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Editor's Blog Oct 21st 2011

Editor's Blog Oct 21st 2011

 This week, most of the news was coming out of London as the 12th Gibraltar Day was held at the Guildhall. Prior to that, at lunchtime, there was also a luncheon held for some 350 financiers (they don’t call them Bankers anymore – too many jokes).

 As a journo, I was invited to report on the day, and there are many elements of it which I believe merits its continuance. Even the Leader of the Opposition agrees, although naturally, he believes it can be done a lot cheaper than the £100K plus it currently costs. It could certainly be improved and it could, in my opinion, be used better to give Gibraltar the political profile we want, but I want a consultancy fee first. I will offer one freebie though, I’d invite the Spanish ambassador every year; wouldn’t that be a win-win situation?

  The opening of the facilities (toilets) at Europa Point was done this week; now it is finally finished more than 4 years overdue, as I remember the board on display for 2 years, telling us what is happening down there before they even started work. The Chief Minister opened it, as always, but there were complaints from the tourists arriving on buses from the 2 ships in port. 

  The toilets had been locked so no one could go in there, apparently, while the CM was doing the ribbon. I’m not sure if that is entirely true but when I was there in the afternoon, around 3pm-ish, they were locked with more than 6 buses parked up. Whilst waiting, the doors were unlocked but we were told there was no running water. Now that’s what I call planning, or is it progress?

  Bringing new meaning to daylight robbery; a British man was arrested as he left the casino after finishing work. Apparently a search of his backpack by the RGP revealed some £15K was stuffed in there. Now whilst utterly commending the RGP for being so quick off the mark in catching someone who was actually in the act, I wonder why all the matuteras seem to be able to stuff with wanton abandon, every orifice and pocket about them, waddle to the frontier, and slip through unnoticed by either side. Or indeed how in a simple wander through Laguna, Glacis or Landport Ditch even an untrained eye like mine can spot a car loading with cartons from a mile away?

  More talk of Apes this week, as an opposition spokesman highlights the lack of management. The apes are currently wandering around almost every inch of Gibraltar, with the possible exception of Europa Point. We see them now regularly around the Moorish Castle and upper town, along Sir Herbert Miles Road, the Trafalgar Cemetary and in fact on Main Street where, I fear, they may be opening a shop soon. With culling apparently not on the cards and instead the so called sterilisation programme – if ever there was one – Which doesn’t seem to work, the packs are spreading rapidly.

 Back in 2005, when I first took regular tours of the Rock, there were only packs at the Top Station, Apes Den, St Michaels Cave and the Den at the top of Philips II steps. Now they are along the road from the den in a second pack, in Princess Caroline’s Battery, also more above Caroline’s and by the WWII tunnel cafeteria. They are sat on the Castle and, as I said, spread around town, going into the Rock and Caleta Hotels with impunity. Is there a solution? Yes but it’s a grim one. Cull any ape captured near houses below Moorish Castle; this will not only remove them but also, believe it or not, act as a deterrent. Many Gibraltarians tell me how they used to use sticks, pretending they were rifles and the apes fled … no more. The Rock cannot sustain such numbers anyway, and they are becoming more aggressive; with tourists regularly getting bitten. If we don’t then we might as well swap our houses for the caves, as there will be more of them than us... Planet of the Apes isn’t that far away!