in and out of Morocco than travelling onwards to Spain.

  24. We are UK residents but come and go regularly to our apartment in Gib. My take on it is this: It is purely a case of “sour grapes” by the Spanish Govt who are desperately trying to detract from all their economic and social woes by appearing to be actively engaging in some form of patriotic sabre- rattling, hoping that this will prove a popular political gesture.
    Infact, they are cutting off their noses. etc as the run down town of La Linea is probably being kept afloat by the thousands of Spaniards who at least can find employment over the border and bring a little prosperity to this economically poor area. Interestingly, the Mayor of La Linea ( a pragmatic lady, I believe) has been quietly conciliatory of late. All this political posturing should be dealt with firmly and decisively by the EU, with repercussions if Spain does not adhere to the spirit of free movement between borders, not just bickering phone calls between senior UK and Spanish ministers.

  25. Viv, very succinctly put. Unfortunately, Senora Arraujo, La Linea’s mayoress , belongs to the PSOE party, a party known for its conciliatory stance regarding Gibraltar. She is trying her best considering the debt left by its former PP mayor.She also understands that the many workers of “la comarca” who work in Gibraltar contribute greatly to the hinterland’s economy. Currently, the Gibraltar Government has raised the minimum wage to £6 (7 Euros) an hour. This means even a menial worker in Spain is taking a reasonable wage home.
    Mr Rajoy is due to declare in front of the senate on the 1st of August and he has some explaining to do.I wonder if this has anything to do with the inhumane actions at the frontier?

  26. Thank you El Fifi for filling me in on the employment details. Always good to be well informed on the current state of play as I’m not terribly up on the political scene in Espana – I just take an interest from the sidelines, reading my Gib Live, aka The Gib Rant, whilst sitting in the border queues, bemused by the whole set- up! I’m sure, though, it’s a lot more than an occasional inconvenience, as it is for us part- timers, for the poor Spaniards and the Gibraltarians who have to come and go to work everyday. It’s just the sense of injustice and helplessness for all affected that really bugs me! Please could you enlighten me about Snr Rajoy’s declaration on Aug 1st. What exactly is he declaring to parliament? ( I could suggest a thing or two that he could own up to!)

  27. @Stefanjo, It may not “feel” to you like it belongs precisely because consecutive Spanish Governments use the Gibraltar border as a sort “weapon” against its British citizens and it acts as a thermometer of how relations stand regardless of European commitments. Just to give you some example of the many there have been. When the people of Gibraltar refused joint sovereignty with Spain there were mile long queues. When Prince Charles visited Gibraltar to start his honeymoon, there were mile long queue. When Princess Anne visited the Rock the same thing happened. When Queen Sophia was told by her Government not to attend Prince William’s wedding because the Chief Minister of Gibraltar had also been invited, there were mile long queues. And these are just some of the real reasons behind the queues. There have been and will be, no doubt many more. Usually petty tantrums always disguised as their right to systematically search cars because we are not in Schengen as an excuse, when in fact it has been proven that they are just delaying tactics with orders from above to create these queues to allay somewhat their hurt pride for having lost Gibraltar 309 years ago. They seem not to have learnt the lesson that the more they try to strangle us the less chance they will ever have of any Gibraltarian community ever even considering joint sovereignty.

  28. And if I may, and just an aside to nip in the bud any counter arguments by our Hispanic language fellow commentators. France sells her tobacco at a greater price than Andorra, and thousands of French citizens visit that principality to stock themselves up with that particular commodity every year. There are no queues to visit Andorra created by the French authorities. They too belong to the European Union as you know. Thousands of Spaniards visit Portugal to buy linen and some of their other commodities. No queues have ever been reported. Olivenza was promised back to Portugal in another treaty and never honoured. Portugal does not create queues with Spain. Gibraltar is in the OECD white list as a well regulated Financial off shore Centre. No drugs come into Gibraltar that could ever be exported into Spain. Which drug smuggler with the least common sense would want to go through two frontiers when there are miles of lonely Spanish beaches. Algeciras port is one of the main gateways where drugs filter in from Africa, yet there are no kilometre long lines of ships waiting to enter their harbour, nor are their passengers held up seven or eight hours. Ask yourselves what does that leave you with as any reasonable excuse for the queues other than political. Spain is a great country, a beautiful one at that and with, in the main, lovely friendly people, but it needs to shed its current 300 year old chip on the shoulder mentality when it comes to Gibraltar and step into the XXI century with both feet.

