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MoD values GDP and does not want transfer to Gib Govt

Pic by Eyleen Gomez

The Ministry of Defence does not want to transfer the Gibraltar Defence Police to the Gibraltar Government, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo told the Gibraltar Parliament yesterday.

The transfer was a 2015 commitment which the government had hoped to complete by December 2017.

But questioned by GSD MP Daniel Feetham as to the progress of discussions to this end, Mr Picardo said there had been none because the MoD did not want the current set-up to change.

"We continue to be open to engaging on this issue, however negotiations are dependent on both parties' commitment to a transfer," Mr Picardo said.

"This is literally us being a wall flower, because it takes two to tango."

And he added: "The MoD do not want a transfer."

"We are in the market to take the GDP, the MoD are not in the market to give us, sell us or enter into an agreement with us in respect of the GDP."

The Chief Minister told Parliament that a key stumbling block was that the MoD valued the GDP and the role it played for the British military in Gibraltar.

"The MoD at the moment prize the GDP," he said.

"They consider it to be an important part of what assures the Ministry of Defence's security in Gibraltar and its operations in Gibraltar, and they want to continue to operate it."

Mr Picardo also said that transfers of this nature required continuity of commitment.

He used the example of the former Defence Fire Service, which was transferred to the Gibraltar Government and became the Airport Fire and Rescue Service.

That was a process that had spanned several local administrations and had taken over 13 years to negotiate.

"There are some [in the MoD] who see the value of them progressing and there are some who then take over and decide to do a handbrake turn and not progress it," Mr Picardo said of the GDP transfer.

"You've got to be lucky enough to have those two successive individuals ready to do it in order really to complete it."

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