Celebrating The 50th anniversary of the Gibraltar Women’s Association

image001 At a reception to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Gibraltar Housewives’ Association (now named the Gibraltar Women’s Association – GWA), organised by its current Chairperson, Amber Turner, the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo paid tribute to the Association’s historic achievements for Gibraltar’s society.

Mr Picardo welcomed the active campaigning role the GWA currently fulfils, which has greatly expanded and developed from the vision of its original founders: pioneers who took it upon themselves to ensure gender equality across all aspects of Gibraltar’s society. Their example had cut across the sexual divide and inspired an equal number of women and men.

The Chief Minister said: “I am honoured to take this opportunity to thank the GWA and all of its members throughout its history, and its Committee members in particular, for their dedication in improving life for all women in Gibraltar. Of course, the Association also has a very special meaning to me personally in addition to the importance it has to the local community. That is why I am proud to announce that the long-awaited statue celebrating Women in Gibraltar will finally take its rightful place in this, the Association’s 50th anniversary year.” The statue is to be erected on the Queensway roundabout opposite Britannia House.

Letter to the press by the Association’s founder member and its first Chairperson, Mrs Angela Smith

The 50th anniversary of the Gibraltar Women’s Association is indeed a milestone worth celebrating and I wish to offer my very best wishes and congratulations to Chairperson Amber Turner, her committee and the membership in general. When the original association was formed, it was in reaction to many local issues adversely affecting our families. Problems were disregarded or went unresolved, for example the lack of traffic wardens around schools, few lifeguards at the beach and so on. It became increasingly evident that someone had to do something. When I invited some friends to my home for tea to discuss the issues that concerned us, it was agreed to form a group. Days later, the initial Parish Hall meeting was well attended by many women and The Gibraltar Housewives’ Association was formed. Nowadays, the association has a more inclusive name, The Gibraltar Women’s Association. The Association has served Gibraltar well and I will highlight two particular instances when our intervention was successful.

Firstly, soon after the association was formed, Gibraltar was stunned to hear the announcement by the British Government, that contrary to their stated and well established policy, they would meet under duress with the Spanish Government to discuss Gibraltar. Action was required and fast. That’s when it struck me that the Queen needed to be made aware of the feelings of Gibraltarian mothers and the anxieties that the announcement by the British Government had evoked. We should write to Her Majesty who as a mother would understand how insecure we felt. The committee was immediately onboard regarding the letter. Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine the results of our modest letter. It galvanized women all over The Rock! Young and old, healthy and infirm they came out. The number of women milling around waiting to sign the petition was amazing. I would be remiss not to mention that without the unstinting support of all of them what we accomplished would not have been possible. Of special note is Mrs. Mariola Summerfield who has been a stalwart member and President of the Association and who accompanied me to London. Once in London, it was evident that the British press was taken with the image of two young women who had a clear message. Gibraltar was our home and it was not up for barter. More importantly, we had an opportunity to shed light on the human aspect of our struggle. It was also clear that the British press was most supportive of our efforts! After some anxious days, we were invited to go to Buckingham Palace. We were received with the greatest kindness by the Queen’s personal secretary, Sir Michael Adeane and we handed in the petition. We felt a great sense of relief. Our job was done. Later that day we received a thrilling surprise. We were informed that the Queen’s Equerry had been paging Mrs. Angela Smith at the hotel! And there it was, a letter in reply. It meant that we had not just been received, but heard and even better there was a heartwarming verbal message from H.M. the Queen! We were elated. The letter from Sir Michael Adeane, strengthens the plain truth that when women decide to work together we can be an irrepressible force. The reception we received when we returned to Gibraltar by everyone, but particularly the women, is forever imprinted in my heart.

