Experience in complicated times
By Samantha Sacramento
I am proud to belong to a party that has transformed Gibraltar in so many ways that we often quickly forget exactly how much.
Few will remember what it feels like to be surrounded by those who smoke in enclosed public spaces, a distant memory because this was banned by our Government as far back as 2012. I remember it was considered to be a very bold manifesto commitment at the time. I am glad that we took the bold decisions.
Fundamentally for me, a change in Government in 2011 represented a change in ideology. Our Government is one that represents equality and fosters inclusion at every level of our community. Our predecessors did not share these core values.
As unimaginable as it may have seemed eight years ago, we introduced legislation to allow Civil Partnerships and marriage of same sex couples so that gay and lesbian couples can have their love and commitment recognised in the eyes of the law. Conversely, the previous Government had challenged a gay couple who tried to assert their housing rights, fighting it all the way to the highest court at tax payer’s expense.
We now have new affordable homes, new purpose-built homes for the elderly, new schools, new sporting facilities, a new Sandy Bay, new specialist dementia residential facility and two new day centres for the elderly, one of which specialises in dementia, and a brand-new mental health facility.
The list of the improvements to our community and our society as a result of the solid work and tremendous dedication of our Government is endless, and yet so easy to forget because we have become so used to them existing, and we forget the hardship that many endured because these did not exist.
The final memory of pre 2011 that I leave you with, indeed to haunt you with, is the image of having a Guardia Civil inspecting your passport upon arrival at the Gibraltar International Airport. That is what the GSD agreed with Spain and spent in excess of £84m on a new airport to enable this to happen.
Thankfully there was a change in administration before any Gibraltarian could be betrayed in this way and, needless to say, this will never happen on our watch.
Our Government is steadfast in the protection of our sovereignty, unlike those who clearly had no interest in safeguarding our nation against our hostile neighbour, and they were the ones who would have had you show your passport to a Guardia Civil officer.
Few can seriously consider risking the stability we enjoy by entrusting leadership to a party that, however well intended, lack experience, or indeed to the party who thought nothing of asking those flying into Gibraltar to show a Spanish officer their passport.
Our nation faces complicated times ahead, and requires an experienced and consolidated team which has the interests of Gibraltar and its people as its number one priority and the track record to prove it – the GSLP Liberals!
Samantha Sacramento is a candidate for the GSLP/Liberals at the forthcoming election.