A major seminar on Brexit and the Commonwealth will take place at the Garrison Library this Thursday 7 March. This has been scheduled to take place four days before Commonwealth Day.

The event is being organised by the office of the Deputy Chief Minister in conjunction with the Royal Commonwealth Society.

The theme of the conference will be “Changing times: Brexit, the Commonwealth and opportunities for Gibraltar.

The panel includes two speakers from Gibraltar and three from abroad. These are:

The Hon Dr Joseph Garcia MP

Historian and politician

Dr Garcia is the Deputy Chief Minister of Gibraltar since 2011, with responsibility for developing relations with the Commonwealth. He has served as a Member of Parliament for 20 years (1999 - 2019) and is Leader of the Liberal Party of Gibraltar.

Subject: “Brexit and the Commonwealth: One door closes and another door will open

Rt Hon The Lord Marland

Lord Marland is the Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council

Politician and businessman

In 2010 he was a Minister at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. In May 2011 he was appointed as Chairman of the British Business Ambassadors by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI). In 2012 he was Minister for Intellectual Property in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. He was the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy between 2013-2014.

Subject: “The Commonwealth: a gateway for business and opportunity

Mr Jared Peralta

Gibraltar representative before the Commonwealth Youth Forum 2018.

Subject: “My Commonwealth Youth Forum Experience

The Hon Alexander Downer AC

Politician and diplomat

He served Leader of Australia’s Liberal Party and Leader of the Opposition, later as Foreign Minister of Australia from 1996 until 2007 and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom from 2014 until 2018.

Subject: “Can Gibraltar use the Commonwealth to its advantage?

Mr Akbar Khan

Barrister-at-law and diplomat

Secretary General, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

He joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2003 and later became Head of the International Law Section at the UK Embassy in The Hague. He later served as Director of Legal Affairs and Principal Legal Counsel to the Commonwealth Secretary-General. He was appointed Secretary General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in October 2015.

Subject: “Leveraging opportunities within the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in a ‘Post-Brexit’ Era

The seminar will be opened by HE The Governor Lt General Ed. Davis, in his capacity the Patron of the Royal Commonwealth Society, on Thursday at 3pm and it is scheduled to end at 6pm. The Government’s Media Director Mr Clive Golt will be the moderator for the whole session, which will include a question-time with the panel.

The event is open to the public and admission is free.

Commenting on the seminar, the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia said: “The Government is very grateful to Mr John Verrall, the Chairman, and to his team in the Royal Commonwealth Society with whom it has been a pleasure to jointly organise this event.

“We are leaving the European Union together with the United Kingdom on 29 March. The Government took the view that we would deepen our ties with the Commonwealth at the same time. Gibraltar was represented last year at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation, the Commonwealth Games, the Commonwealth Youth Parliament, the Commonwealth Local Government Association, the Commonwealth Youth Forum, Women’s Forum and People’s Forum. We also joined the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council.

“Gibraltar is proud of its association with the different organisations of the Commonwealth. We share the same values, we share the same traditions and the same outlook across a number of areas. The principles of democracy, of self-determination, and the defence of human rights are important to us all.

“The policy of the Government is to increase our level of engagement with the Commonwealth and this seminar is part of that approach.