Picardo: New Challenges Will Forge Us Into The Brexit Generation

The Chief Minister said that the challenges Gibraltar faces as it prepares to leave the EU will “forge us into the Brexit generation.

Mr Picardo made the remarks as part of his annual National Day speech in Casemates.

Here’s the speech in full:

My dear friends

You look great in red and white

Red white and smart!

I want to start by remembering those who cannot be in Casemates with us today.

 I want us all to give a warm welcome to those watching us from St Bernard’s Hospital, from Calpe House in London or from hospitals outside Gibraltar.

I want us also to give a warm welcome to those watching from Mount Alvernia,

The John Mac Wing,

Hillside,

Bishop Canilla House,

Albert Risso House

Seamaster Lodge or

Charles Bruzon house.

And welcome to any person who is at home today, through age or illness.

We know you are with us.

In mind.

In determination.

AND in Gibraltarian spirit.

AND a big Gibraltar shout out and thank you to the people working today to make this rally safe.Thank you to all our law enforcement agencies, especially the Police who are keeping us safe.

Thank you to all in our essential services.

Thank you also to all working whilst we enjoy ourselves.

Whether in security, or in the bars and restaurants, or at the Music Festival or at Bocelli last night.

And also to the men and women of GJBS who set up this stage and do so much to help us build a better Gibraltar – despite the critics!

Thank you.

We could not do it without you.

Today, we must also, in particular, remember Willy Serfaty – former Chairman of the SDGG.

We must also remember hard working founder member Lawrence Robles.

I dedicate my words today to their memory.

Thank you also to Chris Pincher, Minister for Europe, for joining us today also.

Chris, it is hugely important that you are here.

I know it has been hard for you to get here.

But your presence here is a demonstration of the UK’s support for this day of celebration of our identity and our right to self determination.

I know we will all also went to send our best wishes to Bob Neil who cannot be with us today.

Mr dear friends.

What a year it has been.

And yet.

Despite all the ups and downs.

Despite all the challenges and uncertainties.

Gibraltar stands proud, prosperous and strong.

Just like we did 50 years ago when the frontier gates slammed shut.

Families were divided.

Hearts were broken.

Good people were separated by bad politics.

A great evil was done to the men, women and children of Gibraltar and those around us.

But with the support of Britain we grew despite Franco’s siege.

In the half century that has passed Franco has gone.

He is dead and buried.

We have grown and thrived.

With the support of Britain and the friendship and work of our Moroccan neighbours, we prospered.

We were no ripe fruit.

Because we are a rock of stability.

Of strength.

And a people of deep courage. 

With an unbreakable Gibraltarian spirit.

Faced with Franco’s closed iron gates - WE FORGED AN IRON GIBRALTARIAN WILL.

WE WOULD NOT BE BROKEN.

WE WOULD NOT SURRENDER.

WE WOULD NEVER GIVE UP OUR ROCK.

The closed frontier generation took on Franco and won.

The last siege of Gibraltar failed.

Like they all failed.

Like they will all ALWAYS fail.

Because no one can ever take our home from us.

So please join me in saying deep thank you to the CLOSED FRONTIER GENERATION.

To those who are here today.

To those who have passed away.

Thank you for staying strong.

Thank you for standing up to fascism.

Thank you for the Gibraltar your sacrifices created.

Today, five decades on, most if not all of those young Moroccan workers who came to Gibraltar then are now British.

They are as much a part of the thriving, modern Gibraltar which they built with us.

And now we face new challenges together.

New challenges that will not break us.

New challenges that will not stop us or slow us down.

New challenges that will forge us into the BREXIT GENERATION.

Another successful Gibraltarian Generation.

A generation dealing responsibly with every challenge and twist and turn that Brexit brings.

A generation working to deliver a Brexit win, whichever way Brexit or no Brexit goes in the end.

And whatever happens with Brexit, we will not turn our backs on Europe.

But we are launching ourselves further into the world.

To trade.

To succeed.

To grow.

Because we are building a modern nation.

A modern nation investing in our children.

A modern nation sending a signal to the world.

We are open for business – whatever happens.

A modern nation that is telling the world -

When you think business – think Gibraltar.

That is what we are going to ensure everyone in the City of London sees on taxis and buses and billboards these Brexit days.

If you think business – think Gibraltar!

And our bonds of business, friendship and respect with the UK are stronger than ever.

Since you made me Chief Minister, three successive Prime Ministers have now addressed our National Day rally.

And today - on our national day - the flag of Gibraltar flies over the Foreign Office.

Our links with the UK are guaranteed now, whatever happens.

And that is the key to our prosperity and our economic self-sufficiency.

With goodwill, peace and friendship in our hearts for all those around us, we overcame every siege in our history.

We overcame Franco’s last siege of Gibraltar.

We swotted Margallo away like a fly.

So Brexit, if it happens, will be just one more brick in the great history of the nation we are building.

Because nothing will stop us now from protecting and building our homeland

Nothing will stop us now from deciding our future for ourselves.

Nothing will stop us now – FULL STOP.

Because this is our home.

This is our land.

This is our rock.

Our dead lie here.

Our children our born here.

This is our sacred ground.

That’s why I have said it before.

But I will say it again.

We are THE GIBRALTARIANS.

THE PEOPLE OF THE ROCK.

Red white and blue

Red white and proud

Red white and free

LONG LIVE GIBRALTAR