quarta-feira, 6 de novembro de 2013

Eurostat questions hidden debt investigation

Eurostat has inquired the Portuguese authorities on the progress of the investigation into the Madeira hidden debt.

I imagine they will be to 'take a seat' (pode esperar sentado), an expression meaning you'll be waiting forever.

The fact that Eurostat questioned the status of the investigation has shocked the EuroMP Nuno Teixeira who claims that this is "intolerable intrusion" in the investigation which is still confidential.

This is an absolutely idiotic attitude since the justice system and its investigations have to be held accountable, just like any other institution in a democracy. Nuno, however, has been brought up in the Jardim school of thought, where the confidential status of an investigation is interpreted as an 'omerta'.

Madeira PSD expels 400 militants

Jardim's party has announced it is expelling over 400 militants from the party for being candidates or supporting candidatures that ran against the official PSD candidatures. This number is equals the number of expulsions the party is carrying out on the mainland, for the same reason. However, the number in Madeira has been admitted to rise to over 500.

These expulsions naturally have a great impact on the current party leadership struggle. Those who ran for independent candidatures are, if not necessarily supporters of Albuquerque, certainly disaffected with Jardim's dysfunctional authoritarianism. By expelling dissidents Jardim obviously intends to maintain his grip on the Party and ensure his own reelection, or the election of his "dummy candidate", Manuel António.

Electoral fraud has now become an issue within the PSD itself. Albuquerque has complained that he has no access to the register of militants and that many new militants have been admitted, but the date of admission have been left blank, to allow manipulation of voting rights.  The former EuroMP, Sergio Marques, has now also announced his candidature and has likewise appealed to fair play - that is for Jardim not to cheat and manipulate all processes and procedures to ensure a win. Hardly likely.

segunda-feira, 28 de outubro de 2013

Supreme Court Rules Calheta Beach Hotel was illegaly built

The Supreme Administrative Court has ruled that the Calheta Beach Hotel, belonging to Bertie´s pal, Madeira's biggest contstructor, Avelino Farinha, has been built illegaly. The hotel, opened in 2004, may now have to be demolished.

The building was in fact never licensed at all! Calheta Municipality, which had contested the decision, claims that since the City Council did not decide on whether to approve the project within thirty days of the project having been submitted, it was automatically tacitly approved... Wonderful! So who in the City Council could be held accountable for illegalities?

The project also raised questions of the use of Public Maritime Domain, since it built within 50 meters of the sealine and site was only licensed for use as a restaurant for a five year period, which has since ended.

But Avelino continues to be in Bertie's good books. Last week, his company AFA won a government cotract for regularising the stream in Ribeira Brava, for 59 million Euros, while the two rival bidders had put in tenders averaging 40 million.

quarta-feira, 23 de outubro de 2013

Jardim acuses Michael Blandy of Fomenting Coup d'Etat

Less than a week after the elections, the Jornal da Madeira printed a news article accusing Michael Blandy of fomenting a coup d'etat:

It accuses Blandy of having a "diseased obssession" against Jardim and continues: "In the last two years, or be it, since the 2011 regional elections, Madeira is witnessing an attempt at an internal coup d'etat, lead by the Blandy economic group, which assumes itself as the real leader of the opposition".

The piece is not signed by any journalist and was given a full front page spread.

Jardim's propaganda reminds me of the Khaddafi's interview shortly before the dictator was ousted, when he kept repeating "my people love me, my people love me" and blamed all his troubles on foreigners.

sexta-feira, 18 de outubro de 2013

Paulo Morais on Corruption and Justice in Portugal

Of the cases you have denounced, have you ever managed to see one to its conclusion?
There are many. The Public Prosecutor has considered them and it is with some perplexity that I see how some have been thrown out, such as the Porto Underground case. At one point, the Porto Underground decided to acquire some land in Campo dos Salgueiros. It was valued at 5 million Euro. But the Metro decided to pay almost 9 million for a piece of land they knew was worth less than 5 million. I denounced this and presented official documents, valuations, the  meeting minutes of the board of directors, and the Public Prosecutor decided to shelve the process because they did not know where the extra four million went. The Portuguese people were robbed of 4 million in that one deal alone.

