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Thus the fight of the Gibraltarians has not ended by any means. The Brussels Agreement followed by the Air Port Agreement were two. great blows for Gibraltar. ..A prefabricated society would never have endured the pressures of being locked up in the 6 square kilometers of Gibraltar from 1969 to 1985, 14 years of a rigorous land blockade with the airport as a lifeline to the outside world. So the people were shocked when Lord Howe, then Foreign Secretary attempted to take away from them this safety lifeline by making a deal with the Spanish Government that handed them control of the Airport and gave them a foothold on the isthmus; the flat strip of land joining the Rock to the Spanish frontier that Spain claims does not fall under the Treaty of Utrecht. Notwithstanding Gibraltar has not lost the Airport, the agreement with Spain, although not ratified by the Gibraltar House of Assembly, has crippled the lucrative potential use of the airport through non cooperation from Spain. |
Furthermore, the same Lord Howe agreed for Gibraltar to pay £210,000,000 in pensions to about 12,000 of the Spanish workers withdrawn from Gibraltar at 24 hours notice by General Franco in 1969, when he imposed the 14 years blockade to strangle Gibraltar economically. The workers had only contributed about £250,000 to the pensions funds. At the time the IWBP Government advised the British Government that their funds should be handed over to the Spanish Government to administer, or to the workers themselves to whom the money belonged. The British Government failed to take any notice.
The cost of this British Government omission, £210m is being born by the British tax payers but shamefully it counts as aid to Gibraltar. The £210m were supposed to have been paid by the people of Gibraltar who instead should be receiving compensation for the damage done by Franco’s 14 years blockade. It is thanks to the courage of the then Chief Minister, Joe Bossano and his Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party (GSLP) Government, who valiantly confronted the British Government on this issue, that Gibraltar was spared the ruinous effect of finding the huge amount of £210m to pay pensions to workers whose total personal contributions were about £15 each, before they were withdrawn by Franco overnight, to strangle Gibraltar’s economy.
Can crumbling little island of Britain afford to keep Spanish Gibraltar is rather important question.
Impoverished and jobless British taxpayers are asked to foot a bill but for how long?