HE may have cut short his tenure as Governor of Gibraltar by a year, but Sir James Dutton is adamant he has nothing but affection for the Rock.
The former military general told the Olive Press he will dearly miss the Gibraltarians, his ‘gorgeous’ home at the Convent, not to mention the Mediterranean Steps, where he has been running twice a week.
But for a man who has travelled the world, fought in the Falklands War and most recently lived in Gabon, did he find the three square miles that make-up Gibraltar a little claustrophobic?
“Not at all,” declares ‘Sir Jim’, as he is known. “My wife Liz and I haven’t once felt restricted here, and with the huge garden we had at the Convent it doesn’t feel like we are in the middle of the town.
“We also traveled a lot to Spain, to Morocco and also went sailing, which is something I very much enjoy… and the views from the Mediterranean Steps on my regular runs were just stunning.”
His publicly-stated reason for leaving his post is a desire to be at the sharp end of business again, and not just a ceremonial figure.
But it’s what made him come here in the first place that really raises a smile.
“I met Joe Bossano, the former Chief Minister, at a week-long memorial event in the Falkland Islands,” explains Sir Jim, who served as a General for 10 years.
“We became good friends, and he told me lots about Gibraltar, so when the opportunity came up I couldn’t resist.”
It’s clear that at 61, Sir Jim still feels like he has a lot to offer, whether he returns to former multinational firm Bechtel or seeks new shores.
But one way or the other, he will remain closely tied to Gibraltar, and echoed calls from British politicians on National Day to beef up the Royal Navy’s presence on the Rock.
“At the moment you have two very old converted Northern Irish patrol boats, which does not send a strong message to Spain,” he explained.
He also insisted that Gibraltar could offer a lot more to tourists. “A lot of people in the UK base their view of Gibraltar on Britain in the Sun (the channel 5 reality TV show).
“But there is so much more here to explore. I’d love to see military history tours take off, as well as tours of the fascinating old mining works.”
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