Madeira Regency Palace. Fire danger. Blue Marlin.

Madeira Regency Palace

A empresa ‘Cunha Santos & Camachos’, que gere o hotel Regency Palace, na Estrada Monumental, foi declarada insolvente em Março, com dívidas de 34 milhões de euros. This story seems to be without any fresh developments of late, having generated a huge amount of interest over the last week with some days on the blog seeing over 2000 visitors, nearly double the daily average. The Facebook page that was created on the back of events, which featured a couple of posts ago, seems to have gathered momentum and now become a closed group to focus on timeshare members only. Good luck to them – we will no doubt hear a lot more as the whole story unfolds. Sad to see both entrances to the hotel sealed by ”incident tape” last week – but rather appropriate that it appears to be being treated as crime scene.

Comments on the closure of the Madeira Regency Palace are still being posted here as well as the previous blog post: http://madeiraislanddirect.com/blog/2015/04/regency-palace-hotel-to-close/#comment-211171

Fire danger and forest regeneration

imageThe Diario reports today on the content of a recent report on the forested mountainous areas of the island that are under constant threat of fire – and constant surveillance for the same reason, as authorities attempt to prevent any acts of deliberate arson or just plain negligence. At the same time, of the areas affected by the fires between 2007 and 2012, only 422 hectares has been reforested, representing just 4% of the total destroyed. The main species on the island are Eucalyptus (44%) – nearly half of the natural forest, together with Maritime Pine (25%) and Acacias (14%). Photo from the blog of 19th July 2012.

Big Game Fishing!

Anthony Johnson pousa para posterioridade A marlin weighing 296 kg (652 lbs.) has been caught two miles from the coast of Fajã da Ovelha by a team competing in the Blue Marlin World Cup (they won, needless to say). The boat was captained and manned by Madeirans but chartered from Calheta marina by an American, Anthony Johnson. The Blue Marlin World Cup claims to be the only worldwide blue marlin fishing tournament and is held each year on July 4th – teams are allowed to fish anywhere in the world for 8 hours in their time zones. The entry fee is $3000 per boat, and there is only one prize, taking 80% of the entry money – reckoned to be around $730,000 this year.

Finally……

image

Came across this last month on the Mail online website, filmed during the windy period at the start of June when a lot of flights were affected.

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Madeira Regency Palace closes

Madeira Regency Palace closes

There has been a huge amount of interest in this story so this will be a one off blog – there are now over seventy “Comments”, a lot from timeshare owners, on the original story, and yesterday traffic to the blog saw over 1600 visitors, up 50% on usual. Amazingly there has still been no official statement from the hotel and their website is promoting the facility as normal – but no available dates when you try to book.

Deodato Moniz comforted many who, like him, were yesterday to unemployment.  Photo rui silva / aspress

The picture above (rui silva / aspress) is from the Diario today and shows Deodato Moniz, director general of the Madeira Regency Palace Hotel, comforting one of the 110 employees who, like himself, became unemployed yesterday as the hotel was closed by the administrator appointed by creditors. He offered no official statement, but equally did not stay in the background, instead publicly supporting and commiserating with his former colleagues.
Apparently Deodato had always believed that the ending would be different, but the two banks that called the creditors meeting of the 27th of April (Millennium BCP and Novo Banco, formerly BES) remained intransigent, despite the hotel recording an average occupancy rate of 70% last month and 75% for the year. He told journalists that “there was someone who did not want to be part of a solution”, and ominously pointed out that are hotel units with even greater financial problems than the Madeira Regency Palace that remain open. It is understood that the combined hotel/timeshare was generating profits of €40,000 each month, but this was considered too little for the lenders owed millions. Hence the closure yesterday, with security guards and police preventing workers from entering one last time – some of whom had worked there from the opening sixteen years ago,

The Diario reports that Adolfo Freitas, president of the Hospitality Workers Union, claimed that he was in the presence of "organized crime". "How is it possible to have accumulated debt to €35 million?” He believes that these situations continue to happen because no one is held accountable. "The criminals are still at large. Those who led this company to a bottomless pit will continue in freedom, rule your good life. For these workers remain some months of unemployment”.

And of course there remains the small matter of thousands of timeshare owners who have been deprived of their investment……….

The majority of the Comments on the topic can be found here, although there are others at the end of subsequent posts:
http://madeiraislanddirect.com/blog/2015/04/regency-palace-hotel-to-close/#comment-211171

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Madeira Regency Palace former administrator jailed. Christmas lights.

On Wednesday a court in Funchal handed the former chief administrator of the Regency Group, Luis Camacho, two prison sentences on two counts of tax abuse.
According to the Diario, in the first case the entrepreneur was sentenced to two years in prison for “practicing fiscal embezzlement …… for not having delivered €382,412 due to the tax authorities”. This related to VAT paid by customers and IRS contributions deducted from salaries of employees of the company ‘Hotelmar’ (Hotel Regency Club) for the period October 2006 to March 2008. Camacho was also sentenced to one year and 10 months in prison for “not having delivered €463,159 to the tax authorities concerning the VAT charged to customers of the company ‘Camachos, Comércio de Novidades’”. In addition to the sentences imposed on Camacho, fines of €7,000 and €6,000 were applied on each company respectively.
In passing sentence the presiding judge noted that the administrator had already been convicted in four other cases for non-payment of taxes, for which milder punishment had been applied in the form of fines or suspended sentences. In his defence it was claimed that the entrepreneur’s priority was to pay wages to employees and service suppliers, and that meeting tax obligations were considered a second priority.
Luis Camacho was present for sentencing, but it is understood that he will remain at liberty until the appeal process has been exhausted.

Scenic route

Percurso pouco comum chamou a atenção dos mais curiosos.

Larger planes are not often observed above Funchal, despite the proximity of the airport, but on Tuesday morning the city was treated to an unusual sight as a TUIfly flight took an extraordinary route after taking off from Santa Cruz. Instead of heading north, the Boeing 737 flew south over the bay of Funchal to gain height, then turned north over Câmara de Lobos and flew over the interior of the island above Poiso and Portela, before ‘coming out’ between Ponta de São Lourenço and the village of Porto da Cruz, where it returned to normal maritime airspace.
Apparently the flight to Cologne took this option (which was fully planned and authorised) to provide passengers aboard the spectacular aerial view of the island in cloudless conditions!

Christmas lights company fired?

As Maurice mentioned in the last “Comments” it looks like Funchal will return to more traditional Christmas lights. The Tourism Authority announced this week that next Christmas the city will have decorations “with more colour and more light”, that  “will take shape and dynamics in the trees and in the streets, including through pines, balls, decorative ceilings, lights cascades, stars and other typical elements of the court” (somebody got a little carried away with a press release!). ‘Luzosfera’, the company that designed and installed last year’s controversial display (above) has had it’s two-year, €2 million, contract “terminated by mutual agreement”. A new tender will be invited, at a similar cost of around €1 million each year.

Cheaper broadband

clip_image002During Portuguese Prime Minister’s Passos Coelho’s recent visit to the island it was reported that he Regional Government and the Government of the Republic are to consider lowering the price that the telecoms company PT charges for the submarine cable service between Madeira and the continent.

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