The second challenge came months later, when overnight the Spanish Government announced that Spanish female workers would no longer be allowed to enter Gibraltar to work. Most of our hospitals, restaurants, and shops were dependent on Spanish female labour force. It took us a few hours to get mobilized and once the word got out, we managed to arrange for women volunteers to cover those jobs. It was a stunning success for Gibraltar as a whole. We met the challenge head on and essential services to our community were covered. Local women were no longer relegated solely to the home, but began to assume essential roles as a public workforce. In facing the difficulties those challenges posed, we found our strength, a healthy resilience, also a measure of pride. We could withstand, endure and succeed. Many others have followed in keeping the association going throughout these years. Gibraltar has undoubtedly benefited greatly from their efforts. Lately, I have noted with interest, that despite the wonderful and beneficial changes that Gibraltar currently enjoys, there has been a marked increase in the number of women who have joined the association. It is heartening to think that fifty years ago we laid the groundwork for our daughters and grand-daughters to know that as women they have an invaluable contribution to make. Also, that our organization continues to offer a powerful voice for the women of Gibraltar. Here’s wishing continued success to everyone involved with the Gibraltar Women’s Association. All best wishes and kindest regards,

Angela Smith

IMG_4622-68Starting from the left, Mrs. Llambias, Mrs. Summerfield, Mrs. Picardo, Mrs. Baker and myself. Missing from the photograph are Mrs. Ramirez and Mrs. Dumas also stellar members of our committee

I enclose some press clippings one of which is a provocative editorial in The Telegraph.

Finding Unremitting Solace with Coty Benrimoj

Coty-&-Emily Low-Unremitting-Solace-Book-CoverFull article by Jo Ward appears in the May 2016 edition of Insight Magazine Gibraltar.

In an increasingly stressful world, many people look for inspiration and guidance and there can be no one more qualified to help others than someone who has personally battled with the black dog called depression.

Coty Benrimoj is a home grown Gibraltarian, born in the 1950s. Her journey through life has not just been a spiritual one, but it has also been a physical experience that saw her relocating from Gibraltar to the USA in 1983. Now as a motivational speaker, poet and author, Coty’s passion is to help others.

Returning to Gibraltar for a two week stay in April, during which time she gave a presentation to raise funds for local mental illness charity Clubhouse Gibraltar “A month before my breakdown I started writing my book, Unremitting Solace, waking up in the middle of the night to write down my thoughts, and then I sent it to the publisher in 2014,” she says. In her book, Coty shares her knowledge about self-motivation and about how we need to accept ourselves in body, mind and soul.

Speaking on a regular basis to clubs and societies in San Diego, Coty has made a difference to people’s lives through her inspirational sayings and poems. Her book is about calming the mind, of self-acceptance and unconditional love. It includes fifty-two inspirational poems which provoke the reader to look at themselves and acknowledge all that they are and all they can be. It is an uplifting book and it’s a lesson of the heart and is about aligning ourselves with our higher good. The intention of this book is to awaken individuals to lead the life they wish and to become more self-aware and master their lives by not living in denial. It also contains eighteen chapters about subjects including resilience, greatness, gratitude, love and eighteen inspirational quotes.

Depressed people seldom laugh, and people who laugh are seldom depressed. It is said that laughter is the best medicine and Coty is a qualified teacher of both Hatha and Laughter yoga, teaching in her local community in San Diego. One thing that Coty wants to emphasise is the great support that she has had from her wonderful husband and family, both back in California and here in Gibraltar.

An excerpt of Poem titled Listen:

Be like waves which crash on the jetty
Washing all our impurities away
Waves like a crescent curtain
Dangling in its fringes
Unearthing sunken precious stones
Hurling them up above the elevation
Hanging on dear life right ahead
Waves that don’t crush us because we wish it

Coty communicates with truth and intensity, and her mission is clear. “My message for humanity is to love, to have compassion for one another and be kind to one another,” she says. Unremitting Solace can be purchased at the Gibraltar Bookshop, 300 Main Street, with all proceeds going to charity.

Her website is: www.unremittingsolace.com

On The Buses – Gibraltar Bus Tracker Web App Launched

bus-Tracker-Logo The Gibraltar Bus Company has launched its new website (www.gibraltarbuscompany.gi) which also features a handy Bus Tracker WebApp.

