We are now cutting back to the grievance hearing. Sharon?
This is Sharon Gabriel at the North High School auditorium. The overflow grievance hearing that followed Governor Harlock's extraordinary public conference is continuing. I can only apologize for the quality of the sound, as the meeting has been chaotic. The key speakers, Hengist and Armstrong, have just withdrawn from the podium, resulting in the loss of what little order was present. It seems everyone here has an opinion, is currently stating it, and loudly.
There is rumor that the meeting is to resume shortly, and that the next speaker will be Talora Elefayin. Miss Elefayin is the city operations manager, and one of the more vocal opponents of Harlock during his own, earlier, meeting. She has been quiet here, sitting off the stage, working on her computer.
We have not been able to learn Miss Elefayin's intent, though we have heard from those visiting her corner that Harlock made a 'slight tactical error'. That phrase, 'slight tactical error,' seems to be spreading through the auditorium.
Here she comes now. They are wheeling her to the microphone...
Earlier this evening, Jon Harlock, appointed military governor under procedures defined in the Gibraltar Colonial Charter, whose authority, based on the principle of military control of the civilian, is defined under the Gibraltar Colonial Charter, declared the Gibraltar Colonial Charter, null and void.
He did this in response to a proposed recall election. Under the Charter, upon a petition of sufficient signatures, and upon a majority vote of recall being recorded in general election, the Governor is stripped of his authority. The senior ranking military man on station replaces him, until a new Governor is sent out by the Earth Alliance.
Given our current independence from the Alliance, this is somewhat problematical. As you all know, I have my disagreements with former Governor Harlock. On the main point, however, I have to concur. The Colonial Charter was based on the assumption that Gibraltar is and ought to be a military outpost of the Earth Alliance. It is full of references to Earth Alliance external authorities. Therefore, I, Talora Elefayin, senior civilian administrator within the civilian government, appointed by the same governor who appointed Jon Harlock, do concur with the judgment of Jon Harlock, that the Gibraltar Colonial Charter is null and void.
This includes the Charter sections which allow the military to set policy in civilian areas. This includes the sections which allow the military to hire and fire civil sector employees. This includes, in it's entirety, the principle found throughout the Alliance authored Colonial Charter, of military control of the civilian.
I do not, however, agree with other opinions stated by the former Governor tonight. Harlock has claimed the position of Dictator for Life. He has claimed the right to appoint the next Dictator for Life. He has claimed the sole right to appoint and dismiss members of a military council, which is the sole balance to his own authority.
Harlock claims authority without limit, power without recall, domination without recourse.
This is unacceptable.
There are three ways to resolve the constitutional crisis we find ourselves in tonight. I have heard talk of a general strike, of protests in the dome parks and squares.
To this, I say, not yet.
There is also talk of armed confrontation. I have heard that the regular armed forces far outnumber Harlock's Rangers. In any armed conflict, the people and the regulars shall certainly outnumber and defeat the usurpers.
To this, I say, never.
This talk is unnecessary.
Harlock is a man of honor. He is sworn to defend the people, not to use force against them. He, the Rangers, and the regulars alike, have taken oaths on the appropriate use of force. There should be no talk of settling this through fear, intimidation, or bloodshed. I call on Jon Harlock to publicly concur with this statement, and to call on all armed forces, regular and Ranger alike, to stand down during this crisis.
The way to settle the issues before us is at the ballot box.
I have spoken to computer people in civil government, at the Bank of Gibraltar, and at Dorin Accounting. It is our intent to set up a network based polling system. If all parties concerned can not agree on a secure network based voting system, we shall build ballot boxes and print paper ballots. I intend shortly to post several articles of referendum. I shall propose now a preliminary list. Each clause shall be considered binding upon passage by a simple majority.
1) Resolved, the people concur with the declaration of independence from the Earth Alliance. All ties with the alliance - governmental, financial, military, and diplomatic - are confirmed severed.
2) Resolved, the people concur that the Gibraltar Colonial Charter is null and void.
3) The people call for a constitutional convention, to write a new charter. All precincts shall select a representative by popular vote. Majority vote of the representatives shall add to, delete from, or amend, the proposed constitution. The constitution shall take effect upon ratification by two thirds of the people in direct popular vote.
