Curtly Richards

Curtly Richards has 324 articles published.

Adopt don’t Shop

in Animals & Pets

Please consider adopting one of these babies. They have been waiting a long time for a forever home.

Top of the Rock

in Features

It was a beautiful Sunday morning and a perfect one for the MH Bland Doing Good; Top of the Rock Walk in aid of Cancer Research UK and Stick it to Sarcoma (in memory of Joey Gabay).

Congratulations to everyone who made it to the Top and with a smile of their faces. A BIG thank you also to all the companies and organisations who supported the event in one way or another, with raffle prizes, supplies for the well-deserved Breakfast at the Mons Calpe Suite or making sure we all got to the top safely.

MH Bland are proud to have raised £2500 so far and ask the public to help raise more!

To donate please head over to MH Bland’s Just Giving Page: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mhblanddoinggood

Police Insight

in Features

RGP Family fun day raises
Thousands for Charity

Community Insight

in Community Insight

Royal Gun Salute

To mark Her Majesty The Queen’s 96th birthday, a 21-Royal Gun Salute was fired by the Royal Gibraltar Regiment at Grand Battery House.


Special Olympics Reception

His Worship the Mayor, Mr Christian Santos GMD hosted a reception for the athletes of the Special Olympics Gibraltar who will shortly be participating in The Special Olympics Malta Invitational Games.

15 athletes were selected to travel to Malta to compete in the Games amidst 550 athletes from 23 countries. They will be accompanied by National Director and Head of Delegation Annie Risso and the coaches of the four sports the Gibraltar athletes will compete in: swimming, athletics, bowling events and 5-a-side.

His Worship welcomed the athletes, coaches, the Executive Committee of Special Olympics Gibraltar, sponsors and guests to the Mayor’s Parlour. Also in attendance were the Minister for Equality, The Hon. Samantha Sacramento MP and Deputy Mayor Carmen Gomez, who joined His Worship in wishing the athletes the very best for the Malta Invitational Games.


Nico Goes back to school

GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition students at Bayside School were visited last week by Chef Patron Nico Fitzgerald, who demonstrated a number of high-skilled dishes. Nico is a London-based chef who was born and raised in Gibraltar. He recently reached the quarter finals in Masterchef: the Professionals and is currently in the process of opening his own restaurant in St Albans, Llanito by Nico Fitzgerald.

GCSE students work towards making 3 complex and layered dishes of this nature in just 3 hours at the end of their GCSE. Watching Nico cover some of the skills they have already been building and showing them how to put together attractively presented plates gives them the confidence that they can produce quality dishes at the end of the course.

This amazing opportunity saw Bayside’s Food Preparation and Nutrition GCSE students watch Nico make confit chicken leg and pan-fried chicken breast with spiced celeriac purée along with boulangère potatoes and charred tender stem broccoli, accompanied by a chicken and madeira jus and tarragon oil. This was followed by an apple tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream and raspberry fluid gel.

During the demonstration Nico asked the students questions and offered explanations to link the cooking methods to the theory they are developing in their GCSE. Students were fascinated by the multiple layers of skills and the level of preparation that goes into making these dishes in a restaurant. The different career pathways in this valuable profession and the possible routes they could take should they wish to gain experience in this field were explained.

Senior Teacher Analise Benitez said, “This was a really valuable opportunity for students to learn first-hand from a professional in the field. Thank you Nico – it not only looked stunning but we can honestly say it tasted absolutely amazing!”


AMBULANCE STAFF ACE TEST

The GHA’s Ambulance Service recently held an Emergency Response Driving test for their three new Ambulance Care Assistant members of staff; Mr Francis Vallejo, Ms Joely Borda and Ms Naomi Martinez.

Stuart Ryan, Chief Ambulance Officer (Ag) said, “I am absolutely delighted that Francis, Joely and Naomi have all successfully completed and passed their Emergency Response Driving Test.

I would like to thank our driving instructors Mr Paul Watson and Mr Charlie Noguera for their continuous efforts in making this possible.”


INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE MIDWIFE

The GHA marked the International Day of the Midwife with a stand in Cathedral Square that explores and celebrates the past, present and future of Midwifery. Director General Patrick Geoghegan also paid a visit.

Armed Forces

in Armed Forces

Easter Programme

Over Easter, children from the British Forces Community took part in an Easter Programme organised by the Community Support Team in Four Corners.

Twenty five children, aged between five and sixteen, attended the four day programme where they spent three days taking part in Easter Arts and Crafts and then an Easter Egg Hunt on the fourth day.

