terça-feira, 31 de janeiro de 2012

Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom on the Marina do Lugar de Baixo

A multi-million pound marina partly built with British taxpayers’ money is lying empty, it emerged yesterday.
The project, on the Portuguese island of Madeira, was condemned as the latest example of EU spending madness.
The Marina do Lugar de Baixo, built eight years ago on the stormy west side of the island, is closed and undergoing further construction work which critics claim is needed because the Atlantic waves make it too dangerous to use.
Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom said: "This just shows why the euro and the EU are holed beneath the waterline. Anybody who has ever been on a boat knows where the prevailing wind lies, except those in Brussels who use our money to pay for it.”
The EU contributed about £3million of the £31million cost

Source: Daily Express, 14 January 2012

sexta-feira, 27 de janeiro de 2012

Sports Directors on Bank of Portugal Blacklist

As a result of the Regional Government not paying installments due to some sports clubs since March, many sports clubs have defaulted in repaying banks for sports infrastructures.
Since these investments were made in name of the clubs and directors had to personally underwrite the loans, many are now being held personally accountable by the banks.
The Diário writes that as a result, some directors have been put on the Bank of Portugal blacklist and are now considered high risk customers. Their private and business lives are being very negatively affected.
Last Saturday, Jaime Freitas, Regional Secretary of Education and Human Resources, in an interview to RDP Madeira, referred to certain sports directors as ‘mercenaries’ .

sexta-feira, 20 de janeiro de 2012

Madeira Sports Institute to be Extinguished

The institute had an annual budget of 34 million Euro: 9 to repay banks for sports infrastructures;  11 million for subsidies; 6 million for travel expenses and 4 million to pay 256 employees. It had an accumulated a debt of over 52 million.
The result of the Regiobal Government's lack of liquidity is being felt. Many sports clubs, particularly the smaller ones, are three or four months behind in paying salaries. The Government is apparently considering closing half the swimming pools it has built all over the island and the Sports Institute has announced most of the swimming pools will in any case remain closed until February since it has no money for heating them.

quinta-feira, 19 de janeiro de 2012

Who is Guilherme Silva?

Apart from being Vice President of the Portuguese Parliament, Guilherme Silva is also the lawyer who represents the Regional Government in most cases of political expropriations. i.e. expropriations which are carried out as a deliberate form of economic persecution.

Such political expropriations are common in Madeira and are assumed openly by Jardim, who states that those who get in his way should be expropriated in such a way that they are made to lose time and money through the courts. The procedure is simple: the Government decides to expropriate land for some public use and offers to pay a sixth or a seventh of the market value. The owners then have to resort to Portugal's notoriously slow justice system...

Enter Guilherme Silva. As the lawyer representing the Government in such cases, he is known to drag cases out over several decades with delay tactics - constant appeals and requests for clarification etc.
In short, he is not a pleasant piece of work and he does very nicely indeed out of this little business. While Jardim's victims are dispossessed and have to wait decades to see justice, a Court Auditor's report revealed Silva earned a half a million Euro yearly retainer from the Regional Government alone - he also represents the municipalities, football clubs and public companies.

Indeed Silva represents the public bus company, Horários do Funchal, which the Government has announced it is to privatize, in the case of the land the company expropriated in the 1980s to build its headquarters and never paid for.

Jardim Blackmails Lisbon Government

The Madeira bail-out agreement, due to have been signed last Monday, is yet to be signed. The Regional Government is holding out, hoping for more concessions.
The Prime Minister stated, at the beginning of the week, that the Madeira Government had to adopt the bail-out-plan as its own and not view it as an imposition from Lisbon, to make Lisbon the scapegoat for the measures to be adopted. He added that the Madeira Government was the one who had to act in a hurry in order not to worsen the crisis.
Apparently, the Madeira Government does not share this view. Jardim’s spokesman, Guilherme Silva, let slip in an interview last night, that should the Madeiran finances collapse, the financial backlash would look bad, not so much for the Madeiran Government,  but for the Portuguese Government, harming its ratings and credibility internationally.
The cat is out of the bag, Jardim is willing to let the Madeira debt crisis escalate, at a huge cost to the Madeirans, in order to pressure Lisbon to soften the austerity measures, which result from his own mismanagement.

terça-feira, 17 de janeiro de 2012

The Gaddafi syndrome

(Answer to Madeira Hole in the Atlantic)

Madeira's opposition parties may not be great, but the real joke, unfortunately, lies in Portugal.

