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GFSB BUSINESS INNOVATION AWARD

The GFSB has announced the opening of applications for next years (2022) GFSB Business Innovation Award sponsored by Gibtelecom. The online application form can be found on their website and needs to be submitted before Monday 31st January 2022.

Recent winners have included Crucial Compliance, EBike Gibraltar, Hempassion and Buytickets.gi who all demonstrated how businesses in Gibraltar are agile and great at innovating to succeed. This year could see even more innovative businesses apply, due to the challenges of COVID-19 and Brexit.

The partnership with Gibtelecom, the sponsor of this award since its inception, is also continuing and they’ll provide the winner an amazing prize of £2,000 worth of IT and communications equipment.

Danny Hook, Enterprise Director at Gibtelecom said, “We are proud to have been the GFSB’s Innovation Award partner for many years. Each year we are impressed with how local small businesses adapt and come up with creative solutions to push their businesses to the next level, as well as with how they’ve developed different technologies and processes to help them succeed in their business ventures. It is a great platform to showcase some of the local business talents, which there is plenty of in Gibraltar.”

Eran Shay GFSB Board member and one of the judges added, “Innovation is the lifeblood of business and as Steve Jobs once said ‘Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower’.  The GFSB strives to help businesses succeed and there is no better way to do it than by promoting innovation. So if your place is amongst leaders, make sure to enter the Business Innovation Awards.”


Cross Frontier Group Update 

For the Cross Frontier Group, the news of the prolonging of the negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom on Gibraltar until the first quarter of next year also means that the climate of uncertainty in which workers and companies on both sides of the Border find themselves is also extended.

In this regard, the Cross Frontier Group has wanted to urge the negotiators to conclude the agreement by the new date that has been set and that the Agreement encompasses the demands of this Group, in its capacity as a representative of civil society of both territories.

In the last month, the Cross Frontier Group has written to all of the parties involved in this negotiation asking them for a satisfactory agreement that provides the area with stability in our relations and which in turn serves to further enhance our economies and the well-being of our citizens.

The business and trade union organizations that make up the Group have thanked the Foreign Minister of Spain and the Foreign Minister of the United Kingdom for extending the memorandums until the signing of the new agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

“We are aware of the complexity of the treaty that is to be signed and the framework in which the negotiating process is taking place; but we want to be reasonably optimistic insofar as agreements have already been signed by the parties which set out the key elements which will sustain the new framework of future relations ” concluded the spokespersons of the CFG.


MS IONA CALL

The Minister for Business and Tourism, the Hon Vijay Daryanani MP, welcomed MS Iona to the port of Gibraltar.

MS Iona is the new flagship of P&O Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation PLC. It is one of the largest cruise ships, with a capacity of 5200 passengers and 1800 crew, to operate for them and it’s also one of their first LNG powered vessels. On this occasion it is carrying 2484 passengers and 1657 crew on board.

Minister Daryanani, who engaged in the traditional exchange of gifts, said “I am delighted to welcome MS Iona to Gibraltar. Carnival Corporation and P&O are one of the more important cruise companies in the world and we welcome them with open arms. IONA is the floating city example of the direction cruise ships are moving in. It is also great to see this new cruise ship visit our Port as it is LNG powered. The introduction of LNG is a major development that supports our environmental goals and decarbonisation pathway. We enjoy a very good working relationship with them and in November I met with Mr David Dingle CBE, the Chairman of Carnival UK to discuss how we can increase calls to Gibraltar. I will continue working with their itinerary planners to make sure that Gibraltar is included in future cruises.”

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Tax Residency App Launch

A new tax residency app called Ovrnite has been launched in Gibraltar to help residents comply with their fiscal obligations arising under the recently passed Tax Treaty with Spain.

Under the new rules, Gibraltar tax residents have to ensure that they comply with the requirements for establishing Gibraltar tax residency, i.e. being present in Gibraltar for 183 days per year.

