19% overspend in 2008, Church thefts, Anona rescue package, & other snippets

TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Sarah … another pic from the Funchal children’s carnival.

Front Page News : source : Diário de Notícias 9/3/2009

Nearly all of yesterday’s front page was taken up with some sort of mishmash of figures and numbers titled ‘Subsidies Increase’, and saying that the total amount of spend or support granted by the regional government (RG) in 2008, grew almost 19% from what it should have been. The biggest slice of this, to the tune of €540 million, went to Madeira’s road projects. The full facts and figures are in a supplement to yesterday’s printed edition of the Diário, but essentially this is an exercise carried out annually by the newspaper to prove that Uncle Bertie and his cronies are conning the public on matters of public expenditure, by under-declaring their expenditure. The Diário, for it’s part, compiles a spreadsheet of the true figures, and then compares the two. Aside from the massive discrepancy on Madeira’s roads, some of the other key facts are:

– Contributions to the catholic Church are 91% over RG figures.

– Extra spend of €127,000 in support of the TV series ‘Flor do Mar’.

– 16 new organisations received support that were not in the plans.

– €2.5 million given to Câmara de Lobos fire brigade for a new HQ.

– Extra €982,000 given to poor and homeless charities.

Without seeing the full supplement it is hard to tell, but it seems that the Diário is not necessarily out to criticise the expenditure in every case, just to question why the RG are telling us a different story to the reality or have strayed from approved budgets without declaring the facts.

‘SOS Igreja’ is about the launch of a new initiative by the judicial police to tackle the theft of sacred art / items, after 8 robberies from churches in two years. 7 images of saints and a religious tapestry have been stolen, and are still missing. Other stolen property has been recovered. The police find it very difficult to solve such crimes, because the churches don’t keep inventories or photographs of their property, and one aim of the initiative is to rectify this, and increase security in churches and for the valuables. According to a church spokesman, valuable pieces are stolen ‘to order’, or quickly taken out of Madeira and sold by auction or to antique shops before they are even reported missing.

‘Briga No Santo’ is a rather uninteresting article about the fact that the town of Santo da Serra sits across the district boundaries of Machico and Santa Cruz, effectively splitting the administration in two. According to ones family history, it is important to live on the right side of the boundary, being “a matter of pride” according to one local. Although the rivalry itself is not of great concern, it rankles some that, for example, they go to church on one side of the boundary, and yet the cemetery is on the other. The same split applies to the politicians, public expenditure, and public services. 

The regional secretary of the government responsible for such matters has announced a new package of support to help farmers. In particular he announced that the total production of Anona’s (custard apples) from Madeira would be distributed  to domestic and foreign markets, which should take the consumption to 160 tonnes, twice that achieved in 2008. “We need to develop more regional production, or reduce imports, or increase the export of our products,” said Manuel António Correia. “Thus, instead of money leaving, money comes into Madeira.” The average paid to farmers for last years crop was €2,200, double that paid in the year 2000. The regional secretary announced a new program to support investment in agriculture. The proposal, already approved by the European Union, aims to facilitate investments of up to 5 thousand euros with tax incentives and avoid the usual bureaucracy. It is normally dangerous ground when government intervenes in this sort of way, as it can be seen as unfair subsidising in competition terms, but if the EU has agreed it there must be some justifying factor?

The only other article was a preview of the football match between Setúbal and Nacional, which our lads lost 2 – 0.

Other News :

In an article I found tucked away, but seems to me much more important, chicken farmers are complaining that ‘raçoes’ (animal feed) they are buying for chicks is killing them off. One farmer complains of losing 20 chicks after feeding them with the product he purchased, and having taken the product back to the place of purchase, was told that other farmers had the same problem. The head of department of the Agricultural Cooperative of Funchal (where the product is sold), says he is not aware of any complaints, and that farmers forget that in this cold weather some chicks are unable to survive. I don’t wish to do an ‘Edwina Currie’ here and put people off buying eggs and chicken, but surely someone should take this seriously and ensure that the ‘raçoes’ are safe and not endangering the food chain.

The German tour operator TUI has decided to include Madeira in it’s new cruise ship programmes. One of it’s new cruisers, ‘Mein Schiff’, already has 8 visits scheduled to come here, the first being in November 2010.

A financial consultant kindly reminds us not to forget to submit out tax returns before the deadlines. If you miss your deadline, the minimum fine is €50, and can be up to €1250.

