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Israeli-linked security firm G4S won't be fired from LIMF

McGovern, Sayle and Cottrell Boyce lead call from 50 city artists, but Mayor says it's too late to go back

Published on August 6th 2014.

Israeli-linked security firm G4S won't be fired from LIMF

GUARDS from controversial security giant G4S will patrol this year's Liverpool International Music Festival, despite calls from more than 50 of the city's leading cultural lights for the company to be fired.

Jimmy McGovern, Alexei Sayle, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Esther Wilson, Lizzie Nunnery and Jeff Young are among those who have signed an open letter to Liverpool city councillors. Amid the continuing attacks on Gaza, they are supporting an online petition which calls on the city to cut its ties with G4S. It cites its role in maintaining security systems in Israeli prisons and detention centres where “Palestinians including children, are illegally detained and frequently tortured, and to checkpoints in the Apartheid Wall in the Occupied West Bank”.

They also condemned the global security firm's presence on Liverpool's streets during the Giants' visit last month, describing the firm as “a serial abuser of human rights”.

“Liverpool is a city that has fought and continues to fight against injustice. As the plight of Palestinian families and children continues, we believe the people of this city would be appalled if they were fully aware of who you are hiring to provide security for our own families and children,” says the letter.

“We call upon you to refrain from signing any further contracts with G4S, and to cancel any current ones. G4S is complicit with the war crimes being carried out by the Israeli government. When you sign contracts, paid for by Council Tax payers in this city, you make us complicit too.”

But Mayor Joe, who spoke at a Middle East peace vigil at St George's Plateau at the weekend, says it is too late in the day to fire the global firm from its job policing the August Bank Holiday festival and it would cost the city too much money to get out of the deal.

Jimmy McGovernJimmy McGovernThe mayor said the council had done nothing wrong in hiring the firm, which says it intends to cut its ties with Israel in 2017. He did, however, indicate that he would be instructing the city's Chief Executive officer, Ged Fitzgerald, to take a look at “procurement arrangements” which allow firms like G4S to tender for and win lucrative council contracts.

The Liverpool Friends of Palestine, which raised the petition, led a demonstration outside the Town Hall at the weekend calling for a council boycott of the firm. However, it's not going to happen this time.

“In appointing G4S as our security contractor for the festival, the city council has followed the required legal and formal procurement processes,” the Mayor says in a statement.”

“In addressing the issues raised at Cabinet about G4S, I need to make the following points clear.

“A significant amount of planning and preparation has been put into the arrangements for the International Music Festival including working with G4S on the security operation over a period of six months.

Frank Cottrell BoyceFrank Cottrell Boyce“At this late stage it would not be a responsible course of action, either from a public safety or public money perspective, to withdraw the services of this contractor and look to engage another security provider three weeks before the events take place. This would mean we would have to compensate the company for their loss and then look to engage another company, something we cannot afford to do.

“Equally, I do not propose to cancel the hugely popular festival, enjoyed by many thousands of residents and visitors.

“I have however noted the concerns and had regard to the wider points raised and have therefore asked the Chief Executive to implement a review of our procurement arrangements accordingly.”

It is not the first time this summer that the Middle East has been at the centre of a cultural storm in the city. Just last month, it was revealed that the Israeli Embassy had helped to fund this year's Liverpool Biennial. Full story and comment here.


The petition and the full letter can be accessed here.

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7 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

SaladDazeAugust 9th 2014.

Still, the NHS is safe in their hands. As were Jimmy Mubenga and the women in Yarl's Wood. www.opendemocracy.net/…/truth-about-sexual-abuse-at-yarls-wood-detention-centre…

Myles FailbetterAugust 11th 2014.

Sontaran Joe and his chums have far more important projects: like closing libraries to celebrate the Year of The Readers which they launched in March.

D. GenerationAugust 11th 2014.

The library closures are a shameful public disgrace. So much for the city that was was the 'European Capital of Culture' only eight years ago. It is plain that our 'leaders' don't know what culture is.

Myles FailbetterAugust 11th 2014.

(Sorry a little off-topic but the breathtaking hypocrisy of the Sontarans over library closures in their much-touted Year of The Readers is of a piece with their thraldom to dubious contractors with questionable morals, like G4S) Also: has Liverpool-based The Reader Organisation - income last year £1.62m - had anything even slightly critical to say about the closures? Perhaps I missed it. Their mission statement is, after all: "Work with one or more Councils as partners to transform a library service, modelling libraries as centres of community and personal learning". Yeah.

AnonymousSeptember 28th 2014.

I live and work in Liverpool and fully support Israel and this G4S company. Just because there is a small group of vocal palestinian supporters does not mean they speak for all of Liverpool. Indeed, if anyone was to communicate with any of the members of this palestinian support group, they would find how inhumane THEY actually are. Therefore, please continue to support Israeli culture, businesses, and ideals, which are just the same as any other democratic society.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 28th 2014.

They'll be delighted to have the support of someone with such a sense of timing, and a strong finger on the pulse of topical news events such as this, which occurred......oh, bugger

John BradleySeptember 28th 2014.

Would they demonstrate their inhumanity by blow up your house or perhaps stealing you land?

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