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Together Gibraltar offers ‘alternative vision’ for Gib politics

Together Gib AGM 050219 (Photo John Bugeja ) first of a grassroots movement to launch the new political party with a series of talks and motions presented. Party Leader Marlene Hassan Nahon MP giving the leader's address.

Together Gibraltar members heard the party is “the alternative to government” from leader Marlene Hassan-Nahon at the first AGM.

More than 250 members filled the main auditorium in John Mackintosh Hall on Tuesday night in a meeting that was open to the press and to the public.

Since the party started as a grassroots civil society platform over a year and a half ago, Together Gibraltar has put the Gibraltarian “in the driving seat of their destiny” because it has given them a voice, Ms Hassan-Nahon said.

She added: “Together Gibraltar is an inclusive platform for inclusive people.”

The resounding message throughout the evening was Gibraltar “deserves better”.

In his opening address, Chairman Neil Samtani spoke about how now is a time for change, and Gibraltar needs to break away from partisan politics.

He said Together Gibraltar is “unified without being uniform”.

Together Gib AGM 050219 (Photo John Bugeja  ) first of a grassroots movement to launch the new political party with a series of talks and motions presented. Party Leader Marlene Hassan Nahon MP giving the leader's address.

Together Gib AGM 050219 (Photo John Bugeja ) first of a grassroots movement to launch the new political party with a series of talks and motions presented. Party Leader Marlene Hassan Nahon MP giving the leader's address.

Gibraltar Parliament does not reflect the diversity of the residents of Gibraltar, Mr Samtani added, with only two women serving as MPs and only a handful serving over the year.

Diversity was a theme that continued in speeches by the various executive members.

Ivan Hernandez spoke about discrimination and called for equality within all aspects of society.

Businessman Kamlesh Khubchand said Gibraltar has to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to the economy, especially with Brexit just around the corner.

Jon Santos said Gibraltar has to work with its natural resources to strengthen its tourism offering, saying every person who visits should leave as an “ambassador” for the Rock.

Former police officer Joseph Capurro highlighted the need for reforms to the justice system in Gibraltar, including parole decisions and the jury system.

He put forward the idea of abolishing jury trials – the party has not adopted this as policy, however - and called for tougher policing and sentences for those distributing Class A drugs in Gibraltar.

Steven Gilbert said Gibraltar needs to do more in the way of mental health, and said society has to “remove the stigma one and for all to ensure the right help is available”.

Tamsin Suarez called for a more “holistic approach to education”, saying more needs to be done for “home grown talent”.

Although LNG is a cleaner source of energy, Craig Sacarello said Gibraltar could do a lot more and become “a leader” for renewable energy sources by using solar, wind and tidal energies.

As the youngest member of Together Gibraltar’s executive, Nick Calamaro said greater engagement was needed to get the younger generations interested in politics.

Eddie Wood spoke about how he resigned his membership of the GSD after 22 years and had since joined Together Gibraltar.

At the end of the evening, the party’s charter was read out to all and motions were passed on mental health, housing, the economy and the environment and sustainability.

Questions were put forward by the audience on the medicinal use of cannabis, animal rights and from someone who has now made Gibraltar his home.

Ms Hassan-Nahon encouraged members to reach out and speak to the executive members with any concerns they may have.

Pics by Johnny Bugeja