    Enjoy the rest of the summer.

  29. Contributors – please do not answer Stefanjo’s comments he has already shown his ignorance on many matters and especially this one. He is anti Gibraltar/UK and believes any propaganda coming his way from the Spanish side. Ignoring him is the best policy.

    Back on topic they have tried to wear us down on many many occasions (13 sieges?) so a little inconvenient border queue will get them nowhere. GSTQ.

  30. The British press generally, though sometimes rather sensationally, supports Gibraltar. The recent straight talking article in The Times is an example of this. Sometimes you do get the odd misinformed “filler” from journalists who have never been here. Many a times they even get the most basic facts wrong such as referring to Gibraltar as an island instead of a peninsular.
    On another matter, note that today, Spanish trucks carrying building material have not been allowed through with what genuine justification I don’t know.
    Rajoy addresses the Spanish senate tomorrow and we are all expectant as regards his reply to the accusation that he received “bungs” from the ex secretary of the PP who is himself accused of tax evasion and money laundering to the tune of£40 million pounds. In Britain ,Rajoy would have resigned but in Spain he continues to cling to power. Stirring up a hornets’ nest with Gibraltar is his way of distracting attention. Still, you cannot always choose your neighbours or at least those chosen to represent them.

  31. Hi Viv,
    You know the British UK based public will probably accept as completely unbiased letters coming from people like you for example who cannot be seen as “completely biased” as any ordinary Gibraltarian’s letter would.

    But don’t worry, I am sure there are plenty ordinary folk in Gibraltar just like el Fifi who will be putting pen to paper or finger to key to set the record straight. Everyone living in Gibraltar is very politically conscious as to our history, our heritage, and our pride at being who we are and our very deep ties with UK!!

    Funnily enough some in Madrid think that La Linea is in the Bay of Cadiz, so imagine how interested they really are in the predicament they place their own people who would much rather get on with it, than being the continuous victim of their Gibraltar politics.

  32. With respect to the sale of CEPSA refined petrol on the rock of
    Gibraltar, let’s just get it right. The Spanish company sells refined
    petrol in Spain to Gibraltar at the wholesale rate tax free. It is then
    sold at the retail rate with Gibraltar added tax for Spaniards to cross
    the border and purchase it. Sounds like good business to me with zero
    income for the Spanish Government!
    But just for arguments sake, lets say it is OK for your average “Joe” to
    cross the border and fill his petrol tank because it is cheaper to do so
    than in Spain. The problem is that there is no control as to whether an
    individual crosses more than once or maybe crosses in different cars
    throughout the day. It’s not for me to tell the Spanish Civil Guards how
    to do their job but if Spain were the UK, believe me, it would not be
    that easy to enter or leave an economic zone with far lower taxation. The
    Spanish government basically turns a blind eye to what is going on with
    a constant flow of Spanish car entering and leaving Gibraltar which is
    difficult to explain.
    With respect to tobacco from Gibraltar, it is sold illegally all around
    the south of Spain. We are not talking about a few packs of cigarettes. We
    are talking about a complete distribution network that starts in Gibraltar
    and extends to the cities, towns and villages of Spain. This whole network
    is factual evidence of organized crime to sell and distribute contraband
    goods with the implication of individuals on both sides of the border.

