His Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar notes the comments made by the Mayor of Algeciras, Snr Jose Ignacio Landaluce, in respect of Gibraltar. The Government considers these comments not only to be legally and factually wrong but also designed purely to distract from Mr Landaluce’s own domestic agenda.
The Chief Minister of Gibraltar, the Hon Fabian Picardo KC MP, said:
“I am not surprised to hear the utter nonsense coming from the Mayor of Algeciras, Snr Landaluce, in respect of Gibraltar, British Gibraltar Territorial Waters, our waste water treatment and the actions undertaken by Gibraltar’s law enforcement in areas under their jurisdiction.
“If Snr Landaluce genuinely believes that the waters surrounding Gibraltar are anything other than entirely BRITISH he is either unable to understand the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or simply refuses to respect it. I have already told Snr Landaluce that I am more than willing to meet with him to take him through the Convention, line by line, and demonstrate to him that the waters surrounding Gibraltar are nothing other than EXCLUSIVELY BRITISH.
“In fact, Snr Landaluce would do well to remember the declarations of Snr Inocencio Arias in 2013 that the territory of Gibraltar had been ceded by Spain through the Treaty of Utrecht and that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulates that no territory can have a ‘dry coast’, meaning that sovereignty cannot end at the coastline and must extend into surrounding waters.
“Snr Landaluce has also made outlandish remarks about the Government of Gibraltar’s lack of environmental commitment in respect of our waters. Let me tell Snr Landaluce that not only does Gibraltar have the best bunkering code in Europe, but that the cooperation between the Ports of Gibraltar and Algeciras has never been better. Additionally, it is entirely wrong to suggest that our waters are contaminated, in any way, as a result of the Government’s lack of rigorous environmental protection. It is a FACT that our water quality has increased and is classified as ‘Excellent’ in all of our beaches, except Western Beach, which so happens to be the closest one to Spain and is poorer for reasons out of the control of the Government of Gibraltar. It is therefore absolute nonsense to suggest our waters, or their beaches, are in any way contaminated by our waste water discharge. We have demonstrated this is not the case. It is, however, true that the Algeciras sewage pollutes their own beaches and therefore Snr Landaluce’s comments smack of political hypocrisy.
“I am happy to report, however, that His Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar is now very close to awarding the tender for a waste water treatment plant which, I accept, is long overdue and which has been impossible to deliver earlier. This will, once again, deprive Snr Landaluce from the pleasure of wrongly attacking Gibraltar for the alleged contamination of our waters which is entirely false.
“I once again invite Snr Landaluce to take up my offer, read the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, accept finally that Gibraltar’s waters are EXCLUSIVELY British and to focus his efforts on delivering for the people he represents.”