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Opinion & Analysis

A backbone of multicultural heritage

Pic by Eyleen Gomez

By Dr Joseph Garcia, Deputy Chief Minister and Leader of the Liberal Party

This National Day will once again sadly be very different from what we are all traditionally used to.

It takes place against the backdrop of a global pandemic that has already taken millions of lives, including 97 of our beloved fellow citizens in Gibraltar.

We will all miss the traditional public rally at Casemates where thousands of Gibraltarians have asserted their right to self-determination year after year.

This time we mark the event differently - with prudence, with caution and with responsibility.

The protection of the elderly and the vulnerable in smaller family gatherings must be uppermost on our minds.

Although we will celebrate differently, in restaurants, at home and on our beaches, the underlying message behind National Day will remain the same.

It is the expression of our desire to exercise the right to determine our own future, freely and democratically, in the same way as so many other countries and territories that have gone before us.

This year we are also waiting for the EU to formally approve their unacceptable mandate for the negotiation of a new treaty with the UK on its future relationship with Gibraltar.

The Government, hand in hand with the United Kingdom, remain fully committed to an outcome based on the New Year’s Eve Agreement.

That relationship with the United Kingdom has never been stronger. We will negotiate with the European Union together, and together too we will continue to plan for the eventuality of no agreement.

We are proud to be a member of the British family of nations. It is who we are and who we have been for over 300 years.

At the same time, Gibraltar can be truly proud of our multicultural heritage born of the turbulent history that has shaped our separate identity as a distinct people.

This is the backbone of the assertion of our right to self-determination and to democratic decolonisation.

Happy National Day!

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