The Bus Tracking WebApp developed by the Gibraltar Government’s Information Technology & Logistics Department will provide a real-time bus tracking service which will cover working routes offered by the Gibraltar Bus Company. The launch will initially feature Routes 2 and 3 with further routes being developed soon.

The Gibraltar Bus Tracker WebApp will offer bus users real-time bus information from any smart phone or desktop computer with internet access, will be able to access the website, select a bus route and see a user friendly transit map that will display where buses are located within the given route. The buses will move across the map in real-time.

Gibraltar-BusesA spokesperson for the Gibraltar Government said, “We know where our buses are and so should you. The Gibraltar Bus Tracker Web App is yet another way in which we are trying to improve our service. Why wait for the bus when you can meet it?”

The Ministry has also announced that, in keeping with recommendations from the Draft Sustainable Traffic, Transport and Parking Plan, Routes 4 and 9 are being modified for an enhanced and more efficient service, with a new pilot Route 6 having already commenced as from April 18th. The Route starts at Market Place Terminus, proceeding down Waterport Road to Mid-Harbour Estate via St Bernard’s Hospital, turning at the roundabout and back along the same route. This new pilot Route 6 and modifications to existing Routes 4 and 9 are also available to the public on the new Gibraltar Bus Company Website and at each bus stop.

New Lease Of Life For The Gbraltar Live Music Society

IMG_20160406_222540Upon discussions with the previous front-runners of the The Gbraltar Live Music Society (GLMS) it was agreed that the society would return and to become what the old GLMS offered.

The current team now consists of Galadriel McGrail Polston, David J. Diaz, Ernest Diaz, Joel Francis & Dylan Francis.

The new and improved GLMS team are presenting a portal for all things music in Gibraltar. The platform includes interviews, gig reviews, event photography as well as launching very soon its own YouTube Channel & magazine titled Into The Music.

You can like their Facebook page on www.facebook.com/giblivemusic or alternatively you can follow them om Twitter @IntoTheMusicGib. Their mission is quite simple.. To make sure the whole of Gibraltar  #SupportYourLocalTalent and that we all make sure in #KeepingLocalMusicAlive.

The Gibraltar Live Music Society is sponsored by Chesterton Estate Agents & Gibtelecom.

New Barbary Macaque App!

156.1-2016 A new App on the Rock’s Barbary Macaque was launched in April by Gibraltar’s Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Dr. John Cortes. The initiative is part of the ongoing Macaque Awareness Programme spearheaded by the Dr. Cortes’ Department. The Gib Macaque App has been carefully designed in collaboration with the Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society (GONHS), the Gibraltar Veterinary Clinic and Monkey Talk Gibraltar. It provides ample information on one of Gibraltar’s flagship species such as the history of our Barbary Macaques, their ecology and behaviour as well as how people should behave around them to better co-exist.

One of the innovative features included in the app is the integration of an Augmented Reality Macaque Quiz. This feature allows users to learn about our macaques through play. Members of the public of all ages are encouraged to download the app and learn more about these fascinating animals, which are not only an asset, but also an inherent part of Gibraltarian culture.

The Gib Macaque App is currently available on Android from the Google Play store and will soon be available for iOS platforms from Apple’s App Store. For more info, visit the Department’s Thinking Green website (www.thinkinggreen.gov.gi) or the Thinking Green Gibraltar Facebook page.

Sanguinetti’s ‘Sleeping Dogs’ On Paperback

Sleeping Dogs Book CoverThe paperback edition of Thomas Mogford’s fourth in a series of Gibraltar-based Spike Sanguinetti thrillers ‘Sleeping Dogs’ has recently been published.

Thomas Mogford is the author of a series of crime novels that follow the life of a lawyer from Gibraltar called Spike Sanguinetti. The first book in the series, Shadow of the Rock, was one of the Spectator‘s ‘Books of the Year’, and was shortlisted for the CWA 2013 Dagger Award for best debut novel. Both the sequel, Sign of the Cross, and follow-up, Hollow Mountain, were shortlisted for Crimefest’s eDunnit award (in 2014 and 2015), while the fourth book, Sleeping Dogs, was chosen as one of the Guardian‘s ‘Best Holiday Reads’ of 2015. The fifth Spike Sanguinetti novel will be published by Bloomsbury in February 2017.