Is there no corruption in Porto? At least we know no news of any.
There is no corruption anywhere. For there to be a crime of corruption you need to know what is the aim of the corruption, what is the material gain, who is corrupted, who is corrupting, what links all these facts together and what all the connections are. An accusation of corruption only occurs when the corruptor and the corrupted walk into court hand in hand, and even then it’s hardly likely. In cases such as embezzlement or malfeasance, there can be developments, the accusation is relatively simple. But investigations are rare, and when they are made, there are rarely reach the stage of accusation, and  where [Public Prosecutor] does accuse the cases rarely go on trial, and when they do they rarely result in condemnations and when there are condemnations, those concerned do not go to prison.

Why does that happen?
Because the laws are complex, because the justice system is disorganized and functions in a medieval way. If we go into a Court, 70% of the people there are waiting. They should be called palaces for waiting rather than palaces of justice.

Paulo Morais is vice president of the NGO Transparency and Integrity

Excerpt from interview to I newspaper in June 2103

Madeira Secretary of Tourism refuses to go on trial

Conceição Estudante, Madeira's Secretary of Tourism has refused to go on trial to answer on two criminal processes. The letter of refusal was read out in the Regional Parliament. No one was informed what the charges are, nor even if the gravity of the crime would allow Estudante to claim Parliamentary Immunity.

In Madeira, its as simple as that. Parliamentary Immunity for Jardim's party works as a general amnesty. The opacity is total and the impunity legendary.

quarta-feira, 16 de outubro de 2013

Former PSD Youth leader becomes independent in the Madeira Parliament

José Pedro Pereira, the former leader of the PSD youth abandons his parliamentary group to become an independent.

In a press conference to announce the move, Pereira attacked those in his parliamentary group ‘who stuffed their bellies at the expense of other, promoting a policy of mediocrity, ignorance and incompetence with the sole aim of maintaining their power within the party and so guaranteeing the continuity of their dodgy dealings’.

Pereira’s attack is ostensibly aimed at the PSD parliamentary leader Jaime Ramos and leaves the PSD majority hanging by a thread. José Pedro’s defection reduces the PSD MPs to 24; the opposition has 22. José Pedro’s vote could tip the balance in the Parliament should any of the PSD members absent themselves.

Such a defection in the PSD ranks is unprecedented and  viewed with some incredulity, since Pereira is one of the most radical supporters of Jardim. No one believes he could have taken this decision without his support. Cynics say this may be a move by Jardim himself in his party leadership race with Albuquerque: If a motion of no confidence is voted through, new regional elections would be called before PSD internal could be held, leaving Jardim to candidate himself for yet another mandate at the head of the regional government.

It all seems rather absurd, but Jardim’s thirst for power is quite irrational.

Is Illegal Block of Flats to be Demolished?

The ‘A Ver o Mar’ block of flats, where Jardim’s family owns an apartment was approved by the Municipality in 1996 and was built in 1997. The building was taken to court by neighbors who challenged its legality.

In 2005, the Funchal Court ruled that the building violated the city plan. It exceeded what was allowed both in volume and number of floors. The Funchal Court’s decision was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2008.

The Supreme Court annulled the decision which authorized the building and condemned the city to revert to the situation prior to the annulled act. In other words, to demolish the building. The City Council refused to comply with the Court’s decision.

Faced with over five years of inaction, another court case has been put in to condemn the city to comply, by demolishing the building, and requiring all that all the sales contracts, which are based on an illegal decision, be declared null and void.

segunda-feira, 14 de outubro de 2013

What was different about the last elections

In a talk show, last week, the PSD representatives had a common theme tune: The choice of the people must be respected, after all, these were democratic elections just like all the previous ones.

Not quite. Although the result was no doubt due to Jardim's ever growing impopularity, there were also less violations of the election laws.

Jardim's trump card has always been the public inauguration ceremonies. These occasions were marked by huge banquets for the attending masses, preceded by  political speeches where Jardim ranted against the opposition parties. Two or three of these ceremonies would be held daily and Jardim's hate speech would be broadcast over television and radio...

