The flag of the European Union at different points in Gibraltar was lowered lowered over the weekend and replaced by the flag of the Commonwealth, marking Commonwealth Day yesterday.
It has been traditional for the Commonwealth flag to fly on that day over No.6 Convent Place, the seat of Government in Gibraltar.
However, this year the symbolic gesture was expanded by additionally flying the Commonwealth flag at the border, Princess Caroline’s Battery, the John Mackintosh Hall and Duke of Kent House.
“Hoisting the flag of the Commonwealth is a symbol of our commitment to the values and the traditions that the organisation represents,” said Doctor Joseph Garcia, the deputy Chief Minister.
“It is a reflection of the position that Gibraltar and the United Kingdom are leaving the European Union in 2019 and of the policy of the Government of expanding our links with the Commonwealth at the same time.”
Gibraltar has been an active participant in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) for decades, on a par with others in meetings of the British Islands and Mediterranean Region (BIMR) and of the wider global CPA family.
The Minister for Housing and Equality Samantha Sacramento is also on the BIMR Regional Steering Committee of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians and chairs a working group examining the role of the parliaments of the region.
Gibraltar is also very involved now within the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) through the Minister for Economic Development Sir Joe Bossano.
Last month, Gibraltar hosted the Commonwealth data forum, the first Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation event to be held on the Rock, which included 40 Government and Intergovernmental agencies, non-governmental bodies and enterprises from the ICT and telecommunications sectors of 12 Commonwealth nations.
This year, Gibraltar sent two young people to the Commonwealth Youth Parliament for the first time.
The Commonwealth Games, which take place in April in Australia, will include a twenty-two strong contingent from Gibraltar who will proudly fly the flag for the Rock in seven different sports, including athletics, cycling, rhythmic gymnastics, shooting, squash, swimming and triathlon.
The Minister for Sport Steven Linares will once again attend the meeting of Commonwealth Sports Ministers, while Dr Garcia will represent the Chief Minister at a multinational gathering of Heads of Government and Ministers.
“We are proud of our connections with the Commonwealth and intend to play our part within the Commonwealth family in the months and years to come,” Dr Garcia said.