Equality Rights group GGR - Citizenship in Democracy EQUALITY RIGHTS GGR

News and Information from Gibraltar on Equality, Human, Gay and Social Rights

Sunday, September 03, 2006

We urge Government openness

In an urgent letter to the Chief Minister today (copied to the Deputy Chief Minister), Equality Rights Group GGR has urged Peter Caruana to openly address the issues surrounding the employment and immigration status of the President of the Moroccan Community Association in order to fully inform the public of any legitimate concerns on the matter.

Group chairman Felix Alvarez, added that “Government is there to do a job and that is to be respected, but its actions must be in accordance with the rule of law. In fairness to both Government and to the person concerned, I have urged Mr Caruana to take this opportunity to fully respond on the issues so that the voice of all sides will be heard. Democracy requires Ministers and public authorities to act in a responsible manner, ensuring that actions taken are done in a way which does not give rise to questions about the legitimacy of Government actions. It is of no service at all to Gibraltar for Government actions to be questioned as a result of lack of clear and valid reasons – otherwise citizens may well ask themselves “if it’s him today, will it be me tomorrow?” To date, the standard official response which has been given to what should otherwise be a smooth piece of bureaucracy in approving paperwork is fuelling suspicion as to possible underlying motives in this case. It is of no justice to Gibraltarian democracy for matters to proceed under such a cloak of unsatisfactorily explained processes.”


Peter Caruana, QC 4th September 2006
Chief Minister
No. 6 Convent Place

Dear Chief Minister,


The handling of the employment and immigration processing of the above gentleman’s status, as you know, is causing concern in this community. In particular, it is stated that approval of what is said to be a firm employment offer, with the attending immigration status requisites, is reported to be pending for many months now.

As a lawyer, you will be well aware of the importance of the principle of rule of law and the general requirement that justice not only be done but also be seen to be done. As such, whilst entrusted with discretionary powers to act justly and in the public interest, Ministers and public authorities are under a duty to act in a manner which does not undermine the legitimacy of Government actions before the public.

In view of the increasing concern being expressed given the, to date, shortness of public information as to possible legitimate issues which may underlie the present case, and in fairness to you as representative of Government and to the wider interests of Gibraltar at large, I would urge you to address this matter in a manner which sheds light on the delays being experienced by Mr Ratali. Failure to do so may, in our view, only add to continuing speculation as to possible underlying motives; and in this organisation’s view, this cannot be good for Gibraltar since belief in the legitimacy of Government is fundamental to our society.

As a human rights organisation, GGR urges you to take steps to inform the public not in the standardised manner to date (and if not in the detail, at least in the generality) as to any relevant public interest concern or other issue of import in this matter in the most transparent manner possible, failing which the citizens of this community may, in our view, reach conclusions which can only be damaging to our established belief in democratic principles. Again, in fairness to Government as well as to Gibraltar and to Mr Ratali himself I urge you to take this opportunity . I look forward to your earliest and most urgent response,

yours faithfully,

Felix Alvarez

Cc: The Deputy Chief Minister