This year, not only were the inaugurations fewer, but some were devoid of the usual banquets and Jardim kept his speeches impartial and short - less than two minutes. With several cases pending in the justice system for election violations, perhaps he was forewarned by state entities not to push his luck.

Jardim's other main weapon is the state-owned Jornal where the opinion-pieces are all written by PSD militants. In the run-up to elections, this usually meant three daily pieces praising Jardim and trashing the opposition. Now, however, most of the article-writers have dwindled away, and apart from Jardim himself, only one or two of his bootlickers remain active, and even their articles are luke warm.

The Jornal, however, continued to toe the line, promoting the PSD candidates above all others. In some editions, the PSD candidatures got twice as much coverage as all the other candidatures put together. A clear violation of the law, which should earn the director yet another criminal suit. Curiously, this bias towards the PSD candidatures was not due to coverage of the candidates themselves, but to the coverage of the campaign actions of a non-candidate - Jardim!

terça-feira, 1 de outubro de 2013

Court Ruling supports Audit Office judge against the decsision of the Public Prosecutor who decided not to send Madeira governants to trial

The newly appointed Public Prosecutor, attatched to the Madeira Court Auditors, Leonor Mesquita Machado, is reassessing the process which her predecessor, Varela Maritns, shelved.

The latter had decided not to send members of the Regional Government to stand trial, despite their existing indications of serious financial misdoings, namely of hiding debts in the Health and sports institutes.

The decision follows the ruling from the third section of the Court Auditors to ignore the complaint lodged by the Public Ministry against judge attatched to the Court Audit office

segunda-feira, 30 de setembro de 2013

Jardim's PSD trounced in 7 out of 11 Municipalities

Jardim's party, which has held a monopoly of all city governments, was yesterday trounced at the ballots.

In Funchal, the Coalition for Change, led by the independent, Paulo Cafofo, secured 5 of the 11 mandates, the PSD came second with 4, and the CDS and Communists both held on to one seat. Its the first time in 36 years since Jardim took power that Funchal will be governed by a force other than the PSD.

The Together for the People (JPP) civic movement in Santa Cruz won an even more spectacular victory, securing 5 mandates, leaving the PSD with two.

São Vicente also fell to an independent candidature which joined members of the opposition with disaffected PSD militants. The independents won 4 out of the five mandates, the former PSD mayor will now sit alone in oppostion.
The CDS, Christian Democrats won Santana, securing 3 mandates to the PSD's 2.
The Socialists won Porto Moniz, 3-2; Porto Santo, 3-2; and  Machico 4-3.

The results have shaken the Jardim dictatorship, but he still intends to hold on to power, blaming the national government for the results and promising to clean his party of those who have promoted internal divisions.

quinta-feira, 26 de setembro de 2013

Welsh and Canha vs Portugal at the European Court Verdict

The European Court has overturned a verdict condemning myself and Gil Canha of difamation. The case was brought against us by the Vice President of Madeira, Cunha e Silva, for a report written in the satirical newspaper, Garajau.

The article was about the contracting of the lawyer, Garcia Pereira, a leader of the Portuguese Maoist Party, MRPP, resorting to government funding to sue the Garajau over articles on the dealings of Cunha e Silva.

The accused were absolved in the lower Court, where the judge made some very pertinente observations on the way public funding was being against the press. The appeals Court, though not calling into question the substance of the facts, overturned the ruling, condeming us to pay compensation to the Vice President.

The European Court has now overruled that verdict, saying the judgement violated article 10 of the convention and ntoing that such procedures were detrimental to press freedom.



quarta-feira, 11 de setembro de 2013

Funchal Municipal Elections Forecast

A recent opinion poll carried out by the Expresso shows the opposition coalition within reach of the PSD.

The PSD leads with 36,4%, followed by the 6 party coalition headed by Paulo Cafofo with 28,8%, the CDS with 24,8% and the Communist party with 6,9 %. 17,7% of those inquired were undecided.

The poll shows the PSD share of the vote has reduced dramatically and that the opposition is in the majority.

