Mr Picardo Running Scared & His Lies on GSD

Not content with his churlish and superficial refusal to work with a future GSD Government on Brexit Mr Picardo is now resorting to downright fiction in his memes.

If you vote GSD you don’t get Andorra as Mr Picardo suggests in the scandalous meme he has deployed on social media. He knows it is not GSD policy and a patent lie.

Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi said: “Mr Picardo has known me for 30 years and knows what my politics is. He knows that I am a hawk on foreign affairs. But that’s how desperate he is clearly. The GSD has defended Gibraltar before and will do so again. Both Peter Caruana and I stood shoulder to shoulder defeating the joint sovereignty bid in 2002. We have the competent team to continue the Brexit negotiations to a safe and beneficial conclusion. If Mr Picardo wants to be churlish and not help Gibraltar when asked or if he wants to lie along the way to desperately try to cling on to power so be it. The electorate can judge him when the moment comes.

Frankly it’s remarkable that Mr Picardo should quote out of context a legal analysis on post 1993 independent Andorra that was published 14 years ago and after my PhD. That work was supervised and audited by renowned professors of international law. It was subsequently published by a prestigious legal publishing firm in Oxford with an independent editorial board of legal experts.

Its central argument is that the sovereignty of Gibraltar resides in the people of Gibraltar – a theory that I passionately believe today. That book advocated for the abandonment by Spain of the claim to our sovereignty because it was an antiquated sovereignty position out of place with modern principles. At its core my book was all about making the legal case that under modern sovereignty principles it is the people of Gibraltar who truly are sovereign. As I say in the Introduction to the Book “If it were ever possible to condense any book into one sentence, fundamentally, this work is about how the sovereignty of Gibraltar has shifted towards its people and the management of the relationship with the States that dance around this Mediterranean constitutional space.” I added in the conclusion that if there was international acceptance of the “sovereign stateless nation of Gibraltar….the collective human rights of the people of Gibraltar will have converged with the sovereignty they hold.”

I have no doubt that if they had bothered to look into those arguments Spain would know me as a strong proponent of the sovereign rights of our people. They would also know me as a member of the GSD Government that defeated joint sovereignty.

Mr Picardo knows all of this and has known about this for years. He acquired a copy of my book in 2009. It’s frankly repugnant that he contorts the arguments in this way and is prepared to lie to the people of Gibraltar. It shows how desperate he is to hang on to power.

Proof of how manufactured this point is years later Mr Picardo instructed me to advise the Government on constitutional reform and on certain Brexit issues following the Brexit referendum. I can’t have been so unsafe a pair

of hands on these difficult questions affecting Gibraltar’s future. Of course, all that was between 2014-2017 and before I became GSD leader but it was years after my book was published which in any event as he well knows argues that the sovereignty of Gibraltar vests in its people. The only thing that has changed since then is that I’m now GSD leader and it’s convenient to spin this false narrative. Partly because he doesn’t know how else to get out of our offer that he should join a negotiating team on Brexit and partly because he wants to distract from domestic failings. Or is it that he’ll only sit next to me if he’s the Chief Minister. He needs to get real.

All that Mr Picardo is doing is playing the old and tired card of trashing GSD leaders on the issue of Spain when they’ve nothing else to say and doing so on a manufactured basis. Like they did with Peter Caruana in 1996 and he did again in 2011 on the subject of Andorra. In further proof that when Mr Picardo trashes a GSD leader for being unreliable on sovereignty it is just a false narrative he has gone on to instruct Sir Peter Caruana to provide him an opinion on sovereignty in the context of the Tax Treaty. Mr Picardo can’t be believed. His accusations are all hollow and he knows it.

His “Vote GSD Get Andorra” meme is untrue, offensive and heavily manufactured. It is not GSD policy to do anything other than retain our British sovereignty and our links with the British crown. Anything else is nonsense and Mr Picardo knows it. We refuse to have a campaign on a false premise. Let’s talk about the real issues and not the ones that Mr Picardo wished he was facing.

First that he shamelessly will not work with a future GSD government on Brexit issues putting his petty interests over those of Gibraltar. That is an unforgivable disgrace but characteristic of his and the GSLP tribal approach to politics. Secondly that it is a desperate desire to distract from domestic issues that are festering to the huge dissatisfaction of the electorate; public services reforms; transparency & accountability; his big breach on debt; failures to account for hundreds of millions of pounds and tolerance of an opaque jungle of companies.

We will tear down opaque and unnecessary structures and account to people for the use of their money. We will investigate and audit these companies. There will be no hiding place. Change will bring the end of the opaque current regime of do as you please with the people’s money.

Additionally, none of his desperate attempt can mask the failures, missed opportunities and concessions of Mr Picardo over the last 7 years. A failure to land a safe and beneficial agreement despite the bluster of expectations. The missed opportunities of having not secured lasting enduring rights for residents of Gibraltar when rights were given to 15000 frontier workers and the concessions of a permanent, shoddy and harmful tax treaty that was sold here 4 years ago before the last election on the basis that we would be taken off the Spanish black list within 2 years. 4 years on we are still on the Spanish blacklist.”