Monday, 7th December 2015
Medallions for services to the community
by Gabriella Peralta
The Gibraltar Medallion of Distinction was bestowed on three well-known members of the community last Friday at the City Hall to honour their service to Gibraltar.
James Levy, Abe Massias and Momy Levy were not able to collect their Medallions at a ceremony earlier this year as the event coincided with a Jewish holiday. At The Gibraltar Parliament last July it was agreed to bestow the Medallions to various individuals.
In a surprise announcement Sarah Levy received an award for her family’s contribution to Gibraltar.
The event was attended by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia, Mayor Adolfo Canepa, Returning Officer Paul Martinez and Deputy Mayor Kaiane Aldorino.
Opening the event Mr Martinez announced the recipients as Mr Picardo, Dr Garcia and Mr Canepa presented the awards.
Mr James Levy received the Medallion for his contribution to the interests of Gibraltar and its people and in particular “for his service to the Community in the economic development of Gibraltar.”
After the ceremony Mr Levy told the Chronicle he was delighted to receive this recognition.
“My family has been in Gibraltar for hundreds of years. I love this place and I do all I can for Gibraltar to be recognised is even a bonus. One doesn’t do it for that but it is a bonus,” Mr Levy said.
“I really am very grateful to Parliament and I am delighted.”
For Mr Massias received a Medallion for his contribution to the economy of Gibraltar through property development.
“I am surprised. I am not quite sure whether I deserve this honour but I am very grateful for the recognition, knowing that whatever I did was not really to receive honours it was just something with a financial objective and an idealistic objective, like for a better Gibraltar,” Mr Massias said.
“This is a bonus I never expected.”
Mr Momy Levy received the Medallion for his service to Gibraltar in the promotion of intercommunity understanding amongst different religions and cultures.
Mr Levy delivered a speech at the ceremony shortly after he was awarded with the Medallion and shared a few words with the Chronicle.
“Once I became Mayor the first thing I did was to join all religions together. It is a normal thing as we in Gibraltar are examples of the world. We here are blessed and are living the way we should live and I thank the almighty for this wonderful opportunity,” Mr Levy said.
“I will carry on until the end with my mission.”
Mrs Levy was awarded a brooch with the arms of the City of Gibraltar. Mr Canepa said he was delighted to award Mrs Levy with the brooch as it is “very special and auspicious”.
The brooch was made by the same Italian jewellers who made the Mayor’s chain and medallion in the 1950s. The items were purchased at a time when Sir Joshua Hassan was the Mayor of Gibraltar.
The brooch was awarded as a result of the family correlation and Mr Canepa hoped Mrs Levy would wear it with “great pride”.
“It is a small legacy as well, connecting [Mrs Levy’s] family with Sir Joshua Hassan through this small memento for your children and grandchildren,” Mr Canepa said.
On accepting the award Mrs Levy said: “I am delighted, I feel very privileged. I feel proud to be able to participate and help my husband in his work.”
At the ceremony Mr Picardo addressed the room of recipients and their families.
“The most richly deserved of all the awards is that to Mrs Sarah Levy for the sacrifice that the family members of our Mayors make which is sometimes not seen. I know that Adolfo has wanted to recognise that in regards to all the spouses of all our former mayors,” Mr Picardo said.
“I am sorry, and I want to start with an apology for when we fixed the date for the award of all the Medallions of Honour and Distinction we failed to realise that we were doing that on a day that was a Jewish holiday.”
“I want to say to you what I have said to all the others who received the Medallion on that day. The recognition of Parliament is on behalf of the people of Gibraltar for the work that you have done.”
“In the field of entrepreneurship, those are the people who keep our economy going.”
“This is the result of people like Abe Massias, like James Levy who go out and see the world as the place in which they do business.”
“It is also important that we recognise those who always strife to ensure that all the cultures and all the religions in Gibraltar realise the importance of our respect for each other and continue to value this.”