Unemployment hits record high, Cherry blossom spectacular, & other snippets

TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Tobi … one of those ugly looking digital information displays that are popping up in Funchal. I wasn’t that keen to publish it, but one of today’s articles about political propaganda made it seem more appropriate.

Front Page News : source : Diário de Notícias 24/3/2009

Main headline : ‘Unemployment Beats All The Records’ : Officially the number now is 10,789 after 857 new cases were added in February, 22.8% up on the same month last year. It is the highest number since records began 39 years ago. 27% of the unemployed have come from the construction industry, 23% from service industries, 21% from hotels and tourism, and 17% from trade and commerce. According to official figures, released yesterday by the Office of Employment and Vocational Training, Madeira registered the largest monthly increase in all the regions of Portugal, with over 8.6% compared to January. At present there are only 146 job vacancies available. Experts say we are only at the beginning of the crisis, and that we can expect worse for another year or two.

The official reason for the situation here is “financial strangulation” by the Government of the Republic. It doesn’t say who said that, but I am not struggling to imagine who might have said it.

A serious car accident left 6 people injured in São Roque on Monday night. A child of 9 years remains in intensive care, along with two adults under observation, who may need surgery. More than ten fireman from Funchal attended the scene to free the passengers, after the car lost control and hit a wall, and then hit a pedestrian, before hitting a parked car. 

A company from Caniçal continues to persist with the illegal exploration / extraction of stone, even though the local council (câmara) confirmed that they have no licence to do so. The activity is taking place in sítio de Entre Águas. At the scene of the illegal activity, one journalist was threatened with an attack, and then prevented from leaving the site by having his car blocked in. Police were involved and two individuals are being investigated.

The health centre in Estreito do Câmara de Lobos is having big problems, with a medical staff of just three, when it actually needs another 20. Local users, especially the elderly, get up during the early hours just to have to wait hours to get a prescription. The main photo from the front page shows 7 people waiting for the centre to open, seemingly just after daybreak, another had more like 20 in the outdoor ‘queue’. A lady of 68 said she had been waiting there since 5am, another patient said they had waited 4 hours before being told they couldn’t be seen, and then had to come back. The region of Câmara de Lobos has a population of around 40 thousand, but it is estimated that more than half of these do not have a family doctor. I think this is recycled news from a few months ago, but a now worsened situation after the recent death of a doctor. I wonder what it is like when the doors open in the morning, as queueing systems rarely exist here, so is it the fittest and fastest who actually get seen first?

The battle of the political placards and posters is well underway in downtown Funchal, in defiance of the regulations of CMF (Funchal Council). The first organisation to breach the rules was actually CMF itself, but they have now removed their material. The PCP have now put theirs up, despite having signed up to the cross-party agreement to control political propaganda in the historic city centre of Funchal. CMF have also allegedly been using the ugly electronic screens (today’s photo) to broadcast PSD pre-election messages, even though it seems that the regulations prohibit anything more than 45 days before an election (the European elections are in June). Does anyone actually think if there was no posters, no election campaign, just absolute silence for the whole of 2009, that there would be any difference to the absolute outcomes or even the size of the parties majorities?  I feel sorry for those of you in Funchal who have to put up with this nonsense much longer and intensely than we get out in the sticks!

The under 21 football squad of Portugal arrived here on Monday, for the 13th ‘International Tournament of Madeira’, which involves games and training in both Barreiros (Marítimo stadium) and Choupana (Nacional stadium). Orlando Sá, a player from Sporting Braga, is the spokesman for the team, and guarantees “The expectations of the team for this tournament are the highest”. “Last year we won and this year we want to repeat the feat, doing, if possible, even better. We want to win – that is the spirit of the entire group.” The Tournament of Madeira serves to prepare for other challenges of greater importance, namely the International Tournament in Toulon and the qualification phase for the European Under 21 Championship in Denmark in 2011. They will play 3 games against Cabo Verde (last night), a Madeira team, and Finland. In last nights games the scores were Portugal 2 Cabo Verde 0, and Madeira 0 Finland 1 (but I am not 100% sure of the latter result, as I can’t yet find confirmation).

Other News :

Last year saw 31 new cases of Tuberculosis on Madeira, well up from just two in 2006, but still one of the lowest incident rates in Portugal, and half the national average. Doctors are looking at new ways to deal with cases of a multi-resistant strain. Successful treatment is given in over 92% of cases.

A military exercise started on Monday on Porto Santo, with around 130 army personnel involved. Operation ‘Dolphin’, despite circulating rumours, was not undertaken to recover lost golf balls from the Madeira Open Golf Tournament.

‘Jardim da Serra goes forward with a revolution in the cultivation of cherries’. In 2008, it was announced to all of Madeira the intention to revolutionize the method of cherry cultivation, and right now and as a result, there is a ‘cherry blossom spectacle’, that should last at least until the end of this week. Numerous farmers and workers have attended training courses to learn new techniques for pruning and grafting, a small step towards the modernisation of production. It is now a matter of ‘wait and see’ if the usual 200 tonnes of cherries crop will be improved on with the new techniques. Anyone going don’t forget to send me a photo (pretty please).

It turns out that our visitor, Jaime Gama, president of the assembly of the republic, who was meeting with the politicians of Madeira over the last few days, was playing coy and softly softly for a very good reason. He wants to be the next President of the Republic. The PS (socialist) politician does not want any hostile regions under his administration, and so has been nice to everyone, including President Jardim. That is the opinion given in the Diário anyway, but there doesn’t appear to be anything official about it.

