The Gibraltar Government is distributing thousands of booklets commemorating the 1967 Referendum to students in Gibraltar’s schools.
Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia commenced the process yesterday morning with an address on the subject to the combined senior forms of Bayside School, Westside School and the College of Further Education.
“I have always believed very strongly that knowledge of the past is the key to the future,” Dr Garcia said.
According to the government, the 1967 Referendum is the story of how Gibraltarians “…defied a military dictator in Madrid and in so doing took on the world.”
Dr Garcia explained the background against which the referendum took place, the second the actual referendum itself and the consequences.
He declared that the people of Gibraltar voted overwhelmingly to retain their links with the United Kingdom in the full knowledge that things were going to get worse as a result.
That vote, he told the students, showed a determination to defend their homeland which has continued to this day
Dr Garcia explained the “boiling cauldron of emotions” in Gibraltar throughout the 1960s as a result of the two-pronged “aggressive campaign” conducted by Spain.
He explained that at the UN Gibraltar faced a numerically unbeatable block vote of Communist, Latin American and anti-British countries.
This encouraged Spain to “turn the screws” progressively at the border and in the air.
As a result of the vote in Gibraltar, Spain closed its land frontier, withdrew the ferry to Algeciras and ended telephone communications.
The 1968 constitutional conference and the 1969 Constitution, with the guarantees that it contained in the Preamble, were also a direct and immediate result of the referendum.
“The Government has organised a number of events throughout the year in order to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum,” Dr Garcia said.
“In addition to these, we felt it was important to take the message to our schools in order that younger generations can better appreciate the struggles and the sacrifices that our forefathers had to endure to move Gibraltar to where it is today.”
“This is why we will be distributing thousands of these booklets to schoolchildren in the days to come.”
“I am very grateful to my colleague the Minister for Education, the Department, the schools and the teachers for making this possible.”