The Government intends to move a Motion in Parliament to bestow the Freedom of the City of Gibraltar on the Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA) and Elderly Residential Services (ERS). This is the highest honour that the Gibraltar Parliament can award.
This proposal is in line with the decision by Her Majesty the Queen to bestow the George Cross on the National Health Service.
The GHA and ERS have been at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19 ever since the first case was detected in Gibraltar last year. The organisation rose to the challenge at many levels and across a number of different departments. The key priority in the first and second waves of the pandemic was to protect the beds available in hospital and to save lives.
Gibraltar can be well proud of the fact that we have become world leaders in testing for COVID-19 and also in the vaccination of our entire population aged 16 and over who wished it.
The Chief Minister will table a Motion for the Gibraltar Parliament to consider the matter before the adjournment of the House for the summer recess.
The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP, said: 'It is a pleasure for the Government to use this very fitting moment to move the Freedom of the City, our highest civic honour, for the men and women of the Gibraltar Health Authority and Elderly Residential Services. We had already started to move the Freedom for our Emergency Services, having started with the RGP. Now, on the occasion of the bestowment of the George Cross on the NHS by Her Majesty The Queen, we are taking the opportunity to recognise the great work done by our health and elderly care professionals in the grant of the Freedom of the City of Gibraltar to the GHA and ERS. I have consulted with both the Leader of the Opposition and Ms Marlene Hassan Nahon. Both will support the movement of the motion in Parliament. I expect to move the motion before the adjournment of the House for the summer recess.
'There is a lot we are doing now with our health professionals to ensure we deal with the issues we have to address in the service. This honour will not fix those issues that remain outstanding, but it is worthy of recognition of the magnificent job done in the past year and a half as the world faced an unprecedented pandemic.'