World Trade Center signals Gibraltar’s readiness for challenge ahead
Gibraltar’s World Trade Center was officially opened yesterday with a bullish message from the Chief Minister, who said it signalled Gibraltar’s readiness to face up to the challenge of Brexit.
Addressing a packed reception, Fabian Picardo said many people had been keen to write Gibraltar off after the result of the referendum on EU membership last June.
“But every day that passes since then, with the work that people like [developer] Greg [Butcher]do, that other entrepreneurs in Gibraltar do, our gaming companies, our insurance companies, that our financial services sector does, that everyone in this economy does, it is increasingly clear to me that Brexit is not the beginning of the end of Gibraltar, it’s actually just the end of the beginning,” he said.
“The arrival of this first World Trade Center in Gibraltar is Gibraltar saying to the world, here we come.”
His message was received with loud applause from the guests, who included representatives from across the business community.
But the message was perhaps better underscored by Mr Butcher himself, who reflected on the fact that 25% of the companies that were setting up in the building were newcomers to the Rock.
They include multinational company Regus, which specialises in renting short-term office space.
Mr Butcher said that incubator space will help fuel the entrepreneurship that will form a key element of Gibraltar’s response to Brexit.
Mr Butcher sketched out the World Trade Center’s links with other such centres around the world, reflecting on the roots of the network which lie in building “peace and prosperity through trade”.
He also thanked everyone involved in the project, which has taken over a million hours to complete and which relied on the backing of everyone from the government and its various departments to builders and even neighbouring schools and sporting facilities, which endured months of disturbance while the project was completed.
“At times it was a challenge,” Mr Butcher said.
“But we got here.”