New premises for MCA
The Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, officially opened the new premises of the Moroccan Community Association on 48 Crutchetts Ramp.
He was joined by Education Minister Dr John Cortes and both men toured the facilities before unveiling a plaque commemorating the official opening.
“We have achieved a lot in five years,” Mr Picardo told attendees in a short address.
“When we came into office there were over a thousand applications for British Citizenship which had not been considered,” he said highlighting how more than 950 had been processed.
“Many had given their lives to Gibraltar and had been residents for longer than I have been on this earth and they did not have the right to vote and I could present myself to become Chief Minister of Gibraltar.”
This, Mr Picardo said, has now been resolved in the majority of cases even though there are many more cases to get through.
“I can remember with great fondness the first meeting we had at official level – the office of the Morrocan Community Association in Turnball’s Lane – where the only good thing about it were the old tiles.”
He said: “It was not a dignified place in which such an important association like this one should be working.”
“One of our main aims was to open a new “home” for the Moroccan Community Association in the Upper Town area which was accessible to all. I am very glad to see today what has been achieved with the building which we identified jointly as this new home and the help we have been able to give you.”
“To walk through that door and see the tiles and smell the ‘pinchitos’ transports us to what we love most about this community which is their food and culture and I am really pleased that I have had the opportunity to help in some small way so that this established community remains even more established locally at the heart of Gibraltar.”
Ali Douissi, the head of the Moroccan Community Association, said: “On behalf of the Moroccan workers and the community which is now part of local society I thank this Government which has jointly worked with us to reach the level at which the Moroccan community is today even though there are still some issues which will be resolved in time because Gibraltar has a big heart.”
“Thanks to everyone and especially Mr Picardo.”