The new law for foundations, passed last week through the Portuguese Parliament will have great impact on the Madeira PSD Foundation, particularly as regards transparency. The local PSD foundation owns circa 56 buildings which it then leases to the Party's local branches. The new law obliges the foundation to divulge its annual account on the net and who are its donors.
For years, the Foundation has been subject of controversy for its total lack of transparency, for the apparent incompatibility of its office-holders (Jardim, Jaime Ramos and his right hand men), for the question mark over its donors and for its dubious charitable status.
The foundation's charitable action was to hand out scholarships for higher education, but most of its activities were clearly political - even the scholarships, some youths complained, were granted under pressure to join the Social-Democrat Youth Party. The Foundation had recently stopped grant payments due to alleged lack of funding, so what still justifies its 'public utility' status?
Miguel Albuquerque, the Mayor of Funchal resigned from the Foundation last month.
The law comes too late help us understand the glory years of the foundations when dozens of earth-laden trucks from all the big construction companies went to dump their loads in the foundation's landfill, in the huge forested area they bought in the mountains… Nevertheless, transparency may dictate the end of the Foundation, or at any rate, its current usefulness to Bertie's Party.