Tamsin Suarez

tamsin-suarez-1-hex.jpg

Do you believe your background has prepared you to be a political candidate?

Why are you the right person to represent Together Gibraltar in the coming election?

What is your vision for the future of Gibraltar?

My personal story hasn’t been an easy one and by sharing it with you I hope it will show you why I am qualified to bring a fresh perspective to an equal, vibrant and bold society within the roots of Gibraltar’s political arena. I am a mother of eight, a manager, and an activist. I juggle my home, work and a distance learning law degree. I have been challenging inequalities for 20 years and fighting for rights that should already be in place in an economically developed nation. I have seen Gibraltar changing, but who is it changing for?

House prices are rising at the same rate as our buildings yet homes are not affordable and many are stuck in high rents or in Spain. The unemployment rate is low but there is no flexibility and limited provisions for carers and many are stuck in jobs where they suffer harassment, bullying and discrimination everyday. The minimum wage is not liveable. It is time to fight for a Gibraltar that working families can afford to live in. A place where everyone is represented equally and not just the same old few. Getting into politics was never my plan but I feel it is the only way to make that vision a reality.

I have the appetite to create that change. Do you have the courage to join me?

I am born of working class parents. My dad left Gibraltar not long after the frontier closed like many others, to find work and met my mum. She waited until we were teenagers and went back to college as a mature student and got qualified. She taught me that the time to develop as a person is right only when you are ready. My dad always longed to return and I spend all my school holidays on the Rock, I have vivid memories of staring through the frontier fence, playing on the beaches and with friends. My mum didn’t want to leave her ageing mother but I returned at the age of 18; the day after I completed my ‘A’ Level exams.

Some people say they only start to live fully when their children are born. My life has been a challenge. My eldest son was diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of two and I had to fight for his treatment, fight to keep him alive and fight my own incredible sadness. It is hard to watch your child suffer and not be able to do anything tangible. It wasn’t easy and I faced numerous challenges locally and abroad. Things were tough, we lost our privately owned home. However, as a result, I went from a ‘mama bear’ into a lioness, because I had to.

I realised that I was not the only one who faced these challenges. Many in our community face challenges of their own. There are hardships and inequalities. Gibraltar is gradually becoming more elitist. The divide between the rich and poor is widening.

I have never been afraid to challenge social boundaries and norms even when I am the sole dissenting voice bold enough to say what many of our community are thinking and bring a fresh perspective to a stagnant area.

  • I founded the Gibraltar Breastfeeding Association 10 years ago to support and normalise breastfeeding for those families who wish to do so.

  • I achieved an update to the Equality Act where a breastfeeding mother cannot be discriminated for feeding her baby whenever he is hungry and lead a movement to ensure they continue to feel safe and secure.

  • I joined the committee for the Gibraltar Women’s Association in 2015 and worked with the current administration and made tangible changes in areas such as discrimination, justice and equality such as advocating that the law on grooming was updated.

  • I worked on inequalities in community care so either partner could receive the payment and challenge pension poverty for some of our elderly. Gibraltar got rid of the tax on sanitary essential items before our peers in the UK due to my diligence and I have worked on changing various aspects in the health system for individuals and sponsored patients.

  • I was also a stakeholder in the review on co-education which will eliminate inequalities due to gender in our education system. I have ensured that certain A levels are open to every student that has a pass grade not just the top grades.

  • I was the sole voice to highlight the biggest discrimination in Gibraltar at the current time; the lack of reproductive rights provision which has sparked off a movement that seems to be unstoppable. It is important that our community is empowered to stand up for injustices. It is when these boundaries are broken that we can get true democracy for each and every individual.

My vision is for a Gibraltar where every working family can afford to live in their homeland. For women to be accepted fully into politics and for our parliament to be representative of our whole community and not just lawyers; who, though well meaning, will never understand the struggles and hardships of people like you and me, working class everyday Gibraltarians; the backbone of our economy - who contribute so much but reap very little of the benefits.

I will fight for areas that need urgent improvement; such as the lack of liveable or equal maternity provision that would be a formidable in-road into making life easier for working families.

  • Equality of pay and pension should be achievable and jobs should go to the person best suited to it not the one with the right contacts.

  • We need education where our children can achieve their dreams whether they are academically gifted or good with their hands.

  • Affordable housing for working families instead of indiscriminate building of luxury housing for outsiders making our air polluted and our children ill.

  • I have a vision that Gibraltar has more green spaces, trees and plants instead of concrete. It doesn’t have to be a compromise:-our city can be functional and beautiful.

  • I would like to see a Gibraltar where no one is left behind.

  • An elected government that is equal and proportional and gives everyone a say and a voice. I want to create real change.

Do you have the courage to join me?