The demolitions planned for the Ria Formosa islands were debated in Parliament on Thursday with the The Greens (PEV) appealing to the Government to include the island people in the process.
"We have an obligation to take a decision in which the Government is compelled by Parliament to at least take into account the views of the people," said Heloisa Apolónia.
"When decisions are controversial it makes sense to engage the participation of the people," said Apolónia referring aspects of the overall plan that people do not understand, and "the lack of participation and transparency in the process."
"The Government has everything to gain from a broad discussion with the people," she added.
Apolonia, alongside other participants in the debate, welcomed the islanders who filled the public gallery to watch parliament at work.
João Vasconcelos of the Left Bloc, praised the Government for having decided, "albeit belatedly, to open a dialogue with the island people and to postpone the demolitions," that had been announced on Tuesday, October 25th.
However, Vasconcelos considered that "it becomes imperative that the government ceases further demolitions." "If the Government continues with the demolitions, the islanders will resist and the Left Bloc will be at their side.”
Communist MP Paulo Sá, said that he too "will stand by the people to defend their homes if the Government decides to proceed with the demolition."
"The threat of demolition has not yet been removed and if the government continues it will not be fulfilling its pledge," said Sá, recalling that "the Socialist Party undertook (before it became the government) to stop the demolitions."
The Social Democrat MP, José Carlos Barros, asked the Government for clarification on the rehabilitation works that will now go ahead on the islands.
The announcement of the resignation of Sebastião ‘Demolition Man’ Teixeira and João Alves, both directors of Polis Litoral Ria Formosa, was made by a Ministry of the Environment spokesman who pointed out that some planned projects will remain.
In a statement, the Ministry added that Teixeira will remain in office until the end of November and that the Government has started the process for his replacement.
The Ministry said that four major projects announced under the Polis (environmental and urban regeneration program), will continue, namely the building of a bridge to Faro island, a pier on Tavira island, a beach plan for Ancão and the riverside park in Olhão.
"Also the Restructuring, Renaturalisation and Requalification Pland for the Ria Formosa islands will remain, but there will be some delay due to the resignations," added the government which will determine on a house-by-house basis which properties will be removed but in consultation with the islanders.
The renaturation process for the Ria Formosa area, promoted by the Ministry of the Environment through its environmental improvement programme, provided for the demolition of a total of 800 island buildings and this should continue according to the initial schedule but in the future, with full consultation with those affected.