domingo, 31 de julho de 2011

President Sues Police Trade Union Leader

Following the Police Trade Union leader's declaration (see previous post), President Jardim said he was lodging criminal proceedings against him for defamation. The Trade Union leader, he claimed, had been paid to come from Lisbon to Madeira to tell lies. Here's a short reminder of Jardim's relation with the Police.

Compared to a few years ago, the police is now fairly autonomous, obeying their own hierarchy and the law, rather than the whims of our petty dictator. Gone are the days of Nuno Homem Costa who, when chief of police, was always at Jardim's beck and call. Jardim loved to use the police as his own personal instrument, particularly where expropriations were concerned and the police were used to strong-arm people off their property - the victims lost their land without due compensation (or even the basic formalities being observed). Jardim would often interrupt Costa's social life, by summoning him up at parties to sort out some demonstration or other. Costa would protest that Jardim may be in charge of politics, but he was in charge of law and order and could not be ordered about. Then he would toddle off to do Jardim's dirty business.

One time Jardim berated Homem Costa publicly for not using force, when he had ordered him to disperse a peaceful demonstration to protest the death of a child on a dangerous piece of road (where two other people had previously been run over). When Homem Costa retired from the Police he was nicely rewarded by being appointed CEO of the public bus company Horários do Funchal - which is now practically bankrupt under his 'experienced' leadership. Curiously, the bus station headquarters is stationed on a piece of land occupied by the Government in the 1980s and never paid for - one more of those dodgy expropriation that will have to be paid for one day. 

Jardim still still tries to misuse the police for his own purposes and there are always minor Homem Costa figures ready to please him.

quinta-feira, 28 de julho de 2011

PSD Youth Leader Pisses on Police Car

The leader of the ruling Social Democrat Party’s youth organization, José Pedro Pereira, allegedly urinated on a police car last week-end.  He was on a night on the town when one of his friends bragged to have peed on the police car, which had indeed just been peed on. He refused to be identified and was about to be taken to the Police station when Pereira stepped up, claiming he had been the one who pissed on the car. He then taunted the police agents, saying among other things, that he would phone the current police chief, Oliveira Martins. Oliveira Martins, refused to comment on the case.

The Police Trade Union took a different line. The chair of the Trade Union, Dionísio Câmara said that the police are constantly being mistreated by the (ruling) party, particularly during election campaigns and at inaugurations. ‘The Police is not commanded by the Regional Government, but by the central power and it has its own hierarchy. It’s necessary that this hierarchy makes sure that the laws are obeyed and does not allow itself to be influenced by any political party’. He considered it extremely serious that Pereira had used the Chief of Police’s name to intimidate officers. ‘He is following in the footsteps of his leader’ who acts with an authoritarian attitude, as if he has the sovereign power to order all the regional forces about.

President Jardim, at an official ceremony, the inauguration of a pizza house, expressed solidarity with his youth leader and assured he would candidate him for the forthcoming elections. Jardim claims Pereira is merely a victim of persecution, led by the Diário newspaper - another good reason for him to back Pereira: ‘The enemies of my enemies are my friends’, he said.

My Impression of President Cavaco Silva

On Monday, as part of the PND delegation, I went to a meeting with President Cavaco Silva, to discuss the dates for the forthcoming regional elections. It was, of course, an opportunity to discuss other matters as well and I duly raised the case of the continued violation of the election laws by President Jardim: namely the misuse of official events, such as inaugurations, for party-political propaganda. I emphasized that the speeches made were not typical political speeches about priorities and measures to be taken, but were usually limited to diatribes, labeling the opposition ‘enemies of the people’, ‘enemies of progress’, ‘colonialists’, ‘collaborators’, ‘saboteurs’, ‘fascists’, ‘agents-provocateurs’, ‘traitors’ and so on. Such speeches, voiced in exalted tones, are no more than an incitement to hatred and have sometimes contained explicit incitements to violence. Free, fair and informed elections are impossible when such abuses of the President’s duty to be impartial occur.

President Cavaco expressed the wish that the atmosphere of calm and serenity on the mainland would extend itself to the islands. Although he was duly attentive, he did not seem very inquisitive. Indeed, he seemed reluctant to inform himself of the full extent of the problem. Perhaps, he thinks the whole scenario will fade away if it is simply ignored. ‘Are things not a lot calmer now?’ Seeing that Jardim has used the same strategy and violated election laws for over thirty years to continue to swindle elections it is less than likely that he will back down now that he is more desperate than ever to cling on to absolute power.

quinta-feira, 21 de julho de 2011

Manuel Monteiro on the Euro

opinion piece published in Publico , 13th July 2011

On 18th of September 1992, when I was leader of the CDS party, I addressed a news conference on the subject of the Treaty of Maastricht, and warned 'the Monetary and Economic Union is burning several chapters on the construction of Europe. The Single Market has not yet come into effect and we are still witnessing spectacular crises in the European Monetary System (EMS). Yet already the tecnocrats are demanding more. And they are demanding more in the short period of five to six years. It would be prefereable to allow he Single Market to function and to consolidate the fragile European Monetary System. The Union proposed at Maastricht is premature and could cost us dearly'.