A spokesperson for Ovrnite commented, “keeping an accurate track of where you spend your days and nights is an extremely important aspect of establishing or maintaining tax residency in Gibraltar and/or avoid tax residency in Spain – this is a common feature of tax residency rules in most jurisdictions.  The cross-border lifestyle led by many people that call Gibraltar home, means that we have to be careful to comply with these rules – particularly as “a day” constitutes any time spent in a country – not just a full day.  Ovrnite assists Gibraltar tax residents by automatically keeping track of days and nights spent in Gibraltar, Spain and elsewhere”.

Ovrnite also contains a “Schengen Area Tracker” which assists British citizens to keep track of time spent within the Schengen Area.  Under current rules, this is capped to 90 days in every 180 days inside the Schengen Area.

The app is available for download in the App Store for iOS devices, and on Google Play.


Meeting With Foreign Secretary

The Chief Minister Fabian Picardo QC MP met with the Foreign Secretary Rt Hon Liz Truss MP during a recent trip to London. He was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia CMG MP and the Attorney General Michael Llamas QC CMG.

The meeting with the Foreign Secretary was positive and it provided an opportunity to review a number of questions including the ongoing negotiations with the EU for a treaty on the future relationship of Gibraltar.

The Chief Minister had been due to meet the Foreign Secretary during the last Conservative Party conference, which he was then unable to attend after testing positive for COVID-19.

Mr Picardo and Dr Garcia arrived in London for a series of meetings and contacts dealing with the UK/EU negotiations.

The Chief Minister said of the visit, “It was great to have a chance to meet in person with Foreign Secretary Truss. We have worked very well together in her time as President of the Board of Trade and have spoken already since she took over from Dominic Raab at the FCDO. Today was a chance to meet face to face and progress our work together on the important issue of the positive, ongoing UK/EU negotiation.”


CROSS FRONTIER 

GROUP MEETING

In a meeting held by the Cross Frontier Group, María del Mar Sanchez took on the Presidency, Julian Risso the Vice Presidency and Manuel Triano the role of Secretary.

The Presidency and Spanish spokesperson lies with the Confederacion de Empresarios de Cadiz, represented by Maria del Mar Sanchez. The Vice- Presidency and Gibraltar spokesperson has been assigned to the GGCA, represented by Julian Risso, whilst Comisiones Obreras (CCOO), represented by Manuel Triano, assumes the role of Secretary.

Additionally, the organisations that compose the Cross Frontier Group accepted the application of the La Linea business organisation, AADELL, to join the group as a full member.

The organisations that make up the Cross Frontier Group shared their concern about the negotiations of the post-Brexit Agreement.

The trade union and business organisations were unanimous in expressing their concern regarding the progress in respect of Gibraltar. They appealed to all the parties involved to lay a framework that meets the needs, aspirations and concerns of the citizens and businesses in the whole area.

As such, iIt was agreed that a letter would be drafted and addressed to all the parties in the negotiation process, namely the European Union, the British Government, the Government of Spain and the HM Government of Gibraltar.

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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.”

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DELOITTE STAFF SHUFFLE

Deloitte has announced seven senior promotions in the Gibraltar office.

Vickram Khatwani and Alexander Miller have been promoted to Director and Colin Bensadon becomes an Associate Director. The strengthening of the leadership team follows Reshma Bhambhwani’s recent promotion to Managing Partner of Deloitte in Gibraltar. 

Further promotions include Cassandra Felices and Gerard Fitzgerald to Senior Managers and Karl Pardo and Jonathan Caruana will become Managers, all effective from 1 September. 

Vickram’s role as Director and country tax lead gives him responsibility for leading a team providing compliance, advisory, global employment, and cross-border tax services to a diverse range of clients. Most recently, Vickram supported the launch of Deloitte’s Immigration service line to assist clients with international presence. Vickram also continues to be an active member of the Tax Faculty of the Gibraltar Society of Accountants. 

Alexander is responsible for leading the Gibraltar side of Deloitte’s Islands & Gibraltar Advisory and Assurance Group as well as financial assurance across the jurisdictions. He has a dedicated, growing team who provide local financial assurance, internal audit, regulatory and advisory work. Alexander will also continue leading Deloitte’s insurance proposition in Gibraltar.  

Colin is responsible for delivering external audit engagements to financial services and other local companies. He has led Deloitte Gibraltar’s audit quality programme for some time now, and his new role will include assisting with leading the audit team alongside Gibraltar Managing Partner Reshma Bhambhwani. 