Tom explains: “Like many a man as the years go by, Spike has got himself a new ‘look’. Check him out in the link below as he showcases it for the new paperback of ‘Sleeping Dogs’. Spike Book 5 is due out in February 2017 (his life really gets turns upside down in that one)… And the first three Spike books have recently been optioned for TV. No guarantee they’ll ever get made, but nonetheless, all casting ideas gratefully received.”

 ‘Sleeping Dogs’

An old friend persuades Gibraltarian lawyer Spike Sanguinetti to take a well-earned rest on Corfu’s beautiful north-east coast. But when the bloodied body of a young Albanian is found and a local man accused of his murder, Spike reluctantly agrees to take the case. Beneath the island’s veneer of wealth and privilege Spike uncovers truths so damaging that those involved will go to any lengths to protect them. And when a vulnerable young woman disappears, Spike knows that there are some sleeping dogs he cannot let lie.

“One of the most enjoyable crime series of recent years.” JAKE KERRIDGE, SUNDAY EXPRESS

“Tremendous atmosphere, rich characterisation and ideally complex plotting.” WILLIAM BOYD, author of Any Human Heart, Restless and Sweet Caress

“Terrific. What Aurelio Zen was to Italy, Spike Sanguinetti could turn out to be for Gibraltar.” CHARLES CUMMING, author of The Trinity Six, A Foreign Country and A Colder War

“Evocative, engrossing and entertaining.” THE TIMES

“Recommended for holiday reading.” FRONT ROW, BBC RADIO 4

Spike Sanguinetti is a younger, sexier, unmarried but still sensitive version of Donna Leon’s Guido Brunetti, and his adventures may eventually attract a Leon-size audience.” BOOKLIST

Sleeping Dogs: A Spike Sanguinetti Mystery by Thomas Mogford (ISBN: 9781408846636) is available from Amazon’s Book Store. Free UK delivery on eligible orders.


Anna’s Inspiring Write-A-Thon Aims To Raise Money For Skin Cancer Research

Anna with her family Starting on Mother’s Day last March, 35 year old children’s author and mother of three Anna Bogie, has been posting a short poem or ditty a day, on her social media on the subject of Mother’s Mottos, Mantras & Mutterings. She aims to do so for a hundred days in order to raise money for skin cancer research.

Anna originally from Thorpe St Andrew near Norwich but now living in Gibraltar was inspired to raise money for skin cancer research after suffering from melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer. Anna explains, “My generation went on holiday to bake in the sun. The phrase ‘no pain, no gain’ was often used and getting burnt was quite normal – this means a huge number of us put ourselves at risk of getting skin cancer. It’s hugely important to me to raise awareness of sun safety as well as important funds for skin cancer research.”

Anna's Ditty 1Anna has chosen to raise money for the British Skin Foundation by taking on an unusual type of fundraising. “As a busy mum of three young children, it is very difficult to go out for long runs to train for a marathon but I didn’t want that to stop me from raising money for charity.”

Anna’s poems loosely follow the style of Senryu, a form of Japanese poetry with roughly 17 syllables in a 5,7,5 pattern. The aim of this write-a-thon is to make people smile by bringing a bit of light relief to everyone’s day but Anna doesn’t foresee it being an easy task, “sometimes getting through the day can feel like an endurance test and my free time is non-existent!”

Anna's Ditty 3If you’d like to support Anna’s 100 day write-a-thon challenge then please visit https://www.justgiving.com/it7-a-bogie-56d6c0574e379 to make a donation.

You can read the write-a-thon on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/abogieauthor
or on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/a.bogie

About The British Skin Foundation

The British Skin Foundation is the only UK charity dedicated to raising funds for skin disease and skin cancer research. There are eight million people living with a skin disease in the UK, some are manageable and others are severe enough to kill. Skin disease doesn’t just affect the skin. It can have a huge impact on a person’s day-to-day life, crush self-confidence, restrict movement, lead to depression and put a huge strain on families as well as personal relationships.