    With respect to Gibraltar being a hot spot from drugs entering Spain, I
    have to say that the situation has improved dramatically from the 1990s.
    Nevertheless, there have been some relatively recent cases in which
    Spanish Civil Guard vessels have been cut off while in pursuit because they
    were entering BGTW. So basically it is OK for the smugglers to get
    away as long as we make our point to the Spanish that they are not allowed
    into BGTW even when fighting crime and in pursuit of smugglers. Anybody
    who knows much about this kind of operation will know that events happen
    very quickly and that to catch the smugglers before they dispose of the
    drugs, swift decisive action is necessary. The lack of an agreement to allow
    Spanish Civil Guards or Royal Gibraltar Police to continue a pursuit, regardless of
    whose water they are in, says very little for the overall policing situation.

    Thanks for bringing up the issue of power boat capacity in Gibraltar. I
    remember back in the mid nineties when many power boats of Gibraltarian
    citizens where confiscated by the Government of Gibraltar due to
    pressure from the UK and Spanish Governments. Here are three YouTube videos
    which are self-explanatory to what happens when you try to limit the
    lucrative “smuggling by sea profession”.

    “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z10pYuDGxK4”

    “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llMt4NRGvIs”

    “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEMMO6s2ia4”

    Obviously this bunch doesn´t want anybody to tell them what to do whether
    British or Spanish!
    Funny enough, in one of the videos you can hear the word “Criminales” being spat out at the Royal Gibraltar Police just like the other day at the border
    only this time it was at the Spanish Civil Guards,,,,,,,,,,,, as they say
    “like father like son”.

    With respect to joint sovereignty, it is obviously important for the
    people on the rock of Gibraltar to be taken into account and to be happy
    with the final deal but believe me, I am not going to lose any sleep over
    it because I am not from Gibraltar but what I can say is this, if the UK
    leaves the EU, joint sovereignty will probably not even be on table.

    Remember Hong Kong where the local population made their feelings quite clear
    about wanting to remain British. In this case, the British Government defended its overall strategic interests without concern for the majority of the local population. Around 500.000 Hong Kong citizens had British passports at the time of the handover, these were the wealthy who had the option to relocate back to the UK while the remaining 6.5 million British Nationals, with no right of abode in the UK, were sold down the river. At the end of the day, business is business, even Margaret Thatcher had to concede that business with China was more important for the UK than granting the democratic right to decide to 7 million loyal citizens.

  33. Ref Frank C’s latest
    1.Both tobacco and petrol are sold legally in Gibraltar. Prices on the other side of the border should not dictate Gibraltar’s prices. Spanish citizens mostly smuggle these across the border. Some to earn a few euros so that their families can eat, some indeed are part of large smuggling networks which start in La Linea. Just take a look at the license number plates of the numerous confiscated bikes and cars parked by the Guardia Civil check point, not to mention the mountain of bicycles. By the way, having you ever been to Dover and seen cars laden with cheap French goods?
    2.Border controls are necessary but there is no such thing as a green or red channel when crossing into Spain. Anyway, the queues this weekend had nothing to do with border checks.
    3..When in hot pursuit, both police forces collaborate very efficiently, handing over when demarcation lines are crossed.
    4.The British and Spanish government did put pressure on the Gibraltarian Government to stop cigarette smuggling by local power boats but it was the huge demonstration by the local population against this undesirable trade and those involved in it that forced the local government to introduce a law determining power boat engine size. In fact, this led the then GSLP government to lose the following elections.
    5. Hong Kong was a lease back and Britain could not absorb so many millions. Gibraltarian do not have this problem, we already hold full British citizenship.
    6.I don’t believe the U.K. will leave the E.U. the same as I don’t believe Scotland will vote for independence. This is posturing by the British government to in order to obtain greater leverage. Even so, with the present government behaving the way they are doing, how do you expect Gibraltarians to agree to any form of deal on sovereignty? Add to that, the state of Spain at the moment.

