Tuesday, August 23, 2005

SDGG demand ‘proper explanation' after Civil Guard chase

The presence of a vessel of the Spanish Civil Guard in the waters of Gibraltar giving chase to a Gibraltar vessel and proceeding into the furthest reaches of the port requires more, and more credible, comment from those responsible in Gibraltar for Gibraltar security than has yet been made.

That was the view expressed yesterday by the Self-Determination for Gibraltar Group (SDGG).

“Gibraltar needs to know whether Gibraltar vessels in Gibraltar waters engaged in law-abiding leisure have the protection of the Gibraltar authorities. In this incident the only answer which can be deduced is that they do not,” said a spokesman for the pressure group.

The SDGG argue that the Spanish vessel could have been following them, as far as the occupants of the Gibraltar vessel were concerned, with any number of different intentions.

“None of those intentions would have been lawful, since it is the Law of Gibraltar that governs activities in Gibraltar waters, and only Gibraltar authorities afloat (Customs, RGP, GSP and Navy) can legally call for a vessel to stop. There is no question here of ‘hot pursuit’, for this chase did not start outside Gibraltar waters.”

Failure by the authorities in Gibraltar to stop the Spanish Civil Guard patrolling our waters encourages the Spanish Government to develop the idea that Gibraltar has no waters said the SDGG adding that “the ‘know-all’ attitude unfailingly adopted by the Convent, by which it claims prior knowledge of Spanish incursions, after the event, is belied by the many occasions in the past on which Gibraltar has been ‘caught napping’ by the complacency of those responsible for territorial waters, for example by the Spanish boarding of the nuclear submarine HMS Tireless Dispute and the fuel tanker Vemamagna.”

The group says that under the 1969 Constitution the Governor is answerable to the Gibraltar electorate in the House of Assembly, of which he is the leading member, on matters of defence and security, for which the Constitution makes him responsible. Under the present Constitution we may call on him to explain the events in our waters, and we do so, they said.

“The new Constitution, at present being sat upon by the Foreign Office, will require the Governor to consult with the Gibraltar Government in advance on all defence and security matters. The events in our port and the dearth of public information on them from the Convent make the introduction of the new Constitution a matter of increasing urgency,” said the SDGG.

Related Article:

18 August 2005 - Guardia Civil were ‘concerned about terrorist threat'

17 August 2005 - Guardia Civil land at Gibraltar after boat chase

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