Following on from yesterday’s blog about the lack of space in Funchal docks, the Diário says that Funchal lost thousands in revenue because it has a small port, and cannot accommodate four or five cruise ships simultaneously. Full capacity (4) is already predicted for 18 days this year, but there is no strategy to deal with the extra-sized and extra 52% in cruise ship traffic that has grown since 2000. 14th April will see 6 cruise ships arrive, and 5 are expected on 4 dates, with 8 so far at new year. As well as the €4,000 revenue lost from the ‘Thomson Celebration’ (which can be as high as €10,000, depending on size factors), 1,100 tourists did not get to spend any money here, and 330 joining or leaving passengers had to be boarded or taken-off by lifeboat. No mention of the disappointment for 1,100 passengers, which I would think was quite importa
nt too!


Just adding to yesterday’s debate about the blog future and funding, if it does continue it will be a brand new much improved blog format, hosted by someone much reliable than I have had in the past. It will potentially have lots of new features, be much better structured, and be able to carry multiple photos (great for carnival, flower festival etc.), will be easily searchable if you are looking for an old news article, and will look much more attractive than the one at present. Hopefully I will have a definitive decision after a meeting with several interested parties tomorrow.



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

This will be the last time I post this direct link.


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!

7 thoughts on “Unemployment hits record high, Cherry blossom spectacular, & other snippets”

  1. In the interest of continuity I have transfered the following comments from yesterdays blog:
    From Ginga
    Amazed that the Scots are so well represented,what you trying to say Alan.
    Move over Jade Goody.
    And from Joanne
    Englishman writes a translation of snippets from a local newspaper daily but is then offered paid work on the island and thinks he may have to stop the blog, People who read the blog cannot be bothered to use a free online translation for themsleves or buy the paper so go to great lengths to put their hands in their pockets to pay this person to continue the blog.
    very charitable…………
    Well said Ginga, insinuation that any race might be miserly is as rascist as any other rascism.
    I don't think Alan quite needs to be condemmed to his grave yet though.
    My response:RANT MODE ON
    This is my personal opinion and dose not represent the view of Der or the people who have generously pledged financial help to the blog.
    When Der announced that he was taking a job at the supermarket a few weeks ago I got involved with helping raise the cash that would replace the wage that could be earned at the supermarket a mere 20 Euros per day, a small amount that is going to make no one rich.
    Well we can all be proud because so far we have managed to pledge a whole 6 Euros
    Yep thats right 6 Euros.
    Ginga. Two reasons for mentioning the Scots. First they both told me where they were from. And second because they have a bit of a reputation fiscally (excluding the "idiot Brown") Who seems intent on giving it all away.
    There are six pledges not including people directly involved in the fund raising. Of these six, two are Scottish, one was the first to make a pledge of one Euro per day. The other, Mc from Glasgow pledged 20 Euros as a one off payment yesterday. The payment from Mc was probably the nicest gesture as it caught me at a low point, waiting for people to come forward with offers of help. Mc's 20 Euros will keep the blog going for one more day.
    Joanne don't bother wringing your hands at the fact readers "cannot be bothered to use a free online translation for themselves or buy the paper" THEY ARE NOT going to great lengths to put their hands in their pockets to pay this person to continue the blog. As for your other comments. Both my time and my money belong to me and I will do with both as I please.
    We are having a meeting on Thursday that will probably decide the future of the blog. I am sure that you will all find out the result soon after.
    Two final bits. Once again Thank you to ALL the kind, generous folk who have put their hands in their pockets.
    Joanne, if you would like to post the web address of the free online translation that would be good. It will save everyone the effort of looking.
    Sal THANK YOU, I think?
    LAST, LAST, BIT. SORRY for the rant Der, .
    Thanks for the blog
    Alan F
    You can still make a pledge just email

  2. Alan,
    when you first mentioned raising funds to keep the blog going as Der didn't have the time and needed to get himself a job, I got the impression that was to pay for the hosting of site and blog.
    From reading your message, and correct me if I am wrong, but it sounds like you are tryig to raise money so that Der doesn't have to go to work.
    The cost of running a blog/website in monetary terms is surely only going to be around 20p/day. And is it not better that Der has a regular job, with all the benefits that go with it as there is no guarantee that the money will keep rolling in year on year. I appreciate the job may also not last that length of time.
    The biggest part of the blog, surely is time and having extra contributors would lead to a more interesting blog.

  3. Hi Jim
    I think there are three options for Der and us.
    1: We contribute toward the blog with written work.
    2: We contribute financially.
    3: We watch the blog shut.
    Can you help with any?
    Alan F

  4. Jim ,
    Your right , it does not cost much to host the blog, but its the time Der has been putting in everyday, thats 7 days a week 3-4 hours a day translating the news , so we can read it and keep right up to date with whats going on in Madeira, Now Der has been doing this for over a year now for next to nothing , as the main Madeira4u website didnt bring in the expected funds, but Der now needs to work to earn money, and this could be in a grotty supermarket, or we can help him carry on his good work, and keep him out of the supermarket , and watch the blog grow and grow with a huge following, i know what i would prefer to do.

    So this is the last chance for anyone who reads this blog to get in touch, and donate what they can , none of us are rich , but if you can pay a small amout every 6 months to help keep this blog going then i think you will get your monies worth, So please get in touch with Alan or Der and let them know what you can contribute.

    Many Many thanks and lets hope the blog is here to stay.

  5. Please don't close, I would also be happy to pay a subscription if it could help you to continue. I am in the process of buying a house in Madeira and moving over permanently and you provide an invaluable service.


  6. Nice one Toby – agreed in full. Donate, pledge or whatever – Madeira is unique and so is the blog – please don't let it change, small change will make a big change…….

  7. Tobi you put it much better than me. Thanks Angie for your email and pledge. Can I say that you are from Denmark without anyone thinking I'm racist? Sorry I'm still a bit tetchy about the Scotish pop at the top of the page. Go on folks listen to Tobi send me a mail with a pledge in. Anythig will help. Thank you


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