CM highlights ‘genuine threats’ of Covid-19 and Brexit in National Day statement, urging unity and responsibility
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo appealed for unity and civic responsibility on National Day, putting focus on the “genuine threats” posed by Covid-19 and Brexit to this community.
In a message broadcast on GBC ahead of National Day, Mr Picardo appealed to people to heed the advice of public health experts and be “prudent and responsible”.
He praised Gibraltar’s response to “one of the toughest years in living memory”, describing his pride at how the community had shown “the same grit and steel resolve” as previous generations of Gibraltarians.
But he had a blunt message too for people who questioned the need for tight measures to stem the spread of Covid-19.
“To those of you who think Covid is a hoax, to those of you who make it your mission to mislead, to misinform and to misguide the vulnerable in our community, I tell you now: You are selfish and you are wrong,” he said.
“To those who are listening to ignorant, misinformed or intentionally misleading social media voices instead of listening to our health professionals, you are risking not just you and your family. You are risking all of us.”
“All of our loved ones. And all of our freedoms.”
To all the anti-maskers, the anti-vaxxers and the anti-tracers I say the following few words.”
“You are not just wrong, you are foolish and wrong.”
“You have no credibility and you are risking so much of what our nation is and we all hold dear.”
And he added: “Our patriotic duty this year is to be prudent and responsible as we celebrate. So please be conscious of that, especially our young people.”
Mr Picardo, who said he was heartbroken that the Casemates rally was not possible this year due to restrictions on public gatherings, also reflected on Brexit and the months ahead.
“Deal or no deal, the Gibraltarians will prosper,” Mr Picardo said.
“But we will continue to work for a deal that works for Gibraltar.”
“A deal that is safe for Gibraltar.”
“A deal that fully respects our sovereignty, jurisdiction and control over our land, our sea and our air.”
“That is the differentiated solution that we seek.”
“One that recognises that our geographic, social and economic differences with UK require a different deal with the EU for the future.”
“But one that keeps us closer than ever to Britain.”
Mr Picardo said no one had been clearer than the GSLP/Liberals over the years in defence of Gibraltar’s sovereignty, jurisdiction and control.
The Gibraltar Government’s red line, he added, was that only the Gibraltarians will decide the fate of Gibraltar.
“When it comes to the issue of our sovereignty, we are no doves, we are the hawks,” the Chief Minister said.
“And no one else can pretend to masquerade as stauncher defenders of our land, our sea and our people.”
The Gibraltarians’ right to self-determination was “non-negotiable” and their relationship to Britain “unbreakable”.
Mr Picardo said the Gibraltar Government was committed to working toward a good deal for Gibraltar after Brexit, but would walk away from any negotiation that touched on Gibraltar's red lines.
“What is political fact is that we will secure the absolute best deal we can for Gibraltar,” he said.
“And what is also a political fact is that if a deal is bad for Gibraltar, or if a deal cannot be done without concessions, we will walk away.”