THE sudden death of the co-founder of the Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party (GSLP) and former minister Juan Carlos Perez came as a great surprise.
Whilst it was known that the 61-year-old was not in the best of health suffering from heart problems, he was still mobile – often having to use of a walking stick – but his brain was certainly still very active.
Perhaps in keeping with his staunch political views, he passed away at the Watergardens headquarters of the GSLP after filing the latest edition of The New People, the newspaper of which he was editor.
A committed trade unionist from an early age, Mr Perez was responsible for promoting the growth of unions in Gibraltar before turning to politics and serving in parliament from 1984 until 2003 including eight years as a minister.
His former Chief Minister and friend Joe Bossano with whom he founded the GSLP mourned his loss and spoke fondly of him whilst current Chief Minister Fabian Picardo tweeted “RIP friend, comrade, brother, political giant Juan Carlos. You believed in me from the beginning & never let me down. I will miss you always.”
Opposition politicians also expressed their regret at the loss of this figure who meant so much to many Gibraltarians and as well as numerous cousins, he leaves behind his mother and sister.