“The Honourable Chief Minister has called a general election for Thursday 17th October, and it is, therefore, the right time for me to confirm, by way of a personal statement, my decision not to stand for re-election.
It is no secret to many, and to the persons who have asked me directly, that as far back as the 2015 election I had indicated to my very good friends and colleagues the Honourable the Chief Minister and the Honourable the Deputy Chief Minister that I would not put my name forward to the Liberal Party Executive for reselection in 2019.
Today, my family situation is that I have an intelligent, beautiful, and caring daughter who, at her tender age, understands when I cannot spend time with her because of my duties, and a wonderfully patient, supportive, and loving partner who has never quarrelled with me for putting first my service to our community.
Nonetheless, at forty years of age, having served as a Minister for eight years and having practised as a barrister for nine years, I stand at a personal cross-roads on where I next take my life. I have a strong sense that the time has come for me to prioritise my family and return to exercise the profession for which I studied.
I wish to thank all of the many committed, professional, and hard-working public servants with whom I have had the pleasure to serve. On having been responsible for several Ministries, I cannot name all of them but they know full well who they are and what we were able to achieve together for our community’s benefit.
I am grateful to my Ministerial colleagues for their friendship, support, and counsel, and I wish them all the very best in their endeavours whatever the future holds for them.
I wish to express my gratitude to the Liberal Party of Gibraltar for embracing me and for supporting me at every step of my political journey since I joined the Executive in 1999.
I also wish to thank, especially, my mother, Gladys, my partner, Arianne, and my little girl, April, for understanding the many times I said I would be there for family events, for some quality time, or for homework and I was not. I will be unable to satisfy my debt of gratitude to them for their unflinching understanding and encouragement. There is not a jot of exaggeration in plainly confessing that I was only able to give my Ministries such dedication due to their love, their care, and their support.
Further, I especially wish to place on the record my thanks to Fabian and to Joseph for their fulsome faith and trust in me. Had it not been for their trust, I would not have enjoyed the magnificent opportunity to serve my community in the areas of care and justice.
Given the times in which we live, I think I would be remiss not to single-out and highlight the Olympian efforts of Fabian and Joseph in leading Gibraltar through the staggering political convulsions in the mother of Parliaments. I, for one, as, I am sure, the entire community, feel extremely safe in their hands and confident that, whatever happens, they could not have done more. They are to be applauded for living out of suitcases for important stretches at any one time, and away from their loving families, to robustly represent our interests.
I am immensely proud to have formed part of the GSLP/Liberal political and government team, which I have personally witnessed work so incredibly hard for our all in our community.
A government that properly and faithfully serves its people and their best interests, selflessly, in good faith, and with determination, is an awesome force for good. I think that few will disagree that government really does come into its own in the spheres, amongst others, of health care, elderly care, and social care and in the realms of law and order and the dispensation of fair and equal justice under the rule of law. As a result, it has been an extraordinary honour for me to implement as many reforms as I have been able to deliver in the last three years and in my previous Ministerial responsibilities.
Gibraltar can be justly proud of having come a very long way to achieve and enjoy the present and highly enviable standard of living, including: free education, up to university programmes in some of the best world universities and entirely new and magnificent schools; free health services, including access to some of the best hospitals in the UK and in Spain and entirely new and excellent primary care facilities; and free elderly residential and day care services, including the new and fantastic Hillsides and Bella Vista specifically designed for our cherished elderly living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
I finish as I begun by saying that it has been a singular privilege and honour to serve my Gibraltar in my capacity as a Minister, which I will continue to do until the new government is sworn in. I sincerely hope that I have been able to add my own modest contribution to the betterment of our homeland.
Thank you, Gibraltar, for your trust and confidence.”
– Minister for Health, Care and Justice, Neil F Costa MP.