Curtly Richards

Curtly Richards has 275 articles published.

Horoscope November

in Features

ARIES (Mar 21 – Apr 20)

If you’ve been feeling a bit confused recently, Aries, I think it’s safe to say there’s a lot of it around. It is important to stay centred and deal with only one thing at a time. This will help the fog to clear. 

TAURUS Apr 21 – May 21) 

You may find yourself dealing with unexpected expenses or even debts this month, Taurus. Don’t panic… just take a deep breath and allow any fears to subside. It’ll all be fine when you look at in a new light. 

GEMINI (May 22 – Jun 22) 

A long overdue visit to someone special is going to present itself, Gemini, so make sure you don’t leave it to long to say yes!  Sharing time and hugs with those we love is more important now than ever.   Its good for us in every way possible. 

CANCER (Jun 23 – Jul 22)

You seem to have been dealing with quite a lot of turmoil around you, Cancer, but the good news is that it is definitely passing. There have been times when you have been feeling completely overloaded but you are a strong and wiry wee crab and you are almost there. 

LEO (Jul 23 – Aug 23) 

A younger person will be looking to you for guidance and support this month, Leo. You may, however, need to be super sensitive as they may not know quite how to ask. Be gentle… it will be appreciated.

VIRGO (Aug 24 – Sep 23)

Frustrations may mount in certain areas of your life this month, Virgo and may cause you some anxiety in the process.  Breathe through them as is simply your monkey mind trying to mess with your head!  

LIBRA (Sep 24 – Oct 23) 

Inner strength will be called for this month, Libra, and this will be a great reminder to you as to just how powerful you are. In fact, once you realise this, you will feel wrapped in a sense of calm and certainty. Hold onto this as it is very special.  

SCORPIO (Oct 24 – Nov 22) 

Watch your words this month, Scorpio, or you may unwittingly upset someone. People are generally feeling a little sensitive these days and some, in particular, more sensitive than others!!

SAGITTARIUS (Nov 23 – Dec 21) 

Upset tummies and strange aches and pains may well be giving you grief at this time, Sagittarius.  If they persist then take some time to identify which areas of your life are causing your stress.  You’ll find that taking steps to relieve the stress will make a big difference. 

CAPRICORN (Dec 22 – Jan 20) 

Mixed emotions can cause mixed communications, Capricorn, and no matter how mush you try to explain yourself to someone it just won’t work!   So don’t even try… Instead send loving thoughts and kind words and let the Universe take care of the details.  

 AQUARIUS (Jan 21 – Feb 19) 

A niggling health worry is better to be looked into than looked over, Aquarius. In the unlikely event that it is serious then all the better to find out quickly. Then you are free to follow through on all your other plans and projects with an easy mind. 

PISCES (Feb 20 – Mar 20) 

Helping friends in need is a very satisfying thing to do, Pisces. And something you do so well.  Remember, also that ‘helping’ takes many forms and no one form is better than any other. Each time we help, in any way, we are paying the energy forward and everybody wins.

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.

The Road to Recognition for Gibraltar Nurses

in Book Review

Dr. Margaret Williams Book Launch

At the official launch of her book ‘The Road to Recognition: Nurse Education in Gibraltar 1816-2006’ at the Garrison Library in October hosted by the Hon. Dr. John Cortes MP, former Gibraltar Health Authority Nurse Tutor Dr. Margaret Williams told Insight that the book took twelve years to compile. “I had to go to England for cancer treatment and didn’t take any material with me,” she says. “I also had a couple of strokes so it took quite a long time to research. I obtained some of the information in the Garrison Library as well as in the archives and I was also fortunate to have been given or loaned documentation by some ex-Matrons.”

Dr. Williams has a long history of involvement in nursing, nurse education, nurse management research, curriculum design and validation processes. She was appointed to the GHA in March 1999 as Education Development Officer to work in conjunction with Sheffield and North Trent College of Nursing and Midwifery to design a pre-registration nurse training programme that could be validated at the level of Diploma of Nursing and she has also recently been appointed as a Research Associate at the University of Gibraltar.

The book tracks the history of nurse education in Gibraltar from 1816 when St. Bernard’s Hospital was built. “It has taken over 205 years to actually gain the recognition for nurse training in Gibraltar,” Dr. Williams explains.

“I was employed as an Education Development Officer to write a programme that could be validated at Diploma level with a British university because up until then there hadn’t been any recognition of Gibraltar training.”

“In 2005 I was asked to answer a couple of questions that had been sent from Britain in relation to nurse training and when I started looking back through the history I was absolutely fascinated,” she says, going on to state that although the book is mainly about nurse education it is intertwined along with social history and education and it covers a lot of different aspects of life in Gibraltar.

According to Dr. Williams, one of the major changes in nurse training today is that nurses have become research based. “That came with the introduction of the Diploma in nursing in 2000,” she says. “I was then moved across to post-registration training because unless you have educated nurses in the wards, supporting learner nurses is no good – so an awful lot of development went on with the nurses already in employment.”

Asked if Gibraltar now has the same standard of nurse training as in the UK, Dr. Williams stated that it is getting that way. “When we gained accreditation from the UK we were actually linked with Sheffield University but they were absorbed into the Northern Region and they lost their validating power,” she says.  Gibraltar then sent out invitations for other universities to accredit nurse training so the registered nurses who come out of training now are at degree level.

The book, available at the Gibraltar Heritage Trust and at the Garrison Library, has been meticulously researched by Dr. Margaret Williams and would make a great Christmas present for those commencing their nurse training, for nurses and practitioners in the medical profession or, as Dr. Williams says, for ordinary people from Gibraltar that are interested in its social history.

Armed Forces

in Armed Forces

BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR REMEMBRANCE

Members of the Royal Navy currently serving in Gibraltar gathered in the Trafalgar Cemetery to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar.

The service was attended by Commander British Forces, Commodore Steve Dainton, His Excellency the Governor, Vice Admiral Sir David Steel, and the Deputy Chief Minister, Joseph Garcia.

The Battle of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805, was a naval engagement between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French and Spanish Navies during the War of the Third Coalition.

Commander Hawkins, Royal Navy, and Commanding Officer Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron Lowe placed wreaths on the graves of those who died as a result of the Battle.


Hundreds of people gathered in Casemates Square to watch the Ceremony of The Keys.

Hundreds of people gathered in Casemates Square to watch the Ceremony of The Keys.

The Commander of British Forces Gibraltar, Commodore Steve Dainton, His Excellency the Governor, Vice Admiral Sir David Steel and Chief of Staff, Col Robert Lindsay were all present for the event.

The ceremony, which now takes place twice a year, is a reminder that each evening during the Great Siege the Fortress was locked and platoons were posted outside the walls on the North Front of the Rock to act as sentries.

The crowd was also entertained with music from the Royal Gibraltar Band & Corps of Drums and the visiting Nottinghamshire Band of The Royal Engineers.

Police Insight

in Features

Restart a Heart

A number of RGP officers and support staff donned their favourite football shirts to raise awareness and funds for the Gibraltar Cardiac Association’s Restart A Heart Day.

The idea behind the event is to help raise awareness of CPR and
defibrillators.

In addition, £35 was raised for the charity through donations from those wearing the shirts.


Multi-Agency Safety

Three RGP officers have been learning the ropes during a multi-agency safety at sea course this week.

PCs Jotham Olivero, Mark Penalver and Kasmira Kingsley have now taken their first step to joining the RGP’s Marine Section, by completing the Standards of Training, Certification and Watch Keeping course at Gibraltar University.

They joined colleagues from the Department of the Environment and HM Customs.

Business Insight

in Business Insight

Gibraltar Insurance Conference

Minister Isola gave the welcome address at an insurance conference held in Gibraltar Finance’s offices early this month, called “The future of road transport; an insurance perspective”.

The conference was co-hosted by Gibraltar Finance, the Gibraltar Insurance Association and UK law firm Weightmans LLP and attended by around 100 insurance professionals.

The keynote speaker was Edmondo Orlotti, a director at Hewlett Packard Enterprises based in Milan, who spoke about artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles and their impact on motor insurance. London barrister, James Todd QC, presented on how the introduction of autonomous vehicles will start to impact motor insurance liability claims – and who will be liable.

Albert Isola MP, Gibraltar’s Minister for Digital and Financial Services noted, “We have seen how the introduction of new technology within the motor industry in recent years has started to transform both motor vehicles and the driving experience with a range of safety features such as automatic emergency braking and stability controls systems being implemented. The development of autonomous vehicles is well advanced but we were told today that it will probably be at least ten years before their mass adoption. This is a topic of great interest and importance to Gibraltar’s motor insurance sector and we welcomed the opportunity to co-host today’s conference.

“The conference also covered e-mobility and the rapid increase in the number of e-Scooters worldwide. HM Government of Gibraltar published a Command Paper on e-Scooters in 2020. New legislation is expected shortly to provide a legal framework to ensure this new method of transport, which is well suited to a small country like Gibraltar, develops as safely as possible for all road users.”

Elaine Chapman, Partner at Weightmans LLP and Conference Chair added, “It was a privilege and a pleasure to co-host the event today in conjunction with Gibraltar Finance and the Gibraltar Insurance Association. We look forward to working with insurers and others in relation to the issues and challenges discussed today, and helping them through what will be the biggest revolution in motor insurance in many years.”


PASSPORT STAMPING

HMGoG will reportedly continue to raise the passport stamping of blue Gibraltar Civilian Registration Card holders at the Frontier. It has already made clear in public that it is not satisfied with the situation and that it would like to see a resolution of this matter.

The default position on Gibraltar’s departure from the European Union and the end of the transition was the stamping of all UK passports, in line with the requirements of the Schengen Border Code. This means the stamping of all passports both on the way in, and again on the way out. This is in order to keep count of the 90 in 180 day visa-free entitlement period in Schengen for UK passport holders.

As part of the measures in place while a new treaty on the future relationship of Gibraltar with the EU is concluded, Spain unilaterally volunteered that they would not stamp the passports of those who hold a red Gibraltar identity card or a blue Gibraltar Civilian Registration card.

However, following new procedures governing the entry of EU nationals into the United Kingdom itself, the passports of the holders of blue civilian registration cards started to be stamped at the border on entry to and exit from Schengen. Given what the default position actually is, it is clear that this limits what the United Kingdom or Gibraltar can actually do.

The stamping of all UK passports in and out of the Schengen Area would also be the default position in the event of no agreement on the future relationship of Gibraltar with the EU.

In other words, what is happening now to blue civilian registration card holders will happen to all Gibraltar residents and Gibraltarians, regardless of status and colour of ID or Civilian Registration Cards.


 World Travel Market

Gibraltar exhibited at the World Travel Market (WTM) that took place in London between the 1st and 3rd of November.

WTM is the leading global conference for the international travel industry and is an excellent opportunity for tourism representatives to meet and conduct business.

Gibraltar had a stand which showcased the Rock’s tourism product and was also used to springboard meetings with industry executives during the event. The stand was managed by Tracey Poggio of the London Office.

Speaking before the event, Minister for Tourism, the Hon Vijay Daryanani MP said, “I look forward to attending WTM. Our presence at this conference highlights the importance the Government gives to Tourism. I have a list of people who want to meet with me and discuss business possibilities, this shows the interest that exists in our jurisdiction.

We have had a good summer with overnight visitors from the U.K. and I want this to be the norm. I want our hotels to be full every summer. We will continue working with the airlines to increase capacity and hopefully look at new routes. As we come out of the pandemic, Gibraltar has to be proactive in selling the destination. This industry is extremely competitive. It needs to be continuously reminded of Gibraltar and what we have to offer, more so in the U.K.”

Community Insight

in Community Insight

Lest We Forget

This ten metre veil, adorned with almost 5000 poppies, was created by members of the Arts and Crafts Association with help from residents of Mount Alvernia, Knit Gibraltar and other members of the public during lockdown.

His Worship the Mayor was extremely pleased to see this beautiful and creative tribute to the fallen, take pride of place at City Hall for all the community to see.

Minister for Culture John Cortes met with Chenille Brown, together with her Dance Teachers from The Showdance Company to congratulate her on her recent success abroad.

Chenille, who had come fourth in the International Dance Organisation European Jazz Championships, won representation at the prestigious Sussex Festival of Dance at this year’s Gibraltar International Dance Festival. She competed in the Sussex Festival recently and was placed 2nd in the Contemporary division and 4th in the Modern section.

The Minister, Chenille and the Showdance team discussed various aspects of Dance in Gibraltar, remarking on how successful dancers from Gibraltar have been at competitions, and professionally, abroad, and on the large number of young people who take part in the performing arts in Gibraltar.

The Minister wished Chenille, currently studying A levels at Westside, well for the future and success in pursuing Dance as a career.


Calpe House London Visit

His Worship the Mayor, Mr Christian Santos GMD was delighted to accept an invitation by Albert Poggio and the trustees of The Calpe House Charitable Trust to visit Calpe House in Norfolk Square, London.

His Worship had the opportunity to meet the staff and trustees, the people who work tirelessly to ensure this building lives up its motto of being ‘home from home’ for patients requiring medical treatment in the UK and their escorts.

He met current guests of the House and prepared a meal with them. An avid cook and host himself, His Worship can fully appreciate the importance of sitting around a table with friendly faces, especially at times when a family member or friend is not feeling their best.

For more information, please contact
mayor@gibraltar.gov.gi or call 200 47592.


48th Gibraltar International Art Exhibition 

The Gibraltar International Art Exhibition organised by Gibraltar Cultural Services, on behalf of the Ministry of Culture is being held at the Gustavo Bacarisas Gallery.

Artists from Gibraltar, Spain and Romania submitted a total of one hundred and twenty-eight works.

The Minister for Education and Culture, the Environment, Sustainability, Climate Change, Heritage and Public Health, The Hon Prof. John Cortes MBE JP MP officially opened the Exhibition and presented the awards on Tuesday 2nd November 2021. Mr John Maine RA RWA, a Royal Academician from the United Kingdom, carried out the adjudication.

The Prize winners included:

The Gustavo Bacarisas Prize

1st Prize Karl Ullger ‘Forgotten Patio’

The Jacobo Azagury Prize

2nd Prize Monica Popham ‘Blue Light’

The Leni Mifsud Prize

3rd Prize Cristina Lopez Ramirez ‘Carrusel’

The Rudesindo Mannia Prize

Best Gibraltar Theme Ronald Gingell ‘Majestic Rock’

The Mario Finlayson Prize

Best Young Artist Tyrone Anthony Vera ‘Disconnection’



HC CANCER CENTER WEAPONS AGAINST BREAST CANCER

in Features

October is breast cancer prevention month, although for many, awareness and the fight against this disease form part of every day of the year. 

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in both developed and developing countries. It is estimated that 1 out of every 8 women in Spain will develop breast cancer. Despite this, the cure rate is increasing and thanks to early detection campaigns prognosis for this disease has improved. 

Medical advances have made it possible to learn more and more about the biology of the disease, developing more effective and less aggressive, personalized treatments. 

At HC Cancer Center we face this disease every day, our team comprises specialists in different fields who investigate the tumour starting at its origin and together plan the optimum treatment for each patient.

The first step in this fight begins with prevention and early diagnosis. All women aged 45 or over should have a mammogram. Tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography, can detect very small lesions that previously passed unnoticed, increasing cancer detection by 40%. As a result, cancers are diagnosed in their early stages, significantly increasing patient survival.

When cancer is localized, the treatment of choice is usually surgery or radiotherapy, sometimes combined with chemotherapy to maximize the effect.

Surgically, conservative surgery is currently the preferred option, i.e. the removal of the lesion with an adequate margin, avoiding mastectomy whenever possible. 

In order to provide this more conservative treatment, while still maintaining local control and the survival figures previously obtained with mastectomy, it is ALWAYS necessary to supplement treatment with radiotherapy. “New radiotherapy is more precise, conformed, and safe,  improving treatment tolerance while maintaining effectiveness”, explains Paula Sedano, radiation oncology specialist at HC Cancer Center. 

In cases where systemic drug therapy is required she continues, “We have different genetic platforms that provide information on the genetic mutation of the tumour. This enables evaluation of the risk of relapse in each patient and therefore understanding of the benefits of supplementing treatment with chemotherapy, or even the identification of a drug targeted at that specific mutation”. In hormone-dependent tumours, hormone therapy will also continue to be an essential part of breast cancer treatment. 

Each treatment has its function and its time, and it is therefore essential that it is coordinated by a multidisciplinary team. “We have a breast unit made up of different specialists, among them gynaecologists, radiologists, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists. They offer a complete service to patients from early diagnosis to treatment, to guarantee the best treatment option, in the best surroundings and with the same people”.

Thanks to this progress in treatment plus methods for early diagnosis, she concludes: “we have managed to increase long-term survival rates and are a step closer to winning this battle”.

The GIBRALTAR Property Insight

in Features

Why is Trusted Novus Bank entering the Buy-to-Let market?

We spoke with Kasper Thy Jessen (Head of Corporate Banking) and Morten Jensen (Head of Mortgages) to determine where they see the property market (specifically the Buy-to-Let) heading in the future and what does this mean for Trusted Novus Bank (TNB). 

The property market in Gibraltar has developed positively for a number of years. This is due to a combination of factors including high demand for rental properties, rental yield being 4%-6% on average and the absence of locally applied Capital Gains Tax.

With a high demand for Buy-to-Let properties, TNB recently developed a new product concept to support and facilitate the residential rental market.

Can you explain why TNB decided to explore the Buy-to-Let market? 

This has been an interesting market in Gibraltar during the last few years; a big part of the property market where we have seen several developments geared specifically to the Buy-to-Let target audience (E1, Eurocity, West One, Marina Club etc.). We’ve also experienced that many property investors are interested in partners that can help fund these purchases and we are very interested in helping them with this.

Mike Nicholls, CEO of Chestertons (Gibraltar) mentions “Buy-to-Let landlords in Gibraltar have achieved consistent gross yields of 5% – 6% pa over recent years. These have eased to 4% – 5% pa recently with sale prices moving sharply ahead in 2021. Larger, more expensive properties tend to have lower yields.”

How does this align with the overall strategy? 

TNB’s aim is to be the ‘Homeowners Bank’ and as part of this we also wish to support clients (and prospects) whose goals are to expand their property portfolio or are creating a portfolio in the Buy-to-Let market.

Our main focus is to grow our general lending book; hence we have been more active on marketing our residential mortgage and construction finance products. The Buy-to-Let market is a newer market for us and we’re hoping that by also focusing on this we can contribute even further towards the overall lending growth.

How does the Buy-To-Let product differ from our competitors?

Due to our highly personalised approach, we believe that we can find the right solution for our clients and be able to build strong long-lasting relationships. We want to be more than just a bank; we understand the importance of being partners.

We believe our products are highly competitive and, as we offer a broad range of banking services including investments, we are able to blend long term investments in financial markets with Buy-to-Let loans to offer low lending rates with flexible options for borrowers. This provides maximum rental yields whilst allowing diversification across a wider asset base.

How has Brexit affected our Buy-to-Let business?

Indirectly, and due to the potential new border agreement, Gibraltar has been seen as a popular area for investments.

Gibraltar’s Covid 19 vaccination program had the same effect, and this showcased Gibraltar as a country worth investing in. We received a large number of enquiries regarding Buy-to-Let mortgages earlier this year, this was from both local people and international (mainly UK).

Who is our target market for Buy-to-Let?

Our target market is primarily clients and prospects who have some previous knowledge and experience in the Buy-to-Let market.  

TNB is taking a cautious approach towards clients with no or very limited experience in buy-to-let property activities. History in other jurisdictions shows that where there has been a rapid boom in the buy-to-let market, some clients exposed themselves to high-risk investments whilst not fully understanding the risks involved.

We also expect our clients to have good knowledge of Gibraltar, meaning that they either live in Gibraltar or visit on a regular basis.


Short-lets, beach of covenant?

Words by
Dustin E. Joyce
Patner, Attias & Levy

As we continue to deal with the devastating effects of a global pandemic, the arduous balancing act of resuming social and economic ‘normality’ while maintaining public health remains integral. A useful insight into this context is the recent emphasis on the resumption of the tourism and hospitality sector in particular, which is an industry that Gibraltar heavily relies on economically. Indeed, within the face of encouraging waves of tourism in Gibraltar which has seen accommodation return to full capacity, tourists have resorted to alternative means to accommodate their stays. This, in turn, has created the foundations for an interesting dilemma to consider – the steady development of short-term lettings and AirBnb’s, the impact this is having on residential estates throughout Gibraltar and whether there is a need for stricter legal regulation in an increasingly novel area which is surrounded by underlying legal ambiguity. 

The question arises whether a short-term let would breach a covenant in a lease which prohibits a leaseholder from using their property for any purpose other than as a private residence.

The importance of this questions is obvious. With various listings on Airbnb and other sites, property owners are increasingly using such sites, to seek to make income from their properties. Yet leaseholders who utilise these sites are at a risk of having their leases forfeited if their actions are in breach of covenant. 

We look at the pitfalls of ‘hosts’ not doing their homework on leasehold covenants.

From a legal perspective, it is therefore important to consider the legality of these short-term lettings in light of the legal instrument that governs the relationship between landlords, management companies and leaseholders – the Lease. Issues are raised when considering the wording of residential Leases in particular, where covenants often contain ‘user’ covenants that restrict the way in which leaseholders may use the premises. As set out in leading cases on the basic construction of leasehold clauses such as Arnold v Britton [2015], the general principles of contractual interpretation will also apply to leasehold covenants. The effects of this are that courts will likely adopt a strict interpretation of the language of each independent lease when considering whether short-term lettings will be legally permissible. Indeed, on the basis of this framework it is likely that courts will adopt a strict objective basis when interpreting these clauses when applying the applicable test of construing what “a reasonable person having all the background knowledge which would have been available to the parties would have understood them to be using the language in the contract to mean,” as per Chartbrook Ltd v Persimmon Homes Ltd [2009]. 