  34. Frank C
    Just read a breaking story about a joint operation today between the Royal Gibraltar Police and the Guardia Civil that has led to six arrests and the recovery of two bales of drugs. In fact, its the third joint op in the last 24 hrs.

  35. Evening Paco, hardly any queues today.

    I am sure that Hong Kong could be dealt with by another more erudite than me, but suffice to say you seem to omit the fact that the “rented” new territories in mainland China was the crucial pawn that called in the check mate for Chinese aspirations. Having all the main infrastructures on those 99 year leased New Territories clinched it. Over populated Hong Kong needed those New Territories but the mixed Chinese and Hong Kongese government then did not see soon enough what was going to fall around their ears when the lease ended. This is not going to happen to Gibraltar as we have that particular watershed as an example.

    What lack of agreement are you talking about between the RGP and the Spanish customs services at sea? Surely you are not referring to the case some years ago where a SVA Spanish service of Vigilancia de Aduanas jumped on land in the area of Varyl Begg shooting their pistols off are you? Enough that the Chief Minister at the time let them off with a warning. Do you think that that is civilized behaviour or do you see it as obstructing an officer of the law when its done on foreign soil? Lol…Really.

    Everybody knows that both Spanish and Gibraltarian law enforcers cooperate fully out at sea and at the Frontier. Must have come as a surprise to the ever patient and enduring Royal Gibraltar Police when, to defend themselves from the shooting at an innocent beach goer on a jet ski, the Spanish counterparts came up with that same nonsense you are repeating now.

    It really is so hilarious seeing you try to pass yourself off as someone who has no real interest in Gibraltar affairs and doesn’t lose any sleep over these things and you come up with the self same arguments used by the Spanish Government to hit at Gibraltar and its people. Plus you spend your own quality time delving into You Tube. Wow! What was it brain washing?

    Surely your franctic search on you tube for ancient history could have turned up the piece of footage captured by a Gibraltarian at the border this weekend, much more newsworthy… So I am about to save you the bother of searching and posting it here…I am so sure you would have had you found it.

    “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POve7xreIDs”

    Like father like son you say? Well bicycling into Gibraltar to go to work and being apparently slapped down off his bike, manhandled by four or five agents, arrested, handcuffed, charged with assaulting the Policia Nacional, stuck in a cell, and then paying bail to appear in September just for making the “Criminal” mistake of taking the wrong opening into Gibraltar to go to work on a bike at snail’s pace..sheesh what a heritage a father to leave his son!!

    If the cameraman had not missed the first bit there would be voices saying it was all planned and that the young man jumped on all those agents, much like they did with the jet ski shooting. Must have thought he was Hulk, only this particular hulk was hanging on for dear life to a pole and his bike handle. What hand did he use to strike?

    Anyways…anybody who has come into Gibraltar at any other time than that particular Friday with the 7 hour queue would recognize the normality of just driving in showing your ID and nobody takes even a passing look. But doing it on that day, what a horrendous crime.

    As to tobacco, think Algeciras, think Canary Islands container loads. Gib is small fry in this game as there are no containers full of tobacco leaving our shores, or land frontier and it is well known who is doing the contraband, they are stupid enough to show themselves and their wares on Spanish TV lol.

    As to drugs, plus tobacco..well we have the daily reports coming from the Spanish press as to the hauls of drugs coming through Algeciras, inside fruit, (Pity I must have bought bananas on the wrong day in a Spanish supermarket) inside vegetables, under fish, inside plastic drainage tubes etc; etc; etc; by the truck full and of course onto those miles and miles of beaches you have, up rivers etc. Must I remind you that Gibraltar, unfortunately for us, has no such miles and miles of virgin beaches, nor rivers and the drug barons would have to face two customs controls to get it through into Spain, so there goes your “polite” comment in that respect.

    Mores the pity about not having miles and miles of beaches, you know our knack of turning everything into gold. Must be because here is not the land of Manana!! You know!

