PANORAMA EXCLUSIVE by JOE GARCIA
Something as simple as the launching of a book by the Gibraltar Heritage Trust has erupted into a major row with accusations flying about of 'threats and bullying tactics' by the Government.
It was 5.15pm last Wednesday when the Minister for Culture Edwin Reyes made a telephone call to the heritage trust, saying he was "very unhappy."
He raised a number of points such as that he felt he had been sidelined for this event, and furthermore, he stated that he felt that "government in general feels under-appreciated by the GHT, particularly in the last six months."
In fact, the minister went on to suggest that he would not be happy to allow the book launch at the Garrison Library with the present arrangements in place.
The GHT could forget about having any say in the running of the Garrison Library in the future.
He also repeatedly suggested that "the GHT's grant might be reviewed by the Chief Minister in a less favourable light in the near future."
The minister also alleged that he is still waiting for an apology over another row.
The current heated differences revolve around the intention of the heritage trust to have the Mayor Julio Alcantara launch the book.
Members of the trust are upset about the minister: "We cannot allow him to constantly threaten us, it is not the first time he has suggested cutting our funding."
Said another: "I don't like the bullying tactics they use constantly and its wearing a bit thin...Does he really want the Trust to stand up in public just before an election and let the electorate know his threats to the Trust?"
It was being suggested that they should forget about the Mayor and to ask the Governor, as Patron, to host the launch at the Convent. They could also launch it in their offices.
The idea of the Governor, as their Patron, launching the book was gaining weight.
It was mid-morning the next day when Mario Mosquera, the chairman of the heritage trust, stepped in and his decision was announced: That the Minister should launch the book from the Garrison Library. The Governor has written the foreword of the book as Patron, and having the Minister launching it "will provide the balance."
It was recalled that the Trust had tried hard over the last couple of years to heal the relationship between the Gibraltar Government and the Museum - and the Trust's chairman felt that "a squabble over the launch of the book is not the direction we want to head in."