Sir Peter reflects on politics and his return to the law
Sir Peter Caruana, Gibraltar’s Chief Minister for 16 years, reflected on his life in politics and the “drift back into obscurity” during an address to the Gib Talks event last Saturday.
During a lively chat peppered with jokes, he described not just some of the highlights of his political career but also how he returned to the law after losing the 2011 general election.
“I decided I would slip back, drift back into legal practice quietly and open my mouth only when I was invited to do so,” Sir Peter said.
“That of course gave me credibility for what I really want to do, which is to always be available to the Government of Gibraltar to help and advise whenever I can and whenever it becomes in the interest of Gibraltar, which is what I quietly do behind the scenes.”
He added his advice stems from factual knowledge of the challenges facing the Chief Minister and how problems arise in the first place.
Sir Peter did not advise the government on how to deal with the recent airfield incident, which saw an RAF transport plane blocked at the runway by a police car, but said he approved of the government’s actions.
“The events my successor has grappled with over the past few days with that very serious occurrence at the airfield, which as far as I can tell was handled just as I would have liked to have handled it,” Sir Peter said.
His last message to the audience was about his legacy after 16 years in office.
Sir Peter admitted that during those 16 years the GSD “got some things right and got some things wrong”, but said the double lock on sovereignty was the single most important act he achieved in office.
“I was able to persuade my good friend then the [UK] foreign secretary to commit not just in terms of the preamble of the constitution that the UK would transfer our sovereignty against our wishes, but they would not sit even down with the Spanish government or anybody else to discuss our sovereignty unless we the people of Gibraltar were content for them to do so,” Sir Peter said.
“That has made our political future as a people as secure as it could possibly be as it had never been before.”
He highlighted this as his most valuable legacy that he will tell his grandchildren and is the moment he was proudest of.