Misbehaviour in public office, whether, as a matter of law it amounts to corruption or not, is recognised to be a threat to the internal security of democracies. Ultimately, internal security, in Gibraltar, is the constitutional responsibility of the Governor. Regrettably, Gibraltar, contrary to the position in the U.K., has no rules or law to govern conduct in public office, save at the extreme, namely, the criminal offence of bribery, a crime which in Gibraltar remains largely unmonitored, and so underdetected.
As it happens, what may be considered behaviour in public office that falls short of what may be acceptable, even after departure from a ministerial position, is being examined in the UK, although, it seems, no existing rules or laws have been broken. Following a recent press outcry involving certain acts of past Prime Minister, David Cameron, in his capacity as an adviser to a private sector company, a public Inquiry has been set up.
PUBLIC OFFICE CONDUCT AND LOBBYING RULES
In the UK there exists extensive rules relating to the conduct of MPs and a Ministerial Code, as well as laws governing lobbying. Gibraltar has no such rules or laws, despite the smallness and closeness of our society, and regardless of the tight connections that, it is well-known, exist between governments and private businesses and professionals.
The code of conduct for MPs in the UK is extensive. The Ministerial Code builds on these.
A code of conduct for MPs and a Ministerial Code for Gibraltar were published some years back, but no progress has been made to implement these. A review of what has been published, however, shows the inadequacy of the proposed rules. Therefore, even if enacted, Gibraltar would still be falling very far short of accepted international standards.
INADEQUACY OF GIBRALTAR RULES
The suggested Gibraltar rules to govern the conduct of MPs are meagre, to be polite. The Gibraltar Ministerial Code, therefore, cannot build on these. Further, that Ministerial Code, whilst based on the UK’s Ministerial Code, conveniently skips important and pertinent provisions.
There are no laws or rules governing lobbying in Gibraltar, and none are currently proposed.
To make matters worse on all these fronts, the GSLP-Liberal Government has gone back on its promise to set up an Anti-Corruption Commission.
Continued at link.