Saturday, March 05, 2005

Bossano writes to Defence Committee

Leader of the Opposition Joe Bossano has sent the letter attached hereto to the members of the Defence Select Committee. This is part of the Opposition’s campaign in support of the MoD workers.

A similar letter is in the process of being circulated to all members of the House of Commons and House of Lords. This will be followed shortly by a detailed Brief, which the Opposition say is currently being prepared.

Leader of The Opposition's Letter to the Defence Select Committee

MoD Privatisation in Gibraltar

I write to you in respect of the proposals by the Ministry of Defence to privatise most of its functions in Gibraltar. An announcement in this respect has been made recently by the present Commander British Forces, Commander Adair. He has been CBF only since the very recent death of Commander David White, who was previously CBF. This was preceded by a flying visit by the Hon Adam Ingram, Armed Forces Minister to Gibraltar (on 10th February 2005), during the course of which visit Mr Ingram failed to grant any interviews to the press or meet any members of the Opposition, something which is quite abnormal when there is a visit of a UK Minister to Gibraltar.

In effect the MoD proposal is to contract out a large part of the work carried out by its employees to an infrastructure services provider.

This will mean that from being the second largest employer of Gibraltarians in Gibraltar, on pay and conditions of services in parity with the UK Civil Service, the MoD will be reduced to its core function with everything else contracted out.

The support for the MoD presence has always rested on the strong identity with their role felt by a very large proportion of Gibraltarian families and UK citizens, many ex-Services, who have settled here. This unquestioned loyalty is being put to the test and many of us feel that the steps announced are not being driven by considerations which are purely economic.
We realise that this may be an issue where others may simply argue that the same happens in UK. However, what may happen in UK is matter for the UK Government, Parliament and electorate. In our country the proposals of the MoD have been rejected at all levels and we are therefore bringing the matter to your attention to ensure that you are properly briefed.

Clearly, any support you are able to give our cause would be more than welcome.
I shall be sending you a detailed briefing note as a follow-up to this letter.

Yours sincerely

Joe Bossano
Leader of the Opposition

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