Event Date: 28th July 2017
The border between Spain and Gibraltar closed between 1969 and 1985. Used as a device to pressure Gibraltarians the border continues to be a key factor in the life of the Rock and its hinterland. Mr Searle’s presentation looked at the human and political factors of the dispute with Spain and how the future management of the frontier is critical for more than the 32,000 strong population.
Dominique Jan SEARLE is Chief Minister’s Special Representative (HM Government of Gibraltar) May 2015 now based between London and Gibraltar and since July 2016, Gibraltar Representative to the UK. Born in Gibraltar in 1960, he was awarded an MA Sociology of Literature from the University of Essex. In July 1984, just months before the historic opening of the border with Spain, he joined the Gibraltar Chronicle as a staff reporter. From February 1985, he was retained for over two decades as The Times (of London) and Reuters stringer for Gibraltar. In September 1996 he was appointed Editor and managing director of the Gibraltar Chronicle, a post he held until April 2015. His work as a journalist has focused largely on Anglo-Spanish relations over the Rock and court and parliamentary reporting; and he received an MBE for services to journalism in 2004. From 1986 – 1991 he also worked on jazz radio programmes for the Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation and British Forces Broadcasting Services. Mr Searle has been consultant to the Kusuma Trust, a philanthropic organisation working in India, the UK and Gibraltar to transform the lives of young people through education since 2000.
Centre for Cross Border Studies Director Ruth Taillon welcomed Mr Searle to the Market Place Theatre and thanked him for agreeing to give his presentation ‘The Garlic Wall’ at the John Hewitt Summer School. Ms Taillon also drew attention to the fact that with the UK’s decision to leave the EU, Gibraltar will also have an external land border with the EU and faces many of the difficulties that we face here on the island of Ireland. After the presentation, a lively question and answer session was held, with Mr Searle and Ms Taillon fielding several questions from the large audience. Mr Searle’s full presentation is available to view in the video below.