TODAY’s PHOTO : Borrowed from the Diário, but the photo presumably belongs to the Savoy. An impression of the north view of the proposed new hotel (Avenida do Infante angle) … see story below.
Front Page News : source : Diário de Notícias 13/2/2009
A storage area for the fishermen of Paul do Mar was destroyed by rockfall the day after Christmas, with the users losing boat engines, fuel, fishing equipment and other high value items. The council, responsible for the facility have done nothing about it, aside from clearing the path outside so tourists wouldn’t see the mess or trip over the rubble.
In the day’s main story, it seems that someone has just noticed that one of the councillors for Funchal Council (CMF) is also a lawyer employed by the Savoy Hotel, or perhaps more accurately he represents the promoter for the proposed new Savoy Hotel. A conflict of interests … surely not! A backtrack through the minutes of the many meetings at which the hotel project was discussed, reveals that the lawyer was present, but left the chamber when any voting took place. The Diário says that “The urbanisation contract for the Savoy was approved on Thursday and is certainly not perfect, but better than expected.” Quite what that means I can’t tell you, but even if the lawyer did not vote, he should have distanced himself entirely from the project, as for sure he lobbied support from his fellow councillors.
In a preview of last night’s football match between Nacional and Guimarães the Diário said its is ‘a game of four points’. I have heard of 0, 1, 2, 3, and even 6 point games, but never a game worth 4 points. I didn’t read why, but I have a good idea anyway, and if I am right it is something that happens in Portuguese football, but not in English … anyone know? Anyway Nacional had a splendid 3 – 0 win, putting them temporarily into 3rd place in the league, just 3 points behind leaders Porto.
The organisers of the gastronomic fair in Machico (not until July) are patting themselves on the back for having recruited a star Brazilian to open the festivities. Martinho da Vila, is a writer / singer / composer, who has released around 40 albums during his career. The concert is billed as being one of the major concerts on Madeira this year.
The latest scam to hit Madeira, having already operated in the Azores, is aimed at schools and parents. A company representing itself as selling for ‘Porto Editora’ (a/the main academic publisher for Portugal) is selling ‘school media packs’ for €1,200, which include a laptop computer and a selection of ‘virtual school’ CDs. However when the goods are delivered, they are found to be nothing to do with Porto Editora. The fraudsters are now being sought by the company in order to take legal action.
Other News :
The government has now put in place restrictions preventing the unnecessary recruitment of non-EU workers, placing a limit of 20 ‘foreigners’ on all companies. This follows President Jardim’s recent speech in which he said Madeirans, not foreigners, should be recruited to any construction vacancies on Madeira. These vacancies should also be advertised on Madeira, before attempting going outside to recruit, and only then if there is no trained candidate available locally. There was previously a quota of 130 on companies. The Diário gives an example : If a Chinese restaurant needs a trained chef (in Chinese cuisine), it must advertise locally for a month otherwise it cannot recruit. I don’t really think legislation was necessary to achieve this except in exceptional circumstances, as these ‘controls’ are already inbuilt into the culture. What will be interesting is the effect on the recruitment of the Brazilians and Venezuelans, who in the past seemed to be acceptable as ‘local labour’, much more so than the Europeans. Also, there are many Madeirans working in Venezuela, so will the government there take reciprocal action … Hugo Chavez is not known for shying away from such issues.
The Portuguese Victim Support Association (APAV), which can be reached by telephone on 707 20 00 77, up until now has no representation on Madeira, but now wants to have an office here. No location or date has yet been decided. Last year they received 27 calls from Madeira, 23 of which were for domestic violence. I don’t know who will pay for this centre, but with just one telephone call every two weeks it must be pretty hard to justify the expense.
The number of cruise ships that visited us in January was 23, the same as last year, but the number of passengers was up 1,347 to 42,536. Perhaps typical cruise passengers are recession proof!
Barclays Bank has plans to expand further on Madeira, having opened the first branch here two years ago and 3 more since. A spokesman says it is unlike the other banks currently suffering, but overall it is because Madeirans just love the excellent customer service they offer. There must be a blog reader or two that uses Barclays … go on tell us what they are really like!
2008 saw the record broken for nights sold at the regions hotels … nearly 6.2 million in total, up 3.7% on the previous year. The number of guests was up 1% to 1.17 million. Even so the tail off in the number of bookings for the second half of the year was significant, and the first two months of this year look worrying, although bookings are looking better over carnival week.
In an aggressive stance on North Atlantic routes, SATA, the Azores airline that services Madeira is looking into scheduled flights to Canada. They have applied for a licence to fly the route Lisbon / Montreal / Azores.
So, it’s Valentines day. If I get lucky, where should I take my valentine tonight?
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