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1986 frontier opening meant Europe became “a new reality”, Montegriffo recalls
his politics were at times putting the firm’s	Today, he asserts “it’s performing much better business relationship with the government in	than it ever has – it must be said – because it jeopardy.	is better resourced, but it’s also true that the
“It was suggested that I should consider	challenges we are facing now are more what I thought more important, politics or my	complicated than ever before. profession. The upshot was that I resigned	“So as well as performing much better, from the House and simply retreated into a	we are still working on a very tight budget. professional life.”	Other places, like Jersey and Guernsey
Peter Caruana (now Sir Peter), who had	“invest much more in this area, although joined the GSD after Montegriffo turned	admittedly they are bigger industries. independent, won the bi-election in 1991 and	However, there is a lot to be done to became Leader of the Opposition a year later	build our capability, in particular with the UK and Chief Minister in 1996 until losing the	– in a post-Brexit world and (even if it had not 2011 election to the present-day GSLP /	happened) the UK remains our major Gibraltar Liberal Party Alliance (GSLP).	market.”
Montegriffo concentrated on his career	He is convinced there is a great deal of and in particular, grew his profile and	further UK penetration possible and many expertise in the financial services sector.	opportunities by having more people
spending time in London as is already hap- pening.
“One of the dangers is that we may spread ourselves too thinly; London and the UK, Switzerland and some of the conventional markets still represent the lion’s share of our work and we shouldn’t deplete our efforts too much in speculative efforts elsewhere.
More resources are needed, he recognises, “even if it means that the private sector also contributes further as it does elsewhere and we do here – but not enough – so we can have a bigger focus on London and
Yet four years on and he again turned to	some of the core markets that might emerge politics rejoining the Party in 1995, because	when the Brexit deal becomes clearer”. he felt “we had to provide a strong alternative	But after completing one term, in 2000 to the GSLP at the time”. Hassans “wasn’t too	Montegriffo again chose to step down as an pleased”, he reports, and “I was made to leave	MP, feeling “the style of government in the firm, become a consultant and move to	Gibraltar had become quite centred on Peter a separate office building, as I was	Caruana’s personality and his energy. considered too provocative, even though I	I regarded myself as jointly involved in was not then a member of the House.”	leadership, while Peter’s approach was more
Hassans’ stance then is in marked	presidential.” He reasons: “If I was not going contrast to that of today, with Montegriffo’s	to be involved in the highest echelons of fellow partners, Danny Feetham, being GSD	government - my time was better employed in leader in Opposition and Fabian Picardo, the	law”. GSLP Chief Minister, and Gilbert Licudi, all as ministers on partnership sabbatical.	Leaving did hurt
It was a decision he admits, that upset - not to Tight budget limits	continue to play a role in Gibraltar’s affairs.
In 1996 he again became an MP: he topped	“I’ve never been obsessively ambitious the poll but was the only Gibraltar politician	for any particular office, but it hurt, because not, as a result, to become Chief Minister.	there is no more valuable way to promote Instead he took the deputy role to Caruana	your community’s interest than being and also became Minister for Trade and	in public office”, Montegriffo explains. Industry, which included financial services, a	“I always say that when in any political sector where the territory “needed to shore up	project there is convergence between what its credentials”.	you believe in and the community’s view of
He created the Gibraltar Finance Centre	the way ahead, a symbiotic relationship Division to promote and develop the sector.	emerges - the authenticity of what you then do
is enormous.” Instead, he ramped up his legal tasks,
worked with government on commercial matters, and collaborated with Caruana and others to develop the jurisdiction’s gaming industry in particular, which began to take off in the early 2000’s.	“The truth is that I found a great deal of value and satisfaction in supporting Gibraltar PLC through my professional work”, he declares.
Despite all of the past political involvement, Montegriffo contends he is very far from a reluctant lawyer.	But it is clear that he’s torn on whether politics is the greater interest.
Montegriffo’s possible third time in politics is something that people raise every now and then, and his usual response is “I really have no plans to return”.	He emphases this point: “I have no plans in mind to return”, but then goes on, “but in my heart there is something emotionally that doesn’t quite allow me to accept the finality of this conclusion.”
Tempted to return
And then an admission follows: “If you were to ask me do I have any plans, the answer is definitely ‘no’, but if I were to be asked if I am tempted, the answer, definitely, very often is ‘yes’.
“I haven’t previously articulated it in this way, because it might suggest I am more disposed to do so than before. [But] I have got to a stage in life - and Gibraltar is facing some potentially uncharted waters with Brexit - where the thought of contributing becomes attractive again, because I think we are entering a phase in politics that is particularly complex.”
Montegriffo continues to enthuse: "Thereisalottobedone–itexcitesme–and it would be great to be more involved.”
Describing himself as “an eternal optimist”, Montegriffo, who has two younger brothers in Gibraltar businesses, cautions: “My main concern is not the external factors: my main concern is whether we have been lulled, through a very good life-style into a comfort that we must guard against; whether we, as a community, have retreated into being over indulged and, therefore, not best equipped to deal with changes as they come.”
Looking at the post-Brexit vote challenges, he hopes his concerns are unfounded. “As we again respond to a new and changing landscape, our resilience, inventiveness and solidarity will be more important than ever.”
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