Saturday, October 22, 2005

Trilateral Process a ‘great achievement’ – Holliday

Whilst stressing Government’s political vigilance in the current process of talks involving Gibraltar, Britain and Spain, Joe Holliday, Deputy Chief Minister, has declared his ‘great confidence’ in Chief Minister Peter Caruana’s handling of the tripartite process.

And the GSLP/Liberals opposition stands accused of “political dishonesty” over its stand on the trilateral forum and airport talks.

Mr Holliday said that the Opposition had tried to confuse and worry the community and he suggested that he has evidence that, when in government, GSLP party would have been happy to participate in tri-partite talks and agree use of the airport. All, he said, would be “revealed in due course”.

A dinner session of the Casino Calpe was told on Thursday night that Gibraltar should seize the economic opportunities that Government expects this process to create for Gibraltar and the region.


A clear message from Mr Holliday was his support for the trilateral forum and its goals.

He repeated the news that local companies and a joint venture with Spain are looking to the re-establishment of the ferry with Algeciras and he reported that as a result of the Los Barrios process for local co-operation there has been productive and the November should see a meeting of a joint working group to establish joint-antipollution measures for the Bay.

The ferry will, he says, require the go ahead from the ministerial trilateral expected “shortly” but he said the logistics of implementation are already being looked at at local level.

In his address Mr Holliday emphasised that although Gibraltar Government is working for the development of regional co-operation “there is no way we will be absorbed as a municipality of the Mancomunidad del Campo.”

He equally stressed, in answer to questions, that Government had its eyes open as to the Britain - Spain relationship and was ‘suspicious’ of this in the sense of being alert to Gibraltar’s interests. “I have great confidence in Peter Caruana,” he said arguing that Gibraltar will be “pleasantly surprised” when the details form the trilateral process emerge. The trilateral process, he said, is a “great achievement” having met all the conditions the GSD (Gibraltar Social Democrats) had set out.

On the airport he said that Government is determined to get the maximum benefit but at the same time “the red lines will not be put at risk”.

Merry Group

The audience of leading businessmen was also told by Mr Holliday that, with regards to the GSD merger with Labour and the resignation of members such as Keith Azopardi, he would not comment on this but, having in fact voted in favour of the merger, he had accepted the collective decision of the party to see Daniel Feetham and “his merry group of men” join them.

Job Permits

Mr Holliday has also revealed that Government is to ease the access to the local work market for new EU members in sectors where Gibraltarians and other EU nationals fail to meet the demand of employers, the catering and hotel trades in particular.

On the domestic front Mr Holliday had set out how government was meeting its pledge on affordable housing but he rejected suggestions from the floor that the new houses should have had money Government receives from developers calculated in reducing the cost to buyers. He suggested that this may happen on the basis of the way on which these houses are sold and that allocation would be by government itself.


Mr Holliday declared that e-business is being focused on and e-government, which means people avoiding queues by being able to conduct much of the business with government on-line, is being worked on and could lead to such things as people booking the MOT on line.

He noted that some businesses, having identified the right product, were now doing very well in e-business.

“Tourism is a success story as far as Government is concerned,” he said announcing that the much put off re-development of Europe Point is imminent.

Shipping was also described as another success story and he said that the 300 unemployed meant Gibraltar has full employment in economic terms. He said that these were either people who did not really want to work or found it difficult to or did not want to find a job.

On providing jobs to new EU member state nations he made clear that the jobs would be well advertised first before being opened to them.

On town planning Mr Holliday reported that although many people talk about new developments few people take the opportunity to formally raise the issue with the planning authorities.


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