Reshma said, “We are really pleased to celebrate these individuals’ well-deserved promotions. 2021 has already seen our team move into larger premises and our Gibraltar office recently joined forces with the Channel Islands and Isle of Man which, like these promotions, further strengthens our capabilities. 

“At Deloitte, we believe in nurturing our people and supporting them to achieve their best potential. Many congratulations to all.”

Picture: L-R – Director, Alexander Miller; Managing Partner of Deloitte in Gibraltar, Reshma Bhambhwani; Associate Director, Colin Bensadon; Director, Vickram Khatwani


MANAGEMENT CHANGES AT ADVANTAGE INSURANCE

Advantage is an established Gibraltar-based insurer, authorised to underwrite private motor and home insurance in the United Kingdom. With over 3m customers, it’s one of the largest insurers in Gibraltar and part of the overall Hastings Insurance Group.

Having recently announced his retirement, the Advantage MD Steve Hazzard will step down from the Board of Directors at the start of October. Steve’s retirement together with the continued growth and success of Advantage Insurance Company, as one of Gibraltar’s leading Insurers, has meant a number of new senior appointments in the firm.

Steve Mumford has been promoted to Managing Director and the company also welcomes two new Executive Directors to the Board, Craig Wilson & Kevin Borrett. Craig has been with Advantage for 4 years – latterly as Head of Management Reporting & Planning – and Kevin for 5 years heading up the Risk Management & Compliance functions. These changes come into effect from 1st October.

Commenting on the changes, outgoing MD Steve Hazzard said “The new appointments are a good examples of career progression and the calibre of talent we have in our business”.

He went on to say, “since being established in Gibraltar in 2002, Advantage has grown into one of the biggest Financial Services firms on the Rock with an enviable reputation for its professionalism and standards. The company is tremendously proud not just with our links to other businesses, but also our engagement with local charities and other organisations”.


EUROPA STORMERS SPONSOR

Local rugby outfit Europa Stormers has announced a new sponsor to the club, to help further the game on the Rock.

Pressto Gibraltar joins the roster of rugby-supporting businesses both as an official sponsor and official dry cleaning partner.

Pressto will look after the teams’ kits for the upcoming season, and will also see Pressto’s logo appear on match day shorts & training kit.

Julian Cabedo, marketing & business development manager at Pressto said, “Pressto’s Laundry and Dry Cleaning are very happy to be sponsoring Europa Stormers for their 2021 season – it was an excellent fit between our two brands, one of Gibraltar’s top amateur rugby teams with a tremendous following and our top quality express laundry services, keeping their kits clean, which we all know, in rugby, is no mean feat!”

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Iconic local landmark, the Caleta Hotel, is to be demolished.

In its place, a new Hilton Hotel is to be built, subject to planning permission and finalisation of contracts with the Hilton Corporation. This would mark a second branding foray into the Gibraltar market by a large overseas hotel chain.

It is envisaged that the Caleta will close its doors for the final time at the start of January 2022, with the build timeline for the new structure estimated to be three years.

The Callaghan family, who own and operate the Caleta, has called the moment “bitter-sweet”. There are currently around 70 staff employed at the hotel.

The replacement hotel will seek to double capacity to 120 rooms.


Strait Of Gibraltar Meeting

The local Moroccan community was able to meet with His Excellency Vice Admiral Sir David Steel, Governor of Gibraltar, to discuss issues of concern. Top of the list was the humanitarian crisis arising from the lack of direct sea and air links between Morocco and Gibraltar.

Representing the community was Clive Reed, President of Gibraltar Morocco Association, Steven Marin, Secretary of Gibraltar Morocco Business Association, and Henry Sacramento Patron of Strait of Gibraltar Association.

His Excellency assured his guests that this is now an issue that he intends to pursue.


Crowdcube FIRST

In a first for a Gibraltar business, local crypto firm Digital Asset Management (DAM) successfully launched a capital fundraiser on the industry-leading Crowdcube platform.

This formed part of its Pre-Series A investment round.

