The Chief Minister of Gibraltar’s Easter Message 2020 was one of hope, positivity and caution in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. He praised Gibraltarians for showing “a spirit of defiance and survival that has not been seen since the Evacuation and the closed frontier generation” and reminded that everyone will have their part to play once the pandemic ends in rebuilding the economy.
Photo: Gibraltarian Evacuees in Northern Ireland during WWII: From the book “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea”
The Chief Minister opened his speech with the usual coronavirus statistics in Gibraltar. As of today (11.04.2020), there are 129 confirmed coronavirus-positive cases of which 45 are active and 84 are deemed recovered, with only one person is currently being treated at the COVID ICU.
However, Mr. Picardo took this opportunity to reflect on the past 4 weeks during his Easter address to Gibraltar, as well as to look towards the challenges of the weeks to come, stating:
“I know I have had some very tough messages for you all these past four weeks. We have had to take very tough decisions”, he said, as he reflected on the fact that Easter is usually a time for family gatherings.
The CM lamented that the draconian measures that have been put in place are “a constant strain on my conscience”, and assured the public that he is already seeking to work on appropriate “exit strategies” to lift the restrictions “as soon as possible”.
“I wish I could tell you we already have all the answers. I wish I could say it is all over. That day will come. But it is not here yet. But there is light at the end of the tunnel…”
Fabian Picardo continued: “I see amongst us a spirit of defiance and survival that has not been seen since the Evacuation and the closed frontier generation. I have seen a new generation of Gibraltarians show a strength of character which many had thought was (existed) only in the past. I have always known it was there. It’s in our DNA”.
This comes after statistics were released that Gibraltarian citizens, businesses, charities, volunteer groups and public figures collectively donated over £1,000,000 to the support the efforts against the coronavirus pandemic on the Rock in these past few months.
Self-Improvement and The Economy After the Crisis
“We are in the midst of Easter and Passover and a week from the start of Ramadan. So I want to reflect on one aspect of what is common to Christianity, Judaism and Islam at this time. That is RENEWAL REFLECTION. SELF-IMPROVEMENT. Whatever your religion, or none, these are universal values.”
“COVID-19 will leave a cavernous crack in our economy. We will emerge into a different economic reality. We have enjoyed decades of plenty. Now we must REFLECT that our plenty came only because generations before had made great sacrifices. To ensure that our children, our future generations, return to plenty, we will all have to sacrifice. Life will be different for us from now on.
Not worse. Not harsh. But certainly challenging. And this will be our engine for SELF-IMPROVEMENT.”
The Global Recession
“Today, I am demanding of you social distancing. Tomorrow, Gibraltar will demand of you social responsibility. Let me be clear. Gibraltar has done and is doing what it can do for you and all of us. From now, you too must do more for Gibraltar.”
The Chief Minister stated that there can be no more “free rides”, and that every citizen of the Rock should rise to the challenge during the the recovery of the economy, as he warns of an impending global recession.
“The United Kingdom and Spain, the two countries we most interact with, will be faced with major challenges to reboot their economies. There is no doubt that a global recession is coming. The world may be about to face the first economic depression in almost a century.”