Leslie Bruzon completes alliance slate, dismisses antivax jibes
Paramedic Leslie Bruzon was formally presented on Wednesday as the new Liberal Party candidate for the October 12 general election, standing alongside party leader Dr Joseph Garcia and Vijay Daryanani.
Mr Bruzon was selected to take the slot held by Steven Linares, who is stepping back from frontline politics after over two decades as a parliamentarian.
Dr Garcia thanked Mr Linares for his “loyal and dedicated” service to the party and the public.
In presenting Mr Bruzon, a member of the Liberal Party for 20 years, Dr Garcia started with an unusual message: “Leslie is not an anti-vaxxer.”
That was a response to a flurry of social media activity in which screen grabs from Mr Bruzon’s personal Facebook account were shared widely.
At first blush, the screen shots showed excerpts of posts by Mr Bruzon in which he appeared to question the vaccine and efforts to track the virus using an app rolled out by the Gibraltar Government during the pandemic.
The extracts, Dr Garcia said, were tongue-in-cheek and taken from a debate with an anti-vaxxer at the time.
“So it’s actually the very opposite of the impression that some people are trying to convey,” Dr Garcia said.
That message was reinforced by Mr Bruzon, a Unite convenor at the GHA, in response to questions from reporters.
He said he was jabbed and added: “My children are jabbed and I have administered their jabs.”
“So if I were antivax, I wouldn't be jabbing my kids with something which I thought wasn't good for them.”
The episode indicated the different nature of public life in the social media age and how politicians on both sides of the divide are routinely exposed to criticism, very often unfairly and by anonymous accounts.
On Tuesday night, after his candidature was announced and the Facebook screenshots were doing the rounds, Mr Bruzon said he had a conversation with his children, one of them a teenager with a Facebook account.
The message was “whatever you hear, whatever you see, just ignore it and carry on”.
“Obviously, it's a very different ballgame,” he said.
“Look, when I started 20 years ago, we used to argue via letters to the editor.”
“So if you were lucky, like I was, you had a typewriter, you would type out the letter, you faxed it, and then the editor would edit it and it would come out and someone would reply two days later.”
“Nowadays, with social media, everyone has a platform, so I think that everything has changed.”
Dr Garcia said a total of five people had contested the three Liberal slots on the alliance slate.
The full alliance slate includes Fabian Picardo, Sir Joe Bossano, Dr John Cortes, Christian Santos, Gemma Vasquez, Nigel Feetham and Pat Orfila for the GSLP, and Dr Garcia, Mr Daryanani and Mr Bruzon for the Liberal Party.
“It is a strong team for government,” Dr Garcia said.
“We have and we offer a unique blend of experience and of change.”