    Strangely enough now that you say, if my memory serves me well, I remember a car with Spanish registration plates was found in a garage in Gibraltar up to the roof with drugs about a year or two back. Could have presumably have been an attempt to “prove” that drugs were coming into Spain through the Gibraltar frontier with a well placed chivatazo at the right time and the right place. One never knows. Thankfully the chivatazo went the other way and the RGP were able to stop that particular game set and match by whoever had managed to introduce the drugs into Gibraltar in the first place. A rare case. Gibraltar has since had a keener eye on what comes in through the border. Would have made great headlines for some. Funnily enough there was hardly any drug addicts in Gib before the frontier opened, and very few now.

    A lot of the tobacco is sold to Gibraltar by Spain itself, you would recognize the makes, but obviously, as with the petrol, the sugar and other commodities, Gibraltar does not tax as heavily as Spain so its cheaper here. Tobacco is also cheaper in Andorra, France Loses out, in fact in any border town you will find people trying to make a quick buck. Ask the people at Calais! Sai la vie! Glass of Chablis anyone?

    Best wishes Gianni:)

  36. Sorry missed out on a little bit;
    You say “The Spanish government basically turns a blind eye to what is going on with a constant flow of Spanish car entering and leaving Gibraltar which is difficult to explain.”

    Easy, the people in Spain are going hungry! Provide them with jobs see how that works.

    As to, what was it, wait let me take a look, Ah yes here it is:
    ” The Spanish company sells refined petrol in Spain to Gibraltar at the wholesale rate tax free. It is then
    sold at the retail rate with Gibraltar added tax for Spaniards to cross the border and purchase it. Sounds like good business to me with zero income for the Spanish Government!”

    Really, wow. You mean to say that Cepsa, Refinery, Bunkering is on Spanish soil scott free? Tell that to your own people, they’ll believe anything. They believed the PP Manifesto. What Gibraltar does is called doing business. Its legal and above board.

  37. Ref: El Fifi

    1.You mention “large smuggling networks which start in La Linea”, great
    news! Tell the RGP and GC what you know about these networks. These
    organizations may be run by Spanish, British, Gibraltarian or Philipino
    citizens but regretfully their financing will be traced back to bank
    accounts in Gibraltar that the Spanish police cannot access due to a lack
    of agreement with the UK on Gibraltar. Many Spaniards have bank accounts in
    Gibraltar which they do not declare in their annual income tax. There are
    many individuals who work in Spain and get paid through a Gibraltar bank
    account. This is fraud and it has to stop.

    2. You make reference to there not being a green and red channel at the
    border. What good would that do? Everybody who crosses back into Spain
    from Gibraltar is suspect of bringing back tobacco or alcohol above the
    legal amount.

    3. With respect to your statement that both police forces collaborate very
    efficiently in hot pursuit handing over when demarkation lines are
    crossed, there may be a level of limited cooperation but when in hot
    pursuit you cannot expect the GC to be more worried about their GPS position
    than in detaining suspects. I wouldn´t call this very effective collaboration.
    What would be affective collaboration would be to allow the GC to continue side by side with the RGP when in pursuit and when the RGP are not available, to continue with their own vessels in pursuit inside BGTW right up to landing on the beach. Anything other than this, would in many cases lead to the drug
    smugglers getting away scot free. So it has to be said, loud and clear, that BGTW is perfect for drug smugglers who take advantage of the current situation. For a RGP vessel to land on a Spanish beach while is pursuit or for a GC vessel to land on a beach in Gibraltar would be true efficient collaboration which could be topped up with an exchange program between the RGP and the GC, with RGP on Spanish CG vessels and RGP on GC vessels. This would truly be high level cooperation with the common goal of fighting crime.

    4.You state that the GSLP introduced legislation limiting power boat
    engine size due to pressure from the UK and Spain. The consequence of doing
    what was right was that they lost the following general elections,,,,,,
    What can I say?,,,,,I rest my case!