The Arts and Crafts days consisted of making Easter egg baskets, Easter nests made from rice crispy cakes, and bunny masks. The children also took part in an Easter inspired Zumba workout, some dancing, and played several board games.

On the last day, the children were treated to an Easter Egg hunt. They were each given a map of the Four Corners Estate with clues to where a letter was hidden. They had to find all nine letters and spell out the Easter themed word in order to get their Easter egg. This year’s word was Easter Fun.

Amy Alexander from the Community Support Team said, “We had great responses from both the children and their parents, who loved seeing the creations they brought home. We are already planning what we can do next year.”


GIBRALTAR & THE FALKLANDS

An exhibition to mark the 40th anniversary of the liberation of the Falkland Islands was opened by the Hon, the Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Joseph Garcia CMG MP.

The exhibition has been curated by the Archivist Anthony Pitaluga MBE and prepared by the Gibraltar National Archives. Its opening follows the unveiling of a commemorative plaque last week to honour Gibraltar’s role in the Falklands conflict.

Dr Garcia explained that the enduring and unbreakable bond between Gibraltar and the Falklands was cemented during the war to liberate the Islands. There were strong parallels between both places and many Gibraltarians saw their own situation reflected in the plight of the Falklands and defended their right to self-determination.

The conflict in the Falklands had a direct impact on Gibraltar at the time, with the reopening of the border delayed, and an Argentine military operation against the Rock thwarted. A very close relationship was maintained throughout the conflict and continued after the Islands were liberated on 14 June 1982.

The exhibition is made up 190 A1 PVC panels displaying 483 individual images, live testimonials from Falkland veterans, a collection of original memorabilia and a section of postage material relevant to the conflict are also on display. There is also an interactive research station where archival material from the UK National Archives and the Imperial War Museum can be viewed.


CHARITY BAKE SALE

The Princess Royal Medical Centre and Joint Admin Office recently held a charity bake sale to raise money for Gibraltar Hearing Issues and Tinnitus Association (GHITA).

Members of staff from the PRMC and JAO took turns to bake cakes with the aim of raising money for this charity. A variety of cakes were on sale including a spiderman themed cake, cheesecakes, spiced buns and a chocolate, raspberry & aubergine cake.

Mr Edgar A Triay from GHITA was invited to the PRMC for a formal presentation where donations totalling £86.10 were handed over to help toward this cause.a

RAF Medic, Cpl Josh Satterley, from the PRMC said, “The PRMC hopes to establish a good working relationship with GHITA in the future. We are also currently looking to train some of our medics in sign language.”

OFT Codes of conduct for RETAIL

in Features

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has recently issued a Code of Conduct for the Retail Sector. It is hoped that the code will be a practical guide for businesses and consumers alike in relation to any disputes arising from the purchase of goods locally.

While most retailers in Gibraltar adhere to the core principles already, it has been established in order to level the playing field and make the retail experience on the Rock more consistent. The OFT has also listened to shoppers in forming part of the code, especially concerning the areas which attract the most complaints.

The OFT is committed to preventing business practices which cause harm to consumer interests. It will therefore investigate any unreasonable departure by a retailer from the best practice guidance set out in the code and this may, where appropriate, lead to further action.

Whereas the code is aimed at businesses, the OFT also encourages consumers to become acquainted with the code as in order to be more empowered. Practically, this means more information about their rights and the industry best-practices they should expect when parting with hard-earned Pounds. 

Some of the main topics covered by the code are:

• pricing; 

• shop notices; 

• faulty goods;

• credit notes and vouchers;

• goods on sale;

• the sale of toys;

• deposits

• guarantees

Some of the most practical parts of the codes are as follows:


• all goods on display, whether inside a shop, in display cabinets or shop windows, should have their prices clearly displayed in Pounds Sterling

• retail policies should be communicated to consumers and be clearly displayed in the premise

• any goods sold must conform with the contract of sale and must be: 

• as described

• fit for the purpose sold

• of satisfactory quality

• if goods are faulty within six months from purchase, there is a presumption they were faulty at delivery and it is for the trader to prove otherwise

• goods that become faulty within 30 days from purchase or delivery can be rejected by the consumer who can claim for a full refund of the total cost of the goods

• refunds due must be effected within 14 days

• a signed document with appropriate recorded data should be issued to consumers that hand in faulty goods for repair

• where refunds are due to consumers, a credit note or voucher should not be offered in lieu of a refund unless the consumer prefers this;

• toys should bear the CE or UKCA safety marking on them or their packaging

• information relating to sales or promotions should not mislead, deceive or take advantage of consumers

• when a deposit is taken, a receipt must be issued with terms and conditions and relevant information pertaining to it

• any guarantees should come with written terms and information on jurisdictional applicability should be provided

The full text of the code of conduct is accessible from oft.gov.gi/documents/codes-of-conduct
Anyone interested in receiving further information on the codes or any other consumer related matter can contact the OFT’s Consumer Protection Team on 20071700 or consumer.protection@gibraltar.gov.gi
You can also follow the OFT on social media.

Business Insight

in Business Insight

Virgin Voyages Drops Anchor

New cruise company Virgin Voyages’ Valiant Lady has made an inaugural call to Gibraltar. She will be calling in at the Port 5 times this year.

Minister for Tourism, the Hon Vijay Daryanani MP, had been in conversation with Virgin Voyages in the lead up to the visit, with the pandemic delaying the start.

The vessel was greeted by a water salute on its arrival to the Gibraltar Port and departed later on that day to its next port of call in Malaga.

With 110,000 gross tonnage and measuring 278 metres long, this adult only cruise ship has a maximum capacity of 2,860 passengers across its 17 decks. On this occasion, the Valiant Lady carried 753 passengers and 1086 crew.

Minister Daryanani was invited on board the ship by Captain Aris Medina Morales where they both engaged in the traditional exchange of plaque ceremony.

Minister for Tourism, Vijay Daryanani, commented, “As always, this is great news for Gibraltar PLC. It is important that we attract the new cruise companies to our port. We have been working very hard for this to happen and hopefully there will be more new companies to follow.

Virgin Voyages is an exciting entrant to the cruise market and are already making positive news so we are delighted that they will be calling at our port this year. I met with them last month in Miami and we look forward to building a fruitful relationship with them for the benefit of all”.


Chamber’s vat red line

Gibraltar’s Chamber of Commerce has reiterated its profound opposition to any introduction of VAT as part of any Brexit Treaty.

Recently-elected Chamber President Mr. John Isola responded to a question on the possible introduction of VAT in Gibraltar during an interview on the GBC, in the context of the ongoing discussions between the UK, on behalf of Gibraltar and the EU.

The Chamber’s position on the introduction of VAT in Gibraltar remains unchanged. The introduction of VAT is a red line for the Chamber as it would not be in Gibraltar’s interests and would make the economy less competitive. This follows wide consultation with the Chamber’s members in the sectors that would be affected by such a move.

In his GBC interview, the Chamber President highlighted the need for local businesses to be flexible in general terms for the good of the economy and the community overall; but this would be in the context of, and depend upon, what the terms of any treaty might be.


easyJet Dispels Stereotypes

Gibraltar stalwart easyJet has launched a new recruitment campaign which sees children re-enact scenes from classic 80’s film Top Gun, in a bid to dispel stereotypes around aviation jobs.

The parody promo aims to tackle prevailing gender stereotypes of pilots, with lead roles Maverick and Goose played by seven year-old Rei Diec and nine year-old Olivia Joohee-Ridington.

The campaign is part of the airline’s nextGen easyJet commitment to championing greater diversity and inclusivity.

easyJet has launched a Europe-wide campaign to tackle job stereotypes and inspire more young people to consider a career in aviation, including encouraging more girls to become pilots.

Shot at London Luton Airport, with a cast of children of easyJet staff aged between seven and 12, the film recreated some of Top Gun’s most iconic moments, including Tom Cruise’s motorbike scene, the classroom, and the infamous ‘It’s time to buzz the tower’ scene.

Community Insight

in Community Insight

Mayor’s Awards Ceremony

The annual Mayor’s Awards Ceremony was held on 5th April 2022. The Chief Minister, The Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP attended the Ceremony held at the Mayor’s Parlour in City Hall.

Following nominations from members of the public and endorsed by the Awards Board, His Worship the Mayor, Mr Christian Santos GMD, conferred fifteen Mayor’s Awards to worthy recipients.

Well done everyone.


ROYAL VISIT TO THE ROCK. 

His Excellency The Governor Sir David Steel has welcomed the announcement that The Earl and Countess of Wessex will visit Gibraltar 7-9 June.

The Governor said, “The visit in Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year is a reminder of the unbreakable bond between the UK and Gibraltar. I look forward to receiving Their Royal Highnesses. They will be warmly welcomed.”


LATERAL FLOW TESTS

HM Government of Gibraltar has announced that COVID-19 Lateral Flow Tests will be made more widely available in Gibraltar and will provide people with greater options for self-testing.

ved by the Director of Public Health will be able to be imported into Gibraltar and sold in pharmacies and other retail shops. It is, however, important to note that only tests that appear on the Director of Public Health’s list of approved lateral flow tests and which can be found on the Public Health Website, will be allowed to be imported.

Members of the public are urged to share details of their lateral flow test result, whether negative or positive, using the online form setup by Public Health.

It will enable the Health Protection team to continue to identify outbreaks in vulnerable settings and implement control measures to prevent further spread.


Gibraltar Then & Now 

A book by Robert Santos focusing on Gibraltar’s landscape and streetscapes and how these have changed over the years is due to be launched in May. The initiative supported by Gibraltar Cultural Services will raise funds for the Prostate Cancer Gibraltar Charity. The retired senior civil servant explains his original interest was piqued during his time working in the Building Control Section. Since, he has been posting photographic comparisons of different areas of Gibraltar online over the years and was inspired to write the book after support and encouragement.

This illustrated book is divided into sections covering the entire territory of Gibraltar with a complete chapter on Main Street. Another section focuses on the bygone bars, restaurants and nightclubs of the Rock which are part of our social history.

Robert has researched historical landmarks and elaborated on them to generate interest and includes curious historical facts which he has discovered during this process. The author believes some of the anecdotal content will surprise some people and amuse others, with some “Yanito” terms included.

The book will be available for purchase as from Wednesday 11th May from the John Mackintosh Hall Reception, and the Gibraltar National Museum priced at twenty pounds.

To pre-order a copy call 20075669 or email jmhreception@culture.gov.gi

Certificate of Fitness

in Features

Gibraltar has an ever-strengthening property market with more and more individuals taking a bite at the property development cherry – something which was once considered to be only Government or wealthy investors’ territory. 

This interest is more than likely due to the high real estate prices we are experiencing in Gibraltar; individuals finding themselves unable to afford even the first step onto the property ladder, and, as a result, becoming more commonplace for individuals to take on development and renovation projects themselves. Gibraltar’s old town is a perfect example of this, albeit not the only area of Gibraltar experiencing such development. It is also increasingly popular for property owners to re-model their current properties to maximise the value of their property before selling, allowing them to upgrade to a larger or better located home for their needs.  

In both instances, structural work is highly likely to be undertaken and there are many important steps to follow when doing so. 

Permits 

There appears to be a wide misconception amongst the general public that permission from the Development and Planning Committee (DPC) is the be all or end all.  In fact, different building works require different planning applications and different permits.  

Building Control is part of The Department of Town Planning and Building Control but works independently of the Town Planning Section in undertaking this function.

Both sections work under different Acts:

Planning: Town Planning Act 2018

Building Control:
Public Health Act 1954 Sections 44 to 55.

The primary function of the Building Control service is to protect people’s health and safety in the built environment and issue the requisite Certificate of Fitness for completed compliant works in accordance with The Public Health Act Section 55.

Before undertaking any house renovation or development works, owners need to obtain the necessary and relevant planning permits.  These are:


Building Control (for any internal layout alterations which would include the replacing of Fire Doors with non-compliant ones and structural works);


Town Planning AND Building Control (for any works involving the external works of the property / change of use / structural and alterations of the internal layout of the premises, which would include the replacing of Fire Doors);

Notwithstanding the above requirements the Management Company is required to be advised of the proposed works as it may be required by the terms of the lease.

Once works applied for, permissions issued and are satisfactorily completed, a Certificate of Fitness is issued.

Many properties contain restrictions within the lease stating that consent from the management company is required if making alterations to the property. This means that despite a planning or building application being approved by DPC / Building Control, the management company could reject or prevent works being undertaken as doing such works could be a breach of the lease.  

The onus is always on the owner/developer to obtain the required permits and to ensure the building is safe, however Building Control ensures that the new build is structurally sound and compliant with relevant Parts of the Building Rules in order to be occupiable.

The following require an application to be submitted:

Internal alterations

• Removal of original Fire Doors

• Alterations to the Fire Alarm System

• Alterations to the Electrical installation


Removal / alteration of partitions – alteration to flats / house layout / commercial units / offices


Removal / alteration of load bearing walls – alterations to flats / house layout / commercial units / offices


Installation of air conditioning units and associated works

In the event that the owner proceeds with such works without the management company consent, problems could potentially arise when looking to sell the property.  Where there is a management company, the management company has to approve the sale of the property.  In the event that works have been undertaken without the authorisation of the management company, such approval may not be granted meaning that the sale of the property would not be approved.  It is therefore strongly recommended that the owner always seeks approval from their management company. 

Certificate of Fitness 

The Certificate of Fitness is a crucial document issued by Building Control when structural changes have been completed on a property. If there has not been a certificate issued when the owner comes to sell, the property may be considered “non-compliant”. Correcting this can cause significant delays and substantial cost to the sale of the property.

Non-compliant properties 

There are frequent cases where we have dealt with non-compliant properties, mostly being properties which have undergone building works without the proper permits.  Common examples of these are where walls have been knocked down to maximise space e.g. maybe the partition walls between the kitchen, living room and hall wall have been removed to make an apartment open plan, or even just one wall or corridor has been removed to, say, increase the size of a bedroom. 

If, when doing so, the proper permits are not obtained, the property may be non-compliant. When selling the property, the owners will need to produce a certificate of fitness and, should the necessary permits not have been granted, Building Control will be unable to issue such certificate. In this instance: 


Best case scenario
: a substantial delay whilst the owner retrospectively applies for planning permission, however, this will only be granted if the property complies with all building and safety regulations.  Once retrospective permission is obtained and the property inspected a certificate of fitness would then be issued. 


Worst case scenario: if the property is found to be non-compliant, the property owner will be required to undertake further building works, to make the property compliant, such as replacing the walls that have been removed, or replacing fire doors if these had been removed. 

In some instances, the purchaser may agree to take on the responsibility to apply for retrospective planning permission or to undertake the works required him/herself and often a lower purchase price is agreed in order to cover this expense.   

Banks and Borrowing 

Another major blocker is that banks will generally not lend on a property unless there is a certificate of fitness in place.  In some cases, if there is no certificate of fitness, banks may agree to lend on the condition that the purchaser provides an undertaking to the bank that he/she will undertake the building works required.  The bank usually requests that this is done within 3 months of completion of the purchase of the property. Depending on the extent of building works and complexities involved, the time in which a certificate of fitness is obtained could be 3 months. 

It is therefore very important that owners seek the proper permits before undertaking the initial building works to ensure that upon completion of works the certificate of fitness will be issued and that any additional costs or delays are avoided when it comes to selling. 

Sold Out Marina Club

in Features

Celebrates Topping Out Ceremony Despite Stormy Weather

The Marina Club Gibraltar, the latest waterfront residential development by Fairhomes, celebrated its successful structural completion on Friday the 25th of March with what is known as a “Topping Out Ceremony”.

A Topping Out Ceremony is a tradition in which the last structural beam is placed on a development, an important milestone for any construction, and symbolises positive endeavours, good luck for future occupants and continued growth.

The Marina Club is already a roaring success, with all units now sold out, and forms part of a wider expansion of the facilities within Marina Bay and Ocean Village, including additional Superyacht Berths which are designed to attract even more of the world’s most breath-taking vessels to Gibraltar’s vibrant marina community.

In attendance was His Excellency the Governor, Vice Admiral Sir David Steel, and the Honourable Chief Minister Fabian Picardo QC MP.

Despite the stormy weather and the heavy red sand “Calima” the day before, the ceremony drew a crowd of around 100 guests. Cava and a variety of canapes were on the menu, with a delightful cake depicting the Marina Club five separate three-storey buildings, painted in pastel colours, complete with swimming pools and Jacuzzis.

Hernan Amadeo D’Adamo, Marina Club PMO Director said: “We can proudly affirm we constitute the only full spectrum property development company in Gibraltar.

The construction expertise of our Project Management Organisation’s professional team of 8 engineers and architects ensured that this large project family of local designers, marine operators, contractors, and international specialists worked effectively and safely together to successfully complete this challenging project stage, developing local marine construction capabilities putting a strong focus on the local environment, residents, and local businesses.”

Hernan continued: “Finally, my thanks again to all who have been and are involved in the creation of this new development and we hope that once the massive advantages, of this more environmentally friendly approach, of building over the sea are appreciated, then Gibraltar will in the future, build over the sea, for the benefit of Gibraltar.”

The exciting Marina Club project consists of 144 waterfront rental apartments, comprising over 10,000 square metres of residential space in five detached three-storey buildings, finding itself just a two-minute walk away from World Trade Center Gibraltar, the most globally connected office building in the region.

The project is only a ten-minute walk to the Gibraltar International Airport and the frontier with Spain and is planned to be completed by the end of May 2023.

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