National day is tomorrow, and with the people hyping up, full of excitement and anticipation for the big day, we decided to speak with one of the many people who organise the event.

PANORAMA spoke with Chairman of the SDGG, Richard Buttigieg about the SDGG and this upcoming National Day. 

Can you tell us about the SDGG?

“The SDGG is a group that started some 26 years ago. Its primary aim at the time, its exclusive aim when it started was to ferment the identity of the Gibraltarians and also as the name of the group suggests, to fight for the right of the Gibraltarian people to self determine their future. As the group progressed it became involved in several different initiatives – paramount upon its initiatives is the organisation of National Day."

“Some years ago when National Day started it was basically just one day and now we have national festivities that span three weeks. We also attended the United Nations twice a year; one to speak before the committee of 24 and one to speak before the 4th committee. Aside from our UN visits and the organisation of National Day and everything surrounding National week, we also try to reach out to contacts, both locally and externally to try and always put forward the Gibraltar case, the Gibraltar agenda or should I say the SDGG Agenda which is one of trying to promote self determination for our people whilst at the same time also trying to propagate our identity and our culture and our uniqueness of us as a people because that element of being a people is central to the argument that self determination should apply to us.”

What are your expectations for this year’s national day?

“I remember when Brexit was first voted upon when I first approached that national day thinking that it will have a significant impact on National Day and the sentiment of the people attending etcetera but we will be holding our 4th national day since Brexit happened so my expectations now really are no different to what they have been for the last four years after a Brexit vote had taken place which is that I hope that the people of Gibraltar will turn up in mass as they thankfully do every year and that our presence, all dressed in our red and white colours and hopefully all making the most of the day in a family festive spirit that we will be able to show the world or the media, show ourselves I think that we remain very steadfast and very resolute in the defense of our sovereignty and our right of self determination and my hope therefore is that we will have as popular and successful national day as we thankfully have every year."

“I hope that the tiredness that some people might understandably have with all the Brexit problems and things that are happening doesn’t dissuade them from attending and making the day a great one. It’s not easy, I understand how people get bored and how people can get a little bit tired from politics but this is not in my view a political thing."

“Obviously it is a political rally but the reason why I think we need to turn up and represent ourselves is because it is about our future, it is about our fundamental rights to self determine our future and therefore I think that notwithstanding that we may all be a little tired and a little bit worn from everything that is going on in Politics that we still need to push through and be counted on the day.”

Is there anything you’d like to say to the people of Gibraltar about the celebrations and National Day and everything?

“Something I say every year is that let us please let us enjoy them responsibly, lets by all means be merry and have fun but let us all be civic and socially minded to ensure that we partake in the celebrations in a manner that allows everyone to have fun. Let us not forget that at the end of the day it is a political rally that the SDGG organises and that therefore festivities aside there is an important political message that has to be conveyed and that is that no one except ourselves should be involved in deciding what our future is and I would say to the people please do turn up, please dress up in your red and white, please support the event because I think it’s important, it is a unique time of the year, a unique opportunity to present ourselves to the media worldwide, it is always important I think to showcase the Gibraltarian culture, the Gibraltarian identity and the Gibraltarian people. Whilst of course it is a day to have fun and to enjoy the many festivities it is important to turn up and deliver the political message which is our right to self determination so please do come and support us.”