In New Year message, Garcia charts challenges facing Gibraltar
Protecting Gibraltar’s sovereignty and the Gibraltarians’ way of life will remain “a sacred priority” for the Gibraltar Government in 2023, Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia said in a New Year message in which he charted the challenges faced by this community over the past year.
Dr Garcia said the impact of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic, coupled to other “local crises” including the fire that disrupted water supply and the OS 35 maritime accident, had placed huge demands on the government.
“The truth is that recent times have been far from normal,” he wrote in the message.
“In government, the GSLP/Liberal period in office has been punctuated by crisis after crisis which have logically reduced the bandwidth available to deal with other matters.”
“This is sadly a fact not an excuse.”
“We have witnessed how Gibraltar is not insulated from the effects of what happens in the wider world around us.”
“This could be a vote in the United Kingdom, a virus in China, or a war in Ukraine.”
“The effects of each of these has reverberated cumulatively towards us like a shockwave across the Continent.”
Dr Garcia said 2023 would be the year where Gibraltar secures a deal for its future relations with the European Union, or face the prospect of ‘no deal’ and “the full force” of life outside the bloc.
“The status quo is not an option,” he wrote, underlining the work that the Gibraltar Government has done with the UK to best prepare for the eventuality of no deal, while stressing too that “we remain fully committed to secure an agreement at the same time”.
“It is easy to forget that this saga commenced with a referendum six years ago - that represents more than half of our time in government,” Dr Garcia wrote.
“No other government in the history of Gibraltar has been called upon to deal with an event of such magnitude over such a long period of time.”
“The detail of our EU departure has cut across every aspect of our lives.”
“Someone once graphically likened untangling the UK - and thereby Gibraltar - from the European Union to removing an egg from a ham and potato omelette after having made it.”
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