Govt reveals plans to ‘fortify’ border fence
The Gibraltar Government plans to “reconstruct and fortify” the frontier fence with ‘no climb’ fencing and has already discussed the project with Spanish authorities, it was revealed yesterday.
The news came as the Gibraltar Government accused the GSD of being “entirely irresponsible” for issuing a photograph of a hole in the fence and a statement raising security concerns.
The government said the image was three weeks old and the fence had since been repaired, adding that the GSD should have raised the matter privately.
“The frontier fence is regularly and routinely inspected by the relevant authorities,” No.6 Convent Place said in a statement.
“Organised criminal gangs based in Spain continually seek to breach the fence. The Government continually invests in its repair.”
The government said it had invested in razor wire to reinforce the fence shortly after being elected.
It said it would deploy ‘no climb’ fencing once the tunnel works were complete. Together with additional security measures that will not be disclosed publicly so as not to alert criminal gangs.
It also said the frontier had been reviewed in the light of the heightened security awareness and even though there was no evidence of any specific threat to the Rock.
The government described plans to reinforce the frontier fence as “a sensitive issue” because part of the works will have to carried out from the Spanish side.
It said full security clearance will be required for those who will undertake the works which will also be on the tunnel site.
“The photographs that the Opposition were so eager to make public as an effective advertisement to criminals are thankfully outdated by three weeks,” said Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.
“Nonetheless the fact that [Opposition MP Elliot] Philips felt it appropriate to publish them reveal just how irresponsible Mr Philips and the Opposition are.”
“What is worse is that they hadn’t even bothered to report the information to the relevant authorities, which could have been extremely dangerous and does nothing constructive for Gibraltar.”
“Whilst Mr Phillips was recklessly alerting the world to a thankfully non-existent hole in our frontier fence, I had already met with the relevant authorities to ensure the security of Gibraltar in the long-term.”
“Whilst the frontier fence is regularly checked and any breaches are quickly fixed, it is important that the fence is reconstructed and fortified with "no climb" variety fencing in order to prevent extra costs or security breaches in the future.”
“I expect that we will be able to work positively and constructively with the Spanish authorities on this matter.”
“But frankly, the Opposition could really learn something from this about doing the right thing for the greater good of the community and not just try to score a cheap political point that can have huge negative consequences for our community.”