4) The people affirm that taxation without representation is tyranny. The convention is called on to allow the people - either directly, or through elected representatives in a congress or parliament - to have sole control over the collection and dispersal of funds. The constitutional convention is bound to implement this provision.
5) The people demand civilian control of the military. The chief executive and the defense minister shall be civilian positions, either elected directly by the people, or appointed or confirmed by the legislative branch. Both chief executive and defense minister have authority over military policy. The legislature shall have sole power to declare war and affirm treaties of peace. The constitutional convention is bound to implement this provision.
6) The people hereby state a preference for a style of democracy. a) The people shall directly elect a president and a legislature. b) The people shall directly elect a parliament, which shall in turn select a prime minister. c) The people shall directly through computer network votes perform the legislative function, with a directly elected speaker moderating the network, and/or a directly elected president overseeing the executive branch. The constitutional convention shall implement the preferred approach.
7) The people demand right of recall. Upon petition by the people and a majority vote in direct election, congressmen, the chief executive, cabinet level officials, judges, and other elected and appointed senior officials, may be removed from office. The convention is bound to implement this provision.
8) The people expect the Bill of Rights to remain in effect, as part of the Constitution, and during the Interregnum. This includes freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly. It includes the right to petition for redress of grievances. Search and arrest require establishing probable cause. Punishment requires trial by jury, and proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
9) Existing criminal and civil laws shall remain in effect until and unless the new constitution's duly elected officials choose to alter them. Contracts remain valid. Taxes and tariffs remain in effect.
10) Military interference with civilian life is forbidden, except if the civilian government declares a state of emergency, and requests military aid. This principle shall be included in the constitution, and shall be held true through the Interregnum. Officers and men who act in violation of this clause shall be held accountable when the constitution takes effect.
Again, as my authority derives from the voided Colonial Charter, I have no right of my own to issue these proclamations. However, if Jon Harlock has no more right than I, I still ask him to confirm these principles until the new constitution is ratified, and to accept the outcome of the ballots.
I so ask all those in the military to abide by the above points, and by the results of the ballots. I welcome all those in the military - such as Lt. Armstrong - who wish to participate in the process of forming a new government. I only ask that when attending meetings such as this, when the future of our colony is being shaped and debated, that they leave their weapons behind. This is not a time for intimidation, bloodshed, and tears.
While Harlock's voiding of the charter has clearly ended his authority over the civilian aspects of the colony, his status as Commander in Chief of the armed forces seems to be independent of the Charter. I will leave to Lt. Armstrong to discuss the chain of command problem. The Judge Advocate General's office and officers far superior to the good Lieutenant must resolve this. My own inclination is that the civilians should stay clear of the question of chain of command until such time as a new legislature should confirm the appointment of a defense minister.
Before voiding the Charter, Jon Harlock showed a combat tape of his recent performance over this city. There is no questioning his courage. There is no questioning his sense of duty. Neither can one question his ability to fly a fighter, or his exquisite sense of timing.
But is he a commander? On seeing danger, he charged it as a bull, putting himself in position where he was incapable of maintaining control of the battle.
And is he a statesman? While on one hand we must thank Harlock and the Rangers for fighting over our city, it is clear that the Rangers have enemies. It is less clear - deliberately less clear - to what degree the presence of the Rangers has drawn these enemies here. The Rangers are withholding information from the people of this city, information which is necessary for us to make an intelligent evaluation of the Ranger's presence, and to understand the subtle prices paid for their valiant assistance.
I do not question Harlock's bravery, his honor, nor his sense of duty. I have worked with him. In these areas I will strongly disagree with much that has been said here tonight. In fact, should Harlock be willing to allow the constitutional convention to advance it's work unimpeded, I would advocate him in a defense minister's position.
However, his concept of a properly structured autonomous government is clearly and totally unacceptable. We are no longer an armed outpost of distant masters. We are instead a sovereign power. We must have civilian control of the military, and of the budget. Harlock's totalitarian concepts of despotic, authoritarian rule simply cannot bring this dome and this planet into a stable and prosperous future.
People of Gibraltar, thank you for your time.