LETTER : Drug-running is not Gibraltar's fault

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your leading article (12 April) calling for tough action against Gibraltar following the incident involving the regrettable death of a Spanish Civil Guard is attacking the wrong target. Gibraltar already has tough laws against drug-running and money laundering, and these are applied with full vigour whenever an offence is committed within the jurisdiction of the Gibraltar courts. But often, as in the latest case, though Gibraltarians may be involved no offence is committed within Gibraltar's jurisdiction

The problem is an international one which needs co-operation between all the countries in the area. Such co-operation is not going to be promoted by the vindictive action of the Spanish authorities in slapping renewed restrictions on traffic crossing the border between Gibraltar and Spain - action which is irrelevant to the problem of controlling drug-running between Morocco and Spain.

lt is nonsense to maintain that the health of the Gibraltar economy is intimately connected with the activities of smugglers - except in the negative sense that such activities damage the territory's reputation and undermine business confidence. By exaggerating these activities you only exacerbate that damage.

William E Quantrill

Bradford-on Avon, Wiltshire

The writer was Deputy Governor of Gibraltar, 1988-1990