The stakes are high for the Ria Formosa islanders whose objections to forcibly being moved from their homes already have transformed into emotionally charged demonstration.
Yesterday’s report that the Minister of Environment Jorge Moreira da Silva had suspended demolitions planned for the centre of Culatra island gave the islanders a welcome boost.(* see below for link)
Today the news gets better still as the issue of demolitions on the islands will now be heard by a Parliamentary Committee in early March, thanks to the Communist party.
The communists have presented a draft resolution ‘to stop the demolitions in the Ria Formosa islands,' which will be discussed on March 4th by the Parliamentary Committee on the Environment, Spatial Planning and Local Government and voted on, on March 6th.
In its proposal, the Communist party require the government to ‘adopt various measures,’ the main one being the 'immediate suspension of demolitions in the Ria Formosa islands.’
Secondly, the communists ask for a review of the Plan for the Coastal Zone from VRSA to Vilamoura, 'in particular recognising the existence of urban centers on the islands, as well as the social, economic and cultural value associated with them, and abandoning the intention of their re-naturisation.'
The Communists want to keep the people on the islands and want the government, far from kicking them off, to ‘support economic activities associated with fishing, shellfish prodcution and the exploitation of the resources of the Ria Formosa.’
Finally, they ask for the upgrading of the islands’ bathing areas, the transport system to the islands and an improvement in the flow and quality of the water, as well as protecting the coastline from erosion.’
March may seem a long way off but at last the subject may sensibly be debated and a resolution found to what the islanders call, the ‘social terrorism’ with which they have had to contend so far.
A petition now has been launched on Avaaz: