ERG/AOP looks forward to Budget announcements

‘Pride 2022 has come and gone, and congratulations are in order to government for having organised what was a well-executed second Pride event (the original Gibraltar Community Pride was in 2014) where people clearly enjoyed themselves,’ Equality Rights Group (ERG)/Action on Poverty (AOP) Chair Felix Alvarez has said following the celebrations of the festivities this past weekend.

‘We fully understand the confusion of some members of the same-sex and gender identity communities in Gibraltar as a result of ERG/AOP’s decision not to participate in this year’s event, however. Having been at the forefront of advances in LGBT+ rights for over two decades, it was quite a thing, and we do get it. And it wasn’t easy to take. Thankfully, our on-going contacts with the community have meant support and understanding have been the order of the day.

‘Our focus today is exactly as it was when we first started in 2000: to support, campaign and focus on those who suffer the greatest injustice. As a non-sectarian human and civil rights organisation that we are, at this time that’s the low income and vulnerable in our midst. We have never compromised on our solidarity no matter the cost. Popularity is not a measure that concerns us. At ERG/AOP we judge ourselves on a different scale, one of conviction and human rights values applicable to all without fail.

‘Only one question is important right now to us: has anything changed for the poor and vulnerable in our community since Saturday? Now that the parties and the shows are all over, the answer is absolutely no, nothing. Because the poor and economically vulnerable continue to be so. Their situation both before and after the celebrations was and is nothing to celebrate at all.

‘Today we look forward to Mr. Picardo substantially rectifying in his Budget the dire situation of those suffering acute economic hardship leading to on-going marginalisation and vulnerability, and we will comment once all details are known.

‘Meanwhile in what has been the ‘Pride debate’, we thank the Gibraltar Chronicle, Panorama and Your Gibraltar TV for their coverage of all sides to this social conversation that ensued, a veritable lesson in journalistic values. They have been even and fair in presenting all sides to the recent debate on these matters. Without them this community would be very much poorer democratically.’