Jardim wins election with blatant violations of the election laws - state entities turn a blind eye.
The opposition has as many rights in Parliament as they did under Hitler's Reichstag - the state entities turn a blind eye. President Cavaco even refused to go to Parliament since Jardim said the MP were a bunch of lunatics;
Illegalities and corruption are rife - the law and state entities are totally ineffective;
Local political parties denounce what is going on - the parties at a national level cover up for Jardim;
The national news networks judiciously ignore anyone but Jardim and his henchman Guilherme Silva;

Madeira, unfortunately, is a product of Portuguese disfunctionality. Jardim controls the press here and just like in Hitler's Germany, when the propaganda machine is so powerful and its principal message is to incite the population to hatred against the mainland, opposition parties and other figments of Jardim's conspiracy theory, then its hardly a surprise that Jardim keeps winning elections with absolute majorities. The surprise is that he is still treated with such deference at National and European level.

It is perhaps what can be called the Gaddafi syndrome. All the major states were willing to turn a blind eye to the abuses of his dictatorship. Gaddafi was whitewashed and you could rarely find any reference to his abuses in the press. He was portrayed as eccentric, exotic and maybe a little bit mad - and all state leaders were eager to do business with him - until a full scale rebellion broke out, then all those lovely business deals all of a sudden became an embarrassment. ..

Unfortunately, mainland Portuguese are too willing to view Jardim as a slightly mad, exotic, eccentricity - a  product of Madeiran eccentricity - and are unwilling to see their own complicity in maintaining the status quo of this idiotic dictatorship

Madeira, a hole in the Atlantic

Vitor Matos, http://political.portugaldailyview.com/?p=35

As a friend of mine says, the more you hit the bottom, the lower it actually gets. The saying is simple and yet full of wisdom. The same seems to happen with the “holes” in the state’s accounts. The more you dig in search of holes, the more holes you actually find. What is strange is the idea that not many holes were being found before because no one was looking for them. The problem here goes under the name of Madeira, whose public accounts are starting to resemble a Swiss cheese. Foreigners know it as “The Pearl of the Atlantic”, but the Portuguese know it is only a formal democracy.
The Regional Government of Madeira, led by Alberto João Jardim since 1978, concealed from the state’s watchdogs some €1.8 billion in expenditure. If Portugal was well regarded in the international arena for bravely following the Troika’s plan and for even venturing further than was demanded by the international lenders in the first place, it has been struck a blow from the inside and sees itself now lowered to the level of Greece – the swindlers of public accounts.
Yet it is worth bearing in mind that the central government has nothing to do with the ravings of Alberto João Jardim. This historical member of PSD – the same party to which Prime Minister Passos Coelho belongs and whom he has already disavowed – is the politician who’s remained more years in power in the whole of Europe and the Western world. Other than him, perhaps only a few African dictators might have more “experience” in governing people.

Alberto João Jardim governs “his” island as a formal democracy. Since 1978 he has been consecutively elected with an absolute majority, he has never had internal rivals, freedom of the press on the island is a joke, the opposition parties are yet another joke and he himself is a lout, although more intelligent and more cunning than his populism leads to believe. He has already appeared in his underpants on the cover of a tabloid newspaper saying: “I don’t give a shit about the Portuguese Parliament.”

