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Opinion & Analysis

A safe and prosperous Gibraltar, on Gibraltar’s terms

By Gemma Arias-Vasquez

Being Gibraltarian is a fundamental part of who I am. It is part of the very fabric that defines me. The time I spent away in the UK, during my studies and early career, only made that sense of being
Gibraltarian even stronger.

Before the EU Referendum in 2016, we were Gibraltarians – and Europeans too. We were freely able to travel and work in Europe and we had the same rights as all other Europeans. We had fought for and earned the right to vote in European elections.

Practically overnight, it was gone. We had been robbed of part of our identity.

I didn’t have children at the time and yet, I felt a profound sadness for the future generations that would not have the benefit of these freedoms.

We had fought so hard for a different result, and Gibraltar had spoken so definitively about the outcome it wanted that the ultimate result hurt that much more.

After the shock of these events settled, we were left with the realisation that Gibraltar would have to secure a different future and a redefined relationship with Europe.

This relationship would need to be enshrined in the form of a treaty; a treaty which would provide a long term, secure and safe outcome for Gibraltar.

A treaty, which would not affect sovereignty, and which would secure ongoing prosperity for Gibraltar and its people.

A treaty which would allow Gibraltar to flourish.

It was equally clear that if any element of our sovereignty was threatened - a no deal was the only option.

Few others are, I believe, capable of negotiating this treaty like Fabian Picardo and his team.

The treaty negotiations commenced 24 months ago, to advance a Framework Agreement which already pushes the existing boundaries of what many thought was possible in a relationship with the EU.

We are close to securing an historic deal. That, in my view, is worth fighting for. And voting for!

I seek election with the GSLP because I want a safe and prosperous Gibraltar, on Gibraltar’s terms.

I want Gibraltar to continue to progress, this Gibraltar I have grown up in and love so much.

The GSLP has long been steadfast in its views on sovereignty, under both Sir Joe Bossano and Fabian Picardo.

It is with this shared conviction that none of us will ever give an inch on sovereignty, however sweet the carrot, or hard the stick, that I stand with the GSLP.

But today, it is on the domestic front that I am confident that, by virtue of my experiences, professional and personal, I can add most immediate value to Gibraltar.

If elected, I would be keen to have the opportunity to ‘go to work’ in the health portfolio, making my contribution to help take the fantastic work done by the GHA in the last couple of years even further.

I believe I can help Gibraltarians who find themselves in difficult circumstances.

From the simple yet crucial things – like providing assistance during their time abroad for medical reasons, to setting up further independent patient advocacy groups and ensuring that the system works seamlessly for Gibraltarians.

Some of the highlights among the many initiatives the GSLP/Liberals are committed to are the continued implementation of the mental health strategy, the creation of a cardiac catheterisation facility and provision of ASD diagnostic pathways.

We are committed to improving the patient experience, optimise resources and minimise waiting times for patients.

The GSLP/Liberals have already made a massive investment in delivering health services in Gibraltar.

We have opened a Children’s PCC and we have employed more healthcare professionals than ever before.

But the investment cannot stop there. We should never stop striving for a better healthcare for Gibraltar. This is achievable. We’ll get that job done.

Gibraltar hasn’t come this far to ONLY come this far.

We are the team with the vision, commitment and passion to get the job done.

On 12 October, vote for all 10 GSLP/Liberal candidates.

Vision, vitality and continued prosperity - our commitment for getting the job done and to Keep Gibraltar Safe.

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