In his New Year message this year, deputy chief minister Dr Joseph Garcia, who is also the leader of the Liberal Party, reminded the people of Gibraltar that 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum, which was the first time they were given a direct choice over the future status of their country. On 10 September 1967, 12,138 people voted to retain their links with the United Kingdom and only 44 wanted to transfer their sovereignty to Spain.
The deputy chief minister said that numerous events would be organised to mark the anniversary this year, and that National Day, which takes place on 10 September every year, promised to be very special in 2017.
Dr Garcia, who is the government minister responsible for overseeing Brexit, went on to say that the consequences of that referendum which took place 50 years ago are no less important than the EU referendum on 23 June last year, when there was an 83 per cent turnout and 95.9 per cent voted for the UK to remain in the EU.
"We are all working together in order to safeguard Gibraltar's position," he said. "You can rest assured that your Government will leave no stone unturned in order to safeguard and protect the interests of Gibraltar in the coming negotiations".
He went on to say that Brexit would dominate the political agenda for the next twelve months. "It is clear to us from the comprehensive study that we conducted over the summer months exactly what the impact of Brexit will be and exactly what needs to be done. There is no point in having futile arguments about labels. Everyone in Gibraltar knows that Brexit comes down to fluid access through the border and to access to the Single Market and to the UK Market in particular. We have already taken great strides to secure the access to the UK that we have at present and are discussing the evolution of such access further still," he stressed.