Gibraltar will be sending a delegation to Rwanda in June to participate in events around the Commonwealth Heads of Government summit in the capital Kigali. This was confirmed by the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia, also the Minister for relations with the Commonwealth, who is in London today for a busy schedule of meetings, all with a Commonwealth theme.
This is in line with the policy of the Government to develop further our relationship with the institutions and the member states of the Commonwealth now that we have left the European Union.
Dr Garcia discussed that policy this morning in a positive meeting at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with the United Kingdom’s Minister for the Commonwealth and the United Nations, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon. This is the third time that they have met. There was a discussion on the interest of the Government in promoting the Commonwealth in Gibraltar and conversely Gibraltar in the Commonwealth also. Dr Garcia outlined some steps that had already been taken like a seminar held last year on the theme of Brexit, the Commonwealth and new opportunities. The point was made that the flag of the Commonwealth had replaced the flag of the EU at Government sites and offices across Gibraltar.
The Deputy Chief Minister also had the opportunity to raise these questions with the United Kingdom’s own envoy to the Commonwealth, Philip Parham. The object of the meeting was to exchange views on the role that the Overseas Territories play in the structure of the Commonwealth organisations and to examine the potential for closer links going forward.
Dr Garcia discussed the opportunities for economic and commercial exchanges with the CEO of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), Samantha Cohen. It was confirmed that the Council would open an office in Gibraltar in order to spearhead the opportunities for businesses development and trade between commercial entities established in Gibraltar and their counterparts in different nations and territories all over the Commonwealth. The CWEIC confirmed that Mr Jared Peralta, who was also present at the meeting, would be appointed by them as their Country Director for Gibraltar.
The Deputy Chief Minister also re-established contact with a number of the larger Commonwealth countries in a series of separate meetings in order to update them on the Government’s wider strategy.
Commenting on the round of meetings today, Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia said:
“It has been a hectic schedule in order to take advantage of my time in London and we have had to rush from one meeting to the next. There is considerable interest in Gibraltar among the institutions and members of the Commonwealth post-Brexit. This can only be positive going forward. We are proud to be a part of the Commonwealth family. The Government intends to work hard to continue to raise the profile of Gibraltar in every way possible.”