Economic Independence, Land Reclamation and Women in the Work Place
Mr Bossano’s belief that Gibraltar needed to be economically and politically independent was further demonstrated. He explained how Gibraltar’s long term economic viability was the strongest guarantee that Gibraltar could achieve political independence.
“Our political independence to be able to produce our own philosophy, our own ideas, how we want to go in Gibraltar without being subjected to the constraints imposed by Her Majesty’s Government, if they are providing the cash and they don’t agree with the way we are spending it.”
Another important topic discussed by Mr Bossano was the land reclamation that was being carried out at the time (or lack of it). In his view, the incumbent Government had carried out a rather limited reclamation project. He championed the idea that the Government should capitalise on the ongoing construction works for the former Girls Comprehensive School and carry out a reclamation of the Montagu Basin prior to occupation of the school. The cost of such project would have been relatively low and would resolve the pressing issue of parking for the residents of Varyl Begg Estate as well as provide a site for the future construction of Government housing.
Women in the work place, or lack thereof, is another important issue that Mr Bossano brought up throughout the year. The absence of any pre-school nursery education facilities was viewed as a key contributing factor to this problem. In 1981, Gibraltar had an average of only 25% of women between the ages of 24-45 in work, compared to 45% in the rest of Western Europe.
Mr Bossano’s aim in expanding educational opportunities for pre-schoolers was twofold. As mentioned above, he believed it would help pave the way for a greater number of women to join the labour force. Secondly and perhaps even more importantly, it could tackle the issue of academic underachievement. At this time, a large proportion of Gibraltar’s pre-schoolers entered the educational system speaking only Spanish, starting their education therefore at a severe disadvantage. The establishment of pre-school nursery facilities could tackle both these pressing issues at once.