The Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia has told the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Baroness Patricia Scotland, that Gibraltar is committed to the values of the Commonwealth and aims to develop further existing bonds with the organisation.

This came about at a meeting this morning in Marlborough House, London, where the Commonwealth Secretariat is based.

Baroness Scotland is no stranger to Gibraltar, having served as a Foreign Office Minister from 1999 until 2001.

The participation of Gibraltar at the events taking place around the Heads of Government meeting in Rwanda was discussed. Dr Garcia reported that Gibraltar was making preparations to attend the Commonwealth Women’s Forum, the Commonwealth People’s Forum, the Commonwealth Youth Forum and the Commonwealth Business Forum. All of these meetings are scheduled to take place in the capital Kigali in June.

Gibraltar first participated in these events two years ago when they were held in London.

The Deputy Chief Minister set out the policy of the Government on closer engagement with the institutions and countries of the Commonwealth. He explained that the lowering of the EU flag in Gibraltar on 31 January and its replacement with the flag of the Commonwealth was a powerful symbolic gesture.

Gibraltar already participates in a number of Commonwealth organisations like the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Commonwealth Games, the Commonwealth Local Government Forum and the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council.

Dr Garcia explained the work that Gibraltar does already in promoting the Commonwealth. He said that the Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, Lord Marland, and the then Secretary General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Akbar Khan had both spoken at an event in Gibraltar in the recent past. Jarvis Mathias, his successor and Acting CPA Secretary General, had recently addressed Bayside and Westside Schools as part of this informational work.

The Deputy Chief Minister said that the meeting with the Secretary General was positive and constructive and that a number of opportunities for young people and businesses from Gibraltar had been identified and discussed.