There is a clamour for change in Gibraltar. A different type of change. Something that simply doesn’t replace what we currently have with more of the same. This change comes from within, by empowering people and giving them the tools to have a voice and make a difference in how Gibraltar evolves. There is massive disenfranchisement between our society and the political class and it truly is time for more working-class members of society to get involved and be able to make a difference.
I consider myself a working class member of society and truly believe that I’ve been very lucky to have been raised in Gibraltar. I spent my childhood living in Laguna Estate and at age 9, my parents then moved to Harbour Views and because of this I also consider myself very in-tune with “the person on the street” and the social issues that plague our community.
Today, at 30 years old, I have an ever-increasing hunger and ambition to work for the community and to be able to make a difference and help the people of Gibraltar. I remember there was a very specific time where everything “clicked” for me and realised that one day I’d love to get more involved in giving back to the community. When I used to visit my late Grandfather, he would always mention how quickly time passes by and to be sure you were happy with your life and he would then always tell me stories of his teenage years. My grandfather was part of the generation that was evacuated out of Gibraltar during the Second World War. He was one of the unlucky ones who got sent to London and at the time he was in his early teens and even in his old age, he had a very pretty vivid memory and would recall stories to me of the bombs falling, the sirens, roaming the streets of a very damaged London and taking cover in the Underground. He would tell me the stories every time I went to visit and no matter how many times I heard it, it always affected me the same way. Our grandparents went to hell and back, then came back and slowly built a bigger, stronger and independent Gibraltar for future generations. At the time I had only recently become a father for the first time and it cemented my ambition to work towards ensuring a strong, robust future for my daughter and the people of Gibraltar.
My background has given me a wide variety of skills encompassing, technology, problem-solving, and communication. Growing up I was always the “geeky techie” so it was only natural to me that I ended up starting my career in the IT sector working for a local gaming company. I then moved over to a new data centre company that had setup inside the Rock itself, inside the old MOD command centre, as an engineer. Within the same company, I then applied and successfully moved into an “Account Manager” role which afforded me the opportunity to get out and forge direct relationships with existing and prospective customers. This role allowed me to travel and setup meetings internationally to sell Gibraltar and our product set. This has allowed me to focus extensively on the image Gibraltar as a country portrays, and to learn what our visitors, be it tourists or people on business, really think of Gibraltar and where we can do better. One of the biggest complaints is the lack of maintenance. A single word which touches upon many different sectors, from housing, to urban landscape, urban renewal, infrastructure, tourism and much more. We have a knack for finishing a job and then never actually have a program of maintenance to ensure its upkeep.
On a personal note, I have been involved with the local music scene for over 13 years. Something which continues to be a passion of mine today. There is a copious amount of talent and I truly believe we need to do a lot more to export and nurture that talent both at home and via international links by giving artists and bands the platform and opportunity that they deserve, just like other forms of local culture and art. Culture is what we as Gibraltarians put into many forms of art, be it music, photography, dance, or painting. It’s our mark today of the future, past and present.
I started dabbing my feet in politics by commenting on local current affairs and blogging about local politics and the social issues we face as a community, topics ranging from housing, public debt, to the tribal two party political system to education and culture. It was after a few blog pieces that I clearly saw there was a yearning for more public debate and public consultation on issues which affect us all. With the help of a few current Together Gibraltar team members and Marlene Hassan Nahon we created Together Gibraltar as a platform for grassroots political activism. This is where we successfully hosted public debates open to EVERYBODY on a wide variety of issues, some of which have been transitioned into our policies on the environment and gender equality, for example.
Together Gibraltar stands for transparency, accountability and inclusivity. These are all values I take to heart and I believe are principal core values we need to apply for a better Gibraltar for everyone and by listening and learning we will be able to have the necessary tools to work together towards a bright future and not have a government that is constantly playing the blame game based on whether a previous administration did or did not do something. The electorate is growing more and more tired by the day because of our tribal playground politics and I truly believe that with Together Gibraltar, we can move on and get what needs to be done without playing these games, and our society can reap the benefits of a more inclusive, accountable, transparent, young, modern, democratic government.