John Gonçalves was invested as Mayor of Gibraltar yesterday during a formal ceremony at the City Hall.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and former Mayor of Gibraltar Kaiane Aldorino Lopez welcomed Mr Gonçalves to the role and thanked him for his work as Deputy Mayor.
The ceremony marked the start of Mr Gonçalves’ tenure as Gibraltar’s 18th mayor and the 17th person to hold the office.
Mr Gonçalves told the Chronicle he was “feeling great” and “honoured” to become the Mayor of Gibraltar. He hopes to continue with the work of Mrs Aldorino Lopez, in particular in working with the youth of Gibraltar.
Mr Picardo addressed attendees at the Mayor’s Parlour and commended Mr Gonçalves for his work as President of the Gibraltar Amateur Basketball Association.
“He is a man who has reached out to younger generations and brought them into the sport,” Mr Picardo said.
“He is well known in our community and I have no doubt John is going to do an excellent job as Mayor of Gibraltar in this year of sport.”
During the ceremony, Christian Santos was appointed Deputy Mayor to succeed Mr Gonçalves once his tenure concludes.
Mr Picardo recognised Mr Santos’ work with local youth in drama, culture and choral music.
As Deputy Mayor Mr Gonçalves had worked with Mrs Aldorino Lopez over the past two years and commended her on her work ethic.
“She is one of the most real, sincere, caring, honest and unassuming persons I have ever had the privilege to meet,” he said.
During the ceremony Mr Gonçalves spoke of living in Portugal with his Gibraltarian mother, and returning to the Rock after his father’s death.
“I have throughout my life always been conscious of what Gibraltar has offered me,” Mr Gonçalves said.
“I have always been extremely proud to give back as much as I have been able to.”
He added: “I want to listen to our youth and help them to be conscious of the many opportunities that Gibraltar can offer them.”
Mr Gonçalves aims to engage with people in a “meaningful way” and open up the Mayor’s Parlour to the public.
Bidding farewell to the role, Mrs Aldorino Lopez said it had been a “huge honour and great privilege” to preside as Mayor of Gibraltar over the past two years.
“I am truly grateful to all of the community who have believed in me as their mayor and as a result made me capable of carrying out my duties with my heart on my sleeve,” she said.
“I will definitely miss being Mayor of Gibraltar, but I also believe every story has its ending. Today is a beginning of a new chapter of my life and in the life of a great man, Mr John Gonçalves.”
Mrs Aldorino Lopez thanked Mr Gonçalves all his support as Deputy Mayor and she also thanked her predecessor Adolfo Canepa.
Mrs Aldorino Lopez told the Chronicle that she looks forward to new beginnings and will continue to develop her role as a public relations officer for the Government.
Mr Picardo acknowledged that the appointment of mayor in Gibraltar is usually accompanied by “controversy”.
“Everyone has opinions on everything and everyone has opinions on everybody else,” Mr Picardo said.
He added that every mayor in Gibraltar has represented the Rock with distinction and that when he proposed a young woman for the post there had been a number of sceptics.
“Two years down the line, the woman that was able to represent Gibraltar internationally with great distinction and become Miss World has done an extraordinary job of representing us all,” he said.
“No other mayor of Gibraltar enlivened the imagination of the world like Kaiane Aldorino Lopez.”
Mr Picardo commended Mrs Aldorino Lopez for doing an “absolutely, magnificent job” over the past two years.
The event was attended by the Governor Lt Gen Edward Davis as well as the Minister for Economic Development Sir Joe Bossano, the Minister for Culture Steven Linares, the bishop Carmel Zammit, members of the GSD including the Leader of the Opposition, Elliott Phillips, Roy Clinton and Trevor Hammond, as well as former mayors.