TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Sarah … inside the church at Monte.
This blog was prepared for yesterday … but better late than never!
Front Page News : source : Diário de Notícias 24/1/2009
Main headline : ‘Unemployment Returns To The Start of Jardinism’. December’s unemployment figures are the worst since February 1979, with 9,302 now ‘signing on’ at the Regional Institute of Employment (IRE), and also with fewer companies offering work and others more likly to fire than hire, or closing down. You can visit the IRE website to search for jobs at www.ire.gov.pt, but With Machico, Ponta do Sol, Porto Moniz, Ribeira Brava and Santana offering only two jobs each, don’t get your hopes up. Of course these are government provided figures, with trade unions and opposition parties talking about the true figures being well over 10,000.
The Diário interviewed several unemployees, and this is what two said:
João Olim, 24 years, Assistant driver. Having finished working in the Port of Porto Santo, I am unemployed since the beginning of the year and, with a wife and daughter, I will see what I can find. Otherwise, the solution is to ‘go’. Its not the first time that I had to migrate.
Calaça Conceição, 47 years, Domestic (with husband unemployed). I came to get the papers for the unemployment allowance for my husband who was fired. We have three children, and only the oldest one works. Fortunately the house is paid for. With my age now nobody gives me work. On the scrapheap at 47 … not much hope for me then!
Câmara do Lobos gets picked on again for ‘black spots’ of drug problems, poverty, and crumbling properties, in particular in the area called Bairro de Palmeira. There unemployement is high, often by choice, and physical and mental health problems are common. Street crime and burglaries are everyday occurences, most of it drug related. 3,500 people live there in 410 families. The Diário interviews a number of residents who feel trapped in that society, some blaming the government for the situation, others blaming those who live there for degradation of the neighbourhood.
The police and CMF (Funchal council) want to stop people parking in the Praça do Município (Town Square), and fine those who continue to do so. The priest in the church nearby warned his flock last Sunday, many of whom park there, and said he was going to fight to reverse the decision. With so much parking in the vicinity reserved for resident and disabled drivers, and many chuch goers being elderly or having walking difficulties, the college church is faced with declining audiences. The authorities say that all they are doing is enforcing the highway code in a pedestrian area, and that there is plenty of free parking to be found in Funchal on Sundays.
The Spanish ferry owner ‘Naviera Armas’ who own the ‘Volcán de Tijarafe’, the ferry ship that serves Madeira, are having 4 new ships built in Spain. The one under construction at present should (but not definately) be named ‘Volcán da Madeira’. There are lots of facts and figures about this new ‘5 star’ vessel, but as there is no suggestion yet that it will serve the Madeira route, I didn’t think there was much point in repeating them.
The customary football story takes the lion’s share of the front page, seemingly with the Marítimo manager not impressed with the referee in the 0 – 0 draw against Leixões.
Other News :
‘Black January for Porto Santo’ is another article on the woes of the island. The photo shows an empty street with various cafes and bars and not one person in sight with the caption “Without the boat (ferry) and without tourists, Porto Santo looks like this : empty!”. With the hotels practically empty, and the restaurants without customers, some businesses are seriously considering shutting the doors. 6 restaurants have already closed temporarily, others say they sometimes go all day without selling a meal. Travel agents, taxis and hire cars have to manage purely on the local trade … a meagre 5,000 people, who no doubt are suffering their own financial problems. Aside from the dreadful news about the Columbo Resort, other construction companies are struggling, and many workers have not been paid for several months and are in danger of being laid off. Several business owners were interviewed and they talk of a dire situation.
– Luís Figueira (handicrafts and souvenirs) “This is one of the worst January’s. People spend little, we have no tourists, the hotels are empty, the boat does not travel and by plane it is unsustainable. The takings do not cover the rent and staff.”
– Luis Bettencourt (Toy Shop, HI-FI and video club)
“Nobody can resist. Even if we lower prices it makes no difference because there is no market for the services we provide. It is complicated. If we do not take measures the situation will worsen much more.”
– Miguel Rocha (taxi driver) “If crisis is the name that we give it, then we are in crisis. Never in the last 20 years past did we have a situation like this. Without the boat and tourists, I do not make enough for even the daily expenses.”
– Valdemar Brito (Entrepreneur) “This year compared to last year I have had a fall in sales of around 90%. This means that as I am not charging. I have rent arrears, and if this situation remains it is unacceptable. Closing the business will be the only option as I see no other solution.”
– Miguel Pita (restaurant) “Since 2002 I have always been in Porto Santo in the catering industry, this is by far the worst year of all. I hope the golf tournament stirs things up a bit and that the summer brings us something good.”
Well there is one bit of good news … your sand is back. Winds and seas took much of the golden beach away over the last two months, but the stones have now disappeared and it is back to Summer standards thanks to last weeks tides.
Our second road death so far this year happened in Machico on Friday morning when a 40 year old woman was run over. However as she died from her injuries later that afternoon in hospital, she won’t count as a road death statistic in the rather stupid system used here.
Nacional drew 1 – 1 with Sporting Saturday night. Nacional missed a penalty, but still not a bad result.
I notice that CaboTV or ZON have some new English speaking channels if you have the powerbox, but not very interesting ones for me. Channel 28 is called NASN, which I think must stand for North American Sport ????, and Channel 46 which will be great if you have babies. MEO claim to have exclusive access to NASN, but obviously not the case. We should also be getting free access to ‘National Geographic Wild’ by now, also I think in English, but I certainly can’t get it yet.
Funny thing happened whilst out and about on Friday night when I was talking to someone who has a holiday home here but who doesn’t read this blog. They told me a second hand story about a politician known simply as ‘The Rabbit’ who was going to try and get elected to the council at Câmara do Lobos (true so far) and who would then challenge President Bertie for his job. I was of course suprised to hear of the ‘Rabbit’ outside of the blog community, but who on earth started a rumour that a communist was going to challenge Bertie for his job?
I had to do this on my laptop in bed, so I wasn’t able to do a spellcheck, so I hope not too many errors!
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