Memorandum from Hon Dr Joseph Garcia,
Leader, Liberal Party of Gibraltar
1. The Liberal Party of Gibraltar was formed
in 1991. We have two members who sit in the Gibraltar House of
Assembly and in an alliance with the Gibraltar Socialist Labour
Party, hold all seven Opposition seats.
2. We have been involved with Liberal International
since 1996, and in 2000 at its Congress in Ottawa were admitted
as a full member of that organisation. In March 2001, we were
admitted as a full member of the European Liberal Democrats (ELDR
Party). Our youth wing belongs to the Liberal Youth Movement of
the European Union (LYMEC), and to the International Federation
of Liberal and Radical Youth (IFLRY). We are the only political
party in Gibraltar with international recognition of this kind.
3. The Party notes that the House of Commons
Foreign Affairs Committee intends to look at Gibraltar again and
will be coming here to take evidence on 1-2 July 2002. Submissions
in writing have also been invited.
4. The Liberal Party of Gibraltar is totally
opposed to the existing Anglo-Spanish negotiating process under
the Brussels Agreement. Indeed, we welcomed the conclusions in
your report of June 1999 which called for the process to be replaced.
Instead of this, the British Government decided to relaunch it
in July 2001. We have long maintained that the outcome of these
negotiations is pre-determined to secure a Spanish Gibraltar,
in whole or in part, and have long argued that this is a contravention
of our right to self-determination. This is now borne out by the
events that have transpired since the relaunch of the process
5. We enclose as evidence a series of resolutions
adopted by international organisations on the subject of Gibraltar.
1. Liberal International Resolutionadopted
in March 2002 at its Congress in Hungary (Annex A). Liberal International
is the global federation of Liberal political parties at a senior
level, with 88 parties affiliated to it, 30 of which are in Government
in their respective countries.
2. Liberal Democrat Youth and Students (Annex
B)adopted in March 2002 at its Congress in Warwick, England.
LDYS is the autonomous youth movement of the British Liberal Democrats.
3. Liberal Youth Movement of the European
Union (Annex C)adopted in March 2002 at its Congress in
Romania. LYMEC is the youth wing of the European Liberal Democrats
4. International Federation of Liberal and
Radical Youth (Annex D)adopted in November 2001 at its
Congress in Brussels, Belgium. IFLRY is the youth movement of
6. It is our contention that Gibraltar must
be decolonised in the same way as any other colonial territory,
and that the paramount consideration must be that the Gibraltarians
freely and democratically deciding what they want in exercise
of their right to self-determination. This runs counter to the
policy of the present British Government which seems intent to
secure a joint-sovereignty deal with Spain, in exchange for which
Spain will drop its harassment of Gibraltar.
7. There is no support in Gibraltar for
the route down which the present British Government has embarked.
It makes no sense to us for the Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to
have come here on a consultation exercise last Friday, 3 May,
after the Anglo-Spanish deal is almost complete, rather than having
done so before July of last year to see whether Gibraltar supported
the relaunch of the Brussels process or not. It would have been
clear prior to July 2001 that the Gibraltarians felt the same
way. We now run the risk of having raised expectations in Spain
that a deal will be delivered, and once again the people of Gibraltar
will bear the brunt of Spanish hostility if Madrid's expectations
are not met. Indeed, this was threatened last week in "The
Guardian" newspaper by Prime Minister Aznar.
I trust that the enclosed resolutions, which
are now the policy of the various organisations on this subject,
are of use, and we are only too happy to answer any questions
that the Select Committee may have in writing or in person.
The Hon Dr Joseph Garcia
Leader, Liberal Party of Gibraltar
10 These Resolutions are not published with this evidence.
Copies have been placed in the Library. Back