The Gibraltar Government hit back at the “destructive and negative politics” of Partido Popular MP Teofila Martinez yesterday following comments she made in the Spanish Parliament regarding Gibraltar.
In a statement last night, No. 6 Convent Place suggested that Sra Martinez’ style was more in tune with the Spain of General Franco and accused her of inciting hatred against Gibraltar and its people by spreading falsehoods and untruths.
This comes after Sra Martinez described Gibraltar as a “leech sucking off the Cadiz economy” during a debate on a motion tabled by the PSOE calling on Madrid to take steps to improve border fluidity.
The MP further alleged that Gibraltar law enforcement agencies prevent their Spanish counterparts from tackling drug traffickers in the region.
Highlighting the tone and content of those comments, the Gibraltar Government said Sra Martinez had “turned the clock back to the days of former Foreign Minister Margallo”.
No. 6 added: “It is shameful that an elected representative of the party in Government in Spain should incite hatred against Gibraltar and its people by spreading falsehoods and untruths in this way.”
“Her comments were also completely out of tune and out of touch with the views expressed by the representatives of all the other political parties in Spain who spoke on the Motion tabled by the PSOE which called for greater flexibility and fluidity at the border,” the Government added.
“Teofila Martinez has displayed a level of venom and of hatred towards Gibraltar which is frightening and which is based on complete ignorance and a lack of knowledge of the facts.”
According to the Gibraltar Government, there is a considerable degree of cooperation at a local level between the law enforcement agencies of Gibraltar and of Spain.
What these officers do not need is people like her getting in the way of this positive cooperation as a consequence of her inflammatory and ill-informed comments, No. 6 said.
“It is all the more surprising that someone who comes from Cadiz should behave as if she were unaware that there are 13,000 people who live in Spain and who work in Gibraltar, many thousands of whom are Spanish citizens.”
“Moreover, businesses based in Gibraltar import hundreds of millions of pounds every year from Spanish companies.”
The Gibraltar Government further flagged how residents of Gibraltar also spend many millions more on leisure and other activities in Spain.
“Gibraltar therefore makes a huge contribution to the Spanish economy, particularly in the region next door where it is the second largest employer for the whole of Andalucia,” it added.
“The destructive and negative politics that Teofila Martinez stands for is more in tune with the Spain of General Franco and it has no place in the modern Europe of today,” the statement read.
The PSOE motion was approved by al other parties, while the PP abstained, claiming the measures it called for were already being undertaken.