GOVERNOR of Gibraltar Sir David Steel reflected on ‘the huge privilege’ it had been to represent the ruling monarchs on the Rock in his last Christmas message.
As the governor who bade farewell to Queen Elizabeth II and welcomed the incoming King Charles III, Steel remarked that ‘there is so much good about life in Gibraltar’.
He highlighted his visit to the Pope with Chief Minister Fabian Picardo as ‘truly memorable’.
“Pope Francis listened intently to the Chief Minister and me describe life in Gibraltar – its multi-faith, multi-ethnic, cosmopolitan society, a community of communities living in harmony with each other,” Steel said of the Papal visit.
In a speech to the general public he praised the ‘entrepreneurial’ business community, religious respect, the ‘finest’ medical services, education system, emergency services and charities.
“There is, indeed, so much good about life in Gibraltar, that difficulties and relatively small issues just sometimes dominate our minds,” the governor said.
But he singled out social media for criticism, branding it ‘a triumph of misplaced or misjudged anger that is deeply upsetting’.
“At a time of great anxiety in the world, perhaps it is time not to speak or to Tweet but just to listen, and to reflect on how best to serve our community rather than wantonly criticising aspects of it,” he stated.
Despite that, he said he felt ‘very lucky’ to live in a community of ‘like-minded and thoughtful people’ like Gibraltar.
Finally, Steel said he was ‘grateful’ to those who made him feel at home for the last three and a half years.
As is standard for Gibraltar governors, a new governor will be replace the Navy man next year after he ends his four-year term.
His words were echoed by King Charles III who said that ‘service also lies at the heart of the Christmas story’ in his own festive message.
“Throughout the year, my family have witnessed how people of all ages are making a difference to their communities,” the British monarch said.
“This is all the more important at a time of real hardship for many, when we need to build on existing ways to support others less fortunate than ourselves.”
The king relayed the need ‘to protect our natural world as the one home we all share’ in his deeply religious message.