A resignation letter signed by by Sebastião ‘Demolition man’ Teixeira, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Polis Ria Formosa, and board member João Alves, has been accepted by the Minister for the Environment João Matos Fernandes who on Tuesday called a halt to the Ria Formosa island demolitions planned for today, October 27th and called for some sensible dialogue and a case by case review.
Throughout the island campaign Teixeira has acted in a covert manner and has failed to consider anyone’s point of view but his own, hiding behind ‘the law as he sees it’ despite the laws being contested by hundreds of islanders with the support of countless thousands of more balanced members of the public.
The ever shifting reasoning behind the island demolitions was but one failure in a programme that set out to destroy that which it purported to be saving, the environment and artisan fishing communities.
The two signatories express their disagreement about the decision of Minister Fernandes to postpone the destruction of island homes and both considered that the minister's action has condemned Polis' work in clearing the islands of thousands of people and hundreds of homes which, in their opinion, is a perfectly legal operation.
Both board members state that the minister’s decision was not based on the law as they see it. But he is the minister and Teixeira is not, despite his political ambitions which now lie in tatters due to his intransigence and failure to engage.
The two signatories go on to complain in their resignation letter that the minister has decided to re-examine the islanders’ case even though "it has all been scrutinised, minutely, at Polis headquarters, not only at the administrative level, but also in the courts."
Invoking "correctness, transparency and legality' used in the decisions of the Board of Directors of Polis Ria Formosa, Sebastião Teixeira and João Alves fail to understand the damage they have caused to the Socialists administration by their deviousness and blame Fernandes for “paralysing and derailing” the demolition and renaturation process on the islands.
Lamely invoking the Paris agreement on CO2 levels and on climate change generally, the pair continue to use ‘safety’ and ‘the public interest’ as the reasons used to move communities from the islands against the inhabitants’ wishes.
Not content with trotting out the same old arguments for destroying private property due to its inconvenient location, the letter goes on to cite “serious losses to the treasury caused by the decision of the minister to suspend the demolitions, including any compensation to contractors, the loss or return of EU funding and the waste of millions of euros already invested."
This sort of nonsense typified the standard of management at Polis which singularly failed to engage with the communities with which it was meant to be engaging and the reference to money leaves any budgetary impact at Teixeira’s feet as the well-funded Polis company has spent years doing little, finishing with a burst of activity and an expensive demolition programme, needing an extra year in which to complete the task.
Questions now need to be asked and followed through regarding the contract with the Sofareia, the company undertaking the task of knocking down houses, as any generous compensation clause would have been foolish to sign and ‘not in the public interest’ in the light of continuing protest against the demolition programme and the probability that it would be scrapped.
The Ministry of the Environment today confirmed the two resignations, with Teixeira contracted to stay in his job until the end of November, and is seeking a replacement despite the Polis company’s mandate running out on December 31st, 2016.
Teixeira also is the President of the Algarve’s environment agency, APA, where he has been under fire over his determination to transform many of the regions beaches into what he imagines tourists would like, using safety as his reasoning, but managing to destroy the innate charm of many beaches in the process.
Further property demolitions have been authorised by Teixeira, notably in Monte Clérigo, Vila do Bispo, where the suspicion is that the destruction of homes is to prettify the village and make way for enhanced tourist facilities to serve a new 400 unit mega-estate planned for the adjoining countryside.
It is not yet known whether Teixeira also has resigned from his APA post but he would be sensible to. He already is on a head-on collision course with the region’s mayors whose carefully considered observations on coastal development were ignored by Teixeira in the final coastal plan for the southwest coast of the Algarve.
Teixeira’s use of demolition to solve all imagined environmental problems, early on earned him the sobriquet of 'Demolition Man' and, with his career at an all time low, he may reflect on the events that have led to his downfall, but then again, he may not and simply continue to blame the minister for his inevitable downfall.
The usually reserved and cautious islanders on Culatra will be celebrating hard tonight, their social media pages have been abuzz all day with the news of Teixeira's resignation - news that many had not dreamed was possible.
I agree, it's not done yet, there's a silence before the storm! This government won't let go of it, there's probably too much at stake. Next they will put their hands up in the air and say they it's too late to cancel it. As long as agendas don't become transparent, these things will continue to happen.
Thank you all those who worked so hard to achieve this small step on the road to sanity.
Especial thanks to the non-Portuguese among us and extra thanks to our tirelessly campaigning editor, too.
The 'Ilheus' should also keep a close eye on what the government will do next. The demolitions of the islanders' houses would not be the first project put on hold, only for it to be carried out later.
Why are these allegedly 'Public Servants' not being held personally responsible for losses to the Portuguese State? How is it that this clown can have been signing contractual obligations that now fall onto the State with no comeback on him and his mates?
Note Teaixeira's claim that : “serious losses to the treasury caused by the decision of the minister to suspend the demolitions, including any compensation to contractors, the loss or return of EU funding and the waste of millions of euros already invested."
And that yet again an Alves - many branches of which in the Portuguese national or local ruling elite - is found deep in the POLIS sewer.