Community associations from the Ria Formosa villages of Culatra, Hangares and Farol have banded together in a a last-ditch attempt at halting the planned demolition of their houses in a heart-felt appeal to the President of the Republic of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo da Sousa.
In the letter sent on Saturday to the president and to newsrooms, the various groups of threatened island villagers have outlined the urgency of the problems they face, the lack of clarity and the constant threats they have suffered from successive Governments.
The letter claims that the real reasons for the planned destruction of island properties, reasons that conveniently are kept from public view, is that the Polis Litoral Ria Formosa company was created with the prime objective of mass demolitions so that, sooner or later, all the inhabitants of the barrier islands will have been moved on.
The demolitions are being carried out with the connivance of the authorities and the islanders ask whether it is worth destroying this socio-cultural heritage and their own history in the name of mysterious, hidden interests.
The islanders are under no illusion that, when they are all gone, it will be possible to lease the islands to major tourism companies for high-quality hotel and leisure projects.
While praising his sense of social justice, the islanders have invited Rebelo de Sousa to visit their home and discuss these issues face-to-face.
Polis has had its operational life extended three times so it can pursue its demolitions agenda despite Loulé court’s decisions and assurances from a string of politicians that first homes will not be knocked down and carted away.