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Together Gibraltar, from grassroots movement to political party

Together Gib Group 28 -11-18(Photo John Bugeja) launches political party

Independent MP Marlene Hassan Nahon officially launched her new political party ‘Together Gibraltar’ yesterday which, she declared, would be a “credible alternative” for government.

The launch, which took place at the party’s Main Street headquarters, also saw Ms Hassan Nahon unveil her 12 executive members.

These include party Chairman Neil Samtani, Jonathan Santos, Nabila Gomez, Daniel Ghio, Benji Cuby, Michelle Trinidad, Kamlesh Khubchand, Craig Sacarello, Ivan Hernandez, Joseph Capurro and Tamsin Suarez.

“We are the credible alternative,” Ms Hassan Nahon said of her “conviction-driven” and “experienced” executive panel.

Addressing reporters at her party’s official launch, she insisted Together Gibraltar will provide a “truly progressive political option that will enfranchise our youth and show that Gibraltar’s civil rights are on an upward curve.”

The transition of the group into a party structure follows a vote by its membership last month.

“As we are a truly democratic grouping, we can now put forward our values and ideologies as a programme for Government,” Ms Hassan Nahon said.

“The need for transition was clearly manifested and here we are today with a group of genuine and serious individuals who want to serve our community into the future.”

The core values of the party remain as they were under its previous incarnation – participation and democracy.

“Our history as a civil society movement will continue to define our party going forward,” Ms Hassan Nahon said explaining that the party will encourage grass roots participation and continue to develop close-ties with the community.

“People are tired of the tribal two party system largely controlled by lawyers and law firms,” she said adding that Gibraltar is “desperately” looking for representatives who understand their people.

“A vibrant democracy needs an equally vibrant civil society, grass roots movement, activism and engagement and public participation,” she said.

Since Together Gibraltar’s conception in September of last year, then in the form of a movement, Ms Hassan Nahon said it has provided the civil platform of participation to hundreds of people in Gibraltar.

Additionally, she insisted that the party had brought issues to the forefront “that no one would dare to talk about.”

In this regard she flagged issues such as women’s reproductive rights, environmental dangers and “confronting the Government’s lack of transparency, from the £300million loan we are in the dark about, to the dubious practices within the Calpe House charity”.

The primary aim of the party, Ms Hassan Nahon said, has been and continues to be to listen, learn and represent.
“I am proud that we have done that and recruited a group of leaders who have found their political and civil home with us,” she told reporters.

Underscoring the importance of public participation in the new party as it formulates policies Ms Hassan Nahon said: “We want you, the public to help us shape our policy and continue to improve Gibraltar’s future.”

“We will form policies from the front and not from the back, we shall be proactive and not reactive, we will not, as other parties do, wait to see how the tide is turning to tell you our vision and policies.”

“We will set it according to our values and our principles,” she said.

“That’s leadership and that’s what you the community deserves,” said Ms Hassan Nahon, Gibraltar’s first female leader of a political party.

The Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party, the longest established party in Gibraltar, has welcomed the launch of ‘Together Gibraltar’ as a new political party.

The Chairman of the GSLP, Pepe Baldachino, said: "We welcome Marlene Hassan Nahon and her group to the political debate. They will find us happy to engage in debating different ideas whilst always respecting each other personally."

The Leader of the GSLP, Fabian Picardo, said: “From the GSLP we welcome the new political party 'Together Gibraltar" to the political fray in our small Nation.”

“I look forward to the discussion of ideas and concepts they may put forward for Gibraltar's future.”

“Whilst considering that Gibraltar does not need any alternative to the GSLP/Liberal's at this time in our history, we will of course engage positively with them in debating their policies.”

“I also welcome the fact that the launch of the party today makes Marlene Hassan Nahon the first woman in Gibraltar to lead a party in Gibraltar's history.”

“With a General Election due next year, the launch of the party will make that election, when I call it, even more interesting for voters than a two horse race.”

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