DAM was established in 2017 to effectively assist in buying, managing, sending and storing cryptocurrencies and tokens in a regulated environment. The firm is one of 12 DLT licensed and regulated companies in Gibraltar that benefit from the regulatory certainty offered by the DLT regulatory framework. DAM is licensed and regulated to offer crypto OTC (Over-The-Counter) brokerage and custodial services by the GFSC. DAM is also registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK as an EMI (Electronic Money Institution) agency company under Modulr Finance Ltd. 

In January 2018, Gibraltar became the very first jurisdiction across the globe to introduce legislation around Distributed-Ledger-Technology (DLT), and has since asserted its position as a leading blockchain and cryptocurrency hub. 

Commenting on the milestone, the Hon Albert Isola, Minister for Digital and Financial Services, said, “I would like to congratulate Digital Asset Management on the innovative nature they have displayed by reaching this notable milestone. In Gibraltar, we believe innovation and collaboration go hand in hand. DAM’s move to become the first ever Gibraltar-licensed company to raise capital on Crowdcube is representative of this spirit of innovation. I congratulate them on this remarkable achievement which will act as an example to other pioneering Gibraltar start up businesses that access to capital through crowdfunding platforms may also be available to them.” 

With Gibraltar’s core values of regulation, reputation, and speed to market at the foundation of its efforts within the blockchain industry, Gibraltar is globally renowned for its commitment to creating a sustainable and secure regulatory framework for blockchain, as well as being one of the leading proponents in the advancement of the technology. 

Commenting on the announcement, DAM’s CEO, Sam Buxton, said, ‘‘Our first four years have been a successful grind and we are now well positioned for the next four years to be game changing for the company. We would like to thank Gibraltar and the GFSC for their continued support, and look forward to further establishing our collaborative relationship with them in the future.”

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BRITISH AIRWAYS TRAVEL HEAT MAP

British Airways customers can now check the travel restrictions and entry requirements of any destination the airline flies to on a new interactive map on ba.com.

The new page is in partnership with global tech company Sherpa, who has developed an online tool that provides travellers with the latest travel rules for inbound and outbound destinations. This tool brings together the latest information for over 100 countries, providing thousands of sources, and using millions of data points to stay up to date. The map, that the airline plans to further integrate into ba.com, will also help customers understand what is needed for their return the UK.

Visitors to the page will be able to explore the globe to see what travel restrictions each country has in place before booking a trip, searching visually by traffic light colour or by typing in their choice of destination. There is also a tab which allows customers to indicate whether or not they are vaccinated, which will adjust the results.

Jack Smith, British Airways’ Head of Digital said, “We know that travel in this new Covid era can feel overwhelming for our customers, and our job is to make their lives as straightforward as possible. This new tool, which has been tried and is trusted by our joint business partner, American Airlines, will help people navigate the differing entry requirements, to allow for a smooth booking and travel experience.”


GIBEXIT

Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar was at pains to praise UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab MP’s rejection of the European Union’s recently publicised position on Gibraltar.

It comes as the Foreign Secretary met his Spanish counterpart, Jose Manuel Albare, for the first time.

Both tweeted positively after the meeting, although some of Snr Albares language was slightly ambiguous.

They committed to the New Year’s Eve Agreement and recognised the potential treaty between the UK and the EU in relation to Gibraltar would be beneficial. HMGoG stressed this would be not just for the Campo de Gibraltar, but also for Gibraltar itself.

They went on to comment that the Government and people of Gibraltar would never accept a treaty that in any way resembled the mandate issued by the EU.

The Chief Minister said, “The Government of Gibraltar and the United Kingdom are entirely at one on this issue. I am very grateful to the Foreign Secretary for having set out so clearly the position of the UK, which is wholly aligned with us.

“No one should believe that we would ever be prepared to accept the things set out in the EU’s draft negotiating mandate. We will not even be prepared to accept things that are close to that.

“Gibraltar remains fully committed to the New Year’s Eve Agreement. The United Kingdom has already said they remain fully committed also.

“But the notion that Spanish law enforcement officers might be present on our land, at our port or airport, is one that the Government or the people of Gibraltar will not accept. That is not something that can be finessed or negotiated. That is a non-negotiable red line.”


