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Opinion & Analysis

The Governor’s National Day Message

National Day celebrates the referendum result 54 years ago, when Gibraltar voted by a landslide to remain British.

Being in Main Street this morning, seeing all the flags and bunting, it is hard not to reflect on just how much history the United Kingdom and Gibraltar have shared and, importantly today, just how inseparable the UK and Gibraltar remain.

But National Day is not just about history, it’s about celebrating what Gibraltar is now. Everything that makes it such a special place. I am often privileged to conduct citizenship ceremonies, and I am thrilled to meet people who have moved to Gibraltar from all around the World celebrating their chance to become British Gibraltar citizens – immensely proud to be welcomed formally into the Gibraltar family. It’s a family that is inclusive, full of tolerance and compassion but also with enormous ambition.

While Gibraltar may be small, it looks after itself. It’s a problem-solving, pragmatic place, its people always ready to tackle whatever challenges are thrown at them. Although we remember and cherish the past, we are also forward-looking and dynamic, eager to embrace the future. During a particularly difficult year, and despite the tragic loss of many loved ones, Gibraltar has remained steadfast.

Together we have kept going. Gibraltar and all of our wonderful health professionals have continued to deal with the pandemic brilliantly. Our incredibly successful vaccination programme put us centre stage in the world’s media and many around the world who had not even heard of Gibraltar, know it now for all the right reasons, not just for the monkeys!

And despite the real difficulties of leaving the European Union, and the challenges that lie ahead, we have forged a somewhat historic political agreement with the Kingdom of Spain that will allow us to move forward optimistically in our negotiations with the European Union. So much has already been achieved and I say again that we can look forward to the future with confidence.

I chose Main Street to film this short message because I wish on this occasion to commend especially all those in businesses which have faced real difficulties over the last year or so but have continued to open and welcome customers. The renowned Gibraltarian entrepreneurial spirit has meant that business, in all its forms, retail, wholesale, the hospitality sector, bunkering, and other service organisations, has continued to operate, despite the trials of the last year. Being here this morning, it is wonderful to see businesses opening and ready to welcome residents and tourists alike, with cafes and shops soon to be full of life and bustling with energy, laughter and a sense of normality.

This is testament to all of the hard work which has made Gibraltar open for business once again. So on this National Day let’s not only celebrate the result of the referendum, and the unbreakable bond of family and friendship with the United Kingdom, and allegiance to the Crown, but also let’s honour Gibraltar more generally – a place I am so proud to live in and to represent, and with its wonderful people, with their big hearts and very wide smiles! Have a wonderful National Day!

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