CM urges Gibraltar to ‘brace for 2022’
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo on Friday urged Gibraltar to “fasten seatbelts” and “brace for 2022”, a year of change that would be “decisive” for this community’s collective future.
In a short message ahead his New Year address on January 10, Mr Picardo said 2022 would bring change whether or not the negotiations for a UK/EU treaty on the Rock’s future relations with the bloc succeed.
Mr Picardo stressed Gibraltar would not agree to anything that had implications on British sovereignty.
“That will never change,” he said.
But he left no doubt that deal or no deal, the future would be different.
“At every level, there will be change to come,” he said.
“2022 is a year for which we must, therefore, brace ourselves.”
“It would be wise to fasten our collective seat belts, because the political year to come is going to be no easier than the two very challenging years that we have just lived through.”
“Despite that, I know that united we will ensure we deliver success from the many challenges ahead of us and through which we have been elected to lead.”
Turning to domestic issues, Mr Picardo said the new year would see changes at the GHA to ensure “zero political involvement”.
Ministers will only set policy and the Minister for Health will not have an office at St Bernard's Hospital, he said.
The Gibraltar Government, he added, had already ensured that contracts and industrial relations delivered to the professional and clinical management of the GHA.
He said his government would engage with unions on any outstanding issues, including public and private sector employment matters it had not been possible to resolve during “the twin storms” of the pandemic and the Brexit negotiations.
And he added that work on more affordable homes would “finally” be able to start in earnest, as well as works on schools and other projects also moving forward, with a new Development Plan budgeted for and the 10-year census also due for 2022.
“Finally, we must never forget that in 2021 we lost 93 of our precious compatriots to COVID,” Mr Picardo said.
“May they all rest in peace.”
“That makes 2021 our deadliest year ever from one illness, virus or cause, including war.”
“Let us hope or pray that whatever 2022 throws at us is nothing in comparison.”