'Her Majesty's Government of Gibraltar notes with great sadness the death of highly respected journalist and Panorama proprietor and Editor, Joe Garcia Snr.'

The Cabinet as a whole expresses it's sincere condolences to the Deputy Chief Minister of Gibraltar, the Hon Dr Joseph Garcia CMG MP, and to his family, especially to Mr Garcia's widow, Mrs Garcia and his daughter Mrs Baldachino, as well as their wider family.

The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP, said: "In paying tribute to Joe I think everyone will agree that he was a brilliant journalist who lived through the defining periods of the establishment and success of the modern Gibraltarian and that he had a big stake and role to play in that in the more than half a century contribution he has leaves to the making of our nation.

"From securing the first interview with a Spanish foreign minister in the Spanish Foreign Ministry in Madrid, to attendance at rounds of Brussels and other talks, he was a pioneer who, for many years was one of the few who could set the political agenda through his incisive journalism and his scoops from a wide range of sources.

"As a result of his reputation, his brand of Gibraltarian journalism was greatly sought after outside of Gibraltar also. His articles on Gibraltar appeared in publications as diverse as El Pais andt he Financial Times to name only two of the many that his byline graced over the decades.

"The remarkable accuracy of his polling methods also gained the Panormana poll a peerless and fearsome reputation amongst political parties, whose political fortunes could be as affected by the result of a Panorama poll as they could by the result of a General Election."

Aside from Panorama, Joe also established and run MedSun, one of the few Gibraltarian publishers.

"He was a sounding board for Chief Ministers, starting with Sir Joshua and right through to me and his remarkable contribution to journalism and public life in Gibraltar was recognised by Her Majesty The Queen in the grant to him of the MBE, the first such recognition granted by Her Majesty to a Gibraltarian journalist.

"In the early 90's he agreed to lead a political party, which came to be known as the Gibraltar National Party,made up of rebellious young people. That party containedt oday's Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Tourism as well as the Leader of the Opposition and Opposition spokesperson for Tourism. Although I was still a law student in 1991 and not a candidate, I will always remember my training with him on campaigning and how the media would interpret the party positions we were defending.

"Joe withdrew from frontline politics at the end of that campaign that was announced on the very same day that we had launched the GNP. When we met in later life we would always share a happy reference and laugh about those early political moments.

"We are all truly saddened to say goodbye to Joe Garcia Snr today and are grateful for his body of work that will live on in the Gibraltar Archives in his work for Panorama, The Post and all the national and international contributions he has made to journalism principally on the subject of his beloved Gibraltar and the rights of its people to determine their own political future for themselves.

"Rest in Peace Joe, dear friend and great Gibraltarian."

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