Monday, September 26, 2005

Decolonisation is imperative, says Garcia

Leader of the Liberal Party Dr Joseph Garcia has said that the new Constitution must decolonise Gibraltar.

He has added that in his view there are fundamental points in the discussions on which the process could stand or fall.

Dr Garcia has refused to go into details on the basis that this is confidential as agreed by all the participants. However, he echoed the views of the statement that was issued after the second round of talks last week which said that “there are a small number of important issues where agreement has not yet been reached”.

The Liberal Leader said that a minor tinkering which keeps Gibraltar as a colony would be a huge political miscalculation. “It would provide an excuse for the United Kingdom to deny us further change and decolonisation for another 40 years”, he said.

Dr Garcia recalled that the 1969 constitution was itself meant to decolonise Gibraltar and it failed to do so. He warned against making the same mistake again.

Dr Garcia recalled how in 1976 the Hattersley Memorandum made it clear that the British Government would not be drawn into a constitutional conference and it pointed Gibraltar to await developments in Spain. Therefore the last time there was a conference was in 1968 following on from Britain’s promise to grant further constitutional changes if the people of Gibraltar voted to retain their links with the United Kingdom in the 1967 Referendum.

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