A look back at the Gibraltar news in 2018

Historic first meeting was "positive and constructive".
Historic first meeting was "positive and constructive". / HM GOV. OF GIBRALTAR
  • From politics and the environment to jellyfish, a world rowing record and even Luke Skywalker

2018 was dominated by Brexit, but other things did happen on the Rock, as this round-up shows.


Sir Joe and Susana DÍaz

It was a happy start to the year in Gibraltar, with news that former chief minister Joe Bossano had been awarded a knighthood in the New Year's Honours List. Sir Joe, who is a government minister, was chief minister of Gibraltar from March 1988 to May 1996.

January also saw the first-ever meeting between a chief minister of Gibraltar and a president of the Junta de Andalucía at the Palacio de San Telmo in Seville. Ironically, it was Brexit and its potential impact not only on Gibraltar but also on the nearest area of Spain which brought chief minister Fabian Picardo and Susana Díaz together for talks. The meeting was described as "positive and constructive".


First sewage plant contract

It was announced that the contract had been awarded for Gibraltar's first sewage plant, which is due to come into operation in 2020. It is a very complex project, because the lavatories in Gibraltar are flushed with sea water and special bacteria are therefore needed which can survive in sea water and break down the sewage. In the past, the EU has criticised Gibraltar for its almost 'historic 'sewage system.


Mark Hamill opens Skywalk

Actor Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, inaugurated Gibraltar's latest and awe-inspiring tourist attraction, the 340m high glass-floored Skywalk, cutting the ribbon with - what else? - a lightsaber.


Freedom of city for RAF

In April the government announced that, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force, it was planning to confer the Freedom of the City on RAF Gibraltar.


Air quality criticised

The WHO pollution report criticised Gibraltar's air quality, although its particle levels are actually lower than some places in UK. The government said it is working on reducing levels, but due to the geographical location, sea salt and Saharan dust, some levels will always be slightly higher in Gibraltar than elsewhere.


New Spanish government

Following the change to a socialist Spanish government after a motion of no confidence this month, Gibraltar's chief minister Fabian Picardo said "the importance of that political change in Spain at this time in our history, cannot be underestimated", and told Parliament" the ideology of those with whom we engage in Spain, and the manner in which we engage with them, may change."


Purple flag for jellyfish

As a longlasting 'plague' of jellyfish made life miserable for swimmers in southern Spain and Gibraltar, it was announced that a jellyfish warning flag would be flown on Gibraltar''s beaches to warn of their presence.


Incidents at border

Drivers and pedestrians trying to cross the border from Spain found themselves caught up in a protest by Spanish National Police and Guardia Civil officers over pay and conditions. Although unrelated to Gibraltar, some protesters reportedly shouted insults at people driving Gibraltar-plated cars and kicked and scratched their vehicles. In one incident recorded on video, a woman from Gibraltar became involved in a violent altercation. The Gibraltar government issued a statement saying it believed the protest "may have been hijacked by extremist, right-wing political elements".


UK support on National Day

British prime minister Teresa May sent a video message of support to Gibraltar for the National Day celebrations on 10 September. "Nothing will ever weaken our commitment to the people who call the Rock their home. As long as the people of Gibraltar want to remain British, British is what the people of Gibraltar will remain," she said to loud cheers.


First DLT licence

The Gibraltar Financial Services Commission awarded the Rock's first full Distributed Ledger Technology licence to Coinfloor, the UK's longest-established cryptocurrency exchange. The DLT legislation came into force at the beginning of this year and includes rigorous checks.


Gender-neutral school loos

The new secondary schools which are being built in Gibraltar will have gender-neutral lavatories, following the lead of the Gibraltar College, which introduced them at the request of its students. The new schools will have separate toilets for males and females, a gender-neutral one and accessible facilities for people with disabilities.


Rowing Marine sets off

Disabled former Marine Lee Spencer left Gibraltar to break a new world record by rowing 3,500 miles to South America for charity.