The Mayor Kaiane Aldorino Lopez has travelled together with Minister for Culture Steven Linares and Rector for St Theresa’s Church and the Shrine of our Lady of Europe, Father Charles Azzopardi, on a reciprocal visit to the city of Kingston, Jamaica.
This is to consolidate the Twinning Agreement which took place in Gibraltar last September.
During the visit, the delegation attended a special sitting of the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation where Her Worship was conferred with the Keys to the City of Kingston by His Worship the Mayor, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams.
In his remarks MrWilliams pointed out that whilst the Second World War brought the two cities together, we share so much more than just colonial history. We share music, culture and cities filled with similar issues.
The delegation were special guests at the rededication and wreath laying ceremony of the newly refurbished Clock Tower Memorial to the fallen soldiers of WW2.
The Mayor took a prominent part in the ceremony where she gave a keynote address emphasising how the people of Kingston took in the Gibraltarian evacuees, she thanked them for the way in which they welcomed them and how they still cherished parts on what is now the campus of the University of West Indies where relics and buildings are being preserved as a reminder of the place where the Gibraltarians lived.
Dr Suzanne Francis Brown curator of the UWI Mona Museum who has written about the life of the Gibraltarian evacuees, also addressed the dignitaries present and stated how life was in the Gibraltar camp.
During the trip, the delegation visited the University Of West Indies where the Gibraltar Camp was situated and were able to view the relics and buildings that are preserved. It was here at the University of West Indies that Father Azzopardi presented a replica of the statue of Our Lady of Europa to the Dr Brown.
During the trip the delegation had the opportunity to make courtesy visits to the offices of the Minister for Local Government and Community Development Desmond Mckenzie, the residency of the British High Commissioner, Asif Ahmad and to the Archbishop of Kingston His Grace, the Most Rev. Kenneth Richards.
Mr Linares said: “It was such a moving experience to have been present in what was a special sitting of the Kingston and St Andrews Municipal Corporation. To see Kaiane our Worship the Mayor sitting beside the His Worship the Mayor, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams and being given the Keys to the City of Kingston was very emotional, further to have been part of the delegation which was at the centre of the ceremony to the fallen of WW2 was a great honour.”
“This has demonstrated the affection that the City of Kingston has towards us in Gibraltar. Even after 75 years we have seen that the evacuees from Gibraltar have left a significant positive wedge in the History of the City of Kingston. Our links with them have now been strengthened and we look forward to continue our historical and cultural links in the future. We have been able to explore some opportunities which we hope to be able to develop soon,” he added.
The Mayor said she was truly honoured to have received the Key to the City of Kingston on behalf of all Gibraltarians, in particular our evacuee generation.
“Kingston had contributed an invaluable generosity to Gibraltar during World War II. The traumatic events of the evacuation were not forgotten and remained very much alive in both cities and as we looked into the future we should envisage a growing awareness and appreciation, of each other’s culture along with cooperative activities, which would be of mutual benefit to our communities,” she said.