The opposition coalition was open to all parties, but the CDS refused to join. They are benefitting from a drift of discontented PSD supporters, owing to the split within the PSD, between President Jardim and the mayor of Funchal, Miguel Albuquerque. Jardim has launched virulent attacks on his internal rival and accuses him of being close to the CDS and of being controlled by the freemasons.

The coalition is consolidating its position with a strong door to door campaign.

terça-feira, 13 de agosto de 2013

Jardim tears newspaper

President Jardim, while visiting the offices of the Madeira rally, took the opportunity to tear up a copy of the Diário de Notícias newspaper.

In the run up to the elections, the government owned freebie newspaper, the Jornal, has been covering almost exclusively the initiatives of the PSD candidates.

quarta-feira, 24 de julho de 2013

PSD Foundation received 1.1 million Euros of state funding

Jardim lied about state funding granted to the PSD Madeira Foundation. In 2011, when the national government anounced it was launching an inquest into foundations recieving state founding, Jardim stated that the foundation of which he is president had never received a bean.

At the end of 2009, the Madeira Social Democrat Foundation applied for 1.6 million Euro in rural develpment funding, related to the countryside estate where his party holds its annual political rally. The funding was duly approved and paid up: 518,530 Euros in 2010; 81,779 Euros in 2011; 268,460 Euros in 2012; 235,818 Euros in 2013.

It would be interesting to find out just how the funding has been applied.

segunda-feira, 3 de junho de 2013

Funchal Mayor's car vandalised

The car belonging to Miguel Albuquerque, the Mayor of Funchal who challenged Jardim for the party leadership, was vandalised last night. It was parked outside his block of flats and the glass was smashed by a sharp object, presumed to be a pickaxe.

Similar acts of vandalism have occurred in the past against the property of opposition politicians. The fact that nothing was stolen from the vehicle, adds to the suspicion that the crime was politically motivated. Jardim's popularity is dwindling fast and he is well known for inciting violence against his political opponents - an ever increasing number are now from his own party.

Court Audits shelved by Public Prosecutor worth 520 million Euros

Source: Publico

The prosecutor attatched to the Court Auditors has refrained from taking to court eleven of the 39 audits which detected financial abuses. The shelving of these proceedings totals up to around 520 million Euros in undue payments and hidden debts.

In all the audits in which the Court considered members of the Regional Government indicted por the practice of abuses where the latter were financialy liable, the current Public Prosecutor refrained from requiring those responsible stand trial, said the judge, João Aveiro Pereira.

sexta-feira, 24 de maio de 2013

Salazar Law may get Jardim and pals off the hook

At the centre of the dispute between the judge and the public prosecutor attached to the Court Auditor’s Office is a 1933 law. The Public Prosecutor is basing his decision not to prosecute Jardim and company based on the decree 22.257 of 1933, which states that ministers may only be held responsible for financial infractions if they ignore or override the technical advice of the hierarchical subalterns.

This is near impossible in Madeira where the civil service is peopled by Yes men and Jardim regularly threatens all those who ‘obstruct’ him with retaliations.

The big question is, will this argument also be used in the – never heard of again - ‘Cuba Livre’ criminal investigation, regarding the deliberate hiding of the Madeira debt?  

Jardim’s discourse seems to suggest this. He initially proudly claimed he had deliberately hidden the debt because Portugal was cutting funding to Madeira. He later changed his tune, saying he was not an accountant and that the whole fiasco was due to an incompatibility between the computer programs of two Government Departments. Will Jardim’s initial admission of guilt figure in the Public Prosecutor’s accusation? I doubt it. 

quinta-feira, 23 de maio de 2013

PSD infighting latest

Jaime Ramos, the PSD Parliamentary group leader is moving to have his party colleague Miguel de Sousa suspended from Parliament due to missing too many sessions. Sousa is known for just clocking in and out, but due to the Party's slim majority more discipline is now required. Sousa then urged Jaime to set the agenda for Parliamentary sessions well in advance so he could plan his time, whereupon Jaime showered him with insults calling him, among other things, a 'pimp'. Jaime's attempted expulsion of Sousa follows on the news that Sousa's law suit against him is set to start soon. The duo belong two biggest rival 'business families' within the PSD.