BUDGET NEWS

The headline announcement in this year’s budget for businesses was the news that the headline rate of corporation tax is to increase from 10% to 12.5%. This matches the rate currently in use in the Republic of Ireland, and is also closer to the minimum of 15% agreed by the world’s leading economies.

However, there were a number of capital allowances that were also introduced. The current limit of £30,000 for plant and machinery is to be raised to £60,000 or 50% of the expenditure incurred. Computer equipment also gets a bit of a leg up – up from the current limit of £50,000 to £100,000.

Also revealed was an increase in deductions for improvements to the EPC rating of a property and allowances for solar heating installations.

In addition, marketing has attracted an additional allowance for costs, where the Income Tax office has agreed validity of such costs. This amounts to 50%.

(This means there’s never been a better time to get in touch with Insight regarding marketing your business or service in the Rock’s longest running magazine:
 hello@gibraltarinsight.com or 222 51308).

Further information and how it could affect your own tax position is best sought from a tax professional.

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easyJET AND BOOTS TESTING PARTNERSHIP

Anchor airline in Gibraltar easyJet has partnered with British high street chemist Boots to make it easier for people to book their pre and post-travel COVID-19 tests for their flights this summer. The new arrangement will enable customers to find information and book or order the necessary COVID-19 travel testing services required for their trip on the Boots COVID-19 testing hub, via easyJet.com while planning their trip.

Following the restart of international leisure travel in the UK, easyJet customers will be able to book all the required tests needed both before and after their holiday, through Boots. The service will be going live on easyJet.com in the coming days.

Boots offer a Day 2 & 8 Post-Travel COVID-19 Testing Service for international arrivals into the UK and is also accredited as a test provider for the UK Government’s Test to Release scheme, offering next day results for those wishing to reduce their home quarantine by taking a voluntary test on the fifth full day after arriving in England from a country on the ‘amber’ list.


Contingency for no agreement continues

The UK-Gibraltar Readiness NNO Board has met in Gibraltar for the first time. The role of the Board is to coordinate preparations between the UK and Gibraltar Governments in the event of a Non Negotiated Outcome.

The UK Minister for the European Neighbourhood and the Americas, Wendy Morton MP, opened the hybrid meeting which was chaired jointly with UK by the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia.

A team of officials from the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, who were here on a familiarisation visit, participated together with officials from other UK departments who joined the meeting digitally.

On the Gibraltar side, the Board included the Civil Contingencies Coordinator, the CEO of the Department of the Environment, the Parliamentary Counsel, the Director of Gibraltar House in Brussels, the Commissioner of Police, the Collector of Customs, the CEO of the Borders and Coastguards Agency , the Captain of the Port as well as the Principal Secretary and PA of the Office of the Deputy Chief Minister.

The Deputy Chief Minister stressed that it was sensible and prudent, as had happened since 2016, to make plans for no agreement, even though the Government remained fully committed to an agreement on the future relationship of Gibraltar with the European Union.


UK Community renewal fund

As part of Gibraltar’s departure from the EU, the UK Government has set up a transitional fund to aid the move away from Structural Funds previously provided by Brussels.

An information seminar to promote this new UK Community Renewal Fund in Gibraltar was held by the Gibraltar Expansion and Development Secretariat. The event was hosted by the Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses at their base in Irish Town. 

GFSB members were invited to make enquiries about the Fund and avail themselves of the Funds Officers present.

The bidding round for applications closes at midday on Friday 9 July 2021.

More information and application forms can be found on the www.geds.gi or by calling 20073255. 

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A proper Gibraltar welcome for Eastern Airways

Eastern Airways operated their first service from Birmingham, UK to Gibraltar  and received an appropriate welcome.

The new service is operating twice weekly, year round, on Mondays and Fridays and flown with Embraer E170 and E190 jets.

The Minister for Business, Tourism, Transport and the Port, the Hon Vijay Daryanani MP was at the airport to welcome the flight, along with teams from Gibraltar International Airport and the
Gibraltar Tourist Board. Arriving passengers were presented with Visit Gibraltar branded gifts.

