(Agencies) Over the years, there have been numerous reports of Gibraltarians experiencing difficulties when travelling and using their ID cards at airports, ports and other such places, as well as booking hotels, tickets, etc. According to the Gibraltar Chronicle, the Shadow Minister for Civil Aviation, Dr Joseph Garcia, has recently pointed out problems being experienced by Gibraltarians using their ID cards abroad who have had it rejected because it has too many digits. Dr Garcia said that the International Civil Aviation Organization had made recommendations for changes to ID cards in 2004, and that it had taken public complaints and questions in Parliament “for the Government to confirm that all Gibraltar identity cards may have to be withdrawn and new ones re-issued,” adding that Government has been aware of the situation but done nothing about it. An Opposition statement said: "An Opposition statement said:>
“There have been instances of identity card holders presenting the document to hotels and banks outside Gibraltar and the card has been rejected because of the number of digits that it contains. In other cases, persons using the identity card to make a booking with certain airlines have also found themselves unable to do so because the space in which to insert the digits on the travel document is too small for the large number of digits on the card. The card is normally handed back to the holder with the comment that it has too many characters on it.
“The present Gibraltar identity card emerged as a result of the agreement reached with Spain in April 2000. The International Civil Aviation Organization subsequently issued a recommendation that there should be nine digit serial numbers on ID documents. This led a number of countries to make changes to their existing cards. The United Kingdom does not have identity cards, but Germany for example, complied with this recommendation by ensuring that German passports and identity cards comprised nine digits instead of ten as of January 2004.
“The Government has confirmed in Parliament following a question by that the latest EU and ICAO recommendations are being studied in order to determine the extent to which the Gibraltar card may need to be changed.
“For many months and even years people have had to put up with the considerable inconvenience of having had their cards rejected at different usage points and have been kept in the dark as to the reason why, even when written representations have been made to the Government.
“It is totally unacceptable for identity card holders to have been treated with such a lack of respect when Government were aware of the situation all along.”