Facing down adversity with unity and strength
by Keith Azopardi, the Leader of the Opposition
National Day is a time to reflect on our sense of community, our identity, our rights as a people and on the challenges that lie ahead. It is also a sense to connect with our roots and history.
In doing all that it is important to first reflect how Covid has hit our community over the last 12 months and in particular on the loss of 97 lives since last year’s National Day.
Each of those citizens had friends and family members impacted by their loss.
We did come together as a community to face the Covid pandemic but like other places around the world it was impossible to avoid the worst effects of it for some of our families.
We are, though, slowly emerging from the pandemic and are hopeful that we will not need to see any restrictions back unless absolutely necessary.
We will need to continue to work together in solidarity to ensure we overcome this challenge.
It is not the only challenge we have as a community.
Last year we were hopeful that by now there would have been a safe and beneficial agreement on a permanent new relationship with the EU.
This has not happened and we are in a state of flux in relation to those discussions which have not even got off the ground properly after the Framework Agreement was announced on New Year’s Eve.
This will be one of the big challenges over the next 12 months as will be the steadying of our dented public finances.
As a community we have always faced down adversity with unity and strength.
There may be disagreements between political parties on many things but the people of Gibraltar also have common values that we all celebrate on our National Day.
This year is no different.
I am confident that we can, once again face down these challenges successfully if we are robust and steadfast to our principles.
We have been fighting for our rights for many years and we must keep on fighting to secure our rightful place in the international community – one where our rights are respected and our quality of life, social, political and economic sustainability are secured in harmony as a Southern European part of the British and Commonwealth family of nations.