Minister Daryanani said, “I’m delighted to see the return of a service from Birmingham. This destination has always been a popular one for Gibraltar, showing very strong demand when operated previously. This new service has been made possible through my untiring efforts to deliver new airlines and destinations for Gibraltar and shows the Government’s unprecedented commitment to this task. Our tourism and business communities will no doubt welcome the service and we look forward to welcoming many visitors from Birmingham and the airport’s catchment area.”


Ocean Village has kindly donated 200 boxes of hand sanitiser to Gibraltar’s Red Cross.

The Gibraltar Central Council Branch was established in 1948 and became an overseas branch of the British Red Cross in 1957. The Gibraltar Red Cross supports those in need in Gibraltar and those affected by disasters and crises around the world.

Lois Soiza, Welfare Officer at the Gibraltar Red Cross said, “Thanks so much to the Ocean Village team, we will be distributing the hand sanitisers they have so generously donated among those in our elderly care facilities and other local charities.”

Emilia Hazell-Smith, from Ocean Village added, “We are delighted to donate these hand sanitisers to such a worthy cause, and we know they will be distributed to the people who need them most!”



Freedom of Information legislation has come into effect in
Gibraltar..

Requests for information will be open to any Gibraltar resident who is aged 18 years or over. An initial charge of £10 will be levied per request. There will be no additional cost for tracing, compiling and supplying the information where this is calculated to be £100 or less.

A Freedom of Information portal has been added to the e-services section of gibraltar.gov.gi

The portal contains a copy of the Act, application forms, and the relevant guidance notes for anyone who may be eligible to request information; and who wishes to exercise that right. This allows the system to operate digitally as information requests, replies and payments can all be submitted using the new gateway.

The dedicated email address foi@gibraltar.gov.gi has also been setup to deal with any queries.

In addition, the Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) is now the point of contact for anyone who requires assistance in person with the operation of the electronic portal.

The responsibility for the disclosure or not of the information requested will rest with individual Government departments, agencies and authorities. The Gibraltar Regulatory Authority (GRA) becomes the Information Commissioner under the law, will be responsible for the oversight of the implementation of the legislation and serve as an appeal body from decisions taken by Government departments and other public authorities.

CRYPTO ASSET TRIAL

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HM Government of Gibraltar has entered into an agreement with Coinfirm Ltd., a leading RegTech firm, to trial a new AML risk management platform for crypto and block- chain assets.

The collaboration between HM Government of Gibraltar and Coinfirm will benefit regulatory and law enforcement agencies in the jurisdiction with the use of advanced blockchain-native anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing analytics.

This is the first time this innovative technology is being used to support Gibraltar’s work in the international fight against money laundering.

The AML Platform is able to monitor high-risk transactions and trace misappropriated funds through visualisers amongst other proprietary investigative tools. The smart, data-led automatic analytics can overcome highly complex criminal enterprise schemes through deploying various methodologies including the destination and source of funds, fingerprints of activity, ownership analysis, e-discovery and clustering algorithms.

Albert Isola, Minister for Digital and Financial Services commented, “As we continue to develop our VASP infrastructure, ensuring our regulatory bodies have the tools to combat financial crime in the crypto asset industry is of paramount importance. We must be equipped to counter threats such as those posed by criminal actors. I am very grateful to the team at Coinfirm for their support in allow- ing us access to and use of their platform.”

“Conducting investigations into criminals leveraging crypto assets is becoming crucial in financial crime cases as blockchain’s importance in the wider economy gains steam. With the AML Platform and Coinfirm’s ongoing support we will be able to more effectively challenge the various illicit schemes that malicious actors devise” added Paweł Kuskowski, CEO and co-founder at Coinfirm.


Visit by Spanish Senator

The Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Spanish Senate, Senator Antonio Gutierrez Limones, paid a courtesy call on the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo last month.

The Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia and the Attorney General Michael Llamas were also present in the meeting.

The discussion centred on matters of common interest in particular on the matters that are the usual well known views of Gibraltar and the Campo which plague so many people’s views of the area.

The Chief Minister said, “I am very pleased to have received Antonio and to have had a chance to have a discussion about the issues that are relevant to the reality of impetus that the day to day lives of Gibraltarians and people in the region around us.“


BEAT MEASURES FURTHER EXTENDED

The Chief Minister has announced some of the business support measures that are set to continue until 30 June 2021.