Meanwhile Jardim is also threatening to expel any dissidents who present independent lists for the forthcoming municipal elections. Young PSD militants are preparing independent candidatures for the Monte and Imaculado Coração.  

Former Socialist leader again criminally prosecuted by Jardim

The former Madeira Socialist Party leader, João Carlos Gouveia is to stand trial for allegedly defaming Jardim next Thursday. I will be a witness for the defense.

The trial is another political farce, starting with the fact that the crime is supposed to be harsher due to Jardim being President of the Regional Government. That is the first big joke, for Jardim has no legitimacy due to the fact that his victories were won violating the election laws and resorting to Nazi-style hate speeches which in a decent country would have had him behind bars, if not in a loony bin. Yet despite all the proof in the hands of the Public Prosecutor's Office they seem somehow unable to draft an accusation to take the bggr to trial.

To Jardim, these policial trials are all a great joke. He shunts public money into the pockets of one of his lawyer friends, in this case his pal the PSD regional MP, Tranquada Gomes, and if things go well he gets to pocket a few thousand. Its one of Jardim's favourite hobbies, especially since it does not cost him anything...

But the funny thing it seems some one of the Public Prosecutors seems to also want to get in on the action. Maria Gameiro, the Deputy Public Prosecutor who notoriously shelved the fraud case against the Jornal - apparently she's ignorant of the law and blind to it - is also taking Gouveia to Court for slander. I really look forward to testifying in that case, I am only sad that it has been postponed.

sexta-feira, 17 de maio de 2013

Judge Sends 'Connective Intelligence' Audit to Anti-Corruption Unit

The Court Auditor's judge, João Aveiro Pereira, has sent the audit on the financing of the 'International Center for Connective Intelligence' to the Public Prosecutor's Central Investigation Unit and to the Council for the Prevention of Corruption.

The audit detected payments worth 386.000 Euros made without bills and a payment of 1.3 Million for services that were never rendered. These facts were passed on to the Public Prosecutor attatched to the Court Auditor's Office who, despite confiming the evidence of abuse, determined not to send to those responsible to trial.

The judge states it is his right and his duty to express his firm disagreement to the flippant and strange way the Public Prosecutor abstains from demanding a trial regarding the financial responsiblities at stake. According to the Diário, the judge stated that the Public Prosecutor appears 'very worried about protecting' the governors of Madeira.

Among the three people to be held to account is Madeira's Secretary of Finances, Ventura Garces.

sexta-feira, 3 de maio de 2013

Court forbids Municipal decisions to be published in the Jornal

The Funchal Administrative Court has ruled that Funchal City's decisions are not to be published in the Jornal da Madeira.

The law says that such decisions are to be published in paid papers, not in free ones. Since 2008, the Jornal has resorted to a scam, by printing a 10 cent cover price to skirt the law, while the paper is handed out for free.

This situation had already been brought to the Public Prosecutor's Office by the Court Auditors in 2009, but following a two year non-investigation, the Deputy Prosecutor, Maria Gameiro, shelved the case, without a single mention of the law that forbids the Municipality from publuishing its decisions in freebies.

It took us one morning in court to prove what the Public Prosecutor was unable to discover in two years of investigation!

The management of the Jornal is committing a blatant fraud against the law and it is unacceptable that criminal proceeding are not brought against them.

Public Prosecutor's Office turns a blind eye to Government benefitting Jardim's Party

The Turism Secretariat lent a stage for the anual PSD Party Rally at the Chão da Lagoa. Such stages are very expensive to hire on the market, but in this case it was simply lent for free.

According to the investigation, the stage was lent by the Secretariat, at the request of the owner of 'Criterio de Escolha Lda', the company responsible for setting the rally stage. The Secretariat claimed it was lent on word of mouth and that they had no idea what it would be used for. Hardly likely since it was the only major event happening that day and since the date itself was postponed due to dangers of forest fire. But for the Public Prosecutor's Office, the Secretariat's word is enough to get it off the hook.

