Staff Reporter
SOCIALIST deputy Antoni Diéguez accused the Balearic government yesterday of resorting to defunct, “illegal” legislation to secure the acquisition of the Costa Nord installations in Valldemossa which are now a cultural centre. He specifically blamed the regional Tourist minister, Joan Flaquer, for permitting a property valuation that bordered on the “scandalous”. Diéguez claimed that for the agreement to be signed and sealed, the ruling Popular Party had had to use outdated legislation, something he considered “not above board”. “What he's done” alleged the deputy “is find a solution to a private problem with public money”. Diéguez purported that the American actor, Michael Douglas, succeeded in bringing the Balearic government to their knees in the process of negotiating a tourist promotion deal. Douglas, assured the deputy, “was the only one who came out laughing”. Last year, as part of a quality tourism campaign, the Balearic government had purchased the Costa Nord installations from Douglas to use the property as a cultural centre. The rights to a video for public viewing, featuring appearance and commentary by the actor, were part of the deal. Douglas also agreed to personally represent the Balearics at several international tourist trade fairs. Meanwhile, the actor has now set up home in Bermuda and is similarly promoting the tourist attractions of that part of the world. United Left/Green party coalition representative, Miquel Ramón, criticised the negotiations which he described as “ruinous and elitist”. He further suggested that the agreement had been reached in an underhand manner and demanded that someone in the government take responsibility for the purchase of a property, the valuation of which “had included unregistered artefacts”. “A business was purchased without any benefit to the Balearics” slammed the United Left/Green party representative, who insisted that Michael Douglas's real interest lies in promoting “other tourist areas where he has now taken up residence”. The ruling Popular Party was defended on the occasion by Gaspar Oliver, a deputy who was standing in for Joan Flaquer, the minister of Tourism, who was not in the House yesterday. Oliver retorted that “the only intention behind the current attack on the government is to divert public attention by speaking about so-called underhand matters, supposedly in private interests”. Oliver insisted that the deal made with Michael Douglas will materialise as an extremely valuable tool for promoting tourism in the Balearic Islands.
The motion, which the Opposition tabled as “fraudulent actions taken by the Balearic government to secure the Costa Nord installations”, was rejected by 30 votes to 25.

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