surinenglish

Commonwealth office now open in Gibraltar, five years after the Brexit vote

Commonwealth office now open in Gibraltar, five years after the Brexit vote
/ JOSELE
  • The government says Gibraltar has always been proud of its long and historic relationship with the Commonwealth

The chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), Lord Marland, opened the Council's new offices in Gibraltar, accompanied by deputy chief minister Dr Joseph Garcia, who is responsible for Gibraltar's relations with the Commonwealth.

The CWEIC, established in 2014, is the main commercial and business arm of the Commonwealth. It has a mandate from the heads of government to promote trade and investment across the organisation which has 53 member nations, a number of associated and overseas territories with 2.4 billion people.

As soon as the EU referendum was announced by the UK government, Gibraltar began looking at the possible consequences of a Leave vote and investigated what its options would be, and Dr Garcia said at the inauguration that this new venture would bring exciting new commercial and trade opportunities to members of the business community.

"Gibraltar has always been proud of our long and historic relationship with the Commonwealth. We set ourselves the task on departure from the European Union of strengthening and deepening that relationship across the many different sectors of Commonwealth activity," he said.

The Gibraltar government also issued a press release to mark the fifth anniversary of the EU referendum, saying that it had worked tirelessly with many public servants in those five years to successfully avoid the very many and real risks that Gibraltar was facing after the Brexit referendum, "including the many 'no deal Brexit' cliff-edges that have come and gone since then". Now, it said, "Gibraltar continues to be an engine of prosperity in the region, affected more by the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic than by the uncertainty initially created by the result of the Brexit referendum".

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo also said this week that Gibraltar is in good shape five years on, especially with the potential agreement about the relationship with the EU, but "I will always remember the day of the referendum and the announcement of the result with a tinge of sadness".