Despite the logic with this approach to interpretation, the issue is that there is often ambiguity in the wording of these clauses which may create potential inconsistencies in the application of the law to these existing contracts. Clearly, under this interpretation the legality in which a leaseholder under a residential lease may use his property for short-term lettings will turn towards the actual wording of these clauses, rather than an adherence to what the parties’ themselves had actually originally intended. This becomes particularly problematic when interpreted within a current legal climate, where many leasehold contracts would have been drafted in a distinct legal and commercial context.

Recent cases have tended to introduce some clarity in this area. In particular, the case of Nemcova v Fairfield Rents Limited [2016] in what has become known at the ‘Airbnb ruling’ and represents the first decision of a superior court which tackled this question, where guidance was given on the circumstances in which short-term lets might amount to a breach of covenant prohibiting the use of a property for anything other than a private residence. The covenant to be observed by the tenant in the lease read “Not to use the Demised Premises or permit them to be used for any illegal or immoral purpose or for any purpose whatsoever other than as a private residence.” 

Lawyers for the tenant urged in the appeal that the lease was to be considered as a whole.  There were no restrictions on underletting or on granting short term tenancies or licences, no covenant prohibiting business use of the flat and no requirement for the property to be used as the tenant’s main residence.  In dismissing the appeal the court commented that the transient use of the property by the tenant created a set of circumstances where the tenant would not consider the property their private residence and that by granting short term lets of the property for days and weeks at a time this did on the facts of that case breach the covenant under consideration.

In order for a property to be used as the occupier’s private residence, there must be a degree of permanence going beyond stays lasting either a weekend or a few nights in a week. Where one draws the line is, of course, a matter to be explored on a case-by-case basis; nevertheless, it is clear that, the shorter the duration of the lettings to third parties, the more likely it is that the leaseholder will be in breach of covenant.

The more recent case of Triplerose v Beattie and Anor [2020] held that the duration of a series of short-length lettings was material to determining whether there was a breach of user covenants in a lease. Indeed, what this development in the case law shows is that ultimately whether or not a leaseholder is in breach of its lease will be centred on a review made by the independent judge on a case-by-case basis.

The Courts are therefore applying long established principle to new commercial trends and it is the manner in which they do so that creates uncertainty at present, but which will be clarified as more cases in this area get decided. 

Ultimately, it is important to take advise on lease covenants when purchasing property as a buy to let investment or before setting up as a host on a holiday site – failure to observe covenants in a lease could result in the loss of the property. Owners who are borrowers should also consider the terms and conditions of their mortgage before entering into short term lets as they could be in breach of those conditions by sharing occupation even for short periods of time.  


Property Market Update

A year that began nwith news of yet further lockdowns; clearly not something that one would have wished for in their New Year’s wish list, but we hoped and expected that this was the last curve on this winding road for Gibraltar at least. What was certainly not expected was the buoyant mayhem that unfolded during the course of the first half of 2021.

The end of 2020 did bring with it some good news in the shape of the “New Year’s Agreement” with Spain and the UK, delivering a degree of certainty for Gibraltar’s political and economic status, something which, since 2016 we have lacked. This really (in our view) has been a gigantic catalyst to the events in the property market over recent months and which has seen an uplift in property prices averaging (in general terms) to approx. 7%, but up to 15%+ in some circumstances. Frightening to say the least, although we had alluded to this late last year and even prior.

Over the past decade we have regularly provided appraisals on our thoughts and forecasts on the property market. Since 2017 we have highlighted our concerns with the high volume of speculative developments steered by a “studio” segment delivering hundreds of these units to the market. We have also expressed our bullishness in the market on “owner occupier” properties within the mid to high end tiers of the market and the demand for these properties. This demand has in part, been steered by an expectation of a positive outcome with regard to Brexit, as well as real growth in the market driven by applicants seeking larger homes, in their quest to base themselves in a safe, English speaking, regulated, low tax environment. We seem to be cementing this attractive proposition toward the “ultimate residency” further.

As to the impact of forming part of the Schengen group may have on the property sector in Gibraltar, clearly the prospect of free movement with Spain under a safe political arena not seen in over three hundred years is an attractive and positive proposition, not least with a continued and underpinned financial services relationship with the UK; the future seems bright, and we welcome the agreement. We will as always review and comment on the impact of this agreement, it clearly promises to deliver a bright future for Gibraltar with a degree of political security and economic stability not seen before.

There is little one can say to try and sum up the happenings of the past year, let alone that of the past 4 years. Just when we thought that there could be nothing worse than the antics of Brexit, we are given the joys of Covid-19.

Without wanting to make jest out of what has been the biggest health crisis in entire generations – is it ok to say… “for the love of God, someone please make it stop”! Thankfully in Gibraltar we can rest slightly easier than most. 

“where the world is in crisis, the Rock excels”.

A bullish comment spoken by yours truly at a presentation to some international investors who quite frankly are astounded by the success’ we are witnessing; and (if I may) so accurate when it comes to the experience, we have had over the past 4 years and ironically enough over the past 15months since March 2020. There is no question (and regardless of my banter), that we are and have been so incredibly fortunate, but to a larger degree so well placed and structured to have (in the main) done so well – and I am of course primarily referring to the property sector.

Against all the odds, we have seen price increases and sales volumes take a sharp rise throughout 2020 and an even sharper rise throughout the first half of 2021; as mentioned on so many occasions in previous updates, it has been the owner occupier markets, largely two-, three- and four-bedroom properties in mid to high end developments showing some truly spectacular gains with some increases in excess of 15%. The higher end and fourth tier in the market generally with price ranges upwards of £1,500,000 has also re-emerged with strong activity in this sector and sales in areas such as The Sanctuary (circa £6m and offers now reaching upwards of £7m), Buena Vista Park (average of £3.5m), Admirals Place and others. We have been fortunate to have been involved in the large majority of high value individual sales achieved to date. Interestingly we seem to be attracting high value profile clients who value privacy and a safe place to reside in, “safe” in all respects, and the Rock continues to be a beacon in this regard.

Without insight into circumstances surrounding us and an understanding of the dynamics of Gibraltar, the numbers are non-sensical and you may choose to take the view that this estate agent is quite frankly taking you for a ride.

Our view of the why’s and the how’s is best described in the extract below which we wrote some time ago: 

Our views over the years maintain a trend: growth in owner occupier driven markets steered by a continuously growing gaming and finance centre, with stability and security adding further value.

Whereas we have been pleasantly surprised with the growth in a large part of the property sector, we also continue to remain cautious on the studio market sector given volumes under construction and imminent completions.

We took a view to stay out of this segment several years ago due to the high volume of proposed developments exclusively aimed at this product. We struggled with the prices being pitched and the marriage to an identifiable end user. It appears that to date it is the only sector that in general terms has not enjoyed the growth in capital appreciation attained by much of the market.

Please note that these numbers are solely based on BMI Groups performance and do not necessarily account for the market in general – we do however believe that it describes a scene and a trend true to the market in general terms.

The updated graph above now shows only the trend line for the first 6 months of 2021. This essentially is a guide based on completed and uncompleted sales throughout the period – it is nothing short of exceptional.  We update our stats annually but due to the extreme hike in prices that we have witnessed during this period together with the volume of sales, we thought it worthy of note to use the graphic to exemplify the position. 

To be clear, we are not suggesting that the average price in Gibraltar has reached close to £1,000,000, this figure has been reached only because BMI have achieved some out of the ordinary high value sales during this period, which are not representative of the market in General. The truer figure based on deleting these exceptionally high value properties is likely to be in the region of £780,000 which reflects an uplift of approx. 15-20% over the period.

Outweighing all factors and reasons for the uplift is the very evident shortage of owner occupier, larger properties on the market and the demand that exists in this segment. We have been stating this for some time and advising our clients and applicants that it is this sector that remains the driving force and has resulted in extraordinary capital appreciation. Our average top end rate per square metre has now reached approx. £6,600 from an average of £5,700 only a year ago. We have reached rates of up to £9,000/sqm in some instances. 

The market has quite clearly pushed its boundaries once more, with average rates per sqm increased across all tiers, but in particular at the mid to high level tiers; we also believe that the fourth tier (upper high end) is firmly placed and here to stay, underpinned by a growing number of HNWI’s relocating and staying in Gibraltar – we are attracting real high value homeowners, no brass plating.  

The economy remains difficult to forecast and our exposure to the cost of Covid should not be underestimated. However, unlike many other competitor jurisdictions we benefit from a multitude of sectors contributing to the economy, it’s not just financial services or e-gaming; Gibraltar enjoys a vibrant shipping sector, and we are at the forefront in the regulation of DLT / Crypto sectors which have added huge value to our suite of services – this in our view is only set to grow further.

Tourism is also an important pillar of our economy, but it has to be said that there is a great deal more to be done; we have enormous potential, but we have always remained behind the curve in what is a sector that should be developed to its full and in keeping with the times.

Having said all of the above, if one considers the timeline since the Brexit referendum and all the uncertainties surrounding this and Covid, it has to be said that we have done swimmingly and held our own immensely well. 2021 brings its own challenges and so far our position is truly quite special, our ability to overcome stands us in good stead to continue with our ever-growing economy and with it our property sector too.

We hope that with this recent write up we can give a small and educated snapshot of the market where we see the upsides, as well as some of the downsides.

Louis C. Montegriffo,
Managing Director,
BMI Group.


The soft touch

Words by Kathleen North

We all have a pretty clear idea about what furniture is, but what is soft furnishing?
Soft furnishings include items such as curtains, scatter cushions, bean bags, bean cubes and chair coverings that are used to decorate a room. When you talk about soft furnishing these items specifically add that extra colour, softness, and texture to your living room. It also helps to overcome any of the furniture flaws that might be there in the living room and help to give it a feeling of warmth and comfort. The fabric is like a compulsory and most essential part of soft furnishing.

It enhances your relaxing and ups a room’s tranquillity levels. Soft furnishing gives a room a complete makeover in an economical way. It even allows you to try out your DIY skills and show off your artistic/design side. It’s the easiest way to switch up a room’s look in terms of colours and contrasts

How should you select the soft furnishing items for your living room?

Deciding the items to choose while decorating your home is usually a time-consuming task. It varies from person to person depending upon their taste, likes, dislikes, your budget and so on.

When trying to choose the best furnishing item for your home it is essential to keep in mind that the items that you choose must make the surrounding attractive and elegant. You need to ensure that they add to the surrounding of the home as well as the item should be of a good quality.

Although soft furnishing is available in a wide variety, you should be aware of what should be selected and which item should complement his need most. 

There will be a number of options available for you across colour, design, textures, patterns, etc. but you should be wise enough that which of the chosen pattern is going to complement the house most.

Soft furnishing items add liveliness and warmth to the house and make the surroundings feel more welcoming.

Steph Briggs is a TV Celebrity Interior Designer and Co-Founder of Interiors & Gifts Emporium, La Di Da Interiors.

Steph believes ‘Predicting design trends can take a lot of research and observation. The Catwalk fashion trends often influence interior design. Colours, patterns, materials and shapes of the season often influence what we see moving into commercial design and then home interior design via the High Street. World affairs and events also influence trends in design; think how much Covid has changed our interiors, with almost every home in the UK requiring at least one work from home station, if not two or three, depending upon the number of adults and children in the house.

The Biophilic design trend has continued to remain strong, embracing design inspiration by nature, as we crave bright skies, freedom, long carefree summer days. 

There are professional trend forecasting companies out there for the major retailers. However, smaller design houses and retailers know their target market and utilise trend knowledge to create a product range in line with their customer’s needs and desires. 

Not all trends are suitable for every brand (after all, if we were all the same, life would be so dull) so it’s all about knowing what works for you and your client base.

Social media has had a massive impact over the last few years. Instagram, along with the rise of ‘influencers’, has seen the achingly dull grey on grey palette sit alongside the shiny world of Mrs Hinch and influencers who create a reel out of each DIY project. 

Interior trends are predicted up two years in advance – most of us in the trade will order at least 6-9 months in advance of the season. I usually order my Christmas stock in February.

The environment comes into play. For example, it is difficult to predict the weather; a long hot summer equates to increased alfresco living and leading an outdoor lifestyle. However, a cold, wet summer means more storage is required and a greater focus on a multi-functional space for indoor living. 

For anyone designing their home without the benefit of an Interior Designer, neutral interiors are incredibly popular due to the perception that it’s easy to pull a scheme together without getting scared of getting it wrong. 

The dull grey interiors of 2020 transformed into Greige in 2021 and are now more textural. Pale neutral interiors are popular as ever but richer in texture. Layers of chunky wool, heavy linens, porcelain, and dried botanicals feature heavily and add personality and a tactile nature. 

Bolder and more confident, Navy blue is the colour to use in dark interiors at present. Soulful and deep, it works fabulously as a background for metallics for a luxe feel. This classic shade pairs beautifully with natural wood and tan leather for a sophisticated, relaxed look. And the traditional combination of soft white and navy gives a regal touch and works brilliantly with ‘Bright Skies’ Dulux Colour Of The Year for a simple contemporary style. 

As we become more conscious of supply chain and environmental impact, refinishing and upcycling furniture is no longer seen as a “make do and mend” approach but is a beautiful way of achieving a bespoke look. Designer style with eco ethics is the future.’

The emphasis on natural and sustainability continues to grow from interior trends from previous years. It’s no wonder that their aesthetics are becoming even more refined and covetable. Moreover, we’re seeing a subtle merge of retro, natural, and zen elements in 2022 interior design trends. In addition, the importance of setting up home offices and keeping clean spaces play a substantial role in favoured looks.

Single-use spaces seem to be a thing of the past. In the light of architectural strides and design, we expect interior design trends in 2022 to feature nifty ideas on multifunctional rooms. Make the most of every nook and cranny with clean and innovative room-dividing tactics.

One clear reason why the calming neutral colours continue to infiltrate the interior design trends of 2022 is because we continue to strive for balance and harmony in the home. We want and need the home to be a place of recovery, a place where we feel safe and can heal after a troubled time. 

Steph Briggs: La Di Da Interiors.

https://www.ladida-andover.com


Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney

Words by  by Natasha Pizzarello,
Associate,
Hassans International Law Firm Limited

For many people writing a Will and setting up Lasting Powers of Attorney can be a complex and daunting process.  Although there is a lot of information out there on these important documents, not all of it may be accurate.

As life and responsibilities change, estate planning becomes more relevant and important. The COVID-19 global pandemic has focused some people’s minds on estate planning measures and putting in the necessary arrangements in place to protect their loved ones. 

The biggest misconception surrounding Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney are that they are documents for the elderly, and this could not be further from the truth. 

Wills

A Will is a document that allows an individual to put in writing how they wish to distribute their possession when they pass away. For the Will to be valid it needs to be executed in a specific manner.

As long as you are over the age of 18 you are not too young to make a Will. In a Will you can outline your wishes in respect of your possessions (physical and digital ones) as well as your children, other dependants and pets. 

Unfortunately, we cannot predict the future and having a Will in place that outlines your wishes can give you peace of mind whilst protecting and avoiding unnecessary stress for your loved ones during difficult times. 

Even if your family are aware of your wishes the legal position on the distribution of possessions in the absence of a Will is very specific and this may not necessarily be in line with your wishes. It is important that a Will is therefore in place to clearly set your intentions with regards to the distribution of your estate. This ensures that potential future disputes are avoided, which could be unnecessarily costly, burdensome and distasteful for family members.

Wills are not a “one size fits all” and specific advice is usually required to cater for different circumstances and to protect your wishes. 

If you already have a Will in place that is a great first step. It is however very important that you review it regularly or whenever you have any major life changing events to ensure that it always reflects your current circumstances and wishes. 

Lasting Powers of Attorney 

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legally binding document that allows an individual to choose a person or people that they trust to make decisions on their behalf (called the attorney) if or when a person no longer has capacity to make decisions for themselves.

If you were to have a serious accident or change in your health that affects your mental capacity your next of kin would not have the automatic right to manage your financial affairs or make health decisions on your behalf.

