The Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia has said that the Government will continue to improve commercial, educational and political links between Gibraltar and the United States of America. Dr Garcia was speaking at a welcome breakfast organised by the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) this morning for interns from Gibraltar who served in short-term placements in Washington last year. The Minister for Education Professor John Cortes was also present given that the scheme is administered through the Department of Education.
One hundred young graduates from Gibraltar have had the benefit of working as interns in Washington since the scheme was established in 2013. These interns spend 15 weeks gaining experience in a variety of private sector companies and public sector organisations in the US. Some have served with Members of the US Congress or in the office of the Mayor of New York.
This morning, AMCHAM hosted a working breakfast to celebrate the fact that exactly 100 interns have now passed through the scheme, in conjunction with the Washington Centre. In welcoming back to Gibraltar a group of the most recent interns to complete the internship, the President of AMCHAM, James Lasry told them that, ‘This was a Government idea but it was one that AMCHAM fully supported.’ He also told the interns that ‘We in AMCHAM are very proud of you and all that you have achieved in enhancing Gibraltar’s business and cultural links with the USA.’ He also reminded the group of President Kennedy’s famous quote, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.’
The Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Joseph Garcia, pointed out that the scheme has been most useful, not only to contribute to the intern’s personal development but also to promote Gibraltar’s profile in the USA. ‘The scheme has also provided Gibraltar with important commercial links,’ he added. ‘You should be aware that the Government has received very positive feedback after each group’s visit.’ Dr Garcia went through the historic connection between Gibraltar and the United States through two World Wars and he made the point that the first engagement of the US Navy outside their shores took place from Gibraltar against the Barbary pirates in the early nineteenth century. The Deputy Chief Minister also pointed out the little-known fact that, during World War 1, the US Navy had based some 40 ships and 4,000 servicemen in Gibraltar and that, in thanks, for Gibraltar’s contribution to the American war effort, in 1932 the US Government paid for the construction of the American War Memorial on Line Wall Road. He also described the backing that the Rock has received from a number of US Congressmen across the political divide
Dr Garcia ended his address by thanking the interns for their interest in the internship scheme and for their positive contribution.