Time to Reflect on Our Future

It’s been thirty years since the first political rally in Casemates Square. National Day is always a moment to mark our identity as a people and reflect on where we have come from and where we are going. This is as much about promoting our collective rights as a people as it is about the vision that we want for a sustainable, free and fair Gibraltar.

Soon you will have a chance to decide who governs Gibraltar for the next 4 years. It will be a time to decide whether you want more of the same or whether you wish to change how things are done.

There are big unresolved issues. On Brexit and after 7 years of trying the Government has not delivered a safe and beneficial Agreement with the EU. On public finances the debt is higher and mismanagement continues. The economic pressures on many families have intensified with public sector workers given election handouts instead of pay rises in an attempt to silence growing discontent. In the private sector businesses have had to endure the pressures of creaking bureaucracy and higher levies that ultimately affect the wages private sector employees can take home. If there had not been a decade of financial recklessness things could have been different.

Over the last few days we have been treated to a torrential shower of glossy pictures of future plans from a Government desperately trying to stay relevant and fighting for its political survival. Their track record suggests that projects announced can often die at the glossy picture stage and never become reality. There is only so much empty or late promises that people can take. Many people will rightly take the view that all this is now too late and that they do not deserve 4 more years given so many failures.

It is time to imagine a different and bright future. One where we agree a safe and beneficial agreement that recalibrates our relationship with the EU and opens new horizons for our people. A future where we finally manage our public finances and introduce new controls on waste, abuse and corruption. A future where we deliver better public services and have the long-term vision for a sustainable, well-planned future. A Gibraltar of individual rights and respect. A Gibraltar where people are not left behind and there are opportunities for all. That’s the future we want and that the GSD will set out in detail when we unveil our programme for Government very soon. We are confident we can achieve all those things and with your support deliver the changes Gibraltar badly needs.

National Day is not just about celebrations. It is also about reflecting on what you want for our future. We are ready to deliver for you and your families.

On behalf of myself and all my colleagues I wish you all a peaceful and happy National Day.