Totting up the damage ; Gardens earn €3.5m ; Gripe A centres close ; Carnival 2010 news

Today’s photo – Many thanks to Pete … "For the butterfly lovers. taken Friday 29 January at Funchal Municipal Gardens".

madeira news blog 1001 pete For the butterfly lovers. taken Friday 29 jan at Funchal Municpal gardens

Madeira’s favourite son (no not Rúben Micael) celebrates his quarter century today. Happy 25th birthday Cristiano Ronaldo.

On a December afternoon in 2007, billionaire Jose Berardo walked into the attorney general’s 18th-century headquarters in Lisbon to rat out executives at the Portuguese bank on which he had staked his fortune. Berardo, whose 7 percent share in Banco Comercial Portugues SA was worth about $1 billion at the time, says he met with Attorney General Fernando Pinto Monteiro for two hours. The investor handed Portugal’s top prosecutor several folders of evidence showing that executives at Portugal’s largest publicly traded bank had allegedly used offshore companies to try to boost the share price and their own bonuses. Berardo says he hoped his disclosure would spur the prosecution of the Oporto- based bank’s chairman, with whom the investor had clashed over governance issues, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its March issue. BLOOMBERG ARTICLE about one of Madeira’s more colourful characters, though I doubt that he is (or was) a billionaire (ah, just noticed, a dollar billionaire … that’s different!).

Joe Berardo Wikipedia page : HERE

"Parliament’s budget and finance commission will vote on the law in what may test the minority government’s ability to control spending at a time when Portugal faces pressure to reduce its debts. The dispute revolves around a proposal to grant the semi-autonomous island of Madeira payments worth 82 million Euros — a proposal supported by the main opposition, the centre-right Social Democrats. The government said passing the bill could send the wrong message to markets as the country struggles to convince credit rating agencies that it can reduce its budget gap to 3 percent of gross domestic product in 2013 from 9.3 percent in 2009. "The country won’t understand that, in the current budget situation, it has to make extra payments to Madeira," said Cabinet Minister Pedro Silva Perreira, adding that Madeira has higher income per capita than the rest of Portugal". For those who have been reading so much about the Regional Finance law in recent weeks and months, this may be the article that helps to explain to them and the international community the implications of what is going on. The daft thing is that the Social Democrat support was originally just a pre-election bargaining element of mutual benefit from last year, and that seemingly rather trivial commitment (at the time) could now bring down the Portuguese socialist government, not to mention sending negative ripples through the European economy. RFL

Many thanks to Elaine once again for yesterday’s top news stories :


The fault was not just the bad weather. "When you buy land to build, you should not be concerned only with the view." That is the advice from a University geologist when he analyzed the storm damage in Madeira, stating that rain and landslides are natural situations in Madeira. Losses could be minimized if the land was properly surveyed for suitability before construction work began, for example if it is near a stream that is likely to flood or at the base of an embankment. He also criticized public authorities for licensing buildings in perilous places. The quality of construction can also make a difference. Councillors and mayors also admit that the councils were partially to blame.


Millions – Just to repair pavements damaged by rain, the Council will spend a million Euros and the final amount will rise above this figure, ensures Albuquerque.

Homeless – The landslides left six families homeless because of the storm. In Funchal, five people were housed temporarily in a pensão.

Closed – 30 roads were closed in Funchal. The situation was more complicated in Curral dos Romeiras. Yesterday morning, it still could not reached by bus.

Waterless – Several areas in Santana yesterday were without drinking water due to difficulties in accessing the sources.

Works – Miguel Albuquerque says it is urgent to solve the problem of Ribeiro da Nora and is willing to work with the Department of Infrastructure.

The coast – The Barreirinha, Praia de São Tiago, Ponta Gorda and especially the Lido were damaged. The Lido pool will close for work between Easter and the beginning of the season.