Once again, the Public Prosecutor's Office is connivant in allowing public resources to be used to benefit the majority party.

Public Prosecutor's Office demands disciplinary action against judge

The Public Prosecutor's Office, unused to public scrutiny, has called for a discplinary measure to be taken against the judge who criticised the Prosecutor who attatched to the Cout Auditor's Office (see previous post). The judge's deliberation, it claimed, contained subjective opinions that exceeded the judge's competence.

As it so happens, the judge had already objected to the non-action of the Public Prosecutor with regards to several other audits which should have lead to trials, but were shelved by the Prosecutor, however, the Public Prosecutor's Office always ignored the judge and took no action.

The Public Prosecutor's Office is not used to open criticism. It is a totally opaque organization, a law unto itself. Many of its magistrates are notoriously close to the regional power and investigations are often no more than a formality to be completed before a case is shelved or allowed to prescribe. Complaints against Public Prosecutors are rarely acted upon by the hierarchy and some magistrates wield a virtually arbitrary power - reason for which Jardim and his men enjoy almost absolute impunity and can do what they will regardless of what the law says

quinta-feira, 2 de maio de 2013

Prosecutor resigns following judge's fierce criticism

José Albero Varela Martins, the prosecutor attached to the Court Auditor's Office in Madeira has resigned following fiecre criticism by judge João Aveiro Pereira. The judge, who also works for the Court Auditor's Office, described the Prosecutor's decision not to prosecute the Regional Government of Madeira  as 'shocking' and 'disgusting'.  There are clear signs of violation of financial misdemeanours which clearly ought to be taken to trial, stated the judge. He called for civilians to take up criminal proceedings against the Regional Government on the basis of the Court Auditor's findings.

The Public Prosecutor's Office announced an investigation, whereupon the Public Prosecutor tendered his resignation.

quarta-feira, 27 de março de 2013

Madeira TV station censors opposition

The Madeira news used to devote so much time to the "great leader" it used to be known as Telejardim...it has deteriorated even further.

Since the new director, Miguel Torres Cunha, an ex-Diario journalist took over, news coverage has hit an all time low. First Cunha refused to cover any opposition party initiatives unless the spokesperson was a regional MP. Then he argued that many of the opposition interventions were not newsworthy and decides what is covered or not. Even the coverage that it is given to opposition parties is often edited to damp the message.

Stories such as the Public Prosecutor's Office allowing the election violation case to prescribe, while admitting that there was enough evidence to take the perpetrators to trial are not considered newsworthy.

terça-feira, 19 de março de 2013

Portuguese legislative nonsense - Limit of mandates for Mayors

The Portuguese Parliament passed a law limiting mayors to three mandates - very well.

The law is ambiguous as to whether a mayor, having reached his limit, can then be candidate for  different municipality.

Instead of proposing and ammendment to the law to clarify the situation, the parties leave it to the Courts and the justice system to decide, thus wasting everybody's time and the state's valuable resources - of which the justice system is very short - dragging the issue out for years to come and no doubt lining the pockets of many a lawyer.

Europe, Portugal and the slowness of Justice

Portuguese justice is notoriously slow and it used to be possible to take cases of slow justice directly to the European Court. A few years ago, the law was altered and the slowness of justice has first to go on trial in the national courts.

The result is a win-win situation for slow justice. The national courts condemn the state for slowness of justice (fifteen years in one case) and award the plaintiff a pittance. The State then appeals the decision and the plaintiff is faced with paying more court and lawyers fees so that in the compensation will not cover the costs.

Is this the European Union and the European law that citizens want?

quinta-feira, 14 de março de 2013

Madeira Tax Director on trial over tax evasion scheme

Madeira's Director of Finance, João Machado, the person responsible for taxes on the island is being tried for tax evasion. The charges are related to the period when he was on the board of the Nacional Football Club and alledgedly drew up a tax avoidance scheme for the club using an offshore company set up in the British Virgin Isles.