    5. The issue of the negotiations which led to the handover agreement of
    Hong Kong is complicated. The UK initially wanted to renew the lease on
    the New Territories. Once it was obvious that the Chinese were not
    interested, the goal was to negotiate for dual administration with the New
    Territories being under China and Hong Kong Island being under the UK as its
    sovereignty was indisputable. At this stage the Chinese put their cards on
    the table and basically stated that they did not recognize British
    sovereignty over Hong Kong Island, only British administration full stop. The
    British negotiators realized they had to change their strategy because the
    initial idea of holding onto Hong Kong Island no matter what the outcome for the
    New Territories, would lead to a major diplomatic conflict with China. The
    UK which had never offered the people of Hong Kong democracy in any form,
    tried to negotiate with China the possibility of giving the people of Hong
    Kong the right to decide.
    The Chinese would have none of it because the outcome would have been
    against them. So the British negotiators went into emergency override.
    The objective now was only to protect British strategic business interests
    (HSBC, SWIRE, etc) and a level of freedom for the people that would allow for the
    development of capitalism for the following 50 years but no right to decide or to have true democracy.

    6. I don´t think the question is will the UK leave the EU. The question is
    when it will happen, 2015?, 2016? The EU is going towards fully economic
    and political integration which the UK doesn´t want. The British
    Government would like to stop the process and go back to the Common Market concept but that is not going to happen. David Cameron´s decision to finally agree to a referendum around 2015 is a smart move which will make the British
    people responsible for the outcome. Germany is the new leader in Europe
    and most nations are quite comfortable with this reality, Spain being one of them. The average citizen in Spain is more than happy with the Germans auditing
    accounts and telling the Spanish Government what to do. However, I can´t see that happening in the UK.
    With respect to Scottish independence, it is going to be a close call, but
    because the UK has made the big mistake of allowing 16 year-olds to vote, I think the outcome will be for independence.
    Finally, on the issue of negotiating joint sovereignty, it is all about what is negotiated in the deal. If the deal involves self Government, such as you have now, together with Spain agreeing to give up any further claim to sovereignty, it would be a win win situation.
    A weak Spain with many problems will be ready to offer much more than on the other hand a strong Spain with a lot of power and with the UK out of the EU.

    Have a great weekend!

  38. Frank C
    1. Do you know how difficult it is to open a bank account in Gibraltar? Do you know that if you tried to deposit more than £1,000 you have to prove how you obtained the money. Did you know that we appear on the white list regarding banking regulations and we have reciprocal agreements with many countries such as the USA regarding exchange of financial information. Did you know we offered this exchange of information to Spain but it was rejected because they do not recognise our jurisdiction?
    Smuggling can happen across any border where there are differences in prices but every civilized democratic country has a green and red channel for the vast majority of people who do not smuggle.
    3.Did you not read about the recent successful joint Guardia Civil and RGP operation? Radio operators aboard fast interceptors do not pilot their craft. They are there to keep all those involved in a chase informed. The same happens all over the world. A British vessel chasing a launch in the English Channel would liaise and handover operations to their French counterparts as soon as the demarcation lines are crossed.
    4. The people voted democratically for a change of government. This was not forced upon them by any outside government. The citizens knew it was morally wrong even if the minority who were involved in the trade weren’t actually doing anything legally wrong in Gibraltar. Democracy in action.
    5. Can’t you see Hong Kong was a far different situation?
    6. Simple if you push me the likelihood is that I will push you back. I would rather sit down and have a brandy and a chat. I listen to you and you listen to me. Over a period of time you might agree on some aspects. The current Spanish government just doesn’t have the patience. Simply don’t try and push down our throats solutions we don’t agree with.
    By the way, you sounded rather passionate in your reposte. Hit a nerve?
    I don’t just enjoy my weekends, I enjoy life

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