To promote good neighbourly relations and closer ties between Gibraltar and La Linea, the Spanish town Mayor, Gemma Araujo, hosted a Gibraltar Day at the official municipal pavilion of the La Linea Fair.
“We hope this event is seen as a gesture of good will which would see both communities enter a new phase of collaboration in a renewed relationship”, said Ms Araujo who added she was confident there would be similar events in future opening new avenues in a better climate of understanding.
The Gibraltar delegation was led by Culture Minister Edwin Reyes, the Mayor Tony Lombard, with representatives of the Ministry of Culture, Miss Gibraltar Michelle Gillngwater Pedersen, her princesses and a number of invited guests. Officials and entertainers were afforded Municipal police escort.
The event was held in a cordial and casual atmosphere with a strong emphasis on culture which saw a variety of music and dance entertainment from both La Linea and Gibraltar.
Culture Minister Reyes said it was a great pleasure to attend the event with friends who had recently opened their arms to us and emphasised how both communities should work together for the benefit of future generations. Politics, he added, “should not divide us and both communities should celebrate all that there is in common”.
Ms Araujo felt this coming together had been necessary and should prove positive to help break down both physical and mental barriers. Speaking to the Gibraltar Chronicle she stressed how the evening had been ‘a first’.
There is no better place to open our doors officially to Gibraltar than at our annual fair 'en fiesta', she said also acknowledging there was still a lot to do to better relations between both communities and put aside all differences.
The night proved a success, La Linea Deputy Mayor Asuncion Barranco, with responsibility for relations with the Rock, declared in an official communiqué, wanting to place on record the great satisfaction of the La Linea Council of the wonderful cordial atmosphere during the event.
There is great evidence on both sides, she added, of the need to re-establish the relationship which should never have deteriorated. Describing Gibraltar Day as an historic event she made clear it had not cost the Municipality a single Euro and had been made possible through the enormous collaboration of associations and businesses in both communities.