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!