Well known man-about-town Solomon ‘Momy’ Levy has been appointed as Gibraltar’s first non-parliamentary Mayor. By coincidence his late uncle, Sir Joshua Hassan, twice Chief Minister, was the first ever Mayor from 1955 to 1969.
Until now the Rock’s Mayors have been appointed from amongst the government ministers but the recently adopted new constitution lays down that Mayors will now be appointed by parliament, but not from within parliament, and will hold that position for one year.
A prominent figure in the Jewish community, Momy Levy is also well-known for his strong pro-British stance and his lobbying to keep Gibraltar British. In an interview in the daily paper Panorama he said that he considers his appointment to be typical of Gibraltar: ‘We have a Roman Catholic Chief Minister, a Hindu Speaker of the House of Parliament, and now a Jewish Mayor. That typifies Gibraltar all the way,’ he said.
He has already arranged to meet the Mayor of Jerusalem whilst on a private visit to Israel next month, and will be presenting him with a silver model of the Rock. He intends to continue lobbying for Gibraltar but in a non-political way during his one-year term. The new Mayor’s duties will be entirely ceremonial and civic – and unpaid.
The one-year terms of office are intended to give parliament a chance to honour more people for their services to the community. The next Mayor, Olga Zammitt, has already been chosen by the government and will spend this year acting as deputy to cover for Momy Levy when he is unable to participate in any civic event.