The crimes date to the period between 2002 and 2005. Machado, who is a member of the political commission of the Madeira PSD was appointed Regional Director of Finance in 2005. Despite the trial, he has not tendered his resignation and continues to enjoy President Jardim's full confidence.

The only Vice President of the club not to be charged is Carlos Santos, the public prosecutor once in charge of the Public Prosecution office in Madeira, who claimed ignorance of the whole affair. Carlos Santos was seen at the time to be very pally with the regime and he left the island under a cloud.

No Confidence Motion against Jardim

Two no-confidence motions were lodged against Jardim's Government in the Madeira Regional Parliament by the Socialist Party and the Labour Party. In response the PSD proposed a motion of confidence, which was voted on Tuesday.

The debate of the motion was marked by protests outside the Parliament, calling for Jardim to step down and be put on trial for hiding the debt - among other things. The protestors stayed from 9 am to 2pm, when the session finally ended.

Jardim, rather pathetically left his car and chauffeur outside the front door as a decoy and then scuttled out the back door in order not to face the protests.

This is the second anti-jardim protest in as many weeks, since the anti-troika protest held ten days  earlier turned into a protest against the local government. The crowd detoured from the original protest path, ending up outside Quinta Vigia, the seat of Government, where they called for an end to Jardim's rule.

Jardim's vote of confidence was voted through in an open show of hands by his own party, which enjoys a marginal absolute majority. All the opposition voted against. The longer Jardim clings to power, however, the more explosive the social situation becomes, and he has to traipse around surronded by police and bodyguards.

Marina do Lugar de Baixo destroyed again

 The notorious Marina do Lugar de Baixo has again been partially destroyed by the sea last week. The waves   ripped away part of the protective wall and damaged the main building. The Government had poured more millions in repairs following the damages incurred in 2010, but to no avail. The marina has never since been operational. 

domingo, 3 de março de 2013

Justice system allows Case against Jornal to prescribe

One of the criminal proceedings against the Jornal for violation of the election laws has prescribed. 

Judge Iron Hand called in the Jornal to propose a deal which was turned down by the latter because the case had just prescribed ...after three years! 

There are four more cases pending against the Jornal for the same crime. The impunity cannot go on forever!

quinta-feira, 28 de fevereiro de 2013

Former Madeira Socilaist leader acquitted of difamation

João Carlos Gouveia, former leader of the Socialist Party in Madeira was today acquitted of difamation.

The acusation reported to the period of the 2005 Municipal Elections when Gouveia was candidate for Mayor of São Vicente and the commander of the Vouluntary Firemen stood as a candidate for the PSD

In an interview to the Tribuna newspaper, the accused had stated: There is no sense in the current high level of conflictuality, when the person in charge of the the firemen threatens his subalterns that they may loose their jobs if they don't vote for the PSD.

The judge maintained that the words of the accused, whose car was set on fire during the election campaign, were acceptable as part of the freedom of expression and criticism within the context of political speech, although he admonished the accused for being unable to prove what he had said in the interview.

Gouveia was also acquitted for allegedly distributing political propaganda on the pre-election day of reflection. Gouveia had distributed a letter in defending his honour in answer to a letter smearing his name, distributed by PSD members on the last day of the election campaign.

segunda-feira, 25 de fevereiro de 2013

"Cuba livre": Jardim to face criminal proceedings

The Pubic Prosecutor's Office is to accuse Jardim and fellow Government members of criminal offense for hiding the Madeira debt.

Nor is Jardim to be allowed to shield himself behind parliamentary immunity as he has done in countless other cases, from violation of election laws to the dodgy dealings of the PSD Foundation.

Though he now denies any responsibility, not so long ago he was publicly bragging of having hidden the debt.

Politicians can get away with a hell of a lot of corruption in Portugal, because the law tends to be so specific that only what is specifically described by law as being corruption can be prosecuted.

Unfortunately for Bertie, there is a specific law relating to hiding debt...

