Staff Reporter SPOKESMAN for the United Left/Green Party coalition in the Islands, Miquel Rosselló, said yesterday that the regional minister for Tourism, Joan Flaquer “isn't up to” addressing the difficult tourism situation currently facing the Balearics.

Rosselló reiterated the proposal for a “joint party approach” to confronting the issues at hand. The spokesman, who is also general coordinator for the United Left, considers that it is “irresponsible” of Flaquer and the Balearic government in general, not to spearhead this proposal in order to achieve social and political consensus to find solutions for the future of tourism. It has been demonstrated, he purported, that the current Administration is “made up of amateurs”.

In Rosselló*s view, the policy of minister Flaquer, “to be at the beck and call of the tour operators”, is not the most sound to overcome the recession in the sector. The spokesman also alleged that Flaquer is entrenched in policies, which, if they worked when his party (the Partido Popula) was in Opposition, no longer function now that it is in power.

With these words, Rosselló was making reference to the fact that Flaquer, who is also spokesman for the Partido Popular, “continues to blame” the policies which underpinned the strategy of the previous Socialist coalition when it was in power, including the setting up of the Ecotax (otherwise known as the Tourist tax) or building “freezes”. “One year after the Popular Party came to power” declared Rosselló, “we are just the same, if not worse than before”.
Rosselló, who was Employment minister in the previous government under the Spanish Socialist Workers Party leader, Francesc Antich, said that what is important now is to push for “a major united front from all parties”. He condemned the present government for not having made such a proposal themselves. “Flaquer needs to take the bull by the horns” claimed the Opposition spokesman, agreeing with Francesc Antich who had recently declared that the approach to tourism in the Balearics needs a major overhaul because policies which were applied 20 years ago, are now outmoded and inadequate today.

As a related issue, Rosselló said it wasn't a very good idea to convert old hotels into housing because Balearic residents who have been employed in hotel and catering work during the tourist season will be left without work.