Businesses that are participating in the BEAT scheme will receive the following percentages based on the average payment that they received in April and May 2020:

• 30% to be paid for April 2021

• 20% to be paid for May 2021; and

• a final payment of 10% to be paid for June 2021.

The above payments will be made to all participating businesses, except for those sectors that continue to be heavily affected by the travel restrictions imposed by other countries in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Participating businesses from these heavily affected sectors will receive additional tailored financial support that will be reviewed by Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar on a month by month basis. This tailored support is also expected to end on 30 June 2021 – if matters progress as hoped.

All BEAT payments will be made automatically to participating businesses. Participating businesses do not need to take any action in order to receive these BEAT grant payments.

The Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce welcomed the announcement by the Government but also added it wanted to make sure that Gibraltar’s private sector could continue to operate and emerge stronger from the crisis of the past twelve months. This would help to put the Rock’s economy in the best possible position to deal with the challenges that inevitably lie ahead.

Raab Visit

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The UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab MP visited Gibraltar with FCDO Minister Wendy Morton MP on the 29th March for the UK-Gibraltar Joint Ministerial Council.

The day marked another phase in the lifting of COVID restrictions on the Rock, and the delegation spent some time along Main Street as well as discussing matters at hand in more business-like surroundings.

The Foreign Secretary reiterated the UK’s longstanding commitment that it will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their freely and democratically expressed wishes. Nor will it enter into a process of sovereignty negotiations with which Gibraltar is not content.

Top of the agenda was the approach to negotiating the upcoming treaty between the EU and UK with specific respect to Gibraltar. The framework for this was agreed at the end of 2020, as announced by the Chief Minister and the UK at that time.


Twenty-two University of Gibraltar students have taken their leap into the workplace with placements across different sectors.

This time away from pure study lasts from between six and ten weeks, and is an integral part of the Bachelor of Business degree course.

Spanish student Jose-Miguel is in his second year of the programme and has chosen to specialise in finance, “I am doing my placement at a family-run finance firm. Last year I also had the opportunity to do my placement at PwC. This is a great experience because I am developing the skills and acquiring the knowledge required to embark on a career in the financial sector, which is my goal.”

Denise Matthews, Founder of One Media & Events and Chapter Director at Startup Grind Gibraltar is hosting a first-year student who has chosen marketing as their preferred major. Denise said, “Welcoming a student from the university to learn and experience different ways of working from remote work to digital marketing for a global brand is extremely rewarding. This placement is an opportunity to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs through our strong partnership with the University of Gibraltar that has been in place for almost four years. We are delighted to support them.”

Marketing is also the major for first-year student Amelia Lewis-Berry who is spending her placement at a local marketing and creative agency, The Bulb. Its CEO, Dylan Trenado, said, “The Bulb is delighted to offer a work placement to a University of Gibraltar student. Amelia will be learning about online/offline marketing and how our company operates as a whole to assist clients with their marketing and creative requirements. We believe offering this opportunity to students will help them gain experience that they will carry with them to their careers.”


Volotea Announces Gib Route

An airline setup by the original founders of successful budget carrier Vueling has announced a new route to Gibraltar.

Volotea will be flying between Gibraltar and Bilbao starting from 2nd July using an Airbus A319. Volotea will be the only airline to connect Gibraltar with a Spanish city. Around 8000 seats will be available between July and September.

Carlos Muñoz, Founder and CEO of Volotea heralded the announcement. “True to our vocation, we want to continue to connect small and medium- sized cities with great flexibility and to do so with maximum safety. We are very happy to be able to announce the opening of this new route that seeks to satisfy a demand that was not being met”.

Minister for Business, Tourism, Transport and the Port of Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar the Hon Vijay Daryanani MP added, “I welcome the announcement made today by Volotea on the start of flights from Bilbao, Spain to Gibraltar for the summer of 2021. I am delighted to see the addition of yet another carrier serving Gibraltar and a new route that opens up a completely new catchment area from another country.”

“I am sure that this announcement will be welcomed by our tourism industry in Gibraltar and our business community, as this service creates further opportunities to attract visitors to Gibraltar.” 

The exact start date and operation of the route is subject to regulatory approval.

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