Updated: Nov 23
After celebrating the start of their Sister City relationship in September 2020, Raleigh and Gibraltar officials connected via Zoom on Tuesday, November 17, 2020, speaking to pandemic-related legislative challenges, transportation needs, and a mutual lifelong desire to serve the communities they represent.
The Gibraltar Minister for Business, Tourism and Transport in Gibraltar, Vijay Daryanani expressed optimism for a 2021 return to a bustling city center, full of pedestrians and cyclists, along with cruise ship visitors making their stop at the Port. Overseeing The Port in Gibraltar, Minister Daryanani shared that the normal Cruise Ship traffic averaged 230+ visits annually. “We’re positive that when this (pandemic) ends, Gibraltar will adapt very quickly to a different situation.”
Raleigh City Council Member Jonathan Melton also shared their hope for 2021. Plans are continuing to expand public transit frequency and service through a Bus Rapid Transit system, along with developing plans for regional light rail and commuter rail systems. An $80 million affordable housing bond was recently approved by Raleigh voters, presented by Councilmember Melton and team, looks to take next steps next year.
Both officials were inquired regarding their positions and their paths to office. Minister Daryanani found themself always wanting to serve the community, joining the Liberal Party at 25 years-old and recently being appointed to their current position in 2019. “For me, the most important thing is making a change and helping the community. I love Gibraltar.” Councilmember Melton also expressed their desire to serve politically from a young age, relaying a “If not me, then who?” mentality pushing them to run for Raleigh City Council in 2019, being elected as an At-Large Member to represent every city district.
As for next steps, the invitation was made for a Gibraltar delegation to visit the capital of North Carolina, along with continuing the stakeholder conversations and shared innovations for tourism, transportation, and innovation. Through their growing Sister Cities relationship, both Gibraltar and Raleigh are continuing to develop connections for the purposes of promoting peace, through respect, cooperation, and understanding.