Continuation - Article published in the ‘Garajau’ in August 2009
Patron Saint of the ‘innocent’
Jardim’s behavior follows a pattern. In early 1996, Jardim expressed his solidarity with Luís Gabriel, Mayor of Santa Cruz, indicted for (and later convicted of) corruption. In his speech for the commemoration ceremony of the city anniversary, Jardim recalled the ‘juridical cultural heritage of democratic civilization, that people are considered innocent until they have been tried and nobody has the right to judge them.’ He added immediately, ‘that if it is not proved that there is serious wrongdoing, somebody will have to pay for all that has been triggered off, in this also there can be no impunity’. Jardim repeated the argument of presumption of innocence in the Relvas case (where the director of the public Electricity Company of Madeira was caught red handed using company employees to build his hotel). He again threatened: ‘either there are irregularities and those responsible will assume their responsibilities or there are no irregularities and those who accused and slandered will assume the criminal consequences of their criminal act.’ He personally, was going to make a complaint to the Public Prosecutor’s Office against the Diário [for publishing the story] and was even considering lifting his parliamentary immunity to testify in court.
His most violent reaction arose when a Government Secretary was investigated for pedophilia: a case that stemmed from a minor identifying the said secretary as one of the individuals with whom he had had sexual relations; the minor later withdrew his statement and was evacuated to the UK by the church. ‘I will drown them!’, was the headline of the Jornal front page, quoting the words of Jardim-President. ‘The people who have done this and the owners of that company, even if I have to remain in politics another twenty years, I shall never give them any rest!’ ‘The truth’, wrote the Jornal reporter, ‘is that some elements of the Social Democratic Party believe that the successive campaigns which are being mobilized against Madeira, may be sufficient reason for Jardim to stay on in power beyond the year 2000. In other words, there are those who believe the President of the Regional Government will be obliged to recandidate himself to “clean” the name of Madeira’.
Its extraordinary how the president of the Regional Government takes political advantage of any scandal to make himself out to be a victim, to garner the sympathy and the indignation of the population. He always transmits the idea that the facts made public are false and draws attention away from the facts and from those involved by evoking a supposed campaign mobilized ‘against Madeira’ and therefore, naturally, against himself.
This strategy is repeated time and time again. In the Lobo case Jardim disseminated the idea that the crimes suspected and the arrest of the Mayor, far from being an isolated police case, were part of a humiliating colonialist campaign against Madeira; in the Relvas case Jardim accused the Diário of being controlled by a communist cell linked to Edgar Silva and of keeping a stash of scandals in order to ‘deliberately enter an election campaign against [his party] the PSD. He even argued that such news pieces should be preceded by a declaration of support for one of the candidatures! The Relvas case was simply an attempt to strike at the presidency of the government: ‘The Blandy family hates me to death and have only not crucified me because they can’t’. (continues)