Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar notes a recent press release from the Equality Rights Group/Action for Poverty with regard to public spending and in particular on the upcoming Pride March.
HMGoG enjoys a strong and cordial working relationship with ERG/AOP, but does not agree with its criticism of Government for having announced events such as the Cavalcade, National Day and Pride, on the mistaken notion that this will be done at a cost to the public purse.
The Cavalcade is funded by donations and by the GBC Open Day Fund. No Government funding is involved. This was explained directly to ERG/AOP at their recent meeting with the Chief Minister.
The upcoming Pride event is organised by the LGBTQ+ Committee and is entirely funded by private sponsors. ERG/AOP are also already aware of this as this was explained to them by the Chief Minister at a meeting held recently.
Moreover, HMGoG finds it disrespectful and wrong that ERG/AOP should refer to National Day as a “party“. National Day is an important political event which showcases our indefatigable political will to achieve self-determination and is arguable the most important political date in Gibraltar’s calendar as it commemorates the date of the 1967 Referendum. For anyone to ignore this reality would be tantamount to ignoring Gibraltar’s identity. Although many Gibraltarians, rightly, enjoy organising parties around the events of National Day, the Government does not fund any such parties, limiting itself to one reception for visiting MPs and dignitaries.
This Government finds it particularly incomprehensible and irresponsible for an organisation such as ERG, who for years have stood for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, to publicly announce their decision not to participate in this year’s Pride March, just weeks before the event.
The ERG should know more than most how important it is for everyone in Gibraltar, irrespective of whether they are part of the LGBTQ+ community or not, to unite and show solidarity and support for this event. This is particularly true this year since COVID-19 restrictions have prevented Pride celebrations from taking place as intended in the last few years.
The Ministry of Equality has worked tirelessly in liaising with the LGBTQ+ Committee and various Government Departments and agencies to ensure that the Pride March is supported both politically and through the setting up of stalls on the day with information and signposting of services.
Government hopes that this latest press release from ERG/AOP does not undermine the work put in by the LGBTQ+ Committee in organising such an important local event. Similarly, we call on all to continue to support the Cavalcade and to see National Day for the seminally important political event that it is.
Government has no doubt that, despite this disagreement, it will be able to continue cooperating and working closely with ERG/AOP on related and other matters.