Putting Lasting Powers of Attorney in place is like setting up a life insurance policy, you hope it never needs to be used but if the circumstances arise you have something in place to assist your loved ones.  Having Lasting Powers of Attorney can help avoid the need for court proceedings in the future which can be costly and time consuming. 

There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney: 

• Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney.

• Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney. 

A Lasting Power of Attorney in respect of property and financial affairs gives the attorney the power to make decisions that may include withdrawing money from a bank account, dealing with property or re-investing assets. An individual can choose whether the Lasting Power of Attorney is valid from the moment it is entered into or only when the individual has lost mental capacity as prescribed by a medical practitioner.

A Lasting Power of Attorney in respect of health and welfare gives the attorney the power to make decisions that may include whether to keep the individual on life-sustaining treatment or whether the individual should live in care. The attorney’s authority under this document is only valid when an individual has lost their mental capacity. as prescribed by a medical practitioner.

At Hassans we offer specific advice and tailor-made Wills and Lasting
Powers of Attorney in order to safeguard our clients’ future wishes. For any further information please contact natasha.pizzarello@hassans.gi or abigail.cornelio@hassans.gi of Hassans International Law Firm Limited. 

Armed Forces

in Armed Forces

STANWORTH MEMORIAl

A plaque in memory of a Royal Marine who lost his life in a diving accident was unveiled in Gibraltar at the end of August.

Corporal Johnny Stanworth, from the Royal Marines, lost his life in 1971 at the age of 22 while diving on Europa Reef. An extensive search by RN Clearance Divers, several RN vessels as well as Spanish Naval vessels and helicopters took place, but sadly was unsuccessful.

More than 30 family, friends, veterans and guests gathered at Europa Point for the special memorial ceremony, which was held exactly 50 years ago to the day he died. The project to dedicate the memorial to Johnny has been two years in the making, thanks to the determination of former diving buddies Tony Ward and Pete Wilkins.

Tony has spent the last two years getting permission from Gibraltar Government officials, family members and military bosses, and working through COVID-19 challenges, to get the green light for the memorial.

Tony, 74 from Northampton, said: “In 1968 I was on the same swimmer/canoeist course as Johnny and I had a lot of respect for him. He would have gone far in the Royal Marines. Johnny was awarded the Kings Badge at the age of 18 in his Royal Marines Commando training.

“Back in 2019 his friend Pete Wilkins mentioned that there is no grave or memorial for Johnny on the Rock.

“We agreed that it was about time something was done to rectify that, and, perhaps a memorial plaque in Gibraltar might be appropriate.” 


YOUTH OUTREACH

A group of teenagers got an insight into what life is like as a soldier thanks to an outreach programme at the Ministry of Defence.

During the two-day event, 12 teenage boys and girls got to grips with weapons, bomb disposal robots and visited various military locations around the Rock.

Organised by the Royal Gibraltar Regiment and the Gibraltar Youth Service, the Youth Outreach Programme is designed to encourage youngsters to join the local regiment.

On the first day, the youngsters were given a presentation about life as a solider, before being shown weapons, bomb disposal equipment and then enjoying a visit to the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron.

On the second day, they visited the Buffadero Training Camp, where military personnel showed them how an Observation Post works and the Dismounted Close Combat Trainer – an indoor electronic firing range.

An MOD spokesperson said, “The kids really enjoyed themselves and were very excited throughout. They enjoyed the more hands on activities like the observation post and command tasks. However, their favourite part was the Dismounted Close Combat Trainer as they saw it as a computer game.”

Warrant Officer Michael Sanchez, Royal Gibraltar Regiment, added, “The main aim is to show them what we have to offer and what a cracking career the Regiment is, because it is, and then they need to decide for themselves.

“I have literally done 19 years and the way I see it, even during the bad times I have found good times. I’ve found times when I’ve been going through a bad patch on exercise, but I’ve still found the fun side.”.


CADET CHALLENGE

As opposed to setting individual challenges for the cadets to complete, the Squadron’s Officer Commanding, Flt Lt Ivan Caward, decided to use various locations across Gibraltar to provide a unique way of completing the 80 miles.

The challenge commenced with a walk around the Rock, supported by the Gibraltar Defence Police (GDP). This was followed by a tunnel tour through the Great North Road and a FOD Plod (collection of rubbish and debris) the length of the runway, with the latter providing a great help to RAF Gibraltar’s Air Safety Team, who are always keen to find ways to make the Airfield even safer.

On completion of the event, cadets from the Squadron had the following to say:

“It’s the first time I have walked around the Rock; you notice details that you have never seen before. I didn’t realise how steep Dudley Ward Tunnel as I have only driven through in a car! It was also good to get out and walk in a group of friends.” – Corporal Catlin Fitzgerald.

The tunnel tour was amazing, and I would have never guessed that there was so much hidden within the Rock. The history was really brought to life by our guide and Squadron Warrant Officer, Paul Llanelo.” – Cadet Jasmin Jarman

“It was a pity that the fog covered the runway and we missed out on the unique views of the Rock on the day, but we had a great time anyway. Before we started the FOD Plod, the Air Safety Manager and Airfield Ground Support Unit Manager gave us a talk about what FOD is and why it is so important to ensure that the Airfield is kept clear. It was frightening to see what damage a small piece of metal can do, but thankfully I’m happy to report that we didn’t find anything other than feathers and fish bones.” –  Corporal Merrick Kent

For more information on the Air Training Corps or if you are interested in joining, please contact Flt Lt Ivan Caward oc.2os@rafac.mod.gov.uk or +35054005832.

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