The Voice of
VOGG meet with a Foreign Office representative
Sarah Abecasis and Paul Tunbridge of The Voice of Gibraltar Group met with Mr. Dominick Chilcott, the Director for the EU at The Foreign & Commonwealth Office, on Thursday for approximately half an hour, at The Convent. Since this was classified as a familiarisation visit (yet another - how many more) the members of The Group did most of the talking with the Director listening attentively and his secretary busily taking down notes.
Mr. Chilcott was informed, in the strongest possible terms, of the result of the referendum, its explicit rejection of the joint - sovereignty proposals and implicitly, the Brussels Agreement. The latter together with Jack Straw's policy statement of 12July2002 must be revoked immediately. Spain already feels that it has been legitimised, by that same 'policy', to interfere in all the affairs of the Rock. Lamentably, Gibraltar's relationship with Britain will not improve unless the British Government stands up to the Spaniards. Barely shelving the proposals to gather dust is not acceptable. Next and irrespective of the 'Spanish Dimension', Britain, as the colonial power, must assist the Government of Gibraltar in its efforts towards a United Nations Committee of 24 visit and in implementing the reformed constitution. Furthermore, it was stressed, that expecting Spain to behave in any other way than it has done for the last forty years is a futile exercise. Even if they did, it would not make any difference because that is not the underlying factor, self - determination is. Finally, Mr. Chilcott was reminded of Britain's obligations, legal and moral, under the present Constitution, to defend Gibraltar, something in which it has failed miserably, be it because of ignorance, naivety or just plain political expediency.
The Voice of Gibraltar Group now expects, after so many 'familiarisation' visits from Hain and Straw, prior to the referendum, MacShane after the plebiscite and countless 'mandarins' whenever, that the Foreign & Commonwealth Office is, by now, fully aware of the situation. There cannot possibly be any further excuses and delays to the fulfilment of the Rock's aspirations. If there are, then Gibraltar has a long and hard struggle ahead, but will persevere.