Their unwavering commitment to funding quality research means they won’t stop until they’ve found cures for common skin problems like eczema and acne through to potential killers like malignant melanoma. This year the British Skin Foundation turns 20 years old, giving out more than £10 million in grants to over 300 research projects since 1996.

For further information please contact: lisa@britishskinfoundation.org.uk

Ruth Parasol… Deeply Connected To Gibraltar

parasolfoundation logoIn the last ten years, she relocated herself from California to Gibraltar, moved the company PartyGaming Plc. she founded from Caribbean to Gibraltar, listed it on LSE for record highs, had three babies, merged the company with BWIN, endured several changes to management and the board, watched her stock in that company tumble few times over, set up her own private investment company, built a dream house, got divorced, navigated the demands of single-parent home while continuing to work and pursue her philanthropic goals through the Parasol Foundation Trust (formerly Bonita Trust) to which she recently added another £10m.

parasol-06Now on extended holiday in Herzilya Israel with a newborn, and a new investment fund, Ruth Parasol seems ready for a new chapter. But Gibraltar Productions reporter, José Luis Martínez, who interviewed her recently, was most keen to hear about what excites her most? Here are some of her surprising answers:

Did getting rich change things?

Yes and no. I grew up in California and wanted for nothing. My parents were successful immigrants who worked hard and gave us nice things, as teenagers we lived in a lovely home in an expensive neighbourhood. Money gives you tutors and extra medicine, a softer mattress, safer cars, but you are more of a target for jealousy and bad people with bad intentions. In the end, the problems and challenges are the same, it is only zeros and different kinds of issues.

Where do you consider home?

I have lived in a lot of places that are near and dear to me. I spent many years in the US prior to moving from California to Gibraltar in 2004 and was there full time until 2010. I have been spending some time in Israel since, which is where my father grew up. I went there after my marriage ended, to recharge and recover, to focus on the children away from work. I want to see more of the world – somewhere in Asia to live and work for a short while may be good at some point, there is so much happening over there. Meanwhile, I remain deeply connected to Gibraltar. It is my home and great a family place and it is where my private office, my foundation and my business operations are. I am building a new family home and new office at John Macintosh Square, the ex Ye Olde Rock building. It should be ready early next year and I am very excited about that.

Why did Bonita Trust change its name to the Parasol Foundation Trust?

I am planning to make additional contributions to the trust and have some more specific ideas about the types of projects I want the trust and me to be associated with, so it just seemed more appropriate to the trust donors and advisors that it carry my name, although I must admit it sounds somewhat too grand from my tongue — but will age into as they say.

What are your favourite philanthropic projects?

I want to do many more graduate-level and research scholarships, especially assisting disadvantaged women, but not exclusively women, in the areas of artificial intelligence and stem cell research. The subject matter fascinates me and I enjoy meeting the students to have dinner together and spend time together as an intellectual group. Teachers are fortunate in that way and so often the students are surprised to be meeting the person behind the curtains. They call themselves Parasol students which I find endearing.

Any new projects in Gibraltar?

Locally, our pet project is the Gibraltar World Music Festival which is a wonderful local event that blends musicians, cultures and religions from around the world and at same intertwines with the beauties of Gibraltar, with performances taking place on Main Street, the Caves and the Waterside. It is a very special kind of event, showcasing artists of all backgrounds and cultures (Muslim, Christian and Jewish), and involving most of Gibraltar’s dance academies. We continue to support the GHA, Gibraltar Philharmonic Society, the Med Steps and few others, but I am especially keen to support and watch this little Gibraltar event grow and grow in a way that is inclusive of mixed cultures and sounds.

What about business, are you active?

I am very active day to day with my private business which is separate and apart from the public company bwin.party, of which I am still one of the largest stakeholders, but have not been active since I left it to professional management after the IPO. Since then, I have been busy focusing on my children and diversifying my savings into real estate and financial funds. All very conservative, bread and butter type of things, nothing exciting in the start-up sense but still challenging and still interesting, keeps the mind thinking.