One episode reported in a non-authorised biography by journalist Maria Henrique Espada reveals the culture that led to the debacle in the public accounts and the budgetary hide-and-seek game. In 1979, the current President of the Republic, Cavaco Silva, was then Minister of Finance. During a visit to the island, he noticed that the small municipality of São Vicente had major public works going on everywhere. Cavaco asked what the council’s budget was. The mayor replied. The minister was surprised and said that that was the total budget for an entire region on the continent. “What’s it to do with me?”, the mayor answered back. Cavaco lost his temper: “You should be in jail!…” And he should have company.

sexta-feira, 13 de janeiro de 2012

Jardim threatens political crisis

President Jardim has threatened not to sign the agreement with the national government to help pay off the Madeira debt (an accumulated a debt of 6 billion Euro), saying that the current plan is not feasible. Taking absolutely no responsibility for the current financial situation, his government has instead opted to incite the population against the Portuguese Government.
The Secretary of finance made a statement this week saying that he did not pay the pharmacies in order to give priority to EU funded programs, an absurd excuse seeing that the debt to the pharmacies has been accumulated over many years.
The Forum for Autonomy, a pro-independence association (essentially a shadow of the now defunct separatist terrorist group, FLAMA), an organization headed by PSD members and Jardim by, himself has called for a referendum on the independence of Madeira.
The belligerent tone was earlier set by Guilherme Silva (PSD), vice president of the Portuguese Parliament, who called for Madeirans to ‘resist’ against the national government (also PSD).
The threat of separatism has been used on many occasions by Jardim to blackmail the various national governments. Sources close to Jardim say that, should the Portuguese government not capitulate, he intends to create a national crisis to bring down the government.
Jardim, whose Party voted down requests by opposition Parties to debate the austerity measures in the regional parliament, has announced he will be holding meeting on the 20th of January to explain the measures to his own Party grass roots.

quarta-feira, 11 de janeiro de 2012

Jardim promises Government RETALIATIONS

The National Union of Pharmacies has cut off credit to the Regional Government of Madeira, meaning that customers must now pay the full price for their medicine. The Government finances the buying of medicine, in some cases up to 90%, but has ceased to be able pay back the pharmacies, accumulating a debt of 77 million Euro.
The Regional Government tried to circumvent this boycott by contacting a number of pharmacies, encouraging them to continue to sell on credit, in exchange for which the Government would give priority to repaying its debts to those who accepted, without going through the National Union of Pharmacies.
In an interview last week, President Jardim, threatened that the Government would ‘retaliate’ against those creditors who ‘took advantage’ of the current crisis for political reasons. Presumably, he meant that he would cease paying those creditors who voiced their concerns.

terça-feira, 3 de janeiro de 2012

Another Political Trial Bites the Dust

The Court of Appeal has absolved  Paulo Barata of defamation. The charges related to a reader’s letter published in the Diário de Notícias in 2004.
Paulo Barata, a militant of the Socialist Party wrote a humorous letter with nine pieces of advice for Jardim. The latter, again resorting to public money, accused the author of defamation. This is a stratagem regularly used by Jardim to silence critics, intimidate the press and earn a few bob for himself (not to mention the coterie of expensive lawyers employed for this purpose).

Madeira debt hits Jardim’s Newspaper

The seventy employees of the Jornal da Madeira, the Government-owned newspaper, have not been paid last month’s salary. The Jornal is the voice of government propaganda.
Despite being a publicly funded newspaper, its pages are filled with PSD and Government news while the most outspoken opposition parties are censored from its pages. The National Commission of Elections has found its coverage to be biased and, since 2007, has sent its findings to the Public Prosecutor’s Office for criminal prosecution.
Jardim’s Government says it is awaiting money to be sent from Lisbon in order to pay the arrears. The Jornal receives four million Euro per year of public funding, plus a further 1 million in illegal institutional publicity (for which it is being investigated).
A study by Accenture in 2005 reached the conclusion that the Jornal cost 585 Euros per reader.