Half a million visit gardens and spent 3.5 million Euros. Garden Tourism is more competitive and diversified and is a specialist tourism niche. In 2008, there were 583,583 visits to the three main gardens in Funchal which have an entrance fee: Jardim Botânico Eng.º Rui Vieira, Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro, and Jardim Tropical Monte Palace. The importance of this type of tourism to Madeira is the British market and throughout Europe, gardens are enjoying a significant boom period. 60% of visitors to the Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro were independent visitors and the other 40% in organized groups. Whereas in Jardim Tropical Monte Palace, 90% of the visitors were independent. The tourists who visit gardens during the spring are mostly from Western and Northern Europe and during the summer months, are from Southern Europe. It is estimated that 41.4% of all tourists visit one or more gardens. The writer and environmentalist, Raimundo Quintal, also highlighted the importance of the concept of Botanical Hotels, for example: Hotel Casa Velha, Quinta do Arco,  Hotel Quinta Splendida, Quinta Jardins do Lago and the Resort Vila Porto Mare. Despite this, Madeira does not have a strategy for promoting garden tourism. He advises strategies are needed to accommodate family visits, links to the Flower Festival and more websites created to convince garden lovers that you can visit all year round.

PND protest in Belém. "Dr. Alberto João Jardim saw us and got angry." This assurance was given by Gil Canha, one of the four self-styled "horsemen of the apocalypse". Four members of the PND protested yesterday with a banner asking "Help Madeira but do not give any money to Bokassa", an allusion to the African dictator with whom Jaime Gama compares Jardim. José Manuel Coelho shouted slogans stating that Jardim wants money to support his political propaganda machine and to maintain the Regional Assembly which costs €17 million a year but does not function. Spending on football and Jornal da Madeira were also criticized. He also stated that Jardim only goes to Lisbon to ‘extend his hand’ (ask for money).


Influenza support services close tomorrow. Special Influenza A Clinics (SAG) will shut at the end of tomorrow. They are at health centres in Santo António (Funchal), Câmara de Lobos and Machico. With the closure of these clinics, people living in Funchal and Curral das Freiras, at the onset of symptoms, should use the Emergency Department at the Dr. Nélio Mendonça Hospital in Funchal.  Residents at Calheta should go to the Health Centre at Calheta, Machico and Santa Cruz residents to the Health Centre at Machico, Porto Moniz residents to the Health Centre at Port Moniz, Ribeira Brava and Ponta do Sol residents to the Health Centre at Ribeira Brava, Santana and São Vicente residents to local health centres. All these centres are open 24 hours a day. In Câmara de Lobos (except Curral das Freiras), residents can attend the local health centre between 16.00 – 24.00 on weekdays and 08.00 – 24.00 at weekends and holidays.

25 drug traffickers caught in 4 months. Between October and January, the PJ (Judicial Police) have caught 25 drug traffickers possessing enough illegal drugs for 74,000 doses. This figure was revealed yesterday with the news that a 33 year old African was arrested at the weekend at the airport with 2 kilos of heroin in his suitcase – 20,280 doses. The drug was destined for the regional market. The police spokesman stresses again that the increased quantities of drugs seized are due to the police adapting to the changing habits of traffickers and not do not indicate an increased number of users. During this period, 60,000 doses of heroin were seized, the main drug smuggled into the region. 9 of the arrests were made in January.


Embroidery promoted in Italy. The traditional Madeiran embroidery (Bordado Madeira) will be promoted at the ‘Immagine Italia & Co.’ fair in Florence. The Italian market is the second most important for regional embroidery.  The fair is aimed at professionals of the renowned Italian textile sector and international textile firms. Madeira will be represented by the Head of the Promotion Department at IVBAM and representatives of two regional embroidery firms: João Eduardo de Sousa, Lda and Soebol-Exportador de Bordado Madeira, Lda. The luxury market is targeted and known buyers and new customers sought.

Climber-Stirling will continue flying to Copenhagen this summer. It is thought the Nordic market will recover later this year. Of the three Scandinavian countries and Finland, Sweden is the only one showing no signs of economic recovery. The link to Copenhagen by Climber-Stirling will continue during the summer season and a tour operator has increased the number of seats bought on their planes and SATA flights. Travel groups with outlets in Nordic countries, Thomas Cook and Primera Travel, are also optimistic. There is competition with Southern European resorts offering sea and sand and the Azores, which is marketing more aggressively this year.


CARNIVAL 2010 – OCM leads the Carnival procession.  The group Caneca Furada will involve the Orchestra of Madeira with the conductor Rui Massena. This will be the first time an orchestra has taken part in a Carnival parade in Portugal. Caneca Furada presents the theme ‘The Sea and Piracy’. The group consists of  50 people with two floats representing galleons. The musicians will be dressed in gold and silver costumes representing pirates from the 16th Century. In 1556, pirates came to Madeira and raided chapels and monasteries and also stole cereals and women. The youngest women were the most valuable and often become pregnant. In local residents in Caniçal and Porto Santo, there are still noticeable traces in skin colour and blonde hair. The nuns fled with some valuable religious pieces, hiding in an area now called Curral das Freiras. Dancers will represent pirates (brightly coloured costumes), naúfragos (castaways) dressed and painted white, nobles, nuns and settlers to the island.

Today’s news headlines from the front page of the Diário de Notícias :

Convicts from ‘Cancela’ in basement in poor conditions – The ‘special’ prisoners who were transferred a year ago from Viveiros were put in a female wing. The women passed to the ‘punishment zone’.

Today’s main news headline : Cavaco makes opposition back-off in order to secure the government – Yesterday, after the message of the Council of State, the President of the Republic returned to pressure the opposition in the direction needed to avoid a crisis that Teixeira dos Santos [Finance Minister] last night made a point of showing was imminent. Everything down to the calculations of the finances of Madeira. Today is D-Day. All the indications are that today the opposition parties in the Portugal Parliament will support the amendments to the Regional Finance Law, put forward by Madeira, and the socialist government will lose the vote to try and stop it. You can watch it live on ARtv Parliament Channel.

Recovery under pressure in order to save the fountain of the saint. The fountain of Santo António da Serra is in a poor state, and the local council has been forced to act. It is the oldest and an important historical feature in the parish of Santo da Serra, but the condition is deteriorating year after year. The plan is to restore it and reposition it at road level, where it will be less exposed to water erosion.


A lot of rain doesn’t give one permission to waste water – The excess of rainfall doesn’t signify an increase in the groundwater levels. Sometimes it even can reduce the uptake. Despite the huge Winter rainfall, the IGA warns that there may not be sufficient water for the Summer. The warning was issued by the Regional Secretary for the Environment, and backed by the organisation responsible for water management, saying that a Winter with intense rainfall can be as bad as a dry one. It gets a bit technical after that.

The main sport / football headline today : UD Santana suffers a new blow – The club is prevented from signing players. Football club União Desportiva de Santana, currently bottom of the league table, was sentenced by the disciplinary panel of the Portugal Football Federation, for failing to pay an ex-player Luís Pedro Ferreira da Gama, who was sacked without just cause. The club has been prohibited from signing new players, and renewing contracts with existing players, and making other financial commitments.

If anyone else can oblige with the translation of any of the ‘blank’ or sparsely filled headlines, or other news stories, here is the link. All contributions much appreciated. 

"Portuguese finance bill threatens political crisis. Portugal moved towards a political crisis last night as its finance minister appealed to opposition parties not to defeat the minority Socialist government over a regional finance bill that he said would undermine the country’s international credibility". UK FINANCIAL TIMES

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6 thoughts on “Totting up the damage ; Gardens earn €3.5m ; Gripe A centres close ; Carnival 2010 news”

  1. I noticed that there has been no mention in the papers that the coast road at the marina at Calhetta plus all the bars, restaurants & shops etc within the marina were closed on Wednesday due to another really bad rockfall caused by the rain. I don’t know if it been reopened since then but I don’t expect they will be receiving much in the way of compensation for loss of earnings.


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