You are a new mother again?

Oh gosh yes. I know crazy, terrible threes at 50! It sounds worse than it is – Being 50 in a few years, not the terrible threes ahead. It’s a whole story by itself, I feel so lucky to have another baby. I love children. I was too busy before, too busy in business and work, now I have time to appreciate motherhood, to see the world differently than in big glass tower boardrooms. I feel sure it will continue to open my heart philanthropically and my mind creatively. Children are a different kind of marathon.

Is it difficult to juggle it all?

I don’t know, I just get up in the morning and get on with it. And I know that I am very very fortunate. Lucky so far ‘knock on wood.’ My 79 year old dad texted me recently “I just woke up”, followed by “that is the good news”.

Steel Pulse – Bringing the Rhythm to the Rock

low Steel PulseSteel Pulse brought Reggae to the Rock courtesy of Big Man Entertainment on Friday 18th July at the M.U.G.A/Victoria Stadium. The Kings of British Reggae hail from Handsworth in Birmingham and with 4 decades and 11 studio albums Gibraltar were about to meet some serious heavy weights.

Insight Magazine caught up with David “Dread” Hinds the day before the gig, his signature huge dread locks partly tucked into his hat and a big smile on his face ready to answer some questions. Spreading positivity through their roots reggae music is what the Legends have been doing throughout their successful career. As lead singer Dread said, what drives him to keep performing is “sharing the message of love and justice, to chant down ‘Babylon’ whilst turning negatives into positives”. When asked why he thinks people in small places such as Gibraltar listen to Reggae music he answered: “Reggae being music of racial harmony, coming together and unity means that small places like Gibraltar gravitate towards the music of the islands”. When asked what was next for Steel Pulse as they clearly show no signs of stopping, Dread answered, “As long as there are issues that need addressing, be them political, racial or about the problems we see happening in the world we will be writing and aiming to share our message”.

The time had come – a sweet summer night with the sun setting as the 8 members of Steel Pulse took to the stage for what was to become a straight 1.5 hours of roots reggae pure and true. A full length gig review will follow in the next edition of Insight.

The Pride stride

Gibraltar celebrates day of Equality with Gibraltar Pride Parade 2014The first ‘Summer Nights’ event of this year was held on Saturday 12th July, with the Rock’s first ever Gibraltar Pride Parade starting off events. Following the parade there was dance and music shows at Casemates Square.

The Gibraltar Pride Parade was very well supported as it went from the Piazza to Casemates Square. The event, organised by GGR and other equality rights movements on the Rock with the Government’s support, saw the participation of Miss Gibraltar and the newly crowned Mr Natural Gibraltar, and other personalities. At 8pm the colourful promenade marched up Main Street, while participants, men, women and children, on foot or wheels, waved rainbow Castle & Key flags.

At Casemates, the parade was welcomed by the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and his wife Justine, Liberal Party leader Dr. Joseph Garcia and his wife Penny, as well as the Minister for equal Opportunities Samantha Sacramento. Here the party started with the release of bright red, yellow, orange, green, blue and purple balloons and hundreds of revellers danced on the notes of Jonathan Sacramento’s live music. Yet another Sacramento, Henry, compered the Summer Nights’ opening show on stage, impeccably attired in a white suit, bowler hat and rainbow tie, and introduced several performing arts numbers, from belly dancing to an adorable Cat in the Hat.

Meanwhile, popular cabaret duo The Lola Boys roamed the square in rainbow feather-boas and pillar-box red patent leather stilettos, ending up featured in almost everyone’s ‘selfies’. Later on, their show at Dusk drew to a close the Pride weekend, launched by UK comedienne Francesca Martinez the night before at the Sunborn. Promoter Felix Alvarez must be proud indeed of the outcome of the event he’s been lobbying for a long time, and hopefully it will become a regular date in Gibraltar’s Summer Nights which will take place every Saturday and Thursday at Casemates during August.