It would seem that the summit celebrated in Palma this weekend provoked an alternative summit meeting by people opposing Jaume Matas's work as the Spanish Minister of Environment.

Here on Majorca that has a double reason, since the parties opposing him do not want him to have any kudos in view of next year's local and regional elections.

Here they have taken advantage of the presence of Ministers from other European countries to make their demos but I wonder if they have thought about the loss of prestige for Spain as a country. Probably they couldn't care less as many of the demonstrators were people who consider the Balearics to be part of Catalonia and nothing to do with Spain.

A similar demo is planned to take place on the mainland in June to coincide with another summit that will mark the end of Spain's presidency of the European Union. This is because of the planned law of employment which of course the unions do not approve. The Unions are calling for a general strike as they fear for jobs that are based on the “fijo discontinuo” system, i.e. people who are employed only for part of the year usually in the tourist industry and are laid off in the low peak period. Until now they have their post guaranteed the following year and get the dole while they are not working. This will now be more rigorously controlled. Also the government is compelling people to accept jobs that are up to 50 kilometres away from their home and if 3 offers are refused, they receive no more dole. The Minister stated that the subsidies for unemployment (i.e. dole) come from contributions from workers and they do not feel that the workers should be subsidising those who are simply “playing the system.” So watch out for general strikes in June and more loss of face for Spain before the rest of Europe.
Talking of Europe, I cannot avoid mentioning the Eurovision Song Contest that had created a lot of hype in Spain due to the television contest called Operacion Triunfo, on a par with Pop Idol apparently, although I have never seen that programme.

There were 24 countries competing and there are at least another 10 waiting in the wings to come in next year to replace those who didn't make the grade this year. So, 34 o 35 countries for Eurovision....... and does that mean that the European Union is destined to be made up of so many countries? I don't think that I will live to see that and I hope that I reach a ripe old age like my granny.

Once again the voting for the contest was very political, with different countries voting for their neighbours, something that all the experienced critics foretold. Germany, France, UK and Spain are the four constant countries and the others come and go. The older contestants seem to have preferred to bow out, such as Ireland and Italy, but the newly formed countries are dying to participate. And if you didn't see the programme, you would have been amazed at a trio from Slovenia, three travesties, dressed a la Andrews Sisters not unlike an act from the Bay Entertainers some years ago!! Well, this was nothing if not modern and being politically correct I imagine.

Anne Kay

Great holiday marred by police

Dear Sir,
I have just returned to England (25th May) from yet another most enjoyable holiday on Majorca. I have had many.
The holiday was marred on Wednesday 22nd May at 1300hrs as chronicled below. A few minutes after a minor car accident outside Calvia (no third party involved and no casualties), a municipal policeman arrived in a police car and took control of the situation and even consulted with the hire company to ensure the retrieval of my vehicle even to the extent of offering to take my wife and I to Magalluf Police Station and wait for the recovery vehicle in relative comfort.

As it was, I had to stay with the vehicle, as instructed by the hire company. My wife stayed with me. The policeman left, satisfied that the situation was in hand. Very nice man.

An hour later, a second (municipal) policeman stopped and asked me if everything was okay. I told him that a colleague of his had reported the situation. He was satisfied and left. Very nice man.

All was well until another hour later, a two car patrol (municipal) one man one woman, passed, stopped and beckoned me to the stricken vehicle.
I explained to him and her, the same scenario as before. They walked away and spoke quietly with each other. The policeman then approached me and asked if I had been drinking (alcohol). I said no and once again explained that his colleagues were aware, to no avail. He told me to follow him to the central reservation of the dual carriageway and made me physically carry out a drunk driver test that, as far as I'm aware, is unique to some parts of the USA. Eyes closed touch nose, eyes closed walk in a straight line etc etc. I told him that I was sure that this was not part of a recognised procedure, he made me do it again.

He became the lawmaker, the judge, the jury and the would be executioner, and he was having a laugh at my expense. After consulting with the policewoman, he simply “shooed” me away with his hand and said “Okay , go now”. Other drivers passing were, I'm sure, bewildered, as was my wife who was standing in a safe place watching. I did not obtain any information about this “Law Upholder” and his accomplice. I was both angry and uncertain of this “Lawman's” next move. My burning questions are - How does a visitor to Majorca make an official complaint about police behaviour and would the complaint be followed up?

Is the breathalyser still the accepted initial roadside test for the police to detect drunk drivers?
Also - Is this incident of blatant police autonomy one of many which may contribute to the decline of the Islands' visitors? Or am I just an unfortunate tourist who has been subject to the whims of a “policeman and policewoman” who have been watching too many American Crime movies, and who use the content as a training material? I could see how easy it would have been in a nightclub situation, or youths out walking late, to say the wrong thing, the police in a foreign land always have the last word and will always be in a win–win situation.

Because of the actions of the two “police individuals”, the words “Confianza and Justicia” have been removed from my Spanish vocabulary.
Yours Faithfully

Robert Dunlop

Ps, I'll keep looking on line to see if this is published.

Editor's note.

Thankyou for your letter, a copy of which will be passed on to Calvia Council who will be able to best answer your questions.


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