1967 referendum message spans generational gap
Younger generations “need to share in the feeling of the choice made” in the 1967 referendum to remain British Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said yesterday at the opening of the 50th Anniversary exhibition commemorating the events of the 10 September at the John Mackintosh Hall.
Not yet born in 1967, Mr Picardo together with his wife Justine, were the first to cast their mock ballot votes from 10 September 1967 in a replica polling and counting station set up in one of the rooms.
“It felt good to have had the chance to emulate the actions of those who voted. The referendum generation who had the first free choice to keep Gibraltar British,” the Chief Minister told the Chronicle having placed his mock vote in the ballot box.
It was, he add, particularly important for all the younger generations to witness this “living history” now on show at this exhibition with all the information – historical documents and photographs – available of before, during and after the referendum.
The official opening was carried out by Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia, who also placed his mock vote with his wife Penny just after Mr and Mrs Picardo, and is at the forefront of the celebrations commemorating the events of the Referendum.
“The Referendum was a defining moment in our history in the political and constitutional development of Gibraltar. It was a landmark in our historic evolution as a people and in the development of our identity,” he told those present including the Governor, Government Minister’s, the Opposition and Government departments.
Yesterday, was the day when 50 years ago the UK Government in the House of Commons through the then Commonwealth Minister Judith Hart called the Referendum on the Rock. The date chosen was 10 September, National Day. The result to overwhelmingly remain British was 12, 138 votes in favour of remaining British and only 44 against.
Three rooms make up the exhibition at the John Mackintosh Hall which was where the historical count was held and the result announced.
The exhibition has been co-ordinated by Government Archivist Anthony Pitaluga and his team who have spent months collating all of the information for the exhibition. With over 150 photographs and over 100 press cuttings and memorabilia, there are also to special films from ITN and Pathe News showing Gibraltar at the time and the day itself.
There will also be a memorial event and concert, set of stamps and coins and a booklet which will form part of the celebrations.
There are also flags and pins on sale at the John Mackintosh Hall during the exhibition which will be donated to charity.
The exhibition is open to the public and is free and will remain on show until Friday 7 July.