Jan 31 - DOG Sovereignty Press Release

Defenders Of Gibraltar"In November of 2012, the Defenders of Gibraltar collected almost 10,000 signatures aimed at urging the Governor (as the British Crowns representative in our homeland) to act in maintaining the integrity of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters. Since the petition was handed over to the Governor (who in turn personally handed said petition directly to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office), we have seen a small increase in the presence of Royal Navy Vessels in and around our waters. These naval visits usually consist of a 24-hour stay and a full patrol of our territorial waters. During these visits, the Spanish Paramilitary and Customs vessels tend to refrain from illegally entering our territorial waters (however this is the exception rather than the rule). However due to the brevity of these visits, they have had no lasting or worthwhile impact on the situation in our waters.

There will always come a time when an individual or society stands up and states ‘enough is enough’. The Gibraltarian people are and indeed always have been patient in the face of the Spanish Governments threats, belligerence, harassment and extreme scrutiny of our day-to-day affairs and aspirations as a people. Indeed on numerous occasions we have espoused that as an organization, the Defenders of Gibraltar will apply the right pressure, at the right time and with the right amount of force necessary.

As a matter of fact, this is what the role of the petition was; to apply the right amount of pressure at the right time.

It is time for the UK FCO to realise something very straight forward – their half hearted tactics, their diplomacy and seeming willingness to bide their time is actually emboldening the Spanish Paramilitary in their day to day assertion of sovereignty over our waters.

We in the Defenders of Gibraltar sincerely believed that the UK would do something about the situation soon. Needless to say the situation is still here and indeed appears that the UKs protestations and perfunctory efforts in bolstering our deterrence have come to absolutely nothing. Just the other day, a stones throw away from our detached mole, the Guardia Civil stopped a Gibraltarian pleasure boat and attempted to exercise jurisdiction in our waters.

No doubt, the mandarins at the Foreign Office will issue a ‘strongly worded’ protest, in the same manner as the Royal Navy has been directed to issue warning after warning to the Spanish Paramilitary. In effect, they are trying to push the levanter cloud away from the top of the rock with a long pole.

Lastly, we would like to be clear in one thing – the Governor of Gibraltar has done his utmost best to help us in our circumstance – however his hands are well and truly tied. In Gibraltars time of need, the UK are letting us down and abandoning us when we need them the most. There can be no other interpretation.

What should we do? Well I for one will not stand by and watch how the integrity of our law enforcement agencies is constantly being called into question. Indeed just the other day I witnessed a youth on a moped about to receive a ticket who stated “ah you can give me a ticket, but you haven’t got the the guts for the Guardia Civil and the Fisherman? One rule for them and one rule for us right?”

To those who think that what happens out at sea does not matter, let me remind you that the undermining of any of our territory on such a consistent basis is the equivalent of having a Guardia Civil attempt to arrest you in Main Street. Perhaps because not everyone in Gibraltar has a boat it is too hard to feel emotive about the subject as it doesn’t affect them.

Unfortunately, there are many Gibraltarians who would only get involved when it starts to directly affect them, their family or their finances. Apathy appears to reign, perhaps not helped by the view that it is about a few Spanish Fishermen.

This is not about fishing – it is about Sovereignty. It is about time we woke up as a people to this reality."