He is no longer untouchable. In a recent inauguration ceremony he was actually booed by the population. The writing is on the wall for Europe's longest lasting dictator.

quinta-feira, 31 de janeiro de 2013

José Manuel Coelho's convict protest in Parliament

José Manuel Coelho, MP for the Labour Party PTP, turned up in Parliament last week dressed as a convict as a protest against the Portuguese justice system. Coelho was condemned for difamation in a case involving Jardim and his Vice-President. I am condemned for telling the truth, he says. Coelho stated he would not appeal the decision and wanted to be sent to prison to show how biased some of the judges in Madeira are.
The day of the protest Coelho was absolved in another case brought against him by the Vice President, who had asked for 75.000 Euros in compensation. Such cases are moneyspinners for Jardim and his chronies, who resort to Government finance to ask for substantial personal compensations.

quarta-feira, 30 de janeiro de 2013

Parliamentary 'Pimp'

The PSD Madeira MPs meeting on the 14th was marked by new signs of internal struggle. Its Parliamentary leader, Jaime Ramos, renown for his civility and good manners, called his fellow party member Miguel de Sousa, the deputy chair of the Parliament, a 'pimp'. All because Miguel de Sousa wanted the parliament's agenda for the next few months to be fixed in advance.

None of the PSD MPs are allowed to miss a session for free that the opposition may gain the upper hand over their 2-seat majority and all of them have their business and leisure concerns. Jaime is free to set the agenda to his liking, which he does.

The insults - word has it that far worse expressions were used - seemed to be derived from business jealousies: Miguel de Sousa is closely tied to the company that runs the offshore and to the Ports monopoly, run by his cousin - the only sector that is not feeling the recession pinch; indeed freight costs have just been upped - Yippee! Jaime is the big man in the construction sector - once the Colossus of Government spending - which has now dried up, leaving his associates with considerable accumulated government debt.  Not a happy chappy.

quarta-feira, 16 de janeiro de 2013

Destruction of electoral propaganda case reopened

The Public Prosecutor's Office has reopened the case against members of the PSD Madeira Youth for destruction of oppostion election posters. The case had initially been shelved but was reopened due to new information. This may be related to the National PSD initiating proceedings to expel the former PSD Madeira Youth leader, José Pedro Pereira, for alledgedly destroying oppostion election posters, throwing smoke bombs at opposition rallies and other rowdy behaviour. José Pedro's followers are now accusing the current PSD Madeira Youth leader, Romulo Coelho, of involvement in vandalising oppostion election posters.

José Pedro Pereira, the former PSD Madeira Youth leader, is due to stand trial for alledgedly peeing on a police car and insulting Police agents.

segunda-feira, 14 de janeiro de 2013

PSD Madeira purges city councillor

Jardim has begun proceedings to expel Costa Neves, PSD City Councillor for Funchal, from his party (the news made front page of the Jornal, above). Costa Neves was outspoken in his criticism of the way the Regional Government is handling the reconstruction process following the February 2010 disaster. He also openly backed Albuquerque in his bid for party leadership. Similar proceedings were also started against another Albuquerque follower, André Correira, for alledgedly playing pool with militants of the Christian Democrat Party.

Meanwhile, the Government has also confiscated Municipal roads bordering on streams where reconstruction work is to begin. Funchal City Council had objected to the proposed reconstruction projects and to the timing of the works which will totally disrupt traffic in the city. Jardim's answer was simply to take over the land. Opposition parties had left the Parliament in protest, when proposal was voted

4 Proceedings against the Jornal for Election Violations

Four criminal proceedings against the Jornal are currently underway at the Public Prosecutor's Office:

2135/19.2 TAFUN, violation of election laws for the 2009 National and Municipal elections

3539/11.9 TAFUN, violation of the elections laws for the 2011 Presidential elections

1327/12.4 TAFUN, violation of the election laws for the 2011 national elections

2011/10.2 TAFUN, violation of election laws for the 2011 regional elections...

Raimundo Quintal walks into the Marina do Lugar de Baixo

The enviromental activist, Raimundo Quintal, days ago walked into the moutn of the notorious Marina do Lugar de Baixo. The entrance to the unused marina is completely beached up and can be accessed on foot when the tide is low. The Government is still pouring millions into this defunct project - making use of the 2010 calamity funding!