In the last of our series of interviews with the leading candidates in Calvia today we profile the ruling Partido Popular.
ON the island of Majorca, Calvia has the greatest percentage of foreign population on the electoral roll which means members of the E.U. and Norway thanks to a special agreement. This is not strange since from Cas Catala to Peguera there is the highest number of E.U. residents compared with the number of Spanish inhabitants. In fact there are almost the same number as those who can vote for the Palma candidates, but naturally that figure represents a much smaller percentage due to the high number of Spanish voters. For this reason, Carlos Delgado, the present mayor of Calvia, in 2003 had no doubt about including a British citizen in a prominent position in his first try at entering the Council, Kate Mentink. That year Delgado talked to the Bulletin about his plans for the four years and so it was interesting to talk to him and to Kate, who is also repeating this year, as to how much of that programme had been fulfilled. He said: As it happens the Partido Popular throughout the Balearics has had a preelection campaign slogan of Fulfilled since we are proud to be able to have the reputation of completing the majority of our electoral promises. For this reason the public knows that what we include in our programme for the next four years are not just idle promises but rather projects that we know we can fulfill. For that reason our own slogan in Spanish is Sin Complejos which we have translated in English as Confidently. The P.P. list in Calvia includes 60% women in the list of 21 possible councilors, plus four substitutes and Kate Mentink is in the position 4, guaranteed to be elected thanks to her privileged situation as the coordinator of the Foreign Department which was opened in the last legislature. Kate explained: The department has received an average of 500 to 600 enquiries per month throughout the year, with an increase to 1'000 in September when people enquire about the language classes and also in the spring. Contrary to what people think, these queries come mostly from the residents rather than the tourists. However the Department obviously also collaborates in the translation of the municipal leaflets and news bulletin. One of the things that all voters must be aware of is the reduction in local rates by some 20 percent over the past four years, and other taxes have been frozen, all thanks to watching out for unnecessary public expenditure. I think the true Majorcan character is rather like the Scottish, with a natural thriftiness without being mean. Another promise was to create the local policeman rather like our idea of the local Bobby and so we have taken on 40 percent more municipal policemen and now there are also 30 special policemen in the tourist areas.. the Bobby on the beach' who can all speak reasonable English. There are also five tourist offices in Illetas, Palma Nova, Magalluf, Santa Ponsa and Peguera, plus information in the local police stations. Carlos and Kate know that there is a large group of elderly people who have retired to Calvia, at first being very active but gradually slowing down as is only to be expected. Their programme includes adapting the public transport routes to include public and private day centres and also the promotion of homes for the elderly. They also want to set up home services, not only 'meals on wheels' but also laundry, library, shopping and cleaning facilities. Carlos continued: For the tourists, we hope to make Calvia a pilot plan and be the world leaders in sports activities for the handicapped, promoting tennis, golf, kayaking, sailing, diving, etc.. This has recently been presented by one of our candidates, Rafael Wincklemann. Other projects will be aimed at encouraging tourism all year round, especially a reduction in local taxes for businesses that remain open at least 10 months of the year. We aim to create a theme park and a contemporary art museum. We shall promote holidays by ramblers, particularly via the Galatz mountain park where we shall create the first dry stone botanical maze on the island and supply a hikers' hostal. There will be a shopping guide to the different districts, an extension to the popular walk way from Calvia to Capdella, an anti jellyfish project for the beaches, a sand stadium and a promotion of health sports, and night time sports activities. Cricket is a popular activity in our municipality and we shall promote this, and also lawn bowls. Once more Kate continued particularly with the foreign community in mind, mentioning an increased attention in the foreign department to include French and Italian and to produce the municipal web page in five languages. There will be more Spanish classes also in the summer, with conversation practice and longer hours on the local radio for foreign programmes. Local students will be encouraged to go on exchanges to improve their foreign languages. We shall establish a premises in the Costa de la Calma which will be used as a meeting point by all the foreign associations in the borough with a committee to organize its use. This should be ready by next January or February after extensive refurbishment and equipment. Kate started her experience dealing with the public with her own estate agency which was almost like an information centre, and then became the founder of the local branch of Ciudadanos Europeos. At first she was rather keen to remain neutral on the political scene but soon realized that the left Progress Pact was not prepared to continue the Balearic Government's collaboration originally supplied via Rosa Estaras. Fortunately during the four years in the desert they were helped by Juan Bauza in the Palma Council in Juan Fageda's time. She thinks that amazingly enough the Majorcan Union party does not seem to be very fond of helping other nationalities, nor even the use of Castillian. She said that she thought it is a great pity that due to the proportional voting system the very small parties with few seats on local and island councils manage to haggle for much more power than seems fair. She was asked in 1999 to become involved in politics with the Partido Popular but she did not think that the time was right, but was delighted to form part of the Calvia team in 2003. Thanks to her great experience acquired in the Town Hall with the foreigners, she was more recently chosen to be the director for the Balearic Government's department Citizens of the European Union under the Council for Immigration and Cooperation.
She has learnt that to be such an active politician, with a real wish to help the foreign community integrate into local ways of life, she almost needs to have a magic charm which would enable her to be in two places at the same time!
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