Equality Rights group GGR - Citizenship in Democracy EQUALITY RIGHTS GGR

News and Information from Gibraltar on Equality, Human, Gay and Social Rights

Friday, September 28, 2007

Alvarez calls on undecided and minorities 'to make the difference' at Elections

Chief Minister Caruana refuses to meet with GGR Chairman
Alvarez tells politicians to ‘stop avoiding the ‘g-word’ in public’

Felix Alvarez, Equality Rights Group GGR Chairman has today called on "all wavering and undecided citizens, and especially on minority citizens, whether disabled, gay or other status and their families and friends in the Gibraltar community to move with more determination, unity and energy than ever before at these Elections. We and all our supporters should only vote in favour of those who are openly and clearly in favour of moving forward in equality and tolerance," he stated. "Together we are no longer a minority, our vote made a difference last time, let’s do it again!"

The statement comes on the eve of meetings to be held today between Alvarez, Peter Tatchell and political leaders Joe Bossano (GSLP), Joseph Garcia (Liberals) and Keith Azopardi (PDP) which signal the increasing importance the gay and minority vote is gaining in the elections and which GGR already claimed as a factor at the 2003 polls. Most significant, perhaps, is the fact that Peter Caruana accepted meeting Mr Tatchell but declined the presence of GGR Chairman Felix Alvarez. Unless Mr Caruana changes his mind, therefore, the meeting will not be taking place.

"I cannot accept that a Gibraltar Chief Minister who says he wants a ‘culture of human rights’ should treat outsiders more favourably than his own people," stated Tatchell. "This is an inconceivable and unacceptable attitude which none of the other political leaders in Gibraltar have demonstrated in their arrangements over our meetings. Mr Caruana seems insensitive to the fact that this would have been a noteworthy moment marking the first time in the seven years since the establishment of GGR that Alvarez and the Chief Minister were to meet formally. It would have been a clear signal that the Chief Minister was genuinely interested in the human rights of Gibraltarians. In a word, Mr Caruana has flunked it. It puts a question mark over his political maturity."

For his part, Alvarez said that "This is only one of many lessons in intolerance that Mr Caruana has dealt Gibraltarians over his three terms in office. It comes as no surprise. Dialogue with his own people does not seem to enter Mr Caruana’s vocabulary. It is just more of the same from a Chief Minister who in his last three terms of office has cared little for ordinary Gibraltarians," he went on to add. "On another note, let me say to the gay community: rights and equality are never given away, you have to earn them. This is the time for all those who want to see a more accepting society in Gibraltar to move with greater commitment and unity than ever before by voting in our own favour. It is also the time for politicians – even those who support us – to stop avoiding the ‘g-word’ in public!"