Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Talking Point: Do we want to carry on being leaders, or will we continue to go downhill?

 Talking Point:  

  In Gibraltar we tend to think we are the best in the world in a number of areas, but when an incident takes place, like the explosion and fire in the port, it must make us wonder if it is all an illusion.
How amateurish is our port?
  It has long been argued that Spaniards and other non-residents can have easy access to the port, but if you are a local resident the barriers go up and security rules.
  If you are a local and arrive with a fishing rod you can be turned away; but if you are a non-local and claim entry to undertake some work or other you are allowed in. That is what people say - is it the case?
  Whether it is or not, what about the defensive line that because we are a small community of 30,000 we cannot be better equipped. But we have always been a community of 30,000, and in the past we have been able to meet all eventualities without problem. Why not now?
  Why must we now become increasingly more dependent on the goodwill of our neighbours, the ones who want to swallow us up? In the past they would rely on Gibraltar to provide a helping hand. Are we going backwards and not forward?
  It can be argued that the MOD were a bigger slice of our economy years ago, and hence their facilities in Gibraltar were greater.
  But what kind of an excuse is that? If we want 'devolution', and we get it, surely it is our duty to get ourselves prepared to fend more by ourselves.
  If we want our port not to lose its reputation, is it not our obligation to equip it in a manner that we can continue to provide first class services?
  Did we have a water tug of adequate size in the days of the MOD? I don't know, but if we did, why don't we invest in having tugs that will allow us meet our obligations, such as when there is an accident like the one on Tuesday? Instead, we allow millions to go down the drain, such as in the Theatre Royal and the new air terminal!
  This raises the question if we do have our priorities right. The sooner we realise this, and adopt corrective measures, the sooner that Gibraltar can begin to be what it used to be in yesteryears.
  The alternative is that we will continue to go downhill, that we will lose our standing in the world, that our hard-earned reputation will continue to erode - and that we will become not the leaders in this part of the world, but the opposite.
  Is that the way we want to go?

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