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Ria Formosa demolitions countdown - just two days to go

culatraPortugal’s Communist Party finally has submitted a formal petition to parliament aimed at halting the property demolitions in the Algarve's Ria Formosa area that currently threaten the islanders of Culatra.

The petition went to parliament on Thursday October 20th, and it will be discussed during the afternoon of October 27th which is the day the new wave of demolitions is due to start, bright and early, led by Polis Ria Formosa president, 'Demolition Man' Sebastião Teixeira.

The Communists want to recommend to the government that it recognises the social, economic and cultural development of the urban centers of the barrier islands and that there should be a process of dialogue with the local communities; the urban centres should be reclassified, the water should be devoid of sewage and the economic activities in the Ria Formosa should be supported – all the points that have been made for years while the Polis Ria Formosa company has pursued its late-in-the-day-agenda of ridding the islands of 835 properties, using a variety of increasingly fanciful pretexts.

The Communists’ stance is much the same as the Left Bloc’s whose petition will be heard in parliament on the same day, just hours after the bulldozers once again move in to flatten properties, leaving many islanders homeless.

The scheduling of a parliamentary debate on the day demolitions resume plumbs new depths of cynicism and disregard for this section of society, defined not only by their location but by their determination that they live in a democratic society yet nobody is listening to their legitimate claims even when backed up by public support.

In fact the government deliberately scheduled debate for a time when, for many householders, their properties already will have been demolished.

The lack of interest from all political parties has left the islanders facing their countdown to demolition day, unless someone in charge heeds the widespread dissatisfaction and halts the demolition orders.

Politicians have dithered and settled for brush-offs from the socialist hierarchy, and before that the Social Democratic party, not least the ineffective Minister of the Environment, João Pedro Matos Fernandes, whose weakness and 'terminological inexactitudes' already have been exposed. This is a time for political leaders with integrity but there are none.

The existence of a model of the luxury tourist development and harbour that is planned for Culatra, hence the need to rid the island of inconvenient locals, has not been denied by the government and the public has a right for its representatives to show what is planned in the name of tourism and which pet property developer has been chosen.

As if a portend of how things may end up this coming Thursday, a series of explosions were heard across the islands and as far away as the mainland as the Spanish, US and Portuguese navies engaged in a large training exercise last week.

The islanders are at their collective wits' end, have had enough. If the demolitions go ahead, regional, national and international media will continue to question the sort of government that fails to even to want to listen to communities that should be supported, not torn apart.



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