Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Annex 9(b)

Letter from Hon Peter Caruana QC, Chief Minister, Gibraltar, to Rt Hon Jack Straw MP, Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 30 May 2002

  Thank you for your letter dated 19 April 2002 (delivered 24 April).

  As I said to you during our meeting, it would appear that you have been misinformed as to both the general position in Gibraltar with regard to statistics and transparency and also with regard to the specific issues that you raise.

  I have asked the Chief Secretary to record the actual position in a detailed letter to the Deputy Governor. The Chief Secretary expects that that letter will issue in the next few days.

  As my record in office clearly shows. I share your commitment to open and transparent Government. Like you, I campaigned for this in Opposition. Since attaining office in 1996 my Government has raised accountability and transparency, right across all areas of Government, to levels which are unprecedent in Gibraltar.

  If the overall position were as your letter depicts, you would presumably be equally astonished to learn that none of those issues has ever been raised with me by the Governor or the FCO.

  There is no question of any breach of any undertaking in this area. Indeed, none has ever been requested or given.

  As to EU obligations, you know that my Government's policy is to implement them expeditiously. You may also know that we have regular "tracking meetings" with Whitehall departments to review the position. No unimplemented EU directives in this field have been brought to our attention by HMG. Please therefore let me know what these are (if any) and I will see to it that they are implemented, if they have not already been implemented.

  I hope that when you read the Chief Secretary's letter you will see that the impression created by your letter is not correct, and that you will agree that I am entitled to feel, as I do, proud of my Government's achievements and record in these areas. I believe that the transparency and probity of my Government is self evident, and that it compares favourably with other Governments in Europe, including HMG in the UK, which is generally our benchmark in public administration.

  This is, of course, an area of Government where, in Gibraltar as in the UK, there are constant developments. We therefore expect to continue to improve and refine our statistics on a continuous basis, as we have been doing since 1996.

Peter Caruana

Chief Minister

30 May 2002

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