Government of Gibraltar
Press Office

No.6 Convent Place, Gibraltar                Tel: 70071     Fax: 74524

Press Release
No: 20/2001
Date: 30 January 2001

Government will not be supporting Demonstration

The Government will not be supporting tomorrow’s demonstration organised by Mr C Benyunes. At last week’s Council of Representative Bodies the overwhelming consensus (including the Voice of Gibraltar Group) was that timing, organisation and message were of the essence. Such initiatives should be co-ordinated on a broad, cross – community basis, to ensure that they take place when their impact and effect is most needed and will be most effective for and beneficial to Gibraltar’s cause. These judgements cannot be made on an ad hoc basis in an unco-ordinated manner.

The Government also condemns the Voice of Gibraltar Group’s introduction into this demonstration of partisan political issues that have nothing to do with keeping Gibraltar British, and therefore destroy all prospect of unity.

The Government also notes the Opposition’s statement to-day that "it has now been revealed that the UK is prepared to agree a Statement of Principle with Spain committing itself to share the sovereignty of Gibraltar" and that we need to prevent this from happening. The Chief Minister has been cautioning publicly about this very thing. Mr Bossano’s response was to accuse the Chief Minister of "splitting hairs" and of confusing the public. The Government is glad that Mr Bossano has, at last, understood the vital difference between a done deal (such as the agreement on principles) that survive a referendum and mere proposals that disappear without lingering consequences if rejected in referendum. Mr Bossano would contribute much more to the defence of Gibraltar if he could control his knee jerk instinct to contradict and undermine everything that the Chief Minister says.

The Government is awaiting a response from the Foreign Secretary to the Chief Minister’s request for an assurance that the UK will not enter into "done deals", including as publicly explained by the Chief Minister, concessions of principle and sovereignty to Spain. This is a vital issue for Gibraltar. The Government will react according to whether or not it receives this assurance.

The Opposition now seeks to organise yet another demonstration on Monday. This will be the third demonstration in 12 days, each organised by a different group. Gibraltar’s interests cannot be advanced or protected in this haphazard way, and confirms the wisdom of the consensus adopted by the Council of Representative bodies.

Last Revised : 31 January 2002