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In 2017 promoting tourism will become responsibility of island councils

foto roda de premsa conferencia presidentsThis morning, Balearic Islands president Francina Armengol chaired a meeting of the island council presidents —dubbed la Conferència de Presidents (“the Presidents' Conference”)— which was held on Formentera. Besides Armengol, the conference was attended by Gabriel Barceló, the Govern's vice president and minister of innovation, research and tourism, and the presidents of the island councils: Jaume Ferrer, of Formentera, Miquel Ensenyat, of Mallorca, Maite Salord, of Menorca and Vicente Torres of Eivissa. The gathering took place at 10.30am in the plenary hall of the Formentera Council (CiF). Other Govern Balear officials in attendance included Pilar Costa, the minister of the president's office in Palma, and Josep Enric Claverol, head of administrative relations.

Afterward President Armengol spoke about one of the agreements made during the morning talks — “over the course of 2017 authority on issues affecting tourism promotion will be transferred to the island councils”. Speaking about the change, CiF president Ferrer said “the sooner the better”, while still insisting that the transfer of authority should be accompanied by “the greatest amount of funding possible”. Ferrer also expressed his hope that the mistakes made during the last legislative session —which ultimately meant an earlier attempt at a similar overhaul was rejected by every council but Eivissa's— not be repeated.

Budgets
Armengol clarified her stance that “with regard to island residents, the money that comes to the Balearics from the central government is wholly insufficient” and said that the regional government had yet to receive information about the spending cap or the deficit. Armengol said a budget would be drawn up supposing a 0.5% deficit and pledged to continue funding “priority areas like healthcare, education and social services”. As well, she vowed to “try to improve funding received by the island councils in 2017”. In the words of President Ferrer, “knowing what the regional budgets are going to look like is extremely important to drafting each individual island's budget”. He also called the Govern president's announcement a good thing, saying it would allow the island councils to increase their own spending in turn.

The Presidents' Conference is convened on a rotational basis on each of the islands. Today's was the third of this legislative sitting and the first this term to be held in Formentera.

Formentera salutes local police force

foto diada policia localEarlier today, Formentera's local law enforcement paid tribute to its patron saint, the guardian angel. At 12 noon, the entire police force attended mass at the Sant Francesc church. CiF president Jaume Ferrer, Bartomeu Escandell, the councillor to the president's office, as well as other local figures like Formentera's parliamentary representative in Palma, Sílvia Tur, and representatives of emergency response services like the Guardia Civil and civil protection services, were all present at the ceremony.

Near 1.00pm hors-d'oeuvres were served at Hotel Es Marès to show appreciation for the work of the local police. President Ferrer highlighted the force's hard work ethic in what he called “an especially difficult year”, referring to the Govern Balear's blocking of new recruits. “Our forces of law and order have made every effort to maintain safety and tranquility on the island”, he said.

Councillor Escandell, who is also head of Formentera's local police, spoke about the creation of a patrol crew by the CiF. Escandell said the Council's additional patrol staff “helped complement the work that until now had been left entirely to the police”. Thanks to the police and the inspection service, he added, a change has occurred in the types of tourists that visit Formentera, which Escandell said displayed “increasingly respectful behaviour”.

Pitiüsa law enforcement blasts obstacles to new hires

coord policiaAt 12 noon today the Formentera Council (CiF) hosted the second of two yearly meetings scheduled for 2016 by the coordinating body for local police in the Pitiüsas. The entity was created to facilitate information exchange and policy changes among different arms of the local police, as well as to allow the forces of law and order to calibrate their priority areas.

Chaired by CiF president Jaume Ferrer and the head of the Govern Balear's department of interior, Pere Perelló, the meeting served to align the authorities' stance on what they call deliberate attempts to interfere with new recruits to local forces by the Govern's Eivissa and Formentera delegation.

The call for applicants to the 39th course of basic police training —the deadline is October 5— was seen as an opportunity to bolster Pitiüsa police forces.

The gathering also served to bring attendants in tune on Llei 4/2013, a law dated July 17 that is aimed at coordinating local police in the Balearics. Participants also spoke about harmonising local law enforcement's approach to issues such as rural area police patrols.

Minute of silence

minut silenci 1909Today, Monday September 19 at 12 noon on plaça de la Constitució in Sant Francesc, a minute of silence was observed in condemnation of the murder of Ada Benítez last Saturday on Eivissa.

Port authority to steward full remodel of la Savina harbour

foto visita far de la molaThe president of the Formentera Council (CiF), together with his office's top councillor and the CiF infrastructure councillor, paid a visit today to the la Savina port with several officials from the port authority of the Balearic Islands (APB). President Jaume Ferrer and councillors Bartomeu Escandell and Rafael González were joined by APB president Joan Gual de Torrella, the agency's director, Juan Carlos Plaza, APB's Eivissa and Formentera chair Joaquin Jiménez and other members of staff.

After the tour the officials regrouped in the local administration's plenary hall and de Torrella laid out his agency's plan to completely revamp the Port de la Savina, creating a promenade “without barriers”. The works are scheduled to begin in 2018.

The future site of the Formentera ferry landing in the Eivissa port was also a protagonist in the morning discussion. Council president Ferrer cited a September 28 meeting which APB's board of directors will use to initial the agreement to relocate the landing 200 metres from the current location.

Finally, the group visited the la Mola lighthouse following an announcement from the APB president that officials at the same board meeting would green-light a deal giving the Formentera government management of the town's flagship monument. Plans are in place to turn the landmark into a centre for cultural activities.

 

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