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I don’t know about anyone else, but I am getting concerned about the lack of news items about or mentioning Uncle Bertie. In week’s gone by you could guarantee he would appear every day, sometimes several times per day. Now it seems you are ‘lucky’ to hear anything about out our Bertie even once a week, depending on your perspective. I spent some time last night thinking about this and have come up with several possible theories that could explain in full or in part the situation :

1). The Diário is scared of lawsuit threats, after last week Bertie told all his top men to take critical opponents through the courts. I hope this is not the case, as perhaps that could indicate that the Diário has been telling us untruths all these years

2). The amount of inaugurations for this year will be enormous, being an election year, but those inaugurations will be held back so they are close to the actual election dates. Hence the usual daily inaugurations are just not happening at present, hence less news.

3). Bertie has become ‘nice’. Nice politicians don’t make the news.

4). He has been temporarily whisked away to North Korea, Iran, or Cuba, or somewhere like that where he is giving training courses to political leaders called ‘Improve your Dictatorship Skills in one week’.

There is one way to clarify matters of course, and that is to read Bertie’s own newspaper, The Journal, and see what can be found there. I am personally reluctant to do this in case I get sucked into the dark side, but has anyone looked there recently who can confirm that Uncle Bertie is alive and well?

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This is the direct link for the blog about this blog’s future. I will keep this direct link on for a while, so you can click here and read, or respond if you can help or have any good ideas. I will be checking it for new responses daily : www.madeira4u.com/blog.html/3508

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15 thoughts on “19% overspend in 2008, Church thefts, Anona rescue package, & other snippets”

  1. Has spring finally arrived at last? It was definately much warmer this morning, even my Madeirenses colleagues agree and are looking forward to casting off their winter woolies.
    –Elaine

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  2. The reason why I ask is because my family tells me that it`s very cold and rainy there…..Hard to beleive when we are speaking of a tropical Island. _ _ Lyn

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  3. I went to the airport this morning to collect some visitors. It was wall to wall sunshine here (Calheta) as far as Funchal. After Funchal it became cloudy, and by the time I arrived at the airport it was thick, low cloud, and quite cool. Amazingly different. On return, the same happened backwards (if you see what I mean) and we have enjoyed a glorious day here in the sunny west of the island. Long may it last!
    –Andrew

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  4. we went to the botanical gardenstoday with family that are visiting,very impressed ,BUT there is a cafe outside the entrance where a coffee is 1.60 euro !!!.when complaing to the owner he said "i am cheaper than the garden cafe ,they charge 2 euro" lying git ,they charge 95 cents!
    –vic

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  5. You can sometimes experience all four seasons in one day Lynn and not just East to West but North to South and all the other compass points as well, and sometimes all in one area. But yes, todays spring weather between Funchal & Calheta has definately stayed with us all day, and we were still sitting outside at 7pm. I just hope it is here to stay for the next 7 months at least, even if it doesn't get any hotter, this will do me quite nicely, after all it's the main reason most of us Brit's came here.
    –Elaine

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  6. Unfortunately the downside of the good weather is that the insects are now out in force and I have already been bitten 7 times since the weekend, a couple are definate mosquito bites and the rest appear to be whatever it is that likes to bite on the toe or finger joints and hands. I will have to try out that banana skin theory.
    –Elaine

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  7. Elaine at present I can not reside in Madeira long term, but I plan in the future to move to the Island , for at least the better potion of the year. Life just seams a bit more simple there. – -Lyn

    Reply
  8. I can assure you that we had lots of different weather today, this morning in Funchal it was warm and sunny and that continued all the way to Paul do Mar. Through the mountains and it was nice then came over with thick fog/mist, Ponte Moniz damp, cold, windy and mist heading that way, went onto Ponte Delgada and very overcast, Sao Vicente much the same, got back to Funchal to find it was nice warm and sunny still.
    –Sarah

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  9. Yes it has been a mix of weather, but the sun did come out this side and was a lovely day.

    Vic you are right about that cafe, he is a rip off, im going to put him on my hit list next time im that way, could be another complaints book request….. You dont even pay 1.60 for a coffee in Funchal.
    –Tobi

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  10. Well, the banana skin theory definately does work, I used it before going to bed and again this morning and my bites have been completely itch free!

    Regardless of the weather, Madeira is still definately the better place to live Lyn so hopefully you will be able to spend some more time here soon.
    –Elaine

    Reply
  11. Indeed I do look foward to my holidays in Madeira, but for now it's back to the grinde of everyday stress and the endless rat race we must face everyday.
    –Lyn

    Reply

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