#ThinkingAllowed: Upset we missed out on top gongs? Get nominating.

Yet again the New Year honours awards are a kick in the teeth for our community.

No CBE. No OBE. No MBE.

I think that makes my point quite clear, doesn’t it?

The controversy is not only in Gibraltar, in the UK there is also a feeling some brilliant people have been ignored. But, numerous Tory donors have received honours, sparking a finger-pointing blame game.

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That’s not to say you should be caught up in the headlines and forget the fact that some very worthy recipients are also on the list. It must be an impossible job to keep everyone happy.

There does however seem to be some recognition that changes are needed. The Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted future lists will feature more people who have helped the economy, tackled discrimination or helped their communities in other ways.

I first saw the awards list as a tweet. There were Gibraltar Awards but there seemed to be something missing. Not only did the list seem very short, but any “major” awards seemed to be absent too.

I cannot believe there is not at least one deserving Gibraltarian!

Instead of us moaning about the scant list, as far The Rock is concerned, everyone should instead consider and submit a nomination.

Are we certain the right people are getting nominated? It is very easy to discuss over a coffee or around the dinner table about how unhappy we may be about the situation. Surely we should then do something about it and nominate those we feel should be on the list. More people writing in and proposing more names would inevitably carry more weight.

Far too often we complain about things but fail to help re-address the balance.

This is not a game and it must be done fairly. Perhaps a lot of good people are being overseen simply because they are not being nominated? Or the nominations lack supporting information, as is requested by the committee?

We all have a role to play in this.

The details are available from the Convent website and when nominations open it is widely publicised in the local press.

Awards may not be important to many but let’s be honest – we all like a pat on the back every now and again.

But, should someone be involved in charity or other community work for the wrong reasons, and may seem more concerned with getting their picture onto an edition of the Gibraltar Chronicle rather than on making a real difference, cross them off your list. Let us find those who work hard and succeed in their endeavors without seeking glory for it.

George Michael was a prime example of a charitable individual. Only when he died did stories of his incredible acts of kindness emerge. From donating millions to charity to tipping a waitress in debt, thousands.

I suppose it can be a difficult balance. If you don’t want anyone to know about your charity work it would make a nomination hard. Some people really do not want an award and that must be respected too.

I remember covering an award ceremony a couple of years back and listening to the then Governor say people do not engage in community or charitable activities for recognition, but that it was important for these awards to recognise their work.

This is certainly how it should be.

On that note congratulations are in order for RGP Inspector John Goodman (Overseas Territories Police Medal) and to Tamara Gomez, Jacqueline and Christine Castro on their Gibraltar awards.

If you are looking for anything higher than that in this year’s list which is close to home you will need to settle for British Politician David Crausby who received a knighthood. A long-standing supporter of Gibraltar he is the vice-chair of the All-Party Group in Parliament.

Gibraltar is a unique community. The Governor Lieutenant General Edward Davis himself acknowledged this in his New Year message.

Speaking about the unity which exists here he said: “A unity that makes Gibraltar a safe and happy place to live. A unity that has raised over £1m for the Calpe House Trust Fund. Gibraltarian generosity is inspiring.”

It is a pity none of that generosity has inspired a honours list gong. I have met the Governor personally and consider that he means every word. He also chairs the Gibraltar Honours Board and I strongly believe that he genuinely wants to see more local names on the Awards list. It is only the Gibraltar Awards which are decided locally so whilst we build cases to secure other merits for well deserving Gibraltarians let us take pride in how another Governor is impressed with our homeland and the fact that as he put it – “Manifestly, Gibraltar achieves well beyond probability by believing in possibility.”

Let’s continue building on all this and as for the awards, like they say … disappointing as it may be this year, there is always next time.

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James Neish
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