On the 9th of May 1995, I stated: 'the obsession to arrive at the Single Currency sacrificed the real economy for an economy which exists only on paper. The dogmatism with which we opened all frontiers to compete with with much stronger economies and with new and much cheaper economies, criminally ignored the resulting losses to our industry, agriculture and fishing... Growth, production and employment have been sacrificed in the name of the Single Currency, in the name of the indiscriminate opening of frontiers and in the name of an expensive escudo. Was it worth it? No (...) It suffices to say that under the auspices of the fatal triangle - Maastricht, GATT and EMS - we have grown less than Europe, we are lagging behind it, our industry, agricutlture and fishing have lost productivity and, as everyone knows, unemployment is shooting up. The victims of this social scourge are well-known. They are the unemployed, but also the middle classes who fear to lose their jobs; they are the excluded, the poor and the new-poor, victims of the dissolution of the political State and of the crumbling of traditional forms of solidarity. The social scourge represents a sick Nation faced with a State that is impotent to protect and defend it. Never has political power been so distanced from reality. Here, as in the rest of Europe, the social scourge will provoke the bankruptcy of this single-mindedness and the failure of its class of political representatives.'

Today, I would like to ask the then prime minister Cavaco Silva, those who governed with him, and the great majority of the portuguese leading classes, if they are proud of the path they have followed. In truth, all failed! The governors failed, but so did the glib luminaries who packed conferences and seminars announcing the mirage of the new world of easy profits, of an artificial economy, of success without work, without effort and without production.

What we have at hand is not the result of chance, it is simply the result of stubbornness, mediocrity and careerism, of those who seek every opportunity to jump from one idea to the next for their own personal gain. Socrates has no excuse for leading us to bankruptcy, but Socrates was only the political son of various lesser father figures who taught us over the last twenty years or more to be rich without owning anything and using other peoples money.

Now we have two alternatives. We either follow blindly and exclusively what Europe instructs us to do, or we think seriously on the wise advice of Prof. Ferreira do Amaral. With seriousness and humility, remembering that if we had listened to him long ago we would not be in the sorry state we find ourselves in today.

AFA claims repayment of Marítimo debt

The company AFAVIA Engineering and Construction (AFA) has put in a procedure for precautionary seizure of the Marítimo football club sports complex to secure the payment of a debt worth 7,4 Million Euros. The debt dates back to the construction of the second phase of the complex in 2004. Carlos Pereira, President of Marítimo did not deny the existence of the debt, but suggested that the non-fulfillment of several program contracts between the Regional Government and the club may be at the origin of this problem. i.e. The Regional Government has fallen behind in payments to the club, which therefore cannot pay the builders.
President Jardim commented on the situation, saying ‘I am the friend of many people and I don´t like to interfere in confusions between my friends.’

segunda-feira, 18 de julho de 2011

The PSD at its best

True to form, the General Secretary of the PSD Madeira, Jaime Ramos, today called off the press conference to present the party rally at Chão da Lagoa, due to the presence of journalists from the Diário. Ramos said he did not socialise with 'faggots' and made use of the occasion to further insult the DN journalists, calling them 'sons of bitches', 'liars', 'corrupt'. He told them to bugger off or go to the nearest pig sty! Write this all down, he added for good measure.

sexta-feira, 15 de julho de 2011

Reconstruction Funding

According to the Court Auditors, the Regional Government of Madeira has applied only a quarter of the funding received for reconstruction of the damages caused by the 20th February storm. The report revealed that the Regional Government had received a total of 191,3 million Euros, but had only expended 53,6 million of that amount.
The National Government was to contribute 740 million Euros, over a period of four years, and the Regional Government, the remaining 340 million.
The Court Auditors verified that the total payments made by Regional Government in 2010 amounted to 56,38 Million Euros and noted the low contribution of the Regional Government (0,2% of this total), most of which was spent on compensations for damaged vehicles.
Source: I newspaper

quinta-feira, 14 de julho de 2011

Commission of Elections snubbed by President of Parliament

Miguel Mendonça, the chairperson of the Regional Parliament, and most important regional figure in terms of protocol, has refused to greet the National Commission of Elections in the Regional Parliament. President Jardim had earlier issued orders that no one of his party should meet with the Commission.

Mendonça refused to greet the Commission stating agenda problems, but there is no reason why the Commission should not be received by one of the Deputy-Chairs of the Parliament, one of whom is the regional socialist leader, Jacinto Serrão.

Meanwhile, President Jardim carries on using official ceremonies to insult his critics and to invite the population to his party-political rally, to be held on the 31is of July. This is a golden opportunity for visitors to witness the ranting speeches of a power-mad politician, who has clung to power for over three decades.

terça-feira, 12 de julho de 2011

The Joke Parliament

The Regional Parliament set the following made-to-measure rules of intervention to discuss the budget rectification:
a. The Government disposes of 15 minutes to present the budget rectification.
b. Parliamentarians are allowed to ask one single question, not exceeding the time limit of one minute.
c. Questions cannot be reformulated
d. The President disposes of one minute to answer each question.
e. No protests are allowed.
f. Following this, each group, in the following order is allowed to intervene for the following period:
g. PSD: 34 minutes; PS: 8 minutes; PCP: 3 minutes; CDS: 3 minutes; Bloco, PND and MPT 2 minutes each.
h. No protests are allowed.
i. The Government is allowed 15 minutes to respond.
j. No further requests for questions or clarifications allowed.
k. The parties are then allowed a further intervention for the same period above (g), but in reverse order.
l. The Government is allowed to intervene FOR AN UNLIMITED PERIOD OF TIME.

Obviously this is not a Parliament where there is any room for debate or exchange of ideas.

Ruffians, drunkards, drug-addicts and tramps

In an opinion peice published in the government-funded Jornal da Madeira on the 4th of July and in the PSD paper Madeira Livre, President Jardim wrote that only ruffians, drunkards, drug addicts and tramps' showed interest in the opposition parties: the majority of the voting public. Charming!

President refuses debates with ‘traitors’

The National Commission of Elections is coming to Madeira form the 17th to the 20th of July, to hold meetings with the press in the run up to the regional elections in Madeira.
In response to this news, President Jardim accused the National Commission of Elections and the Press Regulation Entity of coming to Madeira to influence the elections against the Regional Government. Asked whether he would participate in debates, Jardim refused the idea, saying he does not sit with ‘traitors’. He added that neither Government, nor the Parliament, nor his own Party or the Jornal da Madeira would receive the Commission or hold any contacts with it, since he does not recognize its authority.
One of the issues on the agenda is sure to be the case of the state-funded newspaper,  Jornal da Madeira. During the legislative elections, in June, the Commission requested that the Jornal either suspend the collaboration of election candidates or included opinion pieces from candidates of all parties. The Jornal duly suspended President Jardim’s articles, but continued to only publish opinion pieces of members of his party, which naturally slated all the other parties. Although state entities have moved at snail-pace to respond to the many complaints against this situation, each small decision has made Jardim’s position increasingly untenable.

sábado, 9 de julho de 2011

Independence flags hoisted on the 1st of July

About 50 flags of the Madeira Liberation Front (FLAMA) were hoisted all round the island to celebrate Madeira day (dia da Região). FLAMA, which between 1974 and 78 used terrorist actions such as car bombs to promote the independence of Madeira, has long thought to be extinct. Its former political leaders said as much, last year, denying any involvement of FLAMA in a similar flag-hoisting action. 

The flag-hoisting was used by Jardim to send Lisbon the message that it risks encouraging the growth of FLAMA if it does not accede to the Madeiran people's demands (i.e. his own). Jardim has always used the phantom of this terrorist movement to scare national governments into giving in to his demands and it is more than likely that elements of the ruling PSD party are behind this latest action. 

PSD parliamentarians are the driving force behind the organization Forum for Autonomy, which shares an almost identical acronym: FAMA. The forum issues 'on-demand' statements in favor of independence.

Moody's banned from Madeira

The rating agency Moody's is barred from entering public administration in Madeira, stated President Jardim on the 7th of July, at a public ceremony, after Moody's attributed Madeira a B1 rating. The Regional Government has seen its rating drop from Aa3, in July 2010, to A2 in December 2010, to Baa2 in March 2011, to Baa3 in April and now to B1. The level of Government debt has worried opposition parties for many years, but apparently is only now being acknowledged by the rating agencies. The Regional Government is unable to pay suppliers and is in danger of defaulting to banks. The large-scale public construction projects  - the emblem of the 35-year-old Jardim regime - have come to a halt, with banks refusing to take further risks. The Barreiros football stadium is one example. Already in February, faced with difficulties in obtaining further bank financing, Jardim called on the business community to give the banks a 'scare'. 'Its up to you to distinguish which are the financial companies still willing to collaborate with the economy and which are those who are unwilling.' He had previously threatened to announce which banks were not being cooperative with the Regional Government. Most banks remain unmoved by Jardim's  (tongue) muscle-flexing.