Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Make Base inoperative, says Tunbridge

The Command Secretary’s categorical statement that there is no political motive in the cuts’ is at best, a whole load of codswallop, Voice of Gibraltar Group (VOGG) spokesman Paul Tunbridge has declared.

Mr Tunbridge says that the MoD is committed to keeping a base “in its own vested interest, or even in those of others, without due consideration for the people of Gibraltar.” He said:

All it is concerned with is the ‘efficient’ operability of the installations at the minimum cost possible. Unless, the ‘Spanish Dimension’ is coming into play. All political party support is welcome, but unity and consistency of purpose are of paramount importance. The Government’s predisposition for legislative and fiscal measures is a coherent manoeuvre, provided the ordinances are passed and not left as an inherent threat. However, the only way to test the MoD's real intentions is to make the base ‘in-operative’. Then, either it packs up and goes or sits down with the unions in meaningful negotiations.

Mr Tunbridge believes that the ‘red lines’, bar a referendum, “have been open to compromise between the UK and Spanish Governments and it begs the question whether this is the case now.”

Commenting on the possibility of industrial action, and what he describes as “the revolt of the colonials”, he adds:

Although we do not question the need for the security services to uphold law and order, because of the potential crisis in the offing, the VOGG is certain that the Commanding Officers of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment and Gibraltar Security Police, likewise the Commissioner of Police, will be taking this matter up with the Governor to set up clear and rational ‘rules of engagement’ that avoid a situation which some may later regret but that many will never forget.


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