Crime stats down, Lifeguard problems, Payout for the cronies, & other snippets

TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Sarah … “I stayed at the Quinta Splendida, Caniço for a few nights this month, may I say the gardens are beautiful, shame about the standard of accommodation, its not all deluxe like their images show!!!, after 3 nights and problems we checked out and went to a 5* in Funchal, much better!!!”

Front Page News : source : Diário de Notícias 27/3/2009

In yesterday’s main headline ‘Government Wants To Pay A Packet To A Group Of Barons’ – “The regional government has just ordered the payment of €25 million to a consortium that includes amongst others a politician(s?) and other businessmen (of AFA, Somague and others)”. The money will go to the consortium that  managed the solid waste treatment plant at Meia Serra, to help clear it’s debts. Meanwhile other smaller companies are going bust because the government has failed to pay up on it’s debts to them. The consortium, OTRS, had the management contract up until last November, and had threatened the regional government with court action over ‘credits owed’ totalling €22 million, and even they were surprised to be told that they would be paid so quickly. I have to be restrained how I express myself here, but one member of the consortium called Jamie Ramos, surely purely by coincidence, happens to be the the parliamentary leader of the social democrats of Madeira (PSD-M).

‘Lorries and Cars Squabble on the Via Rápida’ – It was an accident in a tunnel near Cabão Girão, that saw a man hospitalised (now under observation), and quite severe traffic congestion, but is not normally something that would make the front page.

‘Crime Statistics Down On Madeira’ – The annual report on crime on Madeira shows a significant reduction of incidents compared to 2007, down 3.8% with 7514 crimes reported (around 20 a day). The general trend is in the opposite direction from Portugal’s main cities, Lisbon, Porto, Setúbal, Aveiro, and Braga, that all show increases in criminality over the same period. Domestic crime however does not show Madeira in such a good light, as it is amongst the worst areas of the country for complaints made to the police. There were 10 deaths labelled as ‘domestic’ in 2008 for Portugal. Problems of a criminal nature in the schools of Madeira were also still on the increase, with theft (22.6%) and ‘harm to physical integrity’ (33.2%) dominating the complaints nationally, and with Madeira amongst the worst parts of Portugal. Great news indeed generally, as I know drug criminality is down in numbers, but perhaps we can put this down in part to the exposure of the levada mugger and his family on this blog at the end of 2007, forcing the little bugger into early retirement. I wonder if the figures take into account crimes by politicians, but somehow I don’t think they count.

‘Inadequate legislation may undermine monitoring on the beaches of Madeira’ – referring to the Summer season lifeguards, that only seem to appear in force on most beaches when the kids are off school. The organisation SANAS says that new regulations will increase the cost for the câmaras (councils), with clear disadvantages for safety. The new rules, which were published last August for implementation this year, requires that beach surveillance is licenced, and that an inspector from Lisbon needs to come here to carry out evaluations … “a long journey”. In addition, the cost of registration for the lifeguard course has inexplicably increased by 80%, making it inaccessible to young people wishing to provide a public service during the school holidays. It doesn’t get mentioned in the article, but if I recall correctly, the new rules also specify the number of lifeguards needed per 50 metres of beach, which wasn’t there before. From this year, two lifeguards are needed to supervise  any beach of up to 100 metres, and then one for every 50 metres (or part of).

There are outraged parents who have been told that contrary to the current law, some private creches that look after their children, will be closing during the Easter holidays. The education authority has said that it wants to hear the parent’s complaints.

Back to yesterday’s story about the discounts for prescription charges for health service users, the President of the Order of Pharmacists declares that the solution to the problem of contributions (to ensure the discounts return) is the responsibility of the Ministry of Health. In a part clarification about who is affected, the article says “the regional government decided to cut the subsidization to beneficiaries who visit Madeira. In this way, the drugs are all for the user of the continent, that have to pay for them in full.” Still not clear? … nor me … but yesterday’s comments have now hopefully clarified the matter. One Diário reader commented that the move stops people from the continent getting medicine discounts on Madeira, and that it was already the case that Madeirans in Portugal could not obtain the discounted prices. That is the correct situation, but there is still confusion in the air amongst the public.

In today’s sport headline, the new manager of Marítimo has said that “the dream is to be champion”, and that he wants to celebrate winning honours before joining ranks with the ‘big ones’. Carlos Carvalhal says he is confident of success for Marítimo that will put them in the exclusive group of the big three (or four, as it will then become). In an interview with the Diário, a month after his appointment, he was asked if he was happy with the one victory and two draws his team had obtained so far under his leadership. Surprisingly, he said ‘no’ he wanted all nine points. OK, clearly one has to be positive for ones bosses and the teams fans, but this goes to the point of sillyness, as no Madeiran team can ever achieve the height of joining the ‘big ones’ without masses of money from some Russian or Arabic buyer. And with crowds of just a few thousand a guaranteed fifteen times a season, staying in the premier league year after year is in itself a miracle.

The last article, in a bumper day for headlines, is about the failure to pay staff salaries in the Experimental Theatre of Funchal, because the regional government has not been making its support payments. One actor, who has a part in the TV series ‘Flor do Mar’, is reliant on his salary from that work in order to live, whilst four colleagues are having to look for loans to see them through the two months so far without a salary payment.

Other News :

Interpret this how you wish, as I am going to try. In the first two months of 2008, 32 thousand contraceptive pills were sold on Madeira, but in the same period this year only 26 thousand were sold. So why was 2008 23% higher than this year? OK, expenditure on medicine is down generally due to economic conditions, but to make up the complete picture we are left with three possibilities, and that could be any combination of the three. Firstly, and the one I really want to believe, is that in the latter part of last year women, decided to stockpile contraceptive pills. The latter two possibilities will result in either a very untimely baby boom, or a lot of very grumpy men, or both.

It has now been revealed that the military exercise, involving 140 personnel, that took place over the last week on Porto Santo, was a test for ‘future actions of cooperation’ between the various armed forces and security forces. However the colonel of the Military Zone of Madeira, at the end of the exercise made a statement, explaining why there were no other forces involved. I still think the collection of lost golf balls during the ‘Madeira Open’ last week was the most plausible reason, and looking at the photo, some of those soldiers have very bulky trouser pockets.

I he
ard on the radio this week that work was starting again on control of the pesky ‘Aedes Aegypti’ mosquito, which started to spread out of Funchal last year. We now have to talk about this potential dengue carrier in terms of ‘control’, as the possibility of eradication has long gone out of the window. Perhaps those bitter winter temperatures we had might of knocked off a few though.

Whilst trying to find out a bit more news on the subject I stumbled across an English newspaper readers letter and answer on the subject, from last year, which I thought you might find interesting.

Q : “I have heard that Madeira is mosquito-free, and would like to take my wife there. Can you confirm this for me … ” ****** A : “As far as I know, Madeira is mosquito-free, mainly because it is an island in the middle of the Atlantic and never gets quite hot enough for the devils to breed.”

No league football this weekend due to the world cup qualifying matches. Portugal host Sweden tonight (TVI channel 4 at 8.45pm).

Portugal won the under 21’s tournament of Madeira, after beating Finland 3 – 1 yesterday. I watched a bit of the match yesterday afternoon on TV, and I couldn’t see a single spectator.

Loads more good stories I could have done from yesterday’s news, but I am all out of time and puff.

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Don’t forget that the clocks change tonight, they spring forward a hour at 1am. So if all goes to plan, it won’t be dark until after 9pm tomorrow.

Also occurring later on today, in a worldwide initiative called ‘Hour of the Planet’, between 20:30 and 21:30 all people of the world are invited to turn off the lights in their homes and save on the consumption of electricity. Funchal is officially taking part. As long as it’s just the lights that’s OK, but in view of the football tonight, it is essential that the TV and fridge stay switched on. Why they didn’t just make the ‘switch off’ time a bit earlier beats me?

Have a good weekend, and if you have the urge please don’t forget to drop Alan an email alanflowerman@mac.com, as the end of the month is almost upon us.

www.madeira4u.com

Aside from your valued blog responses (you can reply direct using the form at the bottom of each blog comments page), please send any unreported Madeira news, topical photos, events information, or snippets for the madeira4u blog to blog@madeira4u.com – anyone can join in! Thank you!

4 thoughts on “Crime stats down, Lifeguard problems, Payout for the cronies, & other snippets”

  1. Morning Rain, Day Time Sun, Evening Rain ….. an interesting weather day in Gaula!
    We lose an Hour tonight, will Der gain a few pounds (and not just from watching the footie with the fridge on)? Pledge is